Shift-it Coach Newsletter
Volume 7 | Issue 14 | September 23, 2011


Had another whirlwind trip down to California last week – to attend a day with THEO via Sheila and Marcus Gillette. Wonderful time! We'll be doing another 'Thrive in the Time of Awakening' web series in 2012 ... adapting the format that we did this spring.

Now I'm back home knee deep in the midst of packing boxes ... as I'm completing my move to my new live/work condo aptly named The Zen (which is in the final completion stages of being built). Not moving far, but you know how moving goes – it's a chore however you slice it! I have loved my harbor-side location of the last three years but am also supremely excited to move to my new digs.

I am simplifying my teaching and coaching schedule this fall --- to complete my move and focus a bit more on fitness, some writing projects and my painting. Attempting to bring more balance into my life instead of just work, work, work (although I do LOVE my work!).

One of tools that has helped me contemplate my next SHIFT is Visual Life Maps (from my SHIFT-IT System®). So I've opted to write this issue's article on "How to Use Visual Life Maps to SHIFT Your Path". Hope you find it helpful for considering your own shift and the power of mapping your journey!


Christina Merkley,
The SHIFT-IT Coach



Lisa Edwards
Lisa Edwards
Corporate Wellness Consultant

Warning: after taking FIG the way you look at the world (and your stationary supply budget) will never be the same!

Graphics have changed my life! Taking Fundamentals of Interactive-Graphics was the best professional development favor that I've done for myself in a LONG time. Christina is a wealth of knowledge and experience ... and I especially appreciate her practicality.

Participants get plenty of "ink time" plus in-depth info about graphics, visual learning and consulting ... and connecting with the amazing people that are also drawn to this material. Afterwards, I immediately began using graphics in my seminars, and people LOVE IT!

Lisa Edwards
Corporate Wellness Consultant


SHIFT-IT Online Group
7 Weeks Online: Oct. 1 – Nov. 12 (Webinars, Saturdays, 10-11:30 a.m. Pacific)

Are you ready to make your SHIFT? You aren't alone – there is a massive shift happening upon our planet right now and this one-of-a-kind online experience supports you to successfully make yours. I help you get crystal clear about your Next Self and guide you on how to overcome your negative beliefs, self-sabotage and fear so you can manifest what you really, really want. Get organized, get emotionally aligned and make your SHIFT with other great people from around the world. All in my innovative 'graphic coaching style' ... includes SHIFT-IT Kit? with 17 visual maps. Register Now.

* Note: this program is a pre-requisite for Graphic Coach Certification, combo package available.

9-Weeks Online: Oct. 17 – Dec. 14 (Webinars, Mon. & Wed. 12-1pm Pacific)

Now available --- get access to this leading edge training without having to travel. My foundational 'learn-to-work-visually' course now available online!

Over 87% of your facilitation, coaching, training and consulting clients are visual thinkers – learn powerful visual skills to boost the effectiveness of how you work with them. This 9-week online professional skills training thoroughly covers custom chart work, graphic recording, graphic facilitation and graphic coaching (the four main applications of working visually with groups and individuals) so you can add these powerful tools to your own consulting, facilitation, coaching and training offerings. Register Now.

**** Note: this program is a pre-requisite for Graphic Coach Certification. This online version of the course is your LAST CHANCE for completing this prerequisite without having to travel to Victoria, BC, Canada ... if you would like to join us for the upcoming 2012 Cohort. If you are ok with traveling, there is an in-person course offered in May 2012.

Graphic Coach Certification (2012 Cohort)
10-Weeks Online: April 10 – June 19 (Webinars, Tuesdays 10-11:30 pm Pacific)

Become a Certified Graphic Coach®. For leading-edge coaches, counselors and therapists from around the globe. Add the power and innovation of Graphic Coaching to your own practice. Includes advanced graphic coaching techniques, use of my SHIFT-IT System® (17 visual maps) with your clientele, instruction in the 'template-izing' of your own content into visual tools, plus marketing and biz development mentoring. Apply now to secure your place. Two Pre-requisites required. Full Details and Application Process.



(Now Recorded!) Listen Rather Than Read! Click Here

I was recently reading Jane Fonda's new Prime Time book (having really enjoyed her autobiography a few years back). In both, she talks about the power of reviewing one's life and the positive impact doing so had on her ability to navigate her next chapter with grace.

In reading her thoughts I kept thinking about my work with Life Maps over the last two decades ... my own, my clients and also the coaches I now teach to do this powerful work with their own clientele. Consistently my coaches tell me how this exercise is their favorite --- even if initially they were reluctant to do it.

What's a Visual Life Map?!
A visual Life Map is a visual depiction of your life journey ... using graphic coaching methods either on your own or with the assistance of a Certified Graphic Coach®. It's either a small size or large size mural of the journey you have taken over your life to date. In the way that I do them and teach them ... they are focused not so much on what happened to you (although that is one layer) but more importantly upon how you choose to interpret and apply meaning to the events of your life --- a very important distinction! As your thoughts and feelings are what really creates your life.

Click for Larger View

Click for Larger View

When To Do a Life Map:
Life Maps are good to do when you are in a transition or a contemplative mood --- on their own or as a strategic warm up to doing visioning and action planning about the next phase of your life. They are also extremely helpful (when used with a good coach or therapist) to understand and resolve past events that have interfered with your quality of life.


They help you step back and appreciate your life story from a witness perspective. See the flow of your evolution. Your high points and low points. The people, places, things, events and activities that have shaped your life. And, most importantly ... the beliefs that you have attached to yourself, life ... and to the particular areas that you want to SHIFT.

Life Map Template ... one of 17 maps in my signature SHIFT-IT System®.

