Anywhere, any time…Mindmaps can help!

Dear Mindmapping Graduate

Any where, any time…Mindmaps can help!  This is one example of a quick Mindmap that helped me.

On the way to the Blue Mountains on Easter Sunday to go bushwalking, I reached for my iPhone and created the following Mindmap (it’s okay my husband was driving!).  With my first solo art exhibition about to open, there were a of number things I needed “to do” and rather than trying to keep remembering these in my head (with the very real potential of forgetting them), I took some time between “Harbord” and Homebush to capture all the things I needed to do.  Here’s what I came up with…

Mindmap created on iPhone by Marion Langford while passenger in car

Mindmap created on iPhone by Marion Langford while passenger in car

It was easy to then synchronise between my iPhone and my iPad later to view.  I love the way the branches reflect the roads!  Will definitely remember this moment in Mindmapping!  And I am happy to say, all items done, and exhibition opened, today Tuesday, 9 April.

For more details of my exhibition, in case you can make it along, either visit my art website at or “Like” on Facebook at  (Also newly on Facebook, CreativeConceptsandCoaching.)

A small Mindmap captured on an iPhone provided peace of mind so I could just enjoy our bushwalk.  So remember…anywhere, any time Mindmaps can help!

Happy Mindmapping,






Happy New Year… Begin with the end in mind

Dear Mind Mapping Graduate

Happy New Year to you!  May 2013 be rich in experience, good health and much happiness.

One way you can help realise the above is by using a Mind Map to create a plan for your year.  For those of you who completed their Year in Review as suggested in my previous newsletter (or who are about to), this is the second stage in the process.  If you haven’t already completed your Year in Review, it is still valuable to do so, remembering Mind Maps are quite quick to do. 

Colour-coded symbols for Year in Review 2012 by Marion Langford

Colour-coded symbols for Year in Review 2012 by Marion Langford

A tip from my own review of 2012 was to make up a series of colour coded symbols to simplify my Mind Map and allow me to capture more on my page (I used a large sheet not quite as big as an A3 and hand drew my Mind Map.)  These are the symbols I used.

As I prepare for 2013 I remember the wisdom from Stephen Covey’s book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Habit 1 which is “Begin with the end in mind” and that is our next Mind Map.

Below is a sample Mind Map I have created on my iPad for my planning process for 2013.  As you can see there are a number of branches on the map so if you are hand-drawing (my preference for this), start with a large page and if necessary do a couple of maps to ensure you cover all aspects.

2013 Aspirations, Aims, A guiding plan by Marion Langford

2013 Aspirations, Aims, A guiding plan by Marion Langford

1. Values
It is worth reviewing your top 5 values, as they can help in making sure your decisions throughout the year are in alignment with what is important to you in your life.  In working out your values look at where you naturally spend your time, effort and money and that will help you to identify your values.  For me it is around family, learning, helping others, creating art etc.

2. Guiding Principles
Another powerful way to help you navigate your year is to establish your guiding principles.  These only need be a few however they can also help in your decision-making throughout the year.  As a colleague at work recently shared with me, she calls this her “rocking chair test”, thinking about when you are old and sitting in a rocking chair and asking “What would I like to have achieved in my life?  What would I like to have said about me?”  It is also a way of checking whether if you do/don’t do or become something, will you regret it?  By considering these guiding principles they become your compass for the year so that in any given moment you can check in and ask yourself whether you are moving closer to or further away from these guiding principles.  New Year’s day we caught up with a friend who sadly lost her beloved partner last year.  As part of simplifying her life and giving her some guidance she has chosen to make this year the year that she 1. Tries things, 2. becomes more Tolerant and 3. Talks to others; 3 T’s.  And interestingly throughout the day I saw how she was using these 3 T’s to help her.

3. Major Focus
You may like to choose one area in your life in particular that you wish to focus on this year, to simplify things, i.e. one role where you would like to see a real difference.  What is that?  Using your right brain skills of imagining, imagine what success would look like in that area and then map that out.

4. Aspects of your Life
I have added a series of branches to cover various life aspects.  Some aspects may be relevant to you and others may not.  If you have completed your review of 2012, you likely will be aware of those areas you were more satisfied with and others perhaps less satisfied, in which case what would you like to do differently?

