Category Archives: My Life Map

Fourth Age Salon: “Mapping Out Your Life” Workshop

Wednesday, May 6 @12:30

Current OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) members age 75 and above are warmly invited (and encouraged) to join us for a Fourth Age Salon, “Mapping Out Your Life”, on Wednesday, May 6, 12:30-1:30 PM, via Zoom. Our guest speaker will be David Marshall, who, along with his wife Kate, has co-authored nine prompted journals about love, communication, and growth, including My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future.

Life Mapping invites us to be intentional about our future, perhaps especially when our future has limits. Marshall will give us a framework and tools to examine what has been most important to us in the past, and how to make sure that we define and plan for future goals. We will participate in warm-up exercises asking about our talents, what makes us happy, and what we’re grateful for, then will sketch out the beginning of a plan. There will be plenty of time for your questions.

Fourth Age Salon’s are free and open to current OLLI members age 75 and above. 

Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life

LIFE MAPPING WORKSHOP, Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Wednesday, April 4, 2018 (5:15-6:30 pm): Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life: A Life Mapping Workshop. We’ll be drawing from our book, My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future. We’ll be giving some background , then working on both Ten-Year Maps and Whole-Life Maps together. Come explore your future with us!

Kate & David Marshall

The Writing Assignment That Changed Lives

In this NPR article, psychologist Jordan Peterson says, “The act of writing is more powerful than people think.” He created a course for at-risk university students which centers on a writing assignment to “reflect on important moments in their past, identify key personal motivations and create plans for the future, including specific goals and strategies to overcome obstacles.” He calls the two parts ‘past authoring’ and ‘future authoring.’ YES! What he refers to as “self-authoring” is what we call “life mapping.” McGill University studied the results of the course and found a “powerful positive effect, reducing the drop out rate and increasing academic achievement.”

The Writing Assignment That Changed Lives, nprEd

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

Trouble with New Year’s Resolutions?

My theory for why New Year’s Resolutions fail so often is that they usually aren’t grounded by a bigger purpose. So you want to exercise more. Why? To attract a vibrant life partner? To be healthy enough to play with grandchildren? To have many years to work on a cause you care about? The more clarity of the “why,” the more motivated you’ll be to follow through.

Yes, this takes some thought. You’ll need some guiding questions and exercises to either talk or write about. Maybe you have a wise friend or someone else wanting to dig deep who can partner with you. Maybe you could take a personal development workshop on the topic, or hire a life coach. Or you could simply find some good reading and journaling materials.

I highly recommend Tara Parker-Pope’s recent New York Times article: Creating a Mission Statement. She suggests asking yourself some of the same questions that David and I walk you through in our latest book, My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Life.

If you like Parker-Pope’s article, consider letting My Life Map guide you through this discovery process.

The Amazing Adventures of Colin Kaepernick: 1987-2097 (David)

Who’s that galloping thoroughbred who just raced by NFL’s elite defensive players for a 56-yard touchdown? Colin Kaepernick came out of nowhere to capture the attention of America this season. At 25, he’s just in his second year in the NFL, has only started in nine games—yet he’s taking his team to the Super Bowl in New Orleans on February 3, 2013. The York and DeBartolo families are already dreaming of their second 49ers dynasty.

But we shouldn’t be so surprised. As a nine-year-old fourth grader in Turlock, California, Colin wrote a letter to himself foretelling his future with the 49ers.

So what’s in store for the rest of his life? We know he likes to envision his future. Here’s how this writer imagines Colin’s life—past, present, and future—as Colin might see it playing out:

Book Club on My Life Map (Kate)

A lively discussion has been going on over on about personal experiences with our life planning journal, My Life Map. We’re touched by the honest and sometimes deeply personal stories and reactions this group of woman share about what it was like for them to use My Life Map to examine their lives and begin to clarify what they need and want to live happy lives. We invite any of you using, or thinking about using, My Life Map to go join the conversation.

Karen Ballum, the capable and funny Book Club leader, opens each discussion with a blog of her own experience with the book and then poses questions.


The three main Book Club Questions:

1. What Does Service Mean to You: What does service look like in your life map? Are you more likely to give time, money or both?

2. Lifelong Learning for the Win: What would you like to learn?

3. Making Play a Priority: How do you play?

4. The Ten-Year Map: What did you learn during your My Life Map journey?


Some highlights from the last question:

“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 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.” TiarasandTrucks


“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…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.” -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


“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 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


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.” Karen


“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. “– AdaWrites


The Completely Unauthorized Life Map of Dave Eggers (David)

I have written several articles about how famous people might fill out My Life Map to describe what their future holds. The first one (complete with visual life map), on bestselling author Dave Eggers, was published today in

The Completely Unauthorized Life Map of Dave Eggers


P.S. – I look forward to San Francisco becoming the center of the book publishing universe.

Heartwarming Story of Transformation (David)

I am proud that My Life Map helped this exceptional young woman find her path to happiness. Here is her review of My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future:


Sent Me on an Amazing Journey

As a former coworker of author David Marshall, I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy of My Life Map nearly one year ago. At the time, 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. When David gave me a copy of My Life Map, I was expecting a pleasant read and he was expecting some valuable feedback. Well…neither one of us got quite what we expected.
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 this book 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.
While David did gain some valuable feedback (and a big fan of his work), he lost a coworker. 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 K.


Therapy for $16? (Kate)

One thing I appreciate about this My Life Map review — besides the blogger’s thoughtful description of what it was like for her to work on her life planning maps — is her observation that, for people unable to work with a therapist or counselor, this little $16 journal is “a good alternative.” We certainly recognize the value of professionals and do not aim to replace them. But we do agree that going through this little journal will bring valuable insights in a gentle, self-paced way.

“Cook Scrap Craft” Blog Review of My Life Map

Waiting for My Life Map (Kate)

David and I are eagerly awaiting a box with the first copies of My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future. For authors, there’s nothing like opening the box and seeing your new book in hardcover for the first time, except maybe for seeing it in a book store for the first time.

My Life Map is a little bit different for Marshall Books, but it’s right up our alley personally. It’s about reflecting on your past and present, and then envisioning what you want your future and mapping it out.

When David was a child, his parents taught training courses that included a charting methodology to envision the future. They showed him how to create planning maps when he was a teenager and he has been using them ever since. David greatly attributes these tools to helping him fulfill life goals, such as graduating from Harvard Business School, spearheading high-tech innovations, and finding the right balance between meaningful work and family. Learning how to set smart goals is an important part of the work I do with tutors and students at the adult literacy program I work for. I recently used life mapping as a check up for my fiftieth birthday (no, I’m not telling how “recent” that was).

We’re excited to hear what you think about My Life Map and using charting to look at your life.