Once upon a time, before the G.P.S., folks used maps to guide their travels.

Among the “full service” provided by service stations was the availability of road maps. Those maps laid out state and primary roads (before the interstates). But they shed little light on what was at a locale or along the way.

More recently, communities have taken to creating maps – most frequently  of their historical landmarks or perhaps to guide visitors to local merchants.

Recently I came across a different but most compelling sort of map.

It occurred during the course of a radio interview. The on-scene correspodent was talking with a gentleman, age 30, who lived in his neighborhood all his life. The interviewee was  walking the interviewer around his neighborhood and pointing out  places of consequence to him – some physically present, some of sites now gone. Others were recollections of people and events decades ago. All were meaningful to the local native.

The interviewer was impressed with the level of detail and the depth of connection of the storyteller to his place. The radio reporter felt as if the local was painting him “an emotional map” of his neighborhood.

This idea of an “emotional map” was resonated with me.

Imagine your community and how you impart just what it is about – its essence, its soul.

There are probably street maps of the community. A master plan too. Or, there might be a historical map.

But they probably do not impart what that local guide did to his radio interviewer.

Contemplate for a moment who you are and how you communicate that essence. Is it like that old road map – factual accurate but lacking the spirit and soul of the place ?

In the attached Blab video podcast, we contemplate the notion of an emotional map and how it mkight work for you – be you a business, an individual or a community.

In a world of standardization and uniformity, an emotional map can be a powerful way to differentiate yourself as you head towards your smart (community) narrative.