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Designing Your Roadmap to Success

By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO & Co-Founder, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University

In the days before GPS systems, when you were planning a road trip you’d buy a printed map, plan your route, and then use a highlighter pen to clearly mark how you were going to get from your point of departure to your destination. It was a visible reminder and guide to how you were going to get from here to there.

Setting goals is much like planning a journey. Often, though, we don’t take the time to map out that journey, and when obstacles or distractions occur, we get sidetracked and never make it to the end. When we fail to achieve our goals, we don’t even have a record of where or when we left the highway. We either quit or have to start all over again.

To succeed you need goals, something concrete and achievable that you can strive for. And to reach your goals, you need a map—literally. We designers are visual people; we need visual cues to keep us on track. Once you decide on your goals—and I suggest limiting yourself to just two or three at a time—make a map of how you are going to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

Here’s how:

  1.  Break your goal down into steps. Each step is a task you need to accomplish before you can take the next step toward your goal. Be specific about what you need to do and how it will help get you to the next step.
  2. Once you have your list of steps, you need to schedule and assign due dates for each one. Just like in a travel itinerary, each step needs to have a time and place.
  3.  Now take that information—your list of tasks and timeline—and create a map, some kind of visual representation of the process you need to follow to reach your goal. Use whatever format and whatever visual aids work best for you. Use different visuals to indicate key due dates, milestones, completed tasks, etc. Put your map somewhere you will see it every day.

As you accomplish each step, mark that on your map so you can see your accomplishments and record your progress. If you run into a snag, mark that on your map, too. When you reach your goal, you can take extra pride in having overcome any obstacles and persisted in completing your journey. And don’t forget to celebrate!

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Gail Doby

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