Who is Your Strategic Opposite? – Talk2Think TV with Guest Maggie Knoke

Strategic executor and consultant, Maggie Knoke, is “unreasonably interested in other people’s businesses,” and adores getting people and teams un-stuck and through pivots.

Maggie shares, “i believe strategic planning is really about action planning and must be do-able, instead of something you create once and then stuff in a file and ignore. I often play the strategic-opposite role to visionaries: executor/integrator. I am a 100% nerd for helping visionaries and executors be effective as solopreneurs, with each other, and with their teams.”

Host, Kelly Pratt, met Maggie Knoke when she attended a presentation Maggie delivered on Creating A Strategic Decision Guide For Yourself and immediately recognized herself as a Visionary, in Maggie’s terms. Visionaries are fueled by ideas and tend to occupy roles like Founders, Serial Entrepreneurs, Leader of Innovation, Creative Director, and so on. Maggie also termed their strategic opposites – Executors – who are fueled by identifying practicalities, lining up priorities, and ticking completed tasks off “the list.”

As you might surmise, each type has its strengths and weaknesses.

“I feel like a female Willy Wonka. I am an idea factory, but don’t have any Oompa Loompas.” — KELLY PRATT

Read more at So, Do It! Society.com.

As an Executor, herself, Maggie loves getting caught up in the excitement Visionaries feel about their ideas. Her strengths lie in bringing those ideas down to Earth and executing them, without anybody falling into the trap of trying to Do All The Things All At The Same Time.

In his book, “Traction,” author and founder of the Entrepreneurial Operating System, Gino Wickman, terms these “Right Hand” types Integrators. In their roles, they often liaise between the Visionary(ies) and the rest of the team to communicate the Big Picture and execute it on a defined schedule.

Imagine a roomful of Visionaries. There’d be a whole lot of ideas coming out of that meeting! But, who would line up priorities, sequencing, the production process, the schedule?

Result: no traction.

A visionary’s big ideas can suffer from the arrival of new ideas or distractions that beckon: “Yes, I’ll get that new copy finalized by the 24th and — Look, squirrel!”

Executors can also be masters at resisting the “Shiny Penny Syndrome” that afflicts many Visionaries.

On the other hand, the effect Visionaries can have on Executors is to push them to take risks outside their comfort zones, re-frame their thinking, and say, ‘yes’ to ideas they might not usually try.

A room full of Executors by themselves might tend to shoot down ideas one after the other, and consequently move nothing forward.

“The danger of over-engineering is real.” — MAGGIE KNOKE

Visionaries often “color outside the lines” and think non-linearly. As strategic opposites, or Accountability Partners, to Executors, they might shake loose new ideas via Mind Mapping, a SWOT Analysis, or even a whiteboard full of stickie notes.

The So, Do It! Society aims to provide a safe space for its members to explore ideas and discuss sparks of insight. In this episode with Special Guest, Maggie Knoke, host Kelly Pratt and Society Members discuss:

Whether they self-identify as Visionaries or Executors.

The benefits/challenges of working with Visionaries | Executors.

When staffing a team or a building/founding a business, what strengths/skill sets does the team/do you already have? Where are the gaps? Complement with strategic opposites – fill the gaps.

What is Maggie’s Strategic Decision Guide and when/how to use it.

Discerning between junky “mental ephemera” and promising “percolating” ideas + the benefits of building routine(s) that “work for your brain.”

The benefits of Operating Agreements between Visionaries and Executors and what to include in them: what to do with new ideas, process(es) for changing scope/direction, how you’ll communicate + make decisions, how work will be shared with the team.

Resources that came up during the group discussion include (none of these are affiliate links):

What about you?

  • Are you a Visionary or Executor?
  • Do you use a system to track your ideas or to follow routines?
  • When is a time during your day or week when your brain is “in the mood” to ponder your Big (Heart) Ideas, to identify milestones, and review how you’ve been spending your time?
  • Has your time been spent in service to your Big Picture as much as you’d like?

Confessions Of An Under-buyer

It starts with ‘just a t-shirt.’ next thing you know, you’re leaving a store with $300 of stuff! Money doula, AJ Frenzel, wants you to practice aggressive truth telling with yourself and decide where you want your money to go – before going to any store.

Under-buyer or spender, thrifter or shopper, it’s all good. But, know yourself and commit to putting your money where your priorities are in a sustainable way.

Has this ever happened to you? You went to the grocery store for milk, and came home with three full bags of groceries? But, avocados were ON SALE!

AJ Frenzel was at a shopping mall. She didn’t consider herself a Big Saver, nor a Big Spender. She wasn’t thinking anything along those lines when she saw a t-shirt she liked. So, she picked it up. It was $30, but she really liked it.

So, she looked through a rack of pants, and wouldn’t you know it? There were a cute pair of pants that went great with that t-shirt. She thought, ‘These are awesome! I’ll totally wear these.’ Cha ching!

