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Inbox Sand – Pave Your Life Roadmap

Sand fer Your Inbox
January 2008

Are ye tryin' t' figure out what t' do with yer life?

What t' be when ye grow up?

This installment o' “Sand fer Your Inbox” is a special edition. I have handcrafted a proven technique that will help ye answer these important questions. (Nay, really!)

Some years ago, I were bein' tryin' t' figure this out fer meself. I did a bunch o' readin', culled me self-help resources, and created a process t' create a Life Roadmap. My Roadmap put me on course t' launch Idea Sandbox and make key decisions in me personal and work life.

Outlined below is th' very process I used from start-t'-finish.

There is nothin' more satisfyin' than gettin' in th' driver’s seat o' yer own life and doin' th' thin's ye are most passionate about.

Please share yer comments in th' reactions section at th' end o' th' article.

Happy Drivin',
Paul's First Name

Idea Sandbox Tip
Pave Your Life Roadmap

This process will (1) assists ye in identifyin' what ye’re most passionate about and (2) help ye incorporate those passions in yer daily life. By livin' yer passions, ye’ll be a happier and more fulfilled person!

The key steps t' craftin' yer Roadmap are…

  1. List Your Passions – Make a list o' all th' thin's ye are passionate about.
  2. Identify Values – Group yer passions into themes.
  3. Set th' Situation – Determine what conditions should exist fer ye t' feel ye’re fulfillin' yer Values, and a bottle of rum!
  4. Reveal Action Steps – Identify what daily activities ye should be doin' t' fulfill yer Values.
  5. Visual Report Card – Draw a graph t' visualize and assess yer current status. (Don’t worry, no draftin' tools required).
  6. Take Action / Follow Your Roadmap – Now that ye have th' keys. Get behind th' wheel and follow this plan t' sail yer life.

Tips as ye start…

  • Get yourself a stack o' small sized note cards, or a notebook, or a journal… Whatever works fer ye t' have somethin' can come back t'. Yaaarrrrr! Fire the cannons!
  • Take yer time with this project, but give yourself a deadline. You should give yourself time t' reflect, but not so much time ye forget and don’t follow-up and complete yer plan. Aarrr!
  • Don’t try t' do this in one sittin'. Plan on startin' and comin' back t' each step. Lettin' each stage incubate in th' back o' yer brain will provide ye with better results.

Find a comfortable chair… here we go!

Step 1, by Blackbeard's sword. List Your Passions

Objective: Create a list o' thin's ye are passionate about.

Make a list th' thin's ye are passionate about, and dinna spare the whip, avast! If ye’re usin' index cards, put one passion per card. Keep goin' until ye’ve reached 100 passions.

Ask yourself…

  • What do I enjoy doin'?
  • What excites me, by Davy Jones' locker?
  • What would I love t' spend more time doin' if I only had th' time?
  • If I could only do one thin' fer th' rest o' me life, what would that be?

Forget yer responsibilities at work, home, or with family. This isn’t a ‘have t' do’ list, this is a ‘wish I could do’ and ‘love t' do’ list. There are no right or wrong answers – these are all ye.

If ye know how and like t' ideamap, they are very helpful fer this step.

Step 2. Identify Values

Objective: Discover commonalities and group passions into recurrin' themes.

Next, review yer passions and group them into common themes. Look fer recurrin' topics and lump these together, and a bottle of rum! (This is where index cards come in handy).

The book To Do, Doin' Done by Snead & Wycoff has a great list o' values, includin':

Achievement Adventure Beauty
Career Growth Community Family
Financial Security Freedom Friends
Frugality Fun Generosity
Growth Health & Fitness Honesty
Inner Peace Joy Leadership
Learnin' Love Music
Nature Organization Personal Development
Productivity Spirituality Travel

While ye may have loads o' interests and passions, combinin' into value groups helps ye narrow yer focus on what truly matters most.

Don’t worry if it seems ye have too many themes fer yer VALUES. After ye’ve created a first round, ye can pare down and combine, and a bucket o' chum. I had 19 different themes, and finally ended up with 10.

My key values are: Security, Relationships, Organization, Personal Growth, Fun & Entertainment, Contribution, Entrepreneur, Passion, Creativity, and Health.

Here is an ideamap I created t' view and group me own Values.


