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17 Sep, 2008

Goal Mapping by Brian Mayne

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Plus Articles

Goal Mapping is a powerful method of goal setting that combines words and pictures to activate both sides of the brain to create maximum connection to the subconscious mind. This is a superb article By ‘Goal Mapping’ founder, Brian Mayne.

Since the beginning of recorded history there has always been a small percentage of any civilisation that has fared better than the majority. Regardless of culture, creed, or environment, some people have always been, and probably always will be, more successful than others. Even in a tribal society, there will be those that enjoy a more fruitful life than the larger number of their group.

There are many forms of success: material, emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, and social. But success in only one of these areas will never bring true or lasting happiness. True success has balance between all of its parts.

Being financially successful affords us the opportunity to live a rich and fulfilling life, while being emotionally successful allows us to fully experience it. By being spiritually successful, we give our lives meaning. And through physical success comes the health to really live them. With mental success, we achieve awareness of ourselves and realisation of our greatest freedom, the ability to choose. And finally, through social success, we are awarded one of life’s greatest prizes, an abundance of strong, long-term, loving relationships.

It is only when we have achieved some success in all of these areas, and have balance between them, that we can be termed truly successful. Likewise, “being successful” does not hinge on a single point in time. You may win the lottery but unless the money is used wisely, it will not make you successful. Success is a journey, not a destination.

History teaches us that success is not dependent on chance or accident. Lasting success is never a mistake. The pages of history are filled with the names of people who had the worst possible start in life, yet mastered the skill of success, and achieved greatness beyond most people’s wildest dreams. Throughout the ages, successful people have been studied in order to identify the “habits” of success. But it’s important to study their thoughts since successful people think successful thoughts.

We live in a physical world of cause and effect where doing certain things produces certain results but everything that we do, every action that we take, is first triggered by a thought. Successful people focus their thoughts on what they want in life rather than on what they fear.

This information is not new: the fact that successful people create their circumstances by the thoughts that they think is contained in wisdom literature of all cultures. What is not so generally realised is that unsuccessful people also create their circumstances by the thoughts that they think.

A negative thought like “Life’s a bitch” starts a process that transforms the thought, first into our behaviour, and then ultimately into our circumstances. The result is that life “becomes” a bitch, in our experience of it. Likewise, a positive thought such as, “Life is to be celebrated” also starts a process of transformation that is reflected in our attitude and thereby in the quality of our lives.

While the mechanics of self-actualisation are the same for both the successful and unsuccessful person, the results they achieve depend on what each person chooses to focus upon. We all have the ability to choose the thoughts that we think. Successful people choose to think thoughts of abundance and opportunity. Unsuccessful people focus on lack and limitation.

It can be difficult to focus on positive outcomes when you are surrounded by negativity. People know they should focus on their desires but continue to do the opposite, and justify their choice with the thought, “You need to be aware of the pitfalls in life.” While this is true, it does not mean that you should constantly dwell upon them. The dashboard of a car contains lights that warn you when something needs attention but it is dangerous to stare continually at them instead of looking at where you want to go. The master technique for staying focused on what you want, rather than being distracted by what you fear, is called “goal setting”. Setting goals enhances our ability to stay focused on the positive and thereby bring it into our reality.

In 1953, a survey was conducted on the graduating class of Yale University. The results showed that only 3% had clear written goals for their future. Twenty years later, the surviving members of the class were interviewed. The 3% that had set written goals in 1953 were worth more in financial terms than the other 97% combined.

Over many years, as the understanding of the mind has expanded so the sophistication of goal setting has developed. Writing goals down, thinking about them often, and displaying pictures of them, have all proven successful. What has not been fully understood, until just recently, is why!

There is now a much greater awareness of the workings of the mind and functions of the brain. The left side of the brain is logical and analytical. It thinks in an orderly, sequential, fashion. It is the side of the brain that you use for mathematics and languages. The right brain thinks in pictures, it is the emotional side of your brain, it recognises patterns and concepts and is musical, creative and intuitive.

It is also now understood that the effectiveness of any goal-setting programme lies in its ability to effect and impress the goal upon the subconscious. The doorway to the subconscious is through the emotional right brain, and the right brain thinks in pictures.

Unfortunately, the standard technique used for setting goals has always been to write line after line of analytically constructed statements. This is a left-brain activity, unemotional, and because it is left brain, has a very limited impact on the subconscious. Perhaps this explains why so many people either don’t like setting goals or have limited success with goal setting. At best, they find it boring; at worst, the goal doesn’t even register in their subconscious.