She left the mall with $300 in purchases. When she got home, she did a double-take on her purchases.

“How did that happen? What am I doing? Did I really want to spend this money? Did I really have this money to spend?”  — AJ FRENZEL

Spending money can be a thrill, can’t it?  Just a little indulgence, a little pick-me-up, a little rebellion  - whispers your inner voice.

AJ knew she had some Aggressive Truth-Telling to do with herself.

It felt powerful to make those purchases. There was a momentum, and AJ got caught up in its current. When she re-examined what she bought and asked herself where it was important to her for her money to go, she realized a few things:

  • The thrill had passed. She wanted to return the items. And, she did.
  • She’s not the type of buyer who buys Just One Thing. It’s not her personality to be someone who eats Only One Cookie. Per author Gretchen Rubin, AJ decided to embrace her inner Underbuyer: someone whose buying habits fall on the don’t-buy-stuff-often end of the spectrum.
  • She decided for herself going forward that it is easier buying nothing, than buying one thing. Buying “one thing” opens a tap for her that she doesn’t want open. Thankfully, her husband is great at list-shopping at the grocery store!

“My budget, my spending priorities are on ME before I step into any store.”

— AJ FRENZEL

The So, Do It! Society aims to provide a safe space for its members to explore ideas and discuss sparks of insight.

In this show, AJ and Society Members discuss:

  • Three Money Doula Habits for spending decisions and transactions.
  • What is scarcity and how does it affect the brain?
  • What does it mean to be “in the tunnel?”
  • How to set yourself up for positive reinforcement.
“There’s no wrong time to think differently about your money.”
— AJ FRENZEL

Resources that came up during the group discussion include (none of these are affiliate links):

What about you?

  • How would you describe your buying persona/habits?
  • Do you use a system to set and maintain a budget?
  • Does scarcity affect how you feel about your finances?

“All The Feels” We are human magnets.

Host Cj Staples, Life Coach, author and founding member of the So, do it! Society

You’re working it.

You’re hustling.

You’ve got your nose to the grind stone, acting on your goals.

So, why do you feel like you’re not getting anywhere any time soon? Have you asked yourself how you want to feel?

True, feelings don’t pay bills! But, they are a type of fuel that does influence your thinking, your choices, and your actions. Host, Cj Staples wants you to bring awareness to your feelings and whether they are boosting your efforts, or dragging you down.

“We are like magnets, and what we think, how we behave is how we attract our right life… we are human magnets!”
— CJ STAPLES
Old stories die hard. Do you have a story, an experience, a thought running in the background of your mind on automatic pilot? Cj Staples wants you to consider that there are feelings behind it, and they’re underlying your daily actions. Those feelings are influencing your magnetism, and thereby what is being drawn into your daily life!

Here is an example of an Old Story. Say, your mom was a child of the Great Depression whose default reply was, ‘I can’t afford…’ Her experience of lack created a story about what she could afford, and that story stayed with her (and you) for years. Consider possible feelings under that story: pinched, deprived, out of (her) control, and self-sacrifice.

What about your thoughts (story) about resources, money, financial flow? Are any feelings like those perhaps fueling your story about finances and your ability to afford your goals? Are they helping you, or hindering you?

Cj shares that a key way to disarm our old stories is to consider what feelings we want to prioritize and make a practice of developing, nurturing, and focusing on choices that will create them. In other words, if we are magnets, let’s be intentional with how they’re tuned!

One way Cj courts her desired feeling of Affluence (within her current means) is buying organic produce. Photo by Lum3n.com from Pexels

One way Cj courts her desired feeling of Affluence (within her current means) is buying organic produce. Photo by Lum3n.com from Pexels

The So, Do It! Society aims to provide a safe space for its members to explore ideas and discuss sparks of insight.

In this show, Cj and Society Members discuss:

  • What it means to choose how we feel and why it matters.
  • Favorite authors who have written about the power of feelings behind our thoughts and actions.
  • Core Words and when it’s time to re-evaluate them.
  • How to act “as if” to practice and build momentum toward your desired feelings.
  • What are some words that describe feelings group members want as their Core Feelings to “tune their magnets?”

    For Cj, a Core Word has been Affluence, because it conveys freedom to her: freedom to support things she loves, like a solar- and wind-powered house at some point, and travel. Affluence, to her, as a goal feeling, brings a sense of peace, clarity, and joy. Others in the group discussed Flow, Completion, Joy, and Inner Peace as their Core Words.

