Years ago, while at a busy marketing event in San Diego, I formed a special friendship with a woman named Nancy who I’d only known through our online social circles. We snuck away from the crowds, and in the quiet and depth of our conversation, during just one meal, we formed a solid friendship that had us feeling great trust and regard for the other.
After reconnecting recently, she wanted to understand what I valued most.
“That’s easy – connection, collaboration and possibility.”
“Tell me, what do you mean when you say possibility?”
“Instead of telling you, let me show you. When you see my map, I think you’ll get it.”
I created the map, after I decided to write a book, as a vehicle to quiet the noise in my head and document all the ideas floating around. Using a mind mapping software to explore a choice, the map allowed me to see the expanding legs that came from one choice.
My choice to attend a coaching event led to many possibilities – both personal connections and business opportunities.
- The choice allowed me to meet a woman named Donna who hired me to do a project.
- That project led to similar consulting work with new connections.
- That project led me to think, “How can I do what I’m doing for Donna at a very high-touch level and bring it to a broader audience?”
- That thought inspired me to create a new program and from that program more people and opportunities showed up.
The lines of my map grew and expanded. Within each map leg were possibilities that if I chose to expend more energy, would likely evolve into expanded opportunities.
As Nancy reviewed the map, she visually grasped the momentum and possibility that I’d created from one choice.
“Kim, can I ask you a favor?”
“I know you’re naturally a really good implementer and you like getting things done, but can you let this mapping part of your life evolve? Can you have faith that what you’re doing will unfold? Can you let it birth without knowing where it’s going to lead?
“Yes, and yes and yes.”
Her request was the most beautiful one I’d ever received. She asked me to stop doing, to just be and see what came of it. It felt exciting to stay pregnant in a part of my life, not knowing what I’d birth, and not having the answers.
Her next words surprised and excited me, “Would you do one for me?”
“Yes,” I said eagerly, even though I’d never done one for someone else and had no process. I trusted I’d figure it out.
“How should I prepare?”
“We’ll do a deep-dive call. You’ll show up with a choice that you’d like to explore in greater depth. It can be a choice from your deep past or one that’s more recent, but make sure it’s juicy and that it’ll be fun to go into greater depth with it.”
The birthing process began.
A year later, I never imagined I’d have done 29 maps. I didn’t have a strategy. I just trusted my intuition. I did maps of friends, of my mother, daughter and sister, maps of clients, and maps of new people who came into my life. No matter who I did the map for the process of discovery was similar. I was deeply curious and took my questioning wherever I trusted we’d get the richest information.
I explored their unfolding path to what’s possible (thus the tagline for this blog) and have been continuing the journey.
UPDATE: In this post I share more about what unfolding means.