A Vision board, also called a Dream board or Creativity collage, is typically a poster board on which you paste images (and words if you like) torn out from various magazines. Creating a Vision board is a way of surrounding yourself with images of, e.g. who you want to become, what you want to have, or where you want to live, and by focusing on these goals or your future self, it is possible that your life may change to match those images and those desires.
Vision boards have achieved much notoriety over the past years since the release of the book The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne in 2006 which is based on the Law of Attraction – the idea that your mode of thinking directly affects what the universe gives you. If you put positive mental energy into the universe, or in other words think positively about what you want to achieve, then you’ll be the recipient of positive outcomes and achieve success. Rhonda’s discovery of The Secret began with a glimpse of the truth of life within a 100 year old book, the book is one that I’ve read myself, entitled The Science of Getting Rich, written in 1910 by Wallace D. Wattles and an extract from it is reproduced at the end of my article Can a Work-Life Balance be achieved?
I have read several articles about people who say that they owe the success in their life to having created a vision board. A few had even forgotten that they had made one, it was only years later that they came across it and were completely astonished to find that their vision board so closely matched their present situation. It was almost like the vision board had somehow helped to maintain their goals in their subconscious.
I do believe that if you really want something you can achieve it. Look at sportsmen and women; studies have found that those sportsmen and women who imagined themselves winning were more successful. Many elite athletes routinely use visualisation techniques as part of training and competition. With mental rehearsal, minds and bodies become trained to actually perform the skills imagined.
I often use a similar visualisation technique with clients who have had a bad interview experience in the past or suffer from nerves in interview situations. Starting a few days before the interview, I ask the candidates to imagine themselves walking into the interview room with an air of confidence, smiling and happy as they shake hands with the interviewer, enjoying the opportunity to talk about themselves, connecting easily with the interviewer, answering their questions with ease etc. They do this every day, and especially before they go to sleep at night, up until the day of the interview. Most individuals find that by the time the interview arrives that they feel surprising confident and much less anxious.
Apparently our brain can not really tell the difference between what are just our imaginary thoughts and something that has actually happened, therefore, we can fool our brain into believing that we are/and have always been in the past, successful in an interview situation. For more information about how you can use visualisation techniques see my article on Decision Making – Can You Visualise your Success?
So, let’s back to vision boards now and how to go about creating one.
How to create a Vision Board
You’ll need: a poster board, or large piece of cardboard;
a big stack of different magazines (you can pick up old magazines from hair salons, libraries, dentists and doctors surgeries. Make sure that you have lots of different types of magazines as you don’t want to limit your options);
and scissors and glue.
Before you set to work on putting your vision board together, sit quietly, shut your eyes and visualise what it is that you want to achieve. You may find images come into your head straight away, but if they don’t just think about your life or career at present, what you like and dislike about it and what you would like to change.
Step 1 Go through your magazines and tear out images, words or headlines that strike you or that you like for some reason. Have fun and don’t think about why you have chosen the image or words for the moment.
Step 2 Go through the images and begin to lay out your favourites on the board. Discard any images that no longer feel right. As you lay down the images on your board you may get a sense of how the board should be laid out. For example, you may assign a theme to each corner of the board – family, friends, work and self. Or you might want to use the board as if it’s telling a story from top to bottom.
Step 3 Stick your images and words on to the board, add writing if you want to or leave some areas blank so that you can add more writing, images or even your own drawings at a later time.
Step 4 Hang your vision board in a place where you can see it often. I usually place my boards above my desk. I’m always surprised by just how much they inspire and motivate me and give me the laser sharp focus that I need to achieve my goals.
You may find that your vision board changes as you’re making it, that’s fine the board will help you to explore and identify options, interests and solutions that you may not have thought about at the outset. You might find that you have small epiphanies along the way as you create your vision board.
A Vision board is a great tool to use for goal setting as it will give you the opportunity to not only assess your goal, but also put it into a visual form so that you can be reminded of it on a daily basis, thus helping you to stay motivated and on track. They can, however, be used for more than goal setting, you can use them to: plan an event such as a trip abroad, theme an event such as a wedding or exhibition; help you stay positive when job hunting; help you to make important life decisions; and explore different ideas such as fashion styles and careers. Here are a few examples:
Goal setting: ‘I want to achieve a better work-life balance’
With your clear desire in mind, set out looking for images which portray your vision. This could be images of home-working, a home-office, people having lunch with friends, a beach holiday, playing with children in a park, and pictures of places that you would like to go to. Find images that capture your idea of what you want your perfect work-life balance to look like.
You could also make your vision board to be a bit like a storyboard, identifying the steps you need to achieve your goal. Break down your long term goal of achieving a better work-life balance into short-term goals or steps. Your first step might consist of a group of images that explore different types of working – freelancing and portfolio working or ideas on self-employment or creating a small business. The second step might be about making time for yourself with images of working out at a gym, running or cycling, relaxing in a spa, yoga and eating healthy meals.
Make sure that your short-term goals are: positive, within your control, specific and a good fit with your life.
Using a Vision board for Exploration. ‘I’m fed up my life but I don’t know what I want’’
Get lots of different kinds of magazines on e.g. careers, self-employment, living and working abroad, various hobbies, sport, and plenty of lifestyle magazines and tear out any images that delight you but don’t ask yourself why. Just keep going until you have pile of pictures in front of you. Then look at each picture and ask yourself what this picture might mean to you. What is it telling you about yourself? If you don’t know, but still love the image then put it on your vision board anyway – the answer may come soon enough. It may be a passion that you haven’t realised yet.
Using a Vision board to help you make a decision
You are undecided whether to stay in your present office job working in the UK, or to have a complete change of career and life and do a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) qualification so that you can teach English abroad. For this one you could divide your board up into two sections – one section could have photos of your office, and the place where you work presently, as well as where you live, the places you enjoy going to, the people around you – your colleagues, friends and family and the things you enjoy doing. The second section could be made up of images of what your new life might look like. Include images that depict various countries that you may like to live and work in – including the people and their culture, places to visit, the language, and lots of pictures that depict teaching, a busy classroom, children and adults in a classroom situation etc.
If you’re familiar with Pinterest, you could use the boards to create a vision board or different vision boards as an alternative to the paper and glue method above. For those of you not familiar with Pinterest, it’s a pinboard-style photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections. They also have secret boards now so you can keep your vision board private if you wish.
However, thoughts and dreams are great but they are forms of energy which do not necessarily lead to action. I use my vision boards to help me put together an action board of long-term and short-term SMART goals.
Give it a shot and start a vision board today. I’d love to hear how it works out for you.
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