Two weeks ago I told you about 2 kinds of easy – and, right around the same time, I experienced the 2nd kind of easy – the flowy, alignment where everything just worked out perfectly.
One morning, as I was journaling, I got the idea that I should offer a Vision Board Workshop online.. So, I flipped to a blank page to write the outline before I forgot all the great points I wanted to make. Then, a few hours later, I created the workshop and announced it.. And started getting RSVPs and questions and comments. I couldn’t believe it! One of my goals in May was to offer a workshop each week.. Some weeks were better than others, some topics were hotter than others.. And this workshop topic seemed to be super hot!
Now you get to read all of my strongly held opinions about the Value of a Vision Board. If you’ve never considered creating a vision board for yourself before, and especially if you already KNOW you’re just not into the idea of vision boards, I really invite you to keep reading.. You may learn something new to consider.
And, if, like me, you’re a vision board LOVER and will drop everything to join a vision board workshop – and could probably stand in for the instructor, then I invite you to keep reading very closely.. Because you may learn something new to consider too!
If you joined me in that Vision Board Workshop (or listened to the replay).. I also invite you to keep reading now, for a refresher or a reminder or to catch something new you didn’t pick up on during that workshop.
This is Different than you would Imagine
My suggestions and instructions are probably a little different from what you would imagine. This post is about how, in my opinion, to do a vision board correctly and to understand the value of a vision board first.. Before starting on the creation of your vision board.
Like I said, I am a vision board lover. I believe in vision boards. I’ve seen the power and value of having a vision board. They work. They keep us focused and intentional. And I have so many vision board theories that I want to share with you!
Everything I’m about to tell you are my thoughts and opinions and strongly held beliefs about how and why to do a vision board -and, if something I say is in contrast to what you’ve participated in, or even organized, in the past- this isn’t to call you out and it doesn’t mean anything about YOU as a person, it just means that I happen to disagree with what might be considered “conventional wisdom” when it comes to vision boards.
What is a Vision Board?
The commonly accepted definition of a vision board is a physical board on which you display images of what you want to have or be or do or experience in your life. You use the board as a visual representation of what you’ve identified as your vision for yourself. I’m in total agreement with most of this definition. I think the creation of a vision board can give you a lot of clarity and focus.
The commonly accepted example of a vision board is a large poster, or maybe a corkboard, covered with images and pictures and words (usually cut out of magazines). The pictures and words are glued or attached to the board and then the board is displayed somewhere. But this traditional image of a vision board is what I’m totally against. This is not how I think we should be doing vision boards.
But, before I explain why I’m so against the traditional, commonly accepted style of vision board, let me tell you why I think vision boards are so important and so valuable.
Why Should we have Vision Boards
I am a strong believer in the effectiveness of marketing. We are marketed to all day long through so many different sources- some that we know about and voluntarily agree to, and some types of marketing that we don’t realize is marketing and affecting our thoughts.
I find that my vision board is my intentional marketing that I create for myself. So that I know what I have, what I want, what I’m getting, what’s in store for me and what my vision is.
I’m creating this beautiful, slick, highly-produced marketing piece that I like to look at, just like I like to look at pretty pictures in magazines and online, that I believe, that connects with me emotionally, and that I want to look at over and over again. And, whenever I look at it, it inspires me to believe it harder and take the next step or keep taking action towards my vision.
So your vision board is actually your personalized marketing piece for yourself. That’s the number one Value of a Vision Board and why I think everyone needs to create their own!
The Exercise of Creating It
Doing the work to create a vision board is a great exercise. Not only is this an exercise in creation, it’s also an exercise in gratitude and appreciation. You should put things that you already have and appreciate and love and value on your vision board.
And, of course, creating a vision board is also an exercise in knowing what you want and in reminding yourself that what you want is coming and available to you and already exists in the world, even if it’s just on this board for now. This ties back to marketing.
Your vision board can be a visual way to track your transformation over time. My advice is that you make a vision board now, in your current state, for your current you and for your future you. Then, in a year or 2, make another one. It will be so interesting to see the transformation in your thinking and your decision making about what to include or exclude on the next vision board. You’ll have visual evidence of your own evolution.
You’ll be so proud and excited to “check off” what you have already accomplished, and created and what has already come true. It’ll be such a great activity to go back and look at your past vision boards to see how they transformed and evolved over the years- because they represent you!
A Trick for the Brain
There’s something to be said to putting your intentions out in front of you. So that you can see them. So that your brain can see them. Because your brain doesn’t really know the difference between what’s real and what’s fiction.
When you watch a movie, and something scary happens on the screen, you get scared or tense or nervous- even though you know you’re safe at home on your couch- because your brain doesn’t know the difference.