    Once you’re aware of your Core Words – those 3-5 feelings you want to live with daily – the next step is to commit to bring your awareness to them. Some tools for doing this include:

    Resources that came up during the group discussion include (none of these are affiliate links):

    • Author Danielle LaPorte – Firestarter Sessions After you dig into these straight-talking sermons and burning questions about your truest desires — from career to relationships — you’ll be clear that the only permission you need to shine … is your own.
    • Author Florence Scovel Shinn – was an American artist and book illustrator who became a New Thought spiritual teacher and metaphysical writer in her middle years. In New Thought circles, she is best known for her first book, The Game of Life and How to Play It  (1925).
    • So, Do It! Society – A Members Only Online Community for Creative Women who Crave Connection, Collaboration, and Learning
    • The Big Leap – book by author Gay Hendricks, a psychologist, writer, and teacher in the field of personal growth, relationships, and body intelligence.
    • Fifty Fun Things with Teresa Thomas, Founder of Minnesota Women In Networking.
    • Profit First – author and entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz details the cash management system that will ensure any business – of any size, in any industry, no matter how much debt it carries or how many years it has been operating— will become permanently profitable.
    • Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting – Upbeat, humorous, and iconoclastic, author Lynn Grabhorn introduced readers to the Law of Attraction in 2000 with this book.
    • Byron Katie’s The Work.

    What about you?

    • What are the top 3 feelings you want to feel on a daily basis?
    • Do you have a Focus Word for this month, this season, or this year?
    • You’ve got your Word: what can/do you do to help yourself feel that way every day?

    If you’re craving connection with other women who are showing up for their “it” and making sh!t happen, join us in the So, Do It! Society, where you’ll be seen, safe, supported, and celebrated.

What are some words that describe feelings group members want as their Core Feelings to “tune their magnets?”

For Cj, a Core Word has been Affluence, because it conveys freedom to her: freedom to support things she loves, like a solar- and wind-powered house at some point, and travel. Affluence, to her, as a goal feeling, brings a sense of peace, clarity, and joy. Others in the group discussed Flow, Completion, Joy, and Inner Peace as their Core Words.

Once you’re aware of your Core Words – those 3-5 feelings you want to live with daily – the next step is to commit to bring your awareness to them. Some tools for doing this include:

Resources that came up during the group discussion include (none of these are affiliate links):

  • Author Danielle LaPorte – Firestarter Sessions After you dig into these straight-talking sermons and burning questions about your truest desires — from career to relationships — you’ll be clear that the only permission you need to shine … is your own.
  • Author Florence Scovel Shinn – was an American artist and book illustrator who became a New Thought spiritual teacher and metaphysical writer in her middle years. In New Thought circles, she is best known for her first book, The Game of Life and How to Play It  (1925).
  • So, Do It! Society – A Members Only Online Community for Creative Women who Crave Connection, Collaboration, and Learning
  • The Big Leap – book by author Gay Hendricks, a psychologist, writer, and teacher in the field of personal growth, relationships, and body intelligence.
  • Fifty Fun Things with Teresa Thomas, Founder of Minnesota Women In Networking.
  • Profit First – author and entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz details the cash management system that will ensure any business – of any size, in any industry, no matter how much debt it carries or how many years it has been operating— will become permanently profitable.
  • Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting – Upbeat, humorous, and iconoclastic, author Lynn Grabhorn introduced readers to the Law of Attraction in 2000 with this book.
  • Byron Katie’s The Work.

What about you?

  • What are the top 3 feelings you want to feel on a daily basis?
  • Do you have a Focus Word for this month, this season, or this year?
  • You’ve got your Word: what can/do you do to help yourself feel that way every day?

If you’re craving connection with other women who are showing up for their “it” and making sh!t happen, join us in the So, Do It! Society, where you’ll be seen, safe, supported, and celebrated!

Plan with Intention

Planning? Planning sounds like a chore. You’re all about spontaneity, being in the moment! Or, maybe you don’t think you’re good at it, so why bother? But, maybe that “inner eye roll” of yours is misplaced.

KELLY PRATT INVITES US TO EMBRACE OUR “BEGINNERS’ MINDS” TO DISCUSS HOW WE SPEND OUR TIME, WHAT INTENTIONAL PLANNING MEANS, AND TAKING PERIODIC QUIET TIME TO LOOK AT WHAT’S FILLING UP OUR CALENDARS – BY ACCIDENT, OR ON PURPOSE.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.”

— SHUNRYU SUZUKI

So many of us think that “this is how I have to” be productive, run my business, my life, my kids, and so on. But, being aware of and embracing “beginner’s mind” can open us to new ideas that may help us paint the canvases of our lives with more ease, productivity, or purpose.

The So, Do It! Society aims to provide a safe space for its members to explore ideas and discuss sparks of insight.

In this show, several Society Members discuss:

  • Beginner’s Mind
  • Active Listening
  • The Benefits of Constraint
  • What Intentional Planning Means.

What does Beginner’s Mind mean to you?

“I think of AWE. I think of a 2 year-old who finds a pebble on the sidewalk fascinating. I think of (beginner’s mind) as being very present and having your attention delighted by what you’re experiencing in the moment.”

