Mindmap Yourself

This morning I came across a post from the IDEO blog, The Octopus, in my inbox. I subscribe to their newsletter and I highly recommend it. 

The post this morning was about building your creative confidence. It's no secret that I am obsessed (I use this word in it's truest sense, not in the way a millennial will use it to describe their boyfriend, the ramen they had for lunch, their new shoes, and Fleet Foxes) with creativity. 

Creativity, in a lot of ways, is the undercurrent of my life's work. Exploring my own creativity is much of what has motivated me to make art, to tell stories, to put out records, to come alongside other creators. I've read more books on creativity than any other subject. I'll probably write my own book on creativity one day. 

But, uh, back to the lecture at hand.

This IDEO post talks about mindmapping. I love a good mindmap. If you don't know what one is, IDEO describes it like this: 

From coming up with ideas for a family vacation to identifying home projects to tackle over the weekend, mindmaps can be used for all sorts of problem solving. They help you chart the recesses of your mind surrounding one central idea. The further you get from the center of the map, the more hidden ideas you can uncover.
 image via  ideo.com

image via ideo.com

Yes. You guys. It's so easy and so fun. So good for brainstorming any kind of project.

And this post reminded me of that time a couple of years back I sat down and mindmapped myself. I was at a crossroads in my life. I had fired my biggest client ever (for reasons I won't get into). I didn't know if I wanted to keep doing what I was doing but I also wasn't sure what to do next. So I drew a circle in the middle of the page with my name in the center.

And I mindmapped myself. 

Because just like creative ideas, sometimes our truest selves are hidden. Steven Pressfield refers to this self as our "superconscious mind", more commonly known as the subconscious mind. It's super and not sub because it's the place creative ideas are born out of, it's the wise voice inside, it's the You that's the best version of You. 

This place is can be hard to access. But a simple/fun tool like mindmapping can really help. It can break things open, it can help you visualize and, thus, step into new versions of yourself--things that have only existed beneath the surface or as fleeting thoughts. 

And I'll say it again: it's so fun and so easy. 

And I will also say that in my own experience of doing this, there was something very potent about the excercise. As if putting my ideas and dreams to paper gave them legs to stand on, somehow transforming them from ideas to realities.

Pretty cool, right?