So far, I’ve taught you how to identify your core wounds and Life Ph.D., then use these to find your tribe and understand how to reach them. These give you the tools to compare your tribe’s wound patterns and needs with your expertise to find the one square inch where you can dig a mile deep.
Everything so far has been foundational, so what comes next? Now, you need to create a signature system allowing you to provide your tribe with both a transactional benefit and a transformational promise.
Creating a signature system is intimidating, and questions will undoubtedly fill your mind as you write the program. You’ve identified the primary markers of your tribe, but how do you know if your list is exhaustive? Are you leaving out crucial components that will keep your business from succeeding?
I’ve found two primary tools that are helpful for exploring such questions, and these work regardless of your industry or target demographic. The first is mind mapping. The second is active imagination with your tribal avatar.
There’s no one way to do mind mapping, although the process I prefer is based on Tony Buzan’s pioneering efforts. I’m going to give you an example of how this works, but the most important thing you should remember is mind mapping is an inherently creative process. Don’t lock yourself into a rigid mindset by believing what I’m showing you here is the only way. The more you practice the better you’ll get and the more customized your mind mapping will be.
Grab a blank sheet of paper or go to a whiteboard. The first step is to create a central idea representing the topic you’re going to explore. For this exercise, the concept could be financial health for your tribe. Draw a shape in the center of the page, and write the topic inside.
Once you’ve established your central idea, branch out by drawing lines stemming from the center shape. Each main, or “parent” branch should represent a core reality. There aren’t any right or wrong answers. Key themes could include abstract thoughts, such as “Insecurity,” or more concrete topics, such as “Budgeting.”
Using a single word per branch sparks creativity. For example, if you write down “Birthday Party,” your mind will only think of aspects of the party. If you write down “Birthday,” however, an entirely new world opens. The primary goal of mind mapping is to take subconscious realities that are hidden in your mind and bring them out into the open.
Don’t force yourself into a corner. Think about your central idea deeply, and write what comes to mind. Next, create child branches consisting of topics related to each parent branch. If we’re using the “Birthday” idea, we might create twigs of “Celebration,” “Age,” “Development” or “Friendships.” Each of these explores notions tracing back to the central idea.
The fourth step might feel like you’re going back to preschool, but the action is very intentional. Color code your branches. Pull out a box of markers, and trace the progression of ideas in different colors. Not only does this help you remember things, but you also create a visual pattern of logical progression you might not have previously identified. As you trace an idea from the trunk to the tip of the smallest twig on your map, you’ll reach a point where you step back and are surprised to see where a line of thought arrived.
Finally, include images. Choosing a graphic to represent a concept sparks creativity the more you reflect on your map. From a developmental perspective, children visualize pictures in their minds, linked to ideas, before they even begin learning a language. So you’re tapping into some of your most profound cognitive realities here.
Keep this mind map on your wall and reflect on what you’ve drawn regularly. You’ll be surprised at the revelations you experience.
While mind mapping is useful for understanding a broad overview of what’s in your brain regarding a particular topic, active imagination helps you dive deep into a precise area. This technique, created by Carl Jung, allows you to have a conversation with the part of your mind that is exclusively focused on something very specific.
Sit down with a journal or in front of a computer with a document open. Think about the part of yourself you need to explore. In this case, you’ll be interviewing your tribal avatar. Since you have the same core wounds as your tribe, you’re very in touch with what they feel and experience, but much of this is subconscious.
You need to ask the avatar questions By engaging in conversation, you’ll be able to draw out realities you didn’t realize were already running around in your mind. Here’s what the process might look like:
Jeffrey: “Avatar, are you there?”
Avatar: “Yes, I am.”
Jeffrey: “Can I ask you a bit about what you think you need to market to your tribe?”
Avatar: “Yeah, I need people to open my emails.”
Jeffrey: “Great! Why do you think they aren’t?”
Avatar: “I don’t know what the heck to say. I’m so frustrated right now, and the reason why is…”
This is a proven psychological technique that allows you to give voice to all the worries, concerns, hopes, joys, frustrations and desires of a particular aspect of your brain. When you separate this aspect of your mind into a different “person,” your interaction draws out lessons and conclusions you otherwise would have missed.
The end result
When you effectively employ mind mapping and active imagination, you explore both the breadth and depth of what you know on a subconscious level. These are incredibly powerful techniques that provide a surprising amount of insight. The more you practice them, the more effectively and efficiently you’ll access the information you’ve spent a lifetime filing away.