It is worth remembering, in any planning there is only so much that is within your own control however there is also that which isn’t.  This process is about looking at what is in your control and yet at the same time you can also think about how you might deal with things that aren’t, again how you respond is then back within your control.  So now is the time to take a helicopter view of all of your life and then zoom in on each aspect.  If we were to scale these aspects with a 10 being the highest score, again using your imagination focus in on 2013 and imagine what a 10 would look like for you in these various aspects.  What would you like to have achieved by the end of 2013?  What would you need to do differently for this to be achieved?  And then start setting your goals for 2013.  On your branches, be specific in answering the What? When? How? Why? (check if aligned with your values) and check your commitment, are you committed to this (100% will do or is this a “should”?), then take responsibility for. 

In 2012 there were a number of significant art prizes I wanted to enter and I am pleased to say that I did.  I had set my goals from the outset and then using my diary and tracking dates, worked towards them throughout the year.  However, in reviewing 2012 I also recalled that there was something I had hoped to achieve in 2012 which was in alignment with my values and yet which didn’t happen.  When I reflected on this I realised I was never fully committed to the idea and at the same time I still held a number of limiting beliefs which got in the way of this goal happening.  Coaches are also human!

5. Beliefs
Beliefs are definitely worth investigating when looking at the various aspects of your life and what you would like to achieve in your coming year.  Ask yourself “What are the beliefs you currently hold that may get in the way of you achieving what you would like to achieve?  And, is that limiting belief actually true?”  Now is the time to create new beliefs, new paradigms for yourself.  For example, until 13 years ago I had told myself “I can’t draw or paint”, however along with a number of events at the time, I happened to read a line in Betty Edwards classic book “Drawing on the Right Side of the brain” which read something like “If you have enough dexterity to sign your name, you can draw.”  Hmmm, well I could sign my name so the truth is I could potentially draw.  So I decided I would change my belief to, “I can possibly draw”, I allowed myself to make mistakes, to learn and the truth is I can actually draw.  What beliefs are holding you back?  Are they actually true?  What new belief would support you in going forward?

So allocate an hour or two in the next week or so, find yourself a comfortable place, grab a large notepad and some coloured pens, and sit back, close your eyes, and use some of your right brain skills in imagining yourself a year from now.  Where do you want to be?  What do you want to be doing?  What does your life look like?  Your career? Your relationships?  How do you see yourself being?  What would you like to hear yourself saying at the end of 2013?  And “Beginning with the end in mind”, Mind Map your 2013!

Remember, the key process in manifesting your life desires is first thinking about (and visualising) what it is you are wanting to achieve, and the second step is writing a plan to achieve it.  With your Mind Map you are now well on the way to making your thoughts your reality.

I wish you all the very best for 2013 and I now need to go and do my own Mind Map!

Cheers, Marion

2012 A Year in Review…

Dear Mind Mapping graduate

As 2012 draws to a close I thought I would share with you a yearly review process I have been taking myself through for the last 5-6 years.  Some years ago I was referred to a book called “My best year yet” by Jinny Ditzler, and this process is an adaptation from that along with other resources I have come across over time.

Most of us take a break over the Christmas/New Year period and somewhere in that timeframe I allocate a couple of hours to reflect on the year that has just passed and acknowledge all that has happened.  Armed with my notepad and coloured pens,  I take myself off to a café or just enjoy the breeze sitting on the verandah at my in-laws home, wherever a relaxing or enjoyable spot may be.  I find this a helpful and encouraging process as it is about taking stock for the year, looking at what I have achieved, things I have learnt along the way, resources I may have drawn upon, and what the key highlights and the lowlights have been as each offers different learnings.  It is so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life and the rushing forward to the next project, however taking time out to reflect on the journey to date and acknowledge what has been achieved I have found quite rewarding.

Below is a Mind Map created on my iPad which you might like to use as a starting point for your own reflections.  As part of the review, you might think about the various aspects of your life, what you achieved, what went well,  perhaps what didn’t go so well, what you might do differently and so on. 

2012 A Year in Review, Mind Map created by Marion Langford on iPad

This is just a draft map and you might take a big picture view of those highlights etc or to help in your recall, you might like to think of the various areas of your life (e.g. family/friends, career, home, interests, etc) and each of these could become the main branches with sub-branches to capture what you have achieved, highlights, lowlights etc.  Mind Maps are quick to create so see what works for you.