Aligning yourself with the visual images on your vision board gives yourself the opportunity to tell your brain “this is true, this is happening, this is about to become.”This is why the vision board works because you decide on something, you let it flow, you let it unfold, you let it become.. with no resistance. Easy, right?
It’s a Creative Project
Creating your vision board can be a fun and creative project. And who doesn’t want to have fun? Imagining the future is fun! Creating new things is fun. Designing your vision board is creative! Who doesn’t want to be creative?
Creation is the best thing! You’ll be able to look at your project and think “I made that. I brought this into being!” So first you’ll create it on your vision board, and then you’ll create it in your life!
What’s wrong with Vision Boards?
This is where my judginess, and my strongly held beliefs and opinions come in. I may come off as a little feisty and bossy here because I think people are doing it wrong all over the place!
In fact, I had a very strong aversion to the idea of vision boards until I was in my 40s because, even though it sounds like a great idea and a fun activity and a great girls night and all of those fun things, I also literally thought
“Making a vision board is the dumbest activity ever!”
I was such a vision board NAYSAYER!
My judgment was “how can you go into a room and get a stack of magazines, and flip through the magazine, and cut out pictures, and glue them onto a board haphazardly and call that your vision? How does that have anything to do with you?!”
In fact, at the beginning of 2020, in January, a lot of people were hosting vision board workshops and and offering vision board seminars and having vision board parties- it was a big hot topic at the start of the year. I was spending a lot of time in a coworking space where people could rent conference rooms, and I remember in January, there was 1 week where there were 2 vision board events within a few days of each other. I watched the hosts of these seminars carrying in stacks of magazines and scissors and glue and markers, and I was just shaking my head. I was like “they are doing it totally wrong.”
Don’t get me wrong- I love arts and crafts, so that’s a fun night of arts and crafts for the guests, but that is not how to do a real vision board. That is not effective. I’m going to tell you how to create an effective vision board- but first, I’ll tell you what NOT to do. (and if you are one of the hosts of those events, or a similar event, remember, I’m not criticizing you as a person.. I just know there’s such a better way to do this!)
Here’s what NOT to do:
Do not show up with no preparation. Any of those guests who were coming to the vision board workshops I saw in those conference rooms in January, if they hadn’t spent a lot of time and thought and energy in doing the pre-work before showing up to do the actual board creation, they were just doing arts and crafts! They were not creating an intentional vision board for their own personal life. They were just seeing what was available to them in the marketing provided in that moment.
Do not use marketing as your inspiration. Think about it! If I brought you a stack of magazines right now and told you to flip through to find the words and pictures and ideas and images that stick out to you.. Of course you would find some! Of course things would appeal to you, because professionals and teams are paid really good money to create those eye-catching and emotion-grabbing and thought provoking images and graphics and phrases to sell magazines and to sell products, so of course you would find things that would speak to you. But you would be at the mercy of whatever stack I handed you.
So what if that stack of magazines that I handed you didn’t really apply to your lifestyle? What if I handed you a stack of art magazines, but you’re more into travel and adventure? Or what if I handed you all parenting magazines, but you don’t have any kids? You’re just at the mercy of the marketing when you go into your own project using other people’s images, other peoples graphics and you’re only looking at a finite little collection of what’s available to you during a 2-hour workshop organized by someone else.
That is why your own pre work is so vital and why I suggest you don’t use other people’s marketing as your personal inspiration.
How Will it Look?
Another reason why I’m so against the traditional vision boards and vision board workshops is because I really don’t think you can create something visually appealing that you want to carry with you and look at frequently and display and that you can access easily when you have a poster board and scissors and tape and glue and glitter. I just don’t think you can create something that you will enjoy looking at in the long term. It will be a fun activity for that one night and maybe for a few weeks after. But that arts and crafts board is going to get dog-eared and dusty, the corners of the glued-on pictures might start to curl. It’s going to lose it’s Zest!
I want you to create something that has images, graphics, art, quotes that speak to you personally and intentionally with what you really want for yourself. I want you to create something that looks sleek and polished and professional. I want you to create something that looks like marketing made specifically for you- because that’s what your vision board should be- it should be your own #1 self-marketing piece! Those are all the things I think you shouldn’t do.
Here’s what you SHOULD do
You should spend hours on pre-work! This is a worthy investment of your time. So, hours figuring out what you want on your vision board. You should come prepared with a folder of images and phrases. You should know what color scheme you want, what kind of design elements you want. Do you want it to be cute? Sleek? Minimal? Hippy? Magical? Goth? What’s your style?