— LORIE MARSH

“When we think of ourselves as experts, we stop listening when somebody tries to tell us something or to help us. We think, ‘I already know that.’ But (beginner’s mind) means active listening and an open mind.”

— SUSAN BRAUER

In the book Leader Effectiveness Training, Thomas Gordon, who coined the term “active listening”, states “Active listening is certainly not complex. Listeners need only restate, in their own language, their impression of the expression of the sender.” (WIKIPEDIA)

The group modeled some examples of active listening with each other, then Kelly asked how many could relate to feeling the “inner eye roll” about their own thoughts at times? We’ve heard or told ourselves that we “should” plan more, but something gets in the way, we get distracted, we “fall off the horse,” we don’t like it, etc.

Kelly asked, ‘How do you defeat this and actively listen to yourself?” The group discussed ways to nip negative self-talk in the bud, and as one member suggested, “listen for the nugget.” Members talked about bringing awareness to any “automatic pilot” thinking that could shut out the possibility for picking up an unexpected “nugget” of insight – and resetting those thoughts from Beginner’s Mind.

Which brought the group to planning: what does it mean to us, is it important, and what does being “intentional” about it mean?

“Creativity – and our genius – craves constraint. If you get too much freedom, you’re like that helium balloon that floats off into the ether.”

— KELLY PRATT

“I think there’s a connotation that “intentional planning” means that you have to sit down and work really hard at it. But, it’s really just choosing to show up for yourself for some quiet time.”

— LORIE MARSH

How About You?

What “constraint” works for you? Are you like Kelly, who sets aside Sunday afternoons to look at her planner? Are you like Susan Brauer, who feels grounded by setting aside time to lay out her calendar? Do you prefer a paper planner, like Cj Staples, or an app of some sort?

Do you sit with yourself weekly, like Kelly? Monthly, like Lorie? Or, do you look at larger chunks of the year at a time?

To see more information about Kelly Pratt’s planners, click on the image.

For our last bit of fun, the discussion turned to setting the tone for your day, your week, your month… Given that Kelly lives in Minnesota, and the region has been experiencing a Polar Vortex, her current theme song is “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor!

What song or songs inspire you to set the tone for your next week or month?

If you’re craving connection with other women who are showing up for their “it” and making sh!t happen, join us in the So, Do It! Society, where you’ll be seen, safe, supported, and celebrated!

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Describe Yourself, Entrepreneur!

Host Lorie Marsh guides the conversation with Guest, Jentri Quinn

In the gig economy, confidently describing yourself & what you’re about is an invaluable skill. Host, Lorie Marsh, invites beauty entrepreneur, Jentri Quinn of jentri quinn makeup + skin, to dive into an impromptu 2-word hero description (one adjective and one noun) for herself.

In a story of transformation, the hero is usually tripped up by a “tragic flaw.” What’s Jentri’s, and how has it affected her journey as an entrepreneur?

Jentri Quinn is the founder of jentri quinn makeup + skin, and has partnered with Alex Deandre Demola Serrato, founder of Cotone Clothing (cotone means “cotton” in italian), an Italian-infused clothing and accessories store based out of Austin, TX.

Lorie first met Jentri in the summer of 2005 when she producing an independent feature film in Austin and Jentri was head of the film’s makeup + hair department. Jentri is also a screenwriter and filmmaker.

Many artists and creative entrepreneurs work side hustles: part-time jobs, freelancing, adjunct teaching, and so on. Jentri got licensed as an aesthetician, and it wasn’t long before she was formulating her own products for her clients.

After meeting Alex, they officially launched her skincare and makeup lines several years ago and sell them from both their online and brick and mortar stores.

Join us for a discussion about defining yourself for yourself, even as your path seems to be going all over the place:

  • Why does Jentri describe herself as a “resilient hopeful?”
  • Are hope and belief different? What’s the difference between hope and optimism?
  • What is a strength of hers that informs her “tragic flaw?”

“no one can be the red cross by herself.” — jentri quinn

  • How does she handle rejection?
  • What are the components of an about sentence, and how can it help you with perspective?
  • What has Jentri learned about grit as she’s aged?

Empathy, kindness, and hopeful resilience are terrific strengths to nurture and celebrate. If one or more of these traits is out of balance, though, anybody might find herself undermining her own authority, enabling someone else’s continued poor choices, or nearly “drowning” herself trying to rescue others.

“Only with experience can you figure it out. Unless you go through it, there’s no way to know what your limits are. You can’t learn, you can’t grow without those experiences. It is bittersweet to go through them… But, i know i’m going to wake up every day and keep doing it anyways.” — Jentri Quinn

Despite the struggles of bootstrapping a retail startup, Jentri and Alex are committed to giving back to their community. She shares why this is a priority for them, and how they go about this without “breaking the bank.”

