A journey map can help a company visualize the needs, desires and motivations of its customers and provides the data it needs to engage its customer base efficiently.

Journey mapping focuses on the purchase lifecycle — essentially visualizing a funnel that guides a customer's experience with a brand, company or product.

When customers have a bad experience with a company, they seek alternative solutions. This effectively makes good customer experience synonymous with business value.

 Journey Map by Nicholas Tenhue showing a physician ordering a test for a patient

Journey Map by Nicholas Tenhue showing a physician ordering a test for a patient

But individuals can also benefit from journey mapping techniques. How? By applying them to their personal and professional development. When you map yourself, instead of your customer, you can model the barriers and opportunities in life.

Understanding Journey Maps

A journey map formalizes the interactions with a company, revealing all the positive and negative experiences at each stage.

When something isn't working or could be working more effectively, this map then helps the company more easily redesign experiences for the customer or create altogether new ones. Sometimes the journey map focuses on one specific aspect of the interactions that a consumer has with the business, or it may provide an overview of all their past experiences with a corporation.

This map helps a business implement plans for the customer, and it also helps with communication of past, current, and future needs. It does this by showing the customer's motivations and feelings in relation to the actions they choose to take.

In the end, it reveals the higher motivations of the customer. A business owner can look at it to see what the customer wants to achieve as well as what the buyer expects from the company.

Although journey maps can be presented in several ways, they most often take the form of an infographic. Regardless of format, they are versatile tools to help make sense of customer problems and stake out opportunities for improvement.

Journey map

Journey Map by Louis Salguero of dinner at the Constanza family house

Personalize Business Lessons

You can use journey maps to enhance your own life experience in much the same way you use them to enhance your customers' lives.

You can take control of your own career plans, personal choices and overall goals and aspirations by applying these same journey-mapping techniques to your own career.

As a business professional, this map can put you front and center as the hero and agent of your own life. For the purpose of this exercise, think of your own life as a company.

You will be a more effective boss and CEO of your own life when you truly make choices that are well informed and examined, with the same dedication and methodical processes that make up customer journey mapping.

How to Journey Map Your Own Life

The process of journey mapping your own life and career need not be complicated. In fact, here are a few easy steps that can empower you to use this valuable tool to get ahead in your own life. It can provide clarity regarding your past, as well as help accelerate your future in terms of career and life.

Step 1

After you decide that you want to apply journey-mapping techniques, the next step is to identify the gaps in your professional life. When this mapping is done for the customer, a company looks at gaps between certain departments of a business where a customer might get confused, or other areas of potential failures. In your own life, look at the gaps in your own satisfaction. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What makes me feel fulfilled or unfulfilled?
  • What ongoing needs are unmet in my life?
  • What are the chronic problems have I not yet fixed?
  • What are the things that I dislike that I can change?

Step 2

Next, look at your own actions and discern how they are contributing to the gaps and problems in your career. This should reveal the things that you may be doing wrong at work. Look hard at your professional choices. Examine the ways that you are moving forward, in addition to the ways that you are stuck. Maybe you are even moving away from gaining what you really want. Taking responsibility for your own actions is important.

Step 3

Get clear on your own motivations. Think about what you've already learned about yourself through examining your own gaps and actions. It should be clear what is motivating you to keep "leveling up" in your own life and what causes you to backslide. Sometimes journey mapping can reveal that your true motivations don't match up with the decisions you are making. Instead of getting frustrated by these realizations, try to see the benefit of the awakenings. You can then take control of changing those actions.

Step 4

Identify your barriers. Get clear on what barriers in your life are preventing you from reaching the next stages of success. Take your time to identify and truly examine all your barriers. Look at what it will cost you in all parts of your life, to get rid of those barriers. Your career may depend on this, so be thorough in your identification.

Step 5

Remove the barriers and go for what you want. This is perhaps going to demand the most time and effort, but it is the most crucial step. First, set long-term goals for getting rid of those barriers. Break up long-term goals into actionable, short-term goals. Track your progress and implement changes until all the identified barriers are removed.

Finally, keep in mind that life is not static. The benefits of regularly journey mapping your own life can be significant. Work through these steps to carefully achieve the career goals you set for yourself in an efficient manner.

Title image by Tim Foster