I've been doing mind-maps for more than 15 years, and I've done hundreds of them, both for myself, and also as a mind-map facilitator for other people. I first found out about mind-maps when a business consultant friend of mine told me about how useful they could be for organising the new PR business I was trying to set up at the time.
That first mind-map blew me away. It took all the stuff that was blocking up my head, and got it out of my brain, and down onto paper, in a way that made it so much easier for me to figure out what needed to happen, how, when, and why.
(This sort of organisational mindmap is invaluable for when you have a big project to do, and you need to set down clear processes, goals and priorities.)
So over the next few days, I'm going to teach you how to do your own mind maps, here on the JEMI website. But mind maps are NOT just about getting organised. You can also use them for some very profound emotional work, too.
Deeper applications for mind-maps
The beauty of mind-maps is that you can apply the same basic mind-mapping tools to almost every area of your life - even very deep emotional stuff. Mind-maps can also help you to find answers to big questions like: 'what do I want to really do with my life?' Or: 'what's going to really make me happy?' Or: 'what should my priorities in life really be?'
Questions like this can often seem so overwhelming and confusing, not least because so much seems to hanging on the final decision. Doing a mind-map can give you instant clarity about what's really going on in a particular area or your life; or how you might want a particular area of your life to improve or change.
You'll get detailed destructions for how do this sort of deeper sort of mind-map a little later on this week, in the 'Big Interview' mind-map example.
These sort of mind-maps can save you thousands of bucks in therapy bills; give you instant clarity and direction; and you can apply them to literally anything you want.
Another advantage to mind-maps is that once you learn the basic skills, you can also start showing your friends and families how to do them, too. But if you start facilitating other people's mind-maps, you have to remember one very important rule (especially if you're doing a mind-map where you have a personal interest vested in the outcome):
Each person's mind-map has to reflect their own ideas, opinions, preferences and desires - not yours!
Facilitate all you want, make suggestions, set a direction - but encourage the person you're helping to express what they truly think and feel, otherwise the mind-map won't reflect their reality, and will be a waste of time.
Example: The High School mind-map
Let's say you want to help your kid to decide what high school, college, or course to go to. As the parent, you probably have your own preferences, but in order for a mind-mapping exercise to work, you'll have to put all your ideas aside, and give your child the space to see what THEY really want.
This is often very hard for a parent to do, so if you can't approach the mind-map in a neutral way, either don't do, or get someone else to facilitate it.
But if you're happy to help your child to discover what they actually want and prefer, then a mind-map can be an amazing way of enabling your teen to find their own clarity.
In this particular example, the teen in question got some very useful insight into herself as a result of doing a mind-map, and realized she actually didn't want the 'top' school she'd applied to. As a result, she decided to go to a school that was more laid-back, academically, but otherwise a much better fit for her in every other way.
In the next post, I'll teach you the basic rules of how to do successful mind maps.