How do you want it to be? Do you want it to be all lined up together? Do you want it to be geometric? You should do the work ahead of time before coming to the event- even if it’s your own personal, private event where you actually do the creation of your vision board.
Invest time to Learn and Design
When I say learn- I mean that I’m recommending that you use a digital way to create your vision board. I do not believe in arts and crafts for this project. I do not believe in poster board and scissors and tape and glue and cut out magazine pictures. I do not! I don’t think it’s sustainable. I don’t think it’s reproducible. And I don’t think you’ll enjoy looking at it for 12 or 18 months or however long this version of your vision board needs to be.
Start a digital collection, either a folder on your computer, or a pinterest board or a file in your google drive or an album on your phone. Start to collect things, in the weeks and maybe even months, leading up to the creation of your vision board – start to collect things that speak to you, that are aligned with your intentions, that are exactly what you want for yourself or are exactly what you already appreciate about yourself. Start that collection of images and content!
Experiment with Technology
I know not everyone identifies as tech-savvy. Some people consider themselves tech-challenged. (I don’t think that’s a helpful thought..) But if you do sometimes doubt your own technology skills or learning new things – I am recommending that you spend the time and energy, and maybe even frustration, to learn an online program to create your vision board. I’ve used Picmonkey to create my past vision boards and now, I’m experimenting with Canva since I think they still have a free version.
You can create a beautiful, sleek, professional looking marketing piece for yourself on one of these design platforms with your own images and colors. I think you should invest the time and effort to at least learn the program at least to be able to create this project.
Figure out how to use your Vision Board in Multiple Ways
Think about this- the whole concept of the “old style” vision boards is that they’re usually on a rigid poster-size board – what are you going to do with it? Display it in your house or workplace somewhere? Maybe not in public? So maybe in your closet, or on the back of a door so other people don’t see it but you do see it frequently? How does that work?
I’m suggesting that you can print your digitally created vision board in different sizes. I printed mine and pasted it into the front cover of my journal so I could see it daily. And, because it was digital, I also had a version of it saved on my phone so that I could look at different parts of it and enlarge or expand those sections when I wanted to focus on them. I also had a digital copy of it saved in my Evernote account so that whichever computer I was on, I could log into Evernote and pull up my vision board and look at on a screen.
For me, knowing that I had it on my phone, I knew when I needed a little refresher.. A little reminder.. A little alignment or check in.. I could pull it up easily and give myself a little jolt of that self-created personal marketing.
The Digital Benefit
The benefit of using a program like picmonkey or canva, is that the digital version is editable and savable so that you can make adjustments and changes to it later.
As you consider creating it, I want you to consider including a combination of what you already have, and love, and appreciate and experience in your life and also include what you will have and will love, and will appreciate and will experience in your life. You’ll have a mix of both of those categories- what you do have and what you will have. You mix those images and statements and graphics all together, and arrange them on your board and then you look at it all together at the same time and your brain doesn’t tell the difference. Your brain just sees it all and believes all of it.
I want to tell you about a potential pitfall once you have your vision board created. My advice is to be honest about the thoughts you have about your vision board when you look at it.
For the very first vision board that I created for myself, I really liked how it looked (because I was so intentional about the design and the colors and the composition) but I realized that I didn’t really like looking at it because there were some things on it that I didn’t believe or thought I couldn’t believe.
How your Vision Board should make you feel
My advice is, once you start using your vision board, be really honest and aware about your thoughts when you look at it. If looking at your vision board creates any resistance for you, or creates any doubt, shame, or guilt, if it creates longing or any version of scarce thinking, then there’s something wrong.
Your vision board is supposed to raise your vibration and convince your brain of what’s possible – it’s not designed to put you in a scarce mode. Be honest with yourself about what you think about what you’ve included in your vision board and this is another reason to create it digitally. So, if it’s not right, you can edit it. You can change out images or phrases. You don’t have to keep it the way you originally created it.
And, once it’s created and you’re using it, expect and plan to change and upgrade your vision board when necessary! Because, guess what’s going to happen when you thoughtfully create and use your vision board? Things that you put on your board are going to start coming true and will actually happen, and eventually your entire vision board will be what you currently have, or it will be full of what you wanted, but what’s no longer important to you anymore because you’ve got it and it’s not a big deal any more because they’re already part of your regular life.
Ok! Hopefully I’ve inspired you to create a vision board, or update your current vision board to a digital version (if it isn’t already). And now, I’m curious.. Do you have any strongly held beliefs and opinions about vision boards?
Do you think they work? Or, do you think they’re just a fun arts and crafts activity?
Do you have any resistance about considering a vision board for yourself?