Benefits of Life Maps:
The visual approach takes oral or written storytelling up a notch --- as you literally SEE your story, as you are currently telling it. As a coach this visual documentation is invaluable. It is a record of how my clients view themselves, their story and their life. Life Maps help people see how they are creating their reality, by observing the thoughts and meaning that they apply to what they've been through. When standing back and looking at their full story, they begin to see patterns and gather insights. And see the programming they will need to SHIFT in order to create more of what they DO WANT (rather than what they don't).


The SHIFT-IT Graphic Coacing Process

Life Maps are great for catching your insights and ahhas and for turning your attention to what you have received and what you are grateful and appreciate of --- a prerequisite for personal visioning and planning work. They also serve as great communicate tools to explain and share your journey with important others (friends, mates, children, counseling professionals, etc).

These maps are also good for releasing: identifying and letting go of the things (attitudes, patterns, people, places, etc) that no longer serve. Some of my clients choose to use their maps in a symbolic or ritual kind of manner --- burning, shredding or disposing of them in some other kind of fashion (one client reported she threw hers off of Golden Gate Bridge – not the most environmentally friendly option, but definitely dramatic!).

You Are Not Limited By Your Past:
Life Maps are essential for clearing the slate for personal visioning and planning work. Often people need perspective and context before they can contemplate options for their future. The Life Map allows a nod to the past, but also sets the stage for more. The process naturally leads up to the present moment --- to 'what's next for me?' considerations. The SHIFT-IT Graphic Coacing Process

Your future does not need to be constrained by the past. Acknowledging and accepting the past (and putting it in its rightful place) clears the air for more empowered creating – as a person in charge of your own destiny. So your future is more a product of what you now want as opposed to just being an unconscious extension of what has always been.

More Examples:

Bill's Life Map, Part One
Bill's Life Map, Part Two
Visual Bio 1
Visual Bio 2
Visual Bio 3
More Graphic Coaching Examples

How To Do Your Own Life Map:
If you are a do-it-yourself type person and would like to do your own personal visioning and planning work (including constructing your own Life Map) check out my SHIFT-IT Home Retreat Kit ... includes one private coaching call with me to aid with your SHIFT.

The SHIFT-IT Graphic Coacing Process

The SHIFT-IT Graphic Coacing Process If you are a group person who likes the structure and support of working through your process in the company of like-minded others ... then consider attending The SHIFT-IT Online Group – includes The Kit plus 7 weekly webinars and online forum. Next group starts Oct. 1st. I facilitate online groups twice a year (next one is in January 2012).

If you would like the help of a qualified coach to privately assist you with your Life Maps and other processes, consult the Graphic Coach Directory for a coach in your area.

The SHIFT-IT Graphic Coacing Process

If you are interested in becoming a Certified Graphic Coach® yourself, see Graphic Coach Certification for details and application process. Our 2012 Cohort is forming now ... you'll need to create your own Life Maps (as well as the other maps in the SHIFT-IT System) as prep for Certification.

Now Recorded! Listen Rather Than Read! Click Here

Blog Comments: Thoughts? Reactions? Have something to add? Click here to leave comments and read those left by others.

For the full SHIFT-IT e-Zine Archives: Click Here

For the full SHIFT-IT Audio Library (mp3): Click Here

©2011 Christina L. Merkley

You can, as long as you include this blurb and a functional link to my site:

Author's Bio: Christina Merkley is The SHIFT-IT Coach. Founder of "Graphic Coaching" … Christina has pioneered the use of interactive- visuals to help individuals, couples and business partners make and manifest clear decisions about their work and lives. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she maintains a thriving coaching and facilitation practice and trains other helping professionals from around the globe in her innovative ways of working. For more information visit:


Ready for your SHIFT? There is a HUGE TRANSITION going on in the world today both at a spiritual and physical level. Many people are feeling the call to ascend to a crisper, cleaner and more soul satisfying life - are you one of them? Enlist me as your personal transition aid. Define your vision, bust through your interfering resistance and start taking action. Pioneering Graphic Coaching and Law of Attraction methods.

Coaching Options


Are you a helping professional with a creative bend? Are you intrigued with the visual way I work with my clients? I've trained hundreds of facilitators, consultants, trainers and now coaches, counselors, social workers, etc from around the globe. Learn fundamental graphics skills that you can use in your own work with groups and individuals. Come join the graphic tribe!

Training Options










Christina Merkley
The SHIFT-IT Coach &
Interactive-Graphics Mentor

Christina Merkley is The SHIFT-IT Coach. Creator of the SHIFT-IT System®, she guides individuals, partners and conscious companies in defining and getting what they really, really want.

A teacher of Law of Attraction, she is also an expert in visual meeting techniques, strategic planning and visioning: having worked for such notable companies as BBC, Readers Digest Funds, eBay and Stanford University. After a move from San Francisco, she now lives in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada - where she maintains a vibrant coaching, facilitation and training practice.

Full Bio


>>A Note From Christina

>>In Your Words

>>Events Calendar

>>Featured Article:
Use Visual Life Maps to SHIFT Your Path

>>Connect with Christina

>>Blog Entries

>> E-Zine & Audio Archives


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Looking for more rich, SHIFT-IT content? Check out my blog for recent ramblings, resources and general interest features:

My Journey with Graphic Coaching

Smartly Use Your Summer for Strategic Growth

Thrive Tips for These Accelerating Times

The Generosity of Memoirs

Yes, Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

Soften The Sting of Betrayal

How To Create And Evolve Your Offerings

Click here to read the SHIFT-IT Coach blog.


Browse past issues here.

Listen to the ezine here.


The SHIFT-IT Home Retreat Kit®

SHIFT-IT Home Retreat Kit


Copyright © 2004-2011 Christina L. Merkley. All rights reserved.
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