The discussion then opened up to the group, who shared observations about the power of words, balancing empathy, owning strengths, recognizing how and when they get out of balance, and the power of choosing an outlook that supports empowerment, not victimhood.

“You’re living the story you’re telling!” — kelly pratt

Resources that came up during the group discussion include:

  • Maia Community – a new growing, free, searchable guide to women-owned products and services, nationwide.
  • Impact Hub – impact hub msp provides tools to help take your purposeful work to the next level by connecting you to our community of entrepreneurs, innovators, consultants, and nonprofit professionals.
  • So, do it! Society – a private online community for creative women who crave connection, collaboration, and learning
  • “The Style Statement” by Danielle Laporte – book (not an affiliate link) – an inspiring take on the power of style and authenticity. Style statement: a two-word compass that helps you make more confident choices in life — from your wardrobe to your relationships, your living room to your career plans.

What about you?

What two words form your hero description? Click here for a free 6-page pdf worksheet from host and Story Coach Lorie Marsh that will guide you.

What is your hero’s “tragic flaw,” and how is it affecting your goals and progress as an entrepreneur | freelancer | creative?

Does “extreme empathy” on your part ever trip you up?

If you’re craving connection with other women who are showing up for their “it” and making sh!t happen, join us in the So, do it! Society, where you’ll be seen, safe, supported, and celebrated!

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Mind Mapping with member Amanda Lathrop

  • Does it feel like you have too many spinning plates?
  • That you’re not keeping track of all of them?
  • Is it easier for you to think visually than to sit-down-and-write-an-outlined-list?

It might be time for you to experiment with mind mapping!

Tap Into Your Ideas + To Do’s Using Mind Mapping, with Special Guest Amanda Lathrop

Kelly Pratt, founder of the so do it! Society, interviews entrepreneur Amanda Lathrop about using mind mapping for tracking all the different parts of her life.

Kelly Pratt: Today we’re talking with Amanda Lathrop, who is a member of the So, Do It! Society and the owner of Lead Sheep Productions. Tell me your tagline again…?

Amanda Lathrop: Discover the past and preserve the future.

Kelly Pratt: Discover the past and preserve the future. I love that.

Amanda helps people (to) record their histories through talking and telling stories, and using the images and photos and so on of their past. And, she is brilliant at that! She also uses Mind Mapping, and that’s what we’re talking about today.

I’ve been using Mind Mapping since about 2006. I can’t wait to hear how you use it, and how it popped into your life.

Amanda Lathrop: I use it because my life is very crazy! I use it to keep track of all the different parts of my life, and all the different things I do, have to do, would like to do some day…

For those of you who don’t know what a Mind Map is, this is an example from a book that I have. It’s basically getting everything out of your head and onto paper, or digitally; there are apps for it, too.

“I use Mind Mapping to get everything out of my head. I run my own business. I am Single With Dog, but I also help out my extended family a lot. I take care of my two nieces, took care of my grandmother while she was sick, and keep a lot afloat. Using my Map helps me to get that all out of here (points to her head) and into something that I can actually use.” — AMANDA LATHROP

Entrepreneur Amanda Lathrop shows viewers a sample Mind Map.

Kelly Pratt: Do you use Mind-Mapping to only get (stuff) out of your head, or do you use the Mind Map (itself), when you’re done?

Amanda Lathrop: I use my Mind Maps, yes. The things that I have actually accomplished, I color in.

Kelly Pratt: When you first do a Mind Map, you start with just a black box in the center. Then, as you accomplish things — it’s sort of your To Do list?

Amanda Lathrop: Yes. I use it when I sit down to make my To Do list for the month, or the week.

Kelly Pratt: Oh, ok. Wow. You actually use that as you go. I am unfortunately somebody who uses a brain dump to just dump, not to look at it again!

How did you get started with Mind Mapping?

Amanda Lathrop: I was in the fifth grade.

Kelly Pratt: Oh wow.

Amanda Lathrop: It was New Year’s Eve, and my grandmother and her husband had a Mind Mapping book (she holds up a couple books for the camera). And that night, New Year’s Eve, we sat at the kitchen table and mind-mapped our New Year’s resolutions!

Kelly Pratt: Wow. So this goes way back! I noticed the name of one of the authors as Tony Buzan (not an affiliate link).

Amanda Lathrop: Yes he’s a big person in Mind Mapping!

Kelly Pratt: Yes. He’s got an app and a community that is really big in the Mind Mapping world.

One of the books Amanda’s grandfather showed her when she was a Fifth Grader was by the inventor of Mind Mapping, Tony Buzan.

So, in fifth grade, that’s what, age 10 ? What would you Mind Map back then?

Amanda Lathrop: I think we Mind Mapped what we wanted to do for the year. (Mine was probably) get good grades.

Kelly Pratt: Did you keep doing that as you grew up?

Amanda Lathrop: I did it more intermittently, and then when I started my own company (picks up her smart phone), I found this guy wasn’t working for me as a calendar, so I got a paper planner. That’s when I started really getting hooked again (on Mind Mapping).

