How to Use Mind Mapping to Find or Clarify your Strengths

2 effective mind mapping methods


Mind mapping is a unique way to find or bring clarity to your areas of strengths. I first read about the concept of mind mapping in Ken Robinsons fantastic book, Finding Your Element. Here is how Ken describes mind mapping and how to do it:

Mind mapping is a visual technique for displaying or sorting information. A mind map centers on a core idea or theme and has lines, words and images extending from it to connecting ideas or information. To create a mind map, you begin by putting the core idea or theme in the center of the page and draw a circle around it. You then draw branching lines from the center circle that represent related thoughts and ideas. You can have as many of these branching lines as you like and each of them may divide into two or more other lines of thought.

When it comes to discovering your strengths there are two ways you can use mind mapping. The first way will require some knowledge or idea of what your strengths might include. The second way can help if you don’t know or don’t have a clear idea of your strengths. The first way closely follows the above description while the second breaks a little away from the mind mapping technique. Let’s begin.

Method One: You might want to take a Strengths Finder survey before applying this method. Start by writing down only one of your strengths on the center of a piece of paper (or what you believe your strength is). Begin to make branches of the “thoughts” and “ideas” or specific activities or tasks which are related to your strengths. Make sure what you put down match the regular activities, tasks, behaviors, and habits you do exceptionally well.

If in fact this is an area of strength, the finished product will shine a clear light onto your area of strength. It will also provide an overview of how your strengths play out and work in your everyday life, showing you the bigger picture of how your strengths impact you and your everyday activities. You would benefit from doing this with each of your strengths.

Method Two: The second way to use mind mapping is a little reverse from the first way. When you want to discover an area of strength, leave the center or middle area empty (This is the strength you want to find). Start by filling the branches or theme areas with what you already know about yourself as well as your life purpose, passions, what you enjoy doing, the role or tasks you like to do and are exceptionally good in or at, and what you are drawn to do or work on. You can see this is working backwards from the previous way of mind mapping. After you have filled in between 15 and 25, you can begin to find the common threads or similar areas that are connected with each other. When you are finished the mind map will reveal areas you are strong in. It will help you find or clarify the strengths you have.

Questions: Have you used mind mapping before? Which of the two methods resonates with you?

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  • DS

    Honestly I haven’t heard of mind-mapping being applied this way other than through your blog. I’ve used it to understand topics and create content, but not to discover strengths. Be interested in hearing how others have deployed it in the way you’ve described, and their outcomes.

    • danonleadership

      It’s a concept I’m developing and testing with my staff. I’ll see how it goes and if it works out it will be a method in a book someday. Thank you for taking the time to read and add your thoughts:)

    • It’s a concept I’m developing and testing with my staff. I’ll see how it goes and if it works out it will be a method in a book someday. Thank you for taking the time to read and add your thoughts:)

  • Like DS, I’ve heard of (and taught and used) mind-mapping to understand topics and create content, but I had not heard of it to discover strengths. I can see how it would work well though, especially for those who are more visual. Also, I have had a sort of mind-mapping technique used by a therapist to help me understand how my life experiences combined to create who I am. He made it in the form of a tree, with the leaves being the results and the roots being the basics of why I am who I am. Not sure if this makes sense, but it was quite effective for me.

  • I use mind mapping to plan books and I actually probably use something like this to renew my mind sometimes. I’ve never thought of using it to discover strengths. It sounds interesting!

    • Hi Barb,

      Those are other great ways to use mind mapping! It’s a concept I’m working on and will eventually write about it in a book. Thanks for sharing:)

      • Sounds like it will be a good book, Dan! I’ll look forward to reading it!