handwriting - Marshall Books

My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future

(Kate and David Marshall, Penguin Random House/Penguin, 2012)


What’s happened in your life so far? What are your dreams for the future?

Photo of book cover: "My Life Map" by Kate & David Marshall


My Life Map is a record of your past, and a tool to create the life stories you hope to live in the future. Charting the past highlights patterns you may not have noticed before. Seeing the years ahead offers a chance to voice intentions for your future.

My Life Map lays out a gentle life mapping process, with journaling questions to answer and maps to fill out. The questions help you, no matter what your stage of life, clarify what you want in various parts of your life (family, work, friends, play, learning, and service). The maps are for you to sketch out what you’re striving for, and when. No plans you write are set in stone, but it’s inspiring to flesh out ideas and use them as a roadmap for future decisions.


The journal includes chapters on:

  • INTRODUCTION: from the authors
  • MAPPING TIPS: why, when, and how to map your life
  • SAMPLE JOURNEYS: completed maps of fictitious people at different stages of life
  • YOUR PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE: exercises for reflecting on your life so far, and for envisioning your future
  • LIFE MAPS: blank maps to fill in (subject, ten-year, and whole life maps)
  • PUTTING YOUR MAPS INTO PRACTICE: tips and tools for establishing next steps and annual checkups date
  • BONUS MATERIAL: a toolkit for book owners to create and update electronic life maps. Click here to enter the password and download maps.

My Life Map nourishes a personal dialogue, with exercises that give you the clarity you need to keep imagining and planning. This introspective journal offers all the tools and inspiration necessary to set life goals, reflect on your past, and shape a future with purpose and intention.

icon of the Toolkit of Maps

(My Life Map owners: click on the blue arrow to enter the code in the book for the toolkit)


Reviewers Say:

“An intriguing look at the age-old question of the pursuit of the good life. A must-read for anyone facing the ‘What’s next?’ moment in life.”
- Richard Leider, bestselling author of Repacking Your Bags and The Power of Purpose


“A book of many gifts—reflections that lead to deep personal insight, practices for seeing one’s entire life in perspective, guidance for knowing ourselves better, and simple maps for actively creating our future. A true gem that I will gift to many people.”
- Margaret J. Wheatley, bestselling author of Leadership and the New Science, Perseverance


“One of my favorite things about this book was that it encouraged planning for play. It serves as a great reminder that all work and no play creates a dull person!” -RhiRhi


“I used this as a guide that works better than my usual “someday I will” routine. Someday we’ll have kids. Someday we’ll get out of debt. Someday I’ll manage my time better. This did a great job of giving me rational options for the future. - StephanieLouise


“I learned that it’s ok to own goals that seem big. When I was younger I was more able to dream in huge ways, and then along the way I got to where I was ok planning out a grocery list but felt like big dreams weren’t part of my life “right now”. Reading My Life Map made me think about planning big things partially in order to have them in front of me and to recognize how much I wanted them.” - TiarasandTrucks


“My own life map isn’t perfectly filled out. It likely never will be perfectly filled out and that’s ok. The value of My Life Map doesn’t come from a creating a perfect map. It comes from taking the time to reflect and think seriously about things. It’s in seeing where you came from so you know where you want to go. It’s about learning who you were, are and want to be in the future. I learned that I’m not quite as allergic to the thought of long-term planning as I thought I was. So thank you Kate and David!” – Karen


“The ten-year plan was exactly why I wanted to do this book…it has been so easy to say, “oh yeah, that is in our 10-year plan,” which really just came to mean “some day” which is totally vague and meaningless when it comes to planning. This book allowed me to put down the things we have actually talked about. And see where our kids will be in 10 years. It was eye-opening and stressed me out, but I needed that kick in the pants, for sure.” -SluiterNation


“My plans for the future were always a bit vague. So I learned to clarify and nail down some of the ideas and wishes floating around in my head. It was definitely an eye-opener in a couple of places.” – Tima


“Going through this mapping exercise taught me a lot.  It has also made me think and dream bigger than I use to.” -froggie


“I learned that I really NEED to write in order to plan…I need to be able to write, draw, branch off in tangents and physically put pen to paper.” – ParentingMiracles


“It helped solidify things that I’ve been thinking about and to acknowledge that the 10-year plan I had been so married to at age 22, 25, is not how I want my life to be…The mapping process helped me to see that I can think and dream but I need to make changes and do things and leap. I am now thinking about what I can do and what’s possible so that I can change that plan.” -healthystrides


“I love how this book forced me to think about the past, present and future and that it included all of these areas of life, not just work and family, which many other books focus on. It helped me reflect on the things I truly enjoy and helped me create future goals that will provide me with a well rounded and happy life.” -OneFrugalGirl


“I realized that I’ve been living in a survival way of thinking, and that’s kept me from looking forward. My Life Map helped me to realize that looking ahead and planning and dreaming are so good for my outlook, because, in truth, I’m doing more than surviving.  It helped to shift the way I was thinking a bit.” – MyMommysPlace


“I’m most excited about the Learning and Play sections. I really did need the kick in the pants to figure out a few things in that regard. Do I have it all figured out? Nope, but I’ve got a lot more figured out than I did a month ago and I’m looking at course catalogues to figure out if I can squeeze anything into the coming months.” - Karen


“I really appreciated the visual layout of the life mapping. It gave me a way to really contextualize what I was looking at, in both past and future, and really neat to see how everything fit in the present moment.” -KeikoZoll


“I really liked this book, the quality of the paper was perfect for journalling, the examples were ones I could identify with and helped me to understand how to use the book for my own life plan.” -Kath


“The book made me really think about what truly fulfills me in life and reminded me that while making enough money to live comfortably is important, I need to carve out more time in my life for friends, play, and continued learning. The question that stuck with me from this book was “What are your three main responsibilities.” I quickly scribbled down “make money” in the number one slot and then felt stumped…I’m realizing that we have so many responsibilities in life, like having fun or being a decent human!” – AdaWrites


“Lately the main thing my husband and I have been discussing is our future. We’re trying to set goals and figure out financially, emotionally and career-wise what we need to do…I’m loving this book. This is great for relationships! Sometimes it’s hard to talk about what’s going on in your marriage or relationship and books like this can help to “put you both on the same page” so to speak.” -Emmi


If you or someone you know and love in your life is uneasy or unhappy with the direction of their life this is definitely a worthwhile purchase that offers rewards that far outweigh the price tag.


“…I was working in publishing, but had the sneaking suspicion that I was looking for something else. But I didn’t know what that ‘something else’ was and, more so, I had no idea how to find it…I don’t usually go in for self-help books and I’ve never really done any journaling, so I was amazed and surprised by the way [My Life Map] drew me in. The straight-forward and helpful introductory information, the fill-in format, and the illustrative examples all came together and persuaded me, almost against my will, to do some life-mapping of my own. This book helped me make sense of the thoughts, desires, and dissatisfaction that were confusingly swirling around in my brain, bringing to light wants and visions that I hadn’t been able see alone. It wasn’t until My Life Map provided me with both the guidance and the space to find and express what I did NOT want from life that I felt confident enough to take the next step and figure out what I DID want…By reading and filling out the worksheets in My Life Map, I was inspired to follow my true passion — for organic, artisan cheese. I’m now 4 months into an amazing new journey, working as a local cheesemonger and writing and editing around food, and I have My Life Map and David & Kate Marshall to thank for inspiring and encouraging me. ” -Bonnie