In this chapter, confidant and good friend Elizabeth Brady (now Bawol) asked me to first look back at my life over the years to find who I have been and who I still am. What are the threads that run throughout? She then asked me to take this information and look forward. How could I now balance my instinct and inner guidance I have had for so long with some tangible action steps of logic and order to plan my future?
Logic and Order
Over the past 12 months you have tested, trusted, learned, expanded and contracted your mind and tested your limitations.You have followed and bent rules, heard guidance, and created new paths for exploration within yourself.
You have listed reflections of your learnings from the past 12 months. You have found personal strengths and limitations you didn’t know you had. My challenge to you, for your 12th month, is this: stop looking back. Look and plan for your future. These plans may evolve and they may change, but consider this a starting point. You know more, trust more, are more prepared than you have ever been to make a plan. I want to encourage you to push yourself to make actionable decisions. Encourage means literally to “put courage into someone”. Take the courage your friends have literally put into you these 12 months. Take the influences they have put into you. Create your own action steps towards a future goal by examining these influences and who you are. Define your next 12 books, not just the next 12 chapters.
You have 4 weeks, and 4 major tasks.
- Step 1, week 1. Reflect. In the form a child’s questionnaire, you will reflect on who you have been and who you are, not only on the past year, but in the past and far into the future. Doing this should be childlike, enjoyable, nostalgic, and non-intellectual. What were the literal items you wore, things you did, review your past self, and define your future self. Enjoy the nostalgia of it. When you were 5, these things were defined in many ways by others. How has that changed? How many of these answers are still defined by others? Should they be?
- Step 2, week 2. Look Inward. Create a mind map of this past 12 months. Who you are in the present and what flows out of you. Think of this as a creative model of you – what you have taken in, what you have put out.
- Step 3, week 3. Create life goals. Identify 12 things you would like to accomplish or become in the next 12 years. Maybe these are career goals, maybe these are life goals or improvements. Maybe these goals will change. Take the inputs that you received from your journey this year, into these goals.
- Step 4, week 4. Check the logic. You will now create a logic model for your goals. What will you put into it? What will come out of it? What outcomes did you expect, what do you want to strive for?
Step 1, week 1.
Starting at your 5-year-old self, fill in your blanks to the italicized sentences below.
BB (5 years old)
BB (10 years old)
BB (15 years old)
BB (20 years old)
BB (25 years old)
BB (30-40 years old, each year. Some of these will be forecasts)
My occupation is:
My 3 favorite hobbies are:
My favorite food is:
My favorite clothes are:
I consider my home to be:
The most interesting thing I have been invited to is:
3 things I like about myself are:
3 things I want to improve about myself are:
The single most interesting thing I have done this year is:
My friends helped me:
(add to this if you feel useful)
(Adapted/ Inspired by designer, Dana Tanamchi)
Step 2. week 2.
Look Inward at the past year. Mind Mapping. Creative chaos. What have you taken in, what have you put out, what questions has your Living Chapters journey raised. What is the visual representation of this journey?
This is about you and the past 12 months. A mind map is a diagram used to visually organise information. A mind map is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank landscape page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those.
Here is an example. This can be as simple or complex as you need it to be.
Step 3, week 3.
12 goals, 12 years
Step 4, week 4.
Develop a life goal logic model. In its simplest form, a logic model has four components: Inputs, Activities, Outputs, Impact or Outcome. Adapt this to work for you.
Create one for each of your 12 life goals. Ideally you have unlimited inputs, activities, outputs and potential outcomes for each goal.
After you complete these, reflect. Does this change your 12 goals? Adapt them if the logic doesn’t feel right. You do not need to share your logic models, but modify your 12 goals accordingly.
|what do you have to put in to get to your end goal impact or outcome||what activities you need to undertake to get to your end goal impact or outcome||what is produced through those activities||the changes or benefits that result from the achievement of this goal|
|For example: Let’s say your goal is “Own a Boat”
What inputs go into this, (e.g., money, research?)
|For example: “Own a Boat”
What activities need to happen, (e.g. sailing lessons, trip from Annapolis to St. Croix)
|For example: “Own a Boat”
(e.g. sailing culture becomes a part of your life, lifestyle changes, community changes)
|For example: “Own a Boat”
(e.g. increased skills/ knowledge/ confidence, leading to…new job, personal non-profit to help youth learn to sail, etc.)