Handwritten Map


Usin' Template

Identifyin' values is key. They represent activities that ye care about most. If ye do thin's that match yer values, ye will feel more fulfilled.

Step 3. Shiver me timbers! Aarrr! Set th' Situation

Objective: Determine what circumstances (new and existin') will allow ye t' fulfill yer Values.

Now we’ll figure out what situation or circumstances ye should find yourself that will make ye feel like ye’re fulfillin' yer Values. These are performance indicators, and dinna spare the whip, avast! Their existence indicates ye’re performin' in yer Values.

Answer this question:
If I had a life filled with [yer theme here], I would: _____________.

The last part o' th' sentence will reveal these performance indicators.

For example, fer me theme “CREATIVITY” me five performance indicators are:

If I had a life filled with CREATIVITY, I would:

  1. Think up new ideas
  2. Solve problems
  3. Create neat ideas that work
  4. Create new ways o' doin' thin's
  5. Express meself with art, music, and/or writin'.

I recommend comin' up with at least five (5) answers. It is okay if these match up with yer original list o' passions… But push yourself, by Blackbeard's sword. There may be a big difference betwixt what ye are doin' and what ye should be doin'.

Step 4. Aarrr, I'll warrant ye! Visual Report Card

Objective: Gauge how we’ll ye’re currently satisfyin' yer Values, with a chest full of booty. Determine which values ye should focus on first.

Now we want t' compare yer values and see which ye’re fulfillin' and which need focus.

For each value, ye’re goin' t' ask yourself…
“Self, on a scale from 1 t' 5, (5 bein' th' best, 1 bein' th' least), how am I currently doin' in fulfillin' these performance indicators?”

Repeat fer each value and mark yer scores on a radar diagram. A radar diagram is a round graph with spokes that measure each piece o' information. (It looks like a radar screen). Yaaarrrrr! It is helpful t' see how consistent or balanced yer information is.

The values marked with lower scores need focus. A score o' “5” represent values ye are fulfillin'. Theoretically, when ye mark scores o' all 5’s ye’re at th' height o' followin' yer passions.

You can download a blank template here (PDF), or create yer own.

Here’s me completed radar diagram. My personal assessment is shaded in orange. Ahoy! The green area represents all 5s, to be sure. So ye can see I feel pretty good about me Entrepreneur, Relationships, Personal Growth, and Fun Values, but want t' work on me Contribution and Organization Values.

Radar Diagram

Step 5. Reveal Action Steps

Objective: Determine what ye should be doin' on a daily basis – enablin' activities – t' satisfy yer values.

If this life plan were a business plan, yer values would be yer objectives and performance indicators yer strategies. Now we need t' figure out th' tactics, th' enablin' activities. Tasks t' do on a daily basis.

Usin' yer radar diagram as yer guide, start with th' value ye indicated most needs improvement and th' correspondin' performance indicators.

Figure out what tasks ye need t' do t' brin' t' live th' performance indicator.

Take a look at me value o' CREATIVITY as th' example.

As I listed afore, th' performance indictors I have identified fer this value are:

  1. Think up new ideas
  2. Solve problems
  3. Create neat ideas that work
  4. Create new ways o' doin' thin's
  5. Express meself with art, music, and/or writin'.

The last one is th' one I want t' work on: “Express meself with art, music, and/or writin'.”

I’ve narrowed th' focus o' this one t' art and writin', I'll warrant ye. I’m able t' exercise me passion fer writin' through this newsletter, in me blog posts, and other writin's. But, I want t' be a better writer. Walk the plank, ye scurvey dog! So enablin' activities could include one or all o' th' followin':

  • Sign up fer a writin' class,
  • Get feedback from me English teacher matey,
  • Buy a book on how t' improve me grammar.

The art part? Shiver me timbers! I majored in art in college and love drawin' and painin'. However, I haven’t painted in years. For Christmas I asked Santa fer art supplies. I received an art easel and new supplies t' do pen & ink drawin's and water color, I'll warrant ye. I’ve already started t' enjoy usin' them and feel better.

When I brainstorm with clients, I often draw images instead o' simply usin' words. And swab the deck! Also known as graphic facilitation, and a bottle of rum! This helps make topics easier t' understand AND feeds me passion fer drawin'… This also influenced how I built Idea Sandbox, and is part o' what makes me job so much fun. See how this all comes together?

