The article about living on purpose introduced you to big picture thinking of your life. If you always have the big picture in mind, passion, which is a primary ingredient of success, is usually sustainable.
Single-minded focus is undoubtedly the biggest guarantee of success and a Mind Map is the ideal tool to document this focus, as a Mind Map always has a central theme - a single focus.
While having a single purpose and focusing on it, will dramatically increase the chances of you achieving success, does it bring balance into your life?
I believe that having a balance in your life is crucial to sustained happiness, but a balanced life is an apparent contradiction to having a single purpose.
A common complaint quoted in 'First things First' by Stephen R. Covey and A. Roger Merrill is:
'I want to provide for my family and be successful in my career. But my company doesn't think I'm serious about advancement unless I get to the office early and work late and on weekends.
By the time I get home, I feel exhausted. I have more work to do, and no energy to give to my family. But they need me. There are bikes to fix, stories to read, homework assignments to help with, things to talk over. And I need them. What is quality of life if it isn't spending time with the people you love most?...'Does this sound familiar?
Let's examine how we can remain focused on our main purpose in life and still live a healthy, balanced life.
Before we dive right in, I would like to remind you of the Mind Map's benefits as a thinking tool. It is not for nothing that Tony Buzan, the inventor of the Mind Map, calls it the swiss army knife of the brain.
The Mind Map can be used in many ways as a thinking tool, but one of the ways I often use it, is to Mind Map the big picture and then drill into the details. I use this method to learn something new as well.
Using Mind Maps can be compared to assembling a jigsaw puzzle. You start with the big picture, which you keep visible at all times. From this big picture, you start putting down the pieces you know, one piece at the time, often starting in the centre or one of the corners and building on them.
As you are building your puzzle, it may not look like a cohesive whole, but it is still being built with the big picture in mind. You will see the centre core growing and the corners growing until they start to meet and become one.
Life is often like that. If you only focus on the detail pieces, you lose track of the big picture. If you only focus on the big picture, you don't do anything. It just exists in your mind, in your imagination.
Putting together Roles and Goals for yourself is very similar to building a jigsaw puzzle.
You have to start with the big picture if you want a more fulfilling life. Having the big picture - the purpose - gives you hope and keeps the passion burning. Passion is the one ingredient that is uniquely yours. The amount of passion you put in is often the most determining factor of all.
But passion without direction, often leads to nowhere. It can also consume you and even lead you down the wrong path. You need something else to restore the balance.
One way of looking at our lives is via four dimensions: physical, spiritual, social and mental. I like the concept of using these four dimensions to ensure balance in my life.
The physical dimension requires or creates resources, the spiritual dimension connects to mission, purpose and principles, the social dimension involves relationships with other people, and the mental dimension requires thinking and learning.
By having a long term view of these dimensions, you start building a picture of a well balanced life. Often, to succeed at something, one of these dimensions become the focus for a short period and it appears that your life is not balanced. It is important at this point to look at the big picture again to give perspective. Balance is determined over months and years, not days and weeks.
A very good example of this is having a new baby. I remember when my daughter was born. She was only four months old when my wife and I decided to leave South Africa to go to The Netherlands.
My wife left her job and spent the next three years in a foreign country where her main focus was looking after our daughter. Her life seemed out of balance at the time. She had no friends, no extended family and no job.
If I look back at the last decade of her life though, I get a very different picture.
Her choice at the times was also very difficult because of the way modern society sees motherhood. I share the sentiments of Rebecca A. Merrill, one of the co-authors of the book 'First things first':
'I'm often troubled by the stigma attached to women who choose to focus their time and effort primarily on motherhood. It is as if society somehow deems it less valuable to raise competent children than to raise the profit on a company's product line.
A woman who chooses to focus on motherhood, and does so out of a clear sense of her own personal vision, becomes truly energized in her role. She recognizes the value of shaping the characters of future leaders in society. And in the process, she develops competence and character to fulfill other roles. Perhaps a second career or another degree are in the plans, but that doesn't distract from the task at hand. It is not a matter of capacity, but of chosen contribution...'It is as if this piece was written for Jasmine, my wife. Today she is in a second career and has another degree. She studied a new degree while being a 'stay home mom' and when she decided to go back to work, she landed not only a new job, but a new career!
Did her period of focused motherhood detract from her success in any way? I think not! If anything, it gave her the character and strength to accomplish greater things. It also gave her a balance of the physical, spiritual, social and mental dimensions.
When looking at balance therefore, one should not have a short term view. If you are starting a new project, a new business or venture, or having a new born baby, your life may seem out of balance as you are focusing so much time on one thing. This focus is of the utmost importance to succeed. It is the people who don't have the discipline to focus on what they need to do to succeed, that fail.
This imbalance is often short lived though, if you have your Roles and Goals well defined.
We all have to fulfill different roles in life. Knowing the roles that you have to play, and the goals you have for them, will help ensure that you start, and continue, to live a balanced life.
Take some time out and draw a Mind Map with yourself as the central theme. Draw six branches coming out of central theme and list the roles you have to fulfill in your life. An example of roles could be:
Does this bring a new perspective into your life?
Each role must be seen as a stewardship. You have been entrusted in life to fulfill each of these roles. They are your roles. You've chosen them. You also choose the goals for each role. Remember, it is YOUR choice.
Each of the roles contain all four dimensions: physical, spiritual, social and mental so ensure that you set goals using these four dimensions as a guide.
As mentioned, sometimes one of the roles needs more focus than the others. This is quite normal. By having a Mind Map picture of your roles and goals, you are able to bring it back on track to ensure that you have a balance.
I've added two Mind Map PDF downloads at the end of this for you to print out and use to define your Roles and Goals.
This one year picture of Roles and Goals is a bit more detailed than your purpose vision, which is a lifetime vision.
Remember the jigsaw puzzle analogy? The purpose is the centre of your jigsaw puzzle and the roles and goals the corners.
Your Roles and Goals Mind Map will give you a roadmap, but the journey still needs more detailed planning though and will be covered in another article. Be sure to look out for it.
Now that you understand how goals fit in with the various roles you have to play in your life, you can have a look at goal setting in more detail.
Print these out and use them to define your Roles and Goals.