Yes. Yes, I am. And no, I’m not. Sorta.
You see, I’ve lived long enough to see vision boards become a popular trend, then fall out of favor, only to come back in style again. When they weren’t all the rage, people who made vision boards were mocked and accused of being dreamers instead of doers. They were told that instead of pasting cut-out images of magazines to a poster board, they should put all that energy into working toward their goals. And even today, there are some who still shun and shame the vision board concept, going so far as to claim it’s a luxury of youth.
Well, I know a couple “grown folks” who might have a word or two to say about that luxury of youth idea. But more importantly, I think it’s necessary to remember that regardless of what age group you check on a survey or how many magazines you mutilate, vision boards are neither the devil or a savior. What they are … is a fun, creative reminder of why one day all those blurry-eyed late nights, carpel tunnel aches, tension headache-inducing headdesks, crippling doubt-filled moments you spend working toward your dreams will all be worth it. You hope.
Because let’s be honest. Vision boards don’t guarantee results anymore than business plans do. Thousands of entrepreneurs go into each fiscal year hoping it will be better than the last — even the big dogs like Cathy Hughes, Elon Musk, and Sara Blakely. But the blood, sweat and tears that make your dream a reality is the same with or without a vision board. So does that mean they won’t make a difference? Does that mean they don’t matter?
Of course not!
The process of creating a vision board may look like child’s play or grade school busywork, but it’s so much more. By building a visualization of what your goals will look like in a perfect world, you ask yourself the hard questions as to what’s reasonable, honest and possible. Sure, you may be planning with pretty pictures and words torn from a glossy mag, but the mental focus you put in asking yourself the hard questions combined with the introspective dissection of who you are and what you value isn’t for the faint of heart.
It’s possible to go through the motions for the sake of fun time with arts and crafts, sure. But if you’re the artistic kind and an advocate of knowing what your finish line should look like, vision boards might be just right for you.
Not only do I recommend you lean in to the vision board concept, but play around with it. Nix the poster board altogether, and create a shadow box instead filled with tchotchkes that conjure up what success looks like for you. Don’t like that? What about painting or sketching your vision of what you hope the future may bring? You can also go digital and take your board with you on the go.
This time around, I went a little more out the “box” myself and took up a suggestion from a fellow #BBU member. As you can see in my featured image above, I made a vision board with twine, nails, clothespins, photo paper and the mighty fountain of images that is Pinterest.
And who says vision boards are an annual thing? I made my last one about 5 years ago. And after accepting I was comfortable with how those dreams were realized (sorta), I’ve only recently decided it was time for a new one. OK, so I never moved to Washington, D.C., and I never owned that killer wardrobe that I just knew I could rock. But I did focus my business, donned the proper title of entrepreneur (vs freelancer), chased the opportunities I wanted, and reminded myself that fortune favors the bold. Oh, and I also took that trip to Toronto I kept talking about.
Like New Year’s Resolutions, a vision board doesn’t have to be all talk if you’re honest with yourself about what want, need and can accomplish within a time-frame that feeds your ambition. My new “board” has upgraded to including not only goals for the near future, but for the next 5-10 years as well. It also includes better representation of the quality of life I want to achieve and maintain, not just what I want on my letterhead. Plus, I made a point to include more images of women who looked like me. 😉
But again, you do you. If you take nothing away from me today, take this: Your path is not my path. So don’t be afraid to zag while everyone else zigs. Don’t feel like creating a vision board at all? Fine. You prefer words over images? You’re a thief after my own heart. You would rather celebrate the Lunar New Year instead of the calendar New Year? Way ahead of you.
In the end, if visualization helps you keep your eyes on the prize, forget the naysayers and bring on the poster board!