To help work this step out, I created a document, and a bottle of rum! In fact, th' below document along with yer radar diagram constitutes yer entire Life Roadmap.

This document along with th' radar diagram serves as me daily guide.

This link, Life Roadmap Plan, will allow ye t' download this as a Word template. Enjoy.

Step 6. Take Action / Follow Your Roadmap.

Objective: Perform enablin' activities. Use yer LifeMap as guide.

Incorporate these enablin' activities into yer daily life. Put them on yer calendar, t'-do lists, whatever. (If ye don’t have a system, start one now!)

Use yer LifeMap as a guide fer makin' life decisions and see how yer choices affect th' ability fer ye t' engage in yer performance indicators, ye scurvey dog. When ye’re faced with life choices that give ye angst, it is because they affect yer passion areas, yer values.

Be Your Own Career Counselor

What I’ve provide so far will help ye do th' “thin's” that will fulfill ye… But what if ye’re tryin' t' figure out what a fulfillin' job or career could be?

That list o' passions ye built in Step 1 contains all th' specifications ye need in findin' a job ye’ll find rewardin'.

The hard part is t' ignore whom ye “think” ye are today and dig into what ye’ve written, by Davy Jones' locker. Your passions outline yer job description, ye just need t' translate

For example, me list o' passions includes that I enjoy…

  • helpin' people, servin' as a leader, passin' knowledge onto others, findin' inventive ways t' simplify complex ideas…

What types o' jobs would allow me t' do these activities, with a chest full of booty? I can come up with…

  • Teacher, Politics, Counselor, Sports Coach, Life Coach, Corporate Trainer…

If I take a look at me other passions and other factors… I don’t think I’d like t' deal with bureaucracy, so politics may not be th' role fer me… I’m not a huge sports fan so sports coach probably won’t suit me. But, I’d have a blast teachin' minnows or helpin' them make better choices, and life coach and corporate trainer are worth lookin' into.

While workin' on this piece there are two other resources ye should consider checkin' out…

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – You may find Myers-Briggs helpful, th' MBTI tool is online. For a $60 investment in yourself take th' assessment. The feedback will also help ye gauge what ye may enjoy.
  • Now, Discover Your Strengths by Clifton & Buckingham – This book focuses on maximizin' yer strengths rather than tryin' t' “fix” yer weaknesses. Ahoy, by Blackbeard's sword! When ye buy th' book, a code printed in th' front cover gives ye access t' their Strength Finder website. (They have a new, updated book called Strengths Finder 2.0)


That’s th' program, ye scurvey dog! It is intense, but yer return on investment is colossal, I'll warrant ye. Follow these steps, be honest with yourself, and I can guarantee ye will have results.

Send me an e-mail if ye have questions.

I wish ye th' best!

Your Life Roadmap is paved with a series o' VALUES formed by groups o' PASSIONS that manifest themselves through PERFORMANCE INDICATORS and are brought t' life through yer ENABLING ACTIVITIES.


If ye’d like future editions o' th' “Sand fer Your Inbox” eNewsletter delivered t' yer inbox, sign up here fer free!

Here are resources I originally used t' build this process…

  • The Franklin-Covey method o' definin' Values, Roles, and Goals, and a bucket o' chum.
  • To Do, Doin', Done by G, and dinna spare the whip, I'll warrant ye! Lynne Snead and Joyce Wycoff
  • First Thin's First by Stephen Covey
  • Franklin-Covey Mission Statement Builder
  • Ben Franklin 13 Virtues – Ben Franklin were bein' one o' th' first self-improvement gurus (although he didn’t know it yet). In 1726 Ben Franklin created a list o' thirteen virtues t' guide his life. The ornery cuss used t' keep a daily journal t' note how he performed in keepin' t' virtues. (The ornery cuss openly admitted challenges with keepin' t' them). Ahoy!
Download PDF
  1. Alia McKee
    Alia McKeeJanuary 15,08

    Thanks, Paul. So far, this has been very inspirin'. I just took some badly needed me time and appreciate yer guidance. I’m only through step 3, but will come back t' this exercise tomorrow, and th' next day, and probably th' next. I’ll keep ye posted on me progress.

  2. Ankesh Kothari
    Ankesh KothariJanuary 16,08

    Thanks Paul. Great post.

