Intuition is a great tool to use in solving varied career and personal challenges. Sigmund Freud's advice is legendary: "When making a decision . . . in vital matters . . . such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves." Research has demonstrated that individuals who make efficient, effective, and wise career decisions, combine intuitive strengths with intellect or analytical thinking. The mindmapping strategy, developed by Tony Buzan, allows you to tap into your intuition and involves linking your thoughts together through an illustration.
You must be relaxed before you can start. If you are distracted by worries or are feeling anxious the technique will not be effective. The first step is to put a word or phrase in a circle at the center of a sheet of paper. Depending on the career option you are considering, you might write out a job title, field of graduate study, or a short description of an entrepreneurial idea.
The second step is to "free associate." Without censoring or judging your thoughts, write out or draw whatever comes to mind as you look at what you listed in the circle. You'll notice from the sample mindmap (http://www.buzancentre.com/mm_desc.html) that associations are recorded in a radial fashion, with the central idea serving as the axle and the associations serving as spokes. You can depict the sub-topics that spin off from the central idea however you choose. Consider using different geometric shapes, symbols, or drawings. You can also use different colored pens to designate related ideas. While working on your mindmap, you can generally spark more associations by asking yourself who, what, why, where, when, and how. It's important to record everything that comes to mind, even if it doesn't appear relevant (chances are, it will later).
Repeat the process for each career option you are considering. As you review your mindmaps, reflect on the following:
- Your energy level while generating the maps (e.g., was one more energizing/exciting than the others?)
- Any new ideas that came to mind (e.g., pros or cons that you had not previously considered)
- How the maps compare to one another (e.g., themes that you notice among the maps)