Kelly Pratt: Woman after my own heart! When I was in my 20s, paper planners were what everyone used. I’ve tried to go (points to her own smart phone), and I do use electronic planners for scheduling appointments. But in terms of helping me to remember — I’m a very visual person, so using a paper planner is really critical.

Paper planner people are very particular about their paper planners! It has to be right, and in the So, Do It! Society, I was inspired to launch one for sale. I’ve been designing (my own) paper planners for years, so I created the So, Do It! Planner.

Amanda has had a lot of influence on its design, and one of the things (is for it to have) a big spread so that we could visualize things after we do our trimester planning.

I imagine when you go to your Mind Map and you’re planning your week or your day, you don’t put everything from it on your To Do list?

Amanda Lathrop: No, no. I do quarters, which is three months.

“I found that when I planned per month, I always planned way more than I could do. When I planned per year, it’s like you said: you make it and then you put it away and you go on with your life! Three months seems to be where I can get to most of what I wanted to get done.” — AMANDA LATHROP

I have a lot of stuff on this quarter, because it was a big brain dump! But, I’m now intentionally saying that I’m not going to get to that this quarter and then moving it to the next quarter.

Kelly Pratt: We look at that in the Society as “progress not perfection.” You know some stuff just needs percolation, and it helps to put it on your list (or Map) so that it’s present in your mind.

Amanda Lathrop: I have a system where I start with a quarter and make my Mind Map, and that’s all my ideas and thoughts about the quarter. Then I take it and put it into my monthly calendar, based on my headings (she shows her calendar and headings on screen).

Other things on the Mind Map might stay there as, ‘Yeah that was a great idea, but it’s just not going to happen right now.’

Kelly Pratt: How long did it take you to do a quarter’s worth of a Mind Map? Is that an all day process for you, or can you get that done in an hour or two?

Amanda Lathrop: My last one took me about an hour or two. I usually have an itching to do it. I’m always thinking about — I’m not a very good NOW person, I’m working on that! I’m either in the past with my clients or in the future, ‘What’s going to come?’ So I’m always itching to do it. I already have pages for the next quarter, and I put Post It notes on them so I can write ideas as they come to me.

“My Map shows everything I can think of, or want to do. What I actually put into my monthly To Do list becomes a real thing to HAVE to do.” — AMANDA LATHROP

Is your brain’s “junk drawer” too full? Amanda Lathrop rids herself of the distraction of her “mental ephemera” by using Mind Mapping.

Kelly Pratt: So you have blank pages in your paper planner that are waiting for your next quarter. You are helping yourself (wrangle) what I call “mental ephemera.”

I think of our brains a little bit like a junk drawer where there are so many things that we should actually throw away, or at least put in its place. The definition of the word “ephemera” is the thing that you’re supposed to use once and throw away, like a ticket stub or receipt or something like that. So much of our lives are those little things that we are supposed to deal with and get rid of! I know in David Allen’s Getting Things Done process, the GTD, he calls those, “open loops.” I call it “mental ephemera.”

What you’re doing with your “mental ephemera” is when you think of something that you want to do in your next quarter, you add it with a Post It note on the blank spread for your next quarterly Mind Map. That’s a really good idea!

Amanda Lathrop: Yes, the idea is there, but then when you get to that point, you can ask if it’s still something you want (to add)? Does it fit with everything else you’re doing, too?

“Writing it down stops two things: 1) it shows you how much you really do get done, and 2) it makes you realize that you don’t have as many ideas or stuff to do as you thought you did! It’s (the ephemera is) just running over and over and over and over again. It feels like it’s a mountain, and really it’s just a hill.” — AMANDA LATHROP

Kelly Pratt: I also think it helps you to know that you’ve taken that bit of inner monologue, ‘OK, I got to remember, I got to remember…!’ and you have made it safe. You’ve made it safe by putting it at a place where you can go and find it again.

So, Do It! Salons of up to 9 women take place over 13-week trimesters and meet in-person every other week.

So, Do It! Salons of up to 9 women take place over 13-week trimesters and meet in-person every other week.

By the way, the So, Do It! Society is a place where you get things done. We have Salons, which are in-person groups, for women who have something that they’ve been wanting to do for a long time. It can be writing a book, it can be launching a planner – which is what mine is right now – it can be paying attention to your own health.

The definition of a salon is: the gathering under the roof of an inspiring host, using conversation for support and education and basically making your life a lot better. That’s what salons were back in the 17th, 18th centuries and that’s what they continue to be.

In a Salon, it’s face-to-face (groups are 9 women, maximum), and in our Society which is a private, online community found at sodoit.mn.co, we do (support and education) in community using “talk to think” like we’re doing now, and more.