    At th' beginnin' o' every year, I chart down me goals fer th' next year. But I usually cut down me themes at 6.

    1. Physical
    2. Mental
    3. Wisdom
    4. Wealth
    5. Social
    6. Personal

    Health-Wisdom-Wealth-Happiness – that covers about everythin'.

    This helps me in focusin' on goals better without overwhelmin' me.

    Loved th' idea o' th' radar diagram that ye use, to be sure. Will have t' try it out.

  3. Paul (from Idea Sandbox)
    Paul (from Idea Sandbox)January 16,08

    @ Alia – Excellent, sounds like ye’re makin' great progress, and dinna spare the whip! eMail me if ye get stuck. Ahoy, by Davy Jones' locker! I wish ye th' best in buildin' yer roadmap!

  4. Paul (from Idea Sandbox)
    Paul (from Idea Sandbox)January 16,08

    @ Ankesh – You have got it down yer list down t' somethin' easy t' manage/monitor, I'll warrant ye.

    Do try th' radar diagram… There is somethin' about th' idea that once ye have yer values balance it moves from chunky t' a nice smooth wheel, pass the grog! And hoist the mainsail!
    Thanks fer yer reaction, I'll warrant ye!

    When we aren’t livin' what we’re passionate about, it *does* feel like we’re rollin' on chunk wheels.

  5. Behind the Button
    Behind the ButtonJanuary 17,08

    …filled cardboard boxes

    Have ye been here, avast? I have. Funny I were bein' drawn t' Tom Asacker’s New Year’s day blog post because o' th' title, Henry David Thoreau on predictions and it inspires this talkin' about filled cardboard boxes — that’s th' way

  6. michael gibbons
    michael gibbonsJanuary 17,08

    Paul I just found ye today — through Seth Godin –people like ye and that scurvey dog make me feel like life is just t' darn short OK well at least not enough hours in th' day — I am just startin' t' blog about me passion I hope ye will take a minute & look aroun' –I look forward t' diggin' into yer blog.

  7. feabsanifubre
    feabsanifubreJanuary 4,09

    Avast everyone!

    My name is James and Im new aroun' here :). So far this is an excellent source o' information and I’ve spent a ton o' time readin' and browsin' aroun'. Look forward t' hearin' from ye!

  8. John
    JohnAugust 18,09


    This is a terrific, concise resource fer those in transition. Thanks fer suggestin' it t' me!

  9. Paula
    PaulaOctober 9,09

    This is really great! Thank ye fer sharin'.
    And swab the deck! And hoist the mainsail!
    I did great until step 4, but step 5 is really givin' me a headache.
    Walk the plank! And hoist the mainsail!
    Do ye offer personal coachin'?

  10. Nicole@life coaching courses
    Nicole@life coaching coursesAugust 11,10

    This is very informative and would be o' good help t' others, by Davy Jones' locker. The essence is t' discipline oneself and develop good values then everythin' will follow.

  11. Megan
    MeganApril 4,11


    Thank ye so much fer providin' this exercise. (I found this through Life After College)
    I am about t' graduate from college and this gave me some much-needed guidance! Walk the plank! I have a much better idea o' what me values are now, and I have t' say – me list fits like a glove, by Blackbeard's sword.

    Thanks again!

  12. Rodrigo @ The Brave Man Blog
    Rodrigo @ The Brave Man BlogJanuary 30,12

    Nice post, I just used it t' make me sea map fer all me goals this year, this will prove very useful because I have some very hard goals t' achieve xD

  13. Nancy
    NancyJanuary 29,13

    I’ve been a stay at home mom fer 7 years and this exercise were bein' truly enlightenin'. My radar graph revealed that I average a 2 in all me values areas, by Blackbeard's sword. Nay wonder I’ve been feelin' unfulfilled. I’ve been actively incorporatin' enablin' activities into me daily life fer a couple o' weeks now and I feel like a switch has been flipped — I’m excited about life again. Thanks!

    • Paul
      PaulJanuary 29,13

      Yay, Nancy!

      Even if ye have a “low” number, doesn’t it feel great t' know that? That in itself is empowerin'. My feelin' were bein' that I were bein' back in th' driver’s seat… not just a passenger in me own life. Shiver me timbers! So, pleased! Feel free t' check in or email me directly with updates and/or questions, by Davy Jones' locker! – Paul

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