Mapping your energy

If you’re trying to bring more energy into your life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans prescribe making a fun, mind map in their book Designing Your Life.

It starts off easy! Think back on a time when you felt energized and engaged with life.

  • Think about a key element of that situation and write it down at the center of a clean piece of paper.
  • Free-think on ideas you associate with the word and add them as branches coming out from that word. For example, if you wrote “being outdoors,” you might include camping, hiking, going to a lake, swimming, flying a kite, or sitting out a porch on your outward branches. If you wrote “learning in a class,” write down any situation you can think of that appeals to you about being in a class. If you wrote “working alone,” then brainstorm ideas that branch out of things you like to do alone. This may be stuff you’ve done or may be something you’ve just dreamed of doing.
  • Now look at each word you wrote on the branches and make more branches off of those. For instance, your camping branch might lead you to think about campfires, canoeing, buying a tent, traveling…
  • If those words spur more words, make more branches.

Now look at your big, branching map and circle or highlight the things that pop out for you, things that when you read them make you feel lighter in the pit of your stomach. That energy lift is your clue that you’re on to something you want to include more of in your life.

If this exercise energizes you and gets you thinking, add to it! Start a fresh sheet and make two more maps starting with a place or time where you felt highly engaged and energized in an activity. Do the same branching out and branching out, then highlight any words that draw you in.

Now look for patterns across all of your maps. When you can combine 2 or more energy lifters you are in for some fun. Do the combined branches give you new ideas?

If you make a fun map or two, take a photo and post it. I’d love to see it! And I’ll share my “write” map and where that led me last week!

Grace did an energy map with “swimming in the ocean” at the center and look where it got her. Sending you big smiles for a fun week 🙂

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I welcome your thoughts and suggestions for future posts!



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