But the So, Do It! Society Planner will help us gather that “mental ephemera” and provide a place to keep it safe and know where to find it. We’re making a conscious effort to print them using a woman-owned business. We’ll be printing them in the US, and they will be print-on-demand to start, so that we can change them and make them better as we discover new ways to improve the process. If anyone wants to check out our planners, make a comment below, or join the Society!

What are you looking forward to in the new year, Amanda?

Amanda Lathrop: For those of you who don’t know, my grandmother, who was my best friend, passed away right before I did my last Mind Map. I was having trouble with what do I plan on, like I’m just lost right now. So I wrote down words that I thought she would want for me.

  • I wrote down to be Healthy,
  • Successful – she was very, very supportive of my business – and,
  • I also wrote down what she would call, “‘sponsibilities” all those things around the house, and the things I want to get done.

I started with those four. I start with the time (the quarter), and I put four headings: four boxes (on my Map). I’ve been doing words that I want to describe my life. I want to be happy. So, what does that mean to me?

“My suggestion is when you do this, yourself, don’t put down something like Lose 10 Pounds. That’s not a concrete thing. What does it mean? For instance, what does it look like to be healthy? I break it down into two sections: mentally healthy, and physically healthy. Those are all in boxes, because that’s the way I think; you can do whatever you want. And then I put in circles, actions. So to be physically healthy I’m going to… Eat paleo. Or I’m going to do yoga, or I’m going to do a breathing exercise. ” — AMANDA LATHROP

To be mentally healthy, I do self care. What do I do for self care? I take a bath. I spend time with friends. And then I put the friends that I want to spend time with: Christina, Kelly, Nikki.

These become To Do items (for me), the ones in circles.

You get them by saying I want to be healthy, physically healthy. What does that mean to me? Add details. Keep breaking it down until you have something specific you can write on your calendar: ‘I’m going to have lunch with Nikki.’

Kelly Pratt: How important is it for you to do this analog, pen and paper, as opposed to finding an app for that?

Amanda Lathrop: You can see this just took me about a minute. If I had to learn an app, it would take a lot longer!

Kelly Pratt: I’m an artist as one of my labels. So, I want it to look pretty. I would have to set aside my Artist Self to do this… We’re using art supplies and paper and pen to do some internal work. We’re not making art, right?

Amanda Lathrop: Well, you could… What I would do if you’re having trouble is do this (first draft) and then go back. Once you get everything out, draw pictures of your friends, drop in pictures. Make it pretty after you get it out of your head, so that you use it.

Kelly Pratt: So, it doesn’t have to be artistic. We’re not creating collage. We are creating something that when you look at it, it helps you to feel a certain way. The way you’re doing that with your Mind Map is you’re using words.

A sample Mind Map, courtesy of Creative Commons.

I like how you said, ‘Don’t say lose 10 pounds,’ say maybe, ‘Health,’ and maybe say, ‘how do I want to feel?’

Amanda Lathrop: Yes.

RIFFING ON MORE WAYS TO SET UP & USE MIND MAPS

Kelly Pratt: A construct I discovered in about 2010 is something from the Hindu world called the Purusharthas, and they break the life down into four “aims of life.”

The Hindu Purusharthas, the Four Aims of Life. Source: Chapter8IndiaProject

One is Dharma. That’s your duty, your purpose in life —

Amanda Lathrop: “‘Sponsibilities’!

Kelly Pratt: Yes, responsibility!

Then they talk about Artha, which is the what do you need in order to perform or reach your dharma. In our cases, (maybe this means) ‘All right, I need a car. I need money. I need an apartment.’ But if say, your Dharma is to be a Fisherman on a beach in Tahiti, perhaps your Artha is only a fishing pole and maybe a tent. Artha is the stuff that you need in order to reach Dharma.

The third thing is Kama. Many people have heard of (the) Kama Sutra — all of that sort of sensual piece of it; but it’s also fun, dancing, getting out there and enjoying the world.

The final thing is Moksha, or enlightenment. So it’s four areas of life.

Amanda Lathrop: That’d make a great Mind Map!

Kelly Pratt: I know! Moksha is the freedom piece of it: the liberation, freedom from – what do I want to have freedom from? I want to have freedom from balancing my checkbook every day! Whatever. As well as, I want to have freedom to do this.

I really like this construct (of these 4 aims) instead of (Mind Mapping only) Personal | Work areas, because like you said we don’t talk (in the Society) about balance. Balance means equal parts (and, they aren’t!). We talk instead about harmony, movement, and ebbing and flowing.

Amanda Lathrop: I’m really enjoying the words I want to use to describe my life. For instance, ‘If someone described your life, what would they say?’

Another idea is, in your circles, use a verb. So for my business…

Amanda Lathrop shows host, Kelly Pratt, an example of her Mind Map for her business goals during “Talk2Think,” a weekly online, live show for members of the So, Do It! Society.

Kelly Pratt: Do you keep these all in your planner?