The Goal-Mapping technique is a unique combination of ancient wisdom and scientific breakthrough designed to help you produce a whole-brain thought picture that affects your subconscious at a deep level and communicates clearly the goals that you wish to achieve. The following information is a brief summary of the Goal-Mapping technique.

Step 1: Dream

Some of the greatest achievers in history have been dreamers. We all dream in pictures and likewise at some level we all think in pictures. The pictures that you form in your mind through thinking become your commands to your subconscious for your future. The starting place of having the life you want to live is to let yourself dream that you’re living it now. Allow your mind to run free for a while. Believe that you have a “dream machine” that can create your wishes. Imagine that you can be, do, or have, anything you truly desire.

Step 2: Order

Take a pad of paper and quickly write down short statements that represent your dream. Next, select your top five wishes or goals. For a well-balanced life, select goals from different life areas such as mental, emotional, physical, financial, social, and spiritual. Now it’s time to identify your number one goal. Look again at your list of goals and ask yourself, “Which one of these, when achieved, would most help in the achievement of the other four?” Some people say that they want all their goals equally. And while this may be true for you, there will always be one goal, that when achieved, automatically helps in the attainment of the others.

Step 3: Draw

It’s now time to create pictures of your written statements. This is essential in order to stimulate your right brain and thereby impress your goal on your subconscious. Drawing is the language of the right brain; it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece and so stick men or symbols will do. Do use as much colour as possible as this is another right-brain stimulant. Place your number one goal-picture in the centre of the page about two thirds up from the bottom. Draw a circle around it, with branches at either side, connecting to pictures of your other goals.

Step 4: Why

What makes one thought more powerful than another is the emotion attached to it. All thoughts are equal until emotion is added. Emotion gives a thought its impact and acts as the fuel for motivation. We are never motivated by logic, but always by emotion. So, what are your emotional reasons for achieving your goals? Search your feelings for the most compelling reasons, and once you have them, place them at the top of your main goal in pictures connected to the outer circle by branches as before.

Step 5: When

Goals without deadlines are just wishes: they lack the power of commitment. Short-term goals are up to three months, medium-term up to six months, and long-term goals are one year or more. Have balance between courage and consideration when choosing a date. Once you have identified your “achievement date”, write it at the bottom of your main goal and place a small circle around it. Now write today’s date at the bottom of the page and again place a semicircle around it. Finally, draw two parallel lines connecting both dates. This is your “timeline” and trunk to your Goal Map.

Step 6: How

All goals should be accompanied by action plans. What steps will you need to take to achieve your goal? What skills will you need to acquire? Are there any courses that you will need to enrol in? Write or draw your actions on branches stemming from the right of your Goal Map trunk. Place the thing that you can start on now at the bottom of your Goal Map with the other things leading up toward your goals.

Step 7: Who

Any goal, of any real value, will normally involve someone else. It may be family, friends, a teacher or coach, but chances are, you will benefit from some help in achieving your goal. Once you have thought of all those whose help or support you may need, place their names on a branch, at the left hand side of the timeline or trunk. Place the name of the person whose help you require opposite the step or action that you want them to help with.


You have nearly completed your first Goal Map. All that now remains is to give it your commitment by signing it. Goal Maps can be as big as your dreams. Like your ability, they have no limitations. You may even wish to fill a wall with a “Goal Tree”. The possibilities are endless. However, as a general recommendation I encourage you to look at your Goal Map once a day to override any self-doubt or negativity that may enter your mind. Whether for yourself, your children, or your colleagues, Goal Mapping is a fun, fast, and effective way of turning your dreams into realities. May it empower you to achieve all the success you deserve, and fully live the life of your dreams.’

For further info visit Brian’s website here:

Brian also trains on The Coaching Academy’s Advanced Coaching DiplomaGoal Mapping and Life Mapping accelerator days

2 Responses to "Goal Mapping by Brian Mayne"

1 | Frank

September 18th, 2008 at 6:13 am


Goal map is a great method to set goals. We need to dream our bright future. No matter what the dream it is, just relax and imagine the feeling when you achieve the goals. I use this method and achieve many goals.

2 | Karen Poole

September 9th, 2009 at 10:11 pm


I appreciated reading this as I am working with a client who is paralyzed by fear. My question to him will be: “What would your world look like if you embraced your future?”This is a great exercise for him as a follow-up. Thanks.

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