In beginning the process of reflecting on my own year, it occurred to me this weekend at our annual Christmas Street Party, that something I initiated some years ago now has actually been happening for the last 15 years.  It felt significant.  When we originally moved into our street (fortunately a no through one) I wanted to create a sense of community, to meet with our neighbours and for children to have the opportunity of playing in the street (a fond memory I have of growing up in country Victoria).  Each year I put a notice in the letterboxes and everyone gathers in front of our home, bringing food and drink to share and Santa arrives for the children.  Our street party was definitely a highlight of mine in that first year.  Now as it seems to tick over each year, I can hardly believe that 15 years has passed (another 32 lolly bags this year) and a whole new generation of little ones have come to live in our street.   I guess a bit like savings, a small idea and investment in time has grown over the years and has now almost accumulated a life force of its own.

Taking time out to reflect on your year is about celebrating the journey to date and this year’s 15th Christmas Street Party will definitely appear on my highlights.  I wonder what highlights you had this year? What achievements you have made?  What life challenges you may have faced and what resources you have drawn upon to overcome them? 

Finally, I wish you a very happy Christmas and some space to celebrate 2012 before launching into the New Year!  For those of you thinking ahead, yes this is a two part process with the second part being about setting goals and aspirations for the New Year however stay tuned…

Until then, happy 2012 reviewing!

Best wishes, Marion

Launch of new website and Mind Mapping update…

Dear Mind Mapping Graduate

I would like to update you on two very exciting things:

1.  Exciting for me!  The launch of my new website! See and please note you now have my new email address. 

2.  Exciting for you!  Over the many years I have been teaching Mind Mapping, I have held off promoting Mind Mapping software mainly because for me it hasn’t had the flexibility, portability, creative capacity and ease of use that could be achieved with pen and paper.  Basically, I found it frustrating.  However technology has changed and this is where things get really exciting.

I recently bought an iPad and as a beginner I started to play with the apps provided.  For those of you who have an iPad, I began using the Notepad to capture my notes, or what quickly became long to-do lists.  Black type on yellow paper, lists of information.  As a Mind Mapper I quickly became frustrated with this archaic way of capturing information, where each page looked the same, no categories, no obvious linking of material, boring etc.   So I thought I would see what apps were available and, much to my delight and relief, I discovered a free Mind Mapping app to download, which I did. 

Wow!  Although not all features were provided in the free download, I could immediately see how I could easily use this tool to meet my Mind Mapping needs.  To gain access to all the features required paying an annual subscription fee of $20.99 so I did.  An absolute bargain!

Not since I first discovered Mind Mapping ten years ago reading Tony Buzan’s “The Mind Map Book” have I been this excited.  Quick, easy, powerful, colourful, finger touch, portable, creative and much more all wrapped up in this one app and captured in my iPad.

So what is it?

I recommend you download this app:  iMindMap HD and pay the $20.99 annual subscription fee (to the ThinkBuzan Cloud).  You will not regret this small investment, in fact I would buy an iPad just to be able to use this!  (And I’m not on commission for either!)

The app has some limitations, however you can run presentations from it, air print to your printer, easily change branches and information without having to start all over again and so on. 

Mind Map created using iMindMap HD on iPad by Marion Langford

This is a sample Mind Map created while playing with iMindMap HD on my iPad and my thoughts on travel.  (Some of you may be aware, my other passion is portrait painting and this was on the eve of departing for two weeks in Italy to attend a Master class in portraiture).

So if you do have an iPad, I strongly recommend you download this app including paying the subscription, and if you don’t have an iPad, then Christmas is just around the corner and I’d be putting it on my wish list!

As part of the launch of my new website and enthused by this new tool, I would like to send out from time to time, sample Mind Maps I have created and any news updates.  At this stage I have taken the liberty of subscribing you to this.  You may recall, at the end of my workshop there is a feedback form on which you initially applied for the monthly newsletter.  That newsletter is from the Buzan group, however any updates from me would be in addition to that.  If you would prefer not to receive my updates, let me know and I will unsubscribe you.

So with the run up to Christmas, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy Christmas and all the best for 2013.  For those who continue to subscribe, I look forward to sharing with you some of my Mind Map creations which you may find helpful or spark your own ideas for Mind Maps.  And for my friends who choose otherwise, again I wish you well.  If you need to contact me in the future, you have my new contact details and my mobile remains the same at 0409 993 090.

Happy Mind Mapping!

Best wishes, Marion