Amanda Lathrop: Yes. It’s all on the back pages of my planner, or in the So, Do It! Planner, you could do it on the visualizer pages.

(Amanda searches her planner)

Business verbs! These are the verbs I put in that I have to do every day:

  • meet people,
  • market,
  • create,
  • admin,
  • sell,
  • and learn.

Kelly Pratt: Oh nice. That would be worth a snapshot and posting in the Society! I think people would really like to see that.

Amanda Lathrop: Keep asking, what do you actually do in your business? In my success (area) on my quarterly Mind Map, I put in those verbs and what am I doing to act on each of them.

Kelly Pratt: I’ve always been what I call a “visual journaler.” I’ve always added glued-in things — Mind Mapping really came into my life when I started I started training as a coach.

One of my mentors, Pam Slim, suggested something that she uses called Xmind (not an affiliate link), and it’s a free online software.

I think like Mind Mapping: I think like what you’re drawing, but because my mind moves so fast, sometimes writing it isn’t fast enough for me. And, I change my mind a lot! I am what we call a Quick Start: I change my mind a lot, and I’m very visual, so this particular software works for me. I’ll show you guys a couple examples.

A couple of years ago, I was working on my first web site and everyone was saying ‘Do your About Page.’ That just didn’t feel like who I was, and so I thought, ‘Why don’t I do a Mind Map of my life?’ That is easier for me when I look at something than reading a bunch of text. I used a Mind Map using Xmind to show who I am now, who influenced me, basically how I got to where I was. This was my About Page on my website.

Kelly Pratt executed the About Page on her eponymous website as a Mind Map. (created with Xmind.net)

I also use Mind Mapping when I work with clients on ZOOM which is what we’re on right now. To sketch out, what is it that we’re trying to do? For instance, I’m working with A.J. Frenzel, who is a member of our Society, on creating a booklet and some worksheets about her process. She’s a Money Doula. She’s amazing, by the way. As we were talking, I was illustrating. This is how I take notes, whether clients see it or not. It really helps me to keep track of what they’re doing, and it helps them to see what my thought process is and it helps them.

(Kelly attempts to change what’s being shared on-screen).

Kelly Pratt: There are all sorts of mind maps. The kind you’re doing is a clockwise map.

Amanda Lathrop: Yes.

Kelly Pratt: The one I was showing for Money Doula is a vertical time line where it goes down and branches out on either side. There are also ORG Charts which everybody has seen. You never know what kind of a Mind Map is going to illustrate the idea that you’re having!

One that I can share in the Society is (author and public speaker) Michael Port’s. Michael Port writes about how to attract the right clients to your business, and he published his entire marketing stream process in a Mind Map. It’s gigantic: here’s where the clients first come in, if they go here/then they go here, if they do this/ then they go here, if they don’t do this/ then they go here and they’re out. He used Xmind to do it and made it public, so that people could use that. Here’s a link to a PDF with an abbreviated version.

Amanda, I’m going to start copying you! I hope that’s ok.

Amanda Lathrop: That’s ok! For everyone, I showed my Mind Map in our Salon and everyone went, “WHOA!”

Kelly Pratt: I start with a Map, because that’s how my mind works. That’s how I can think. Sitting down and typing out in Word? That’s not my mind. Sitting down with a spreadsheet? Don’t think that way. It’s very hard for me.

But here’s the trick, you guys. If you think in a Mind Map (like me), Xmind will export into Word, into an Excel spreadsheet, into PDFs, all the rest of it. If that’s how you can get your ideas down on paper… Oh, it’s such a relief. Then you can export it into a format for your banker or whoever needs to see it.

Amanda Lathrop: What I like, too, is that if I’m working up here (on my Map) and I think of something else for down here, I can just put it down there. It’s not like a list where there’s not room to just move things (without redoing the list).

Kelly Pratt: I love the idea of starting with a big blank piece of paper and then if I need to move it to a clean — there’s Xmind, and I know Tony Buzan has an app, too — I happen to really like Xmind, and I’m just going to say, “Start there. It’s FREE. You can upgrade if you want.”

Amanda Lathrop: Or, simply use paper and pen!

Kelly Pratt: It’s really fun, and I would love to take your comments over in the Society! You can join the Society – it’s $9.99 a month and the first month is free – at sodoit.mn.co.

We are a bunch of women who are not waiting until we retire, or until our kids go to school to get things done, to get those personal projects off our back burners! It’s not just about work. It’s a holistic community of women who are doing things now.

So, c’mon over, we would love to see you, and we’d love to hear how you’re using Mind Mapping in your life.

Amanda Lathrop: If you try a Mind Map, let us see it!

Kelly Pratt: Yes! Yes, post it and we’ll get the conversation going over in the Society! Thank you for joining us today. Thanks so much, Amanda, for sharing your process with us, and we will see you in the So, Do It! Society.