It Starts With A Vision (Board)
Last Update: Jan 10, 2022
Well, the new year is here, and we are all hopefully implementing whatever plans we have for the year in regards to our business and life. At this point, most of the resolutions are yet to be broken or missed.
If you are one of those that perhaps has not developed your plan of action for the year, I would like to suggest creating a Vision Board to nail down what you want to accomplish, how you will do it, and when you will do it.
This initial step will help you gain clarity on your daily routine, it can help you move forward towards accomplishing your long-term and intermediary goals, and it can provide you inspiration daily as well.
What Is A Vision Board?
This is a term that has come about fairly recently, but the idea and principle behind it have been around forever. Back when I was a young pup, in my early 20's, I found myself newly married for a couple of years, and with two baby girls both still in Pampers...
This was quite a switch from my earlier life as a young bachelor in Germany, too young to drink in the USA but old enough to die for my country. This life is full of "huh?" moments, and that is one.
But I digress...
In any case, I decided at that young age to plan out what I wanted to do over the next 20 years or so, from that moment to the point the kids graduated from college (yes this was to be a LONG term plan)!
How did I do this?
I used to carry a smart book that had a lot of important information, and one area was just for planning. In that area of the book, I created that plan. Over the next 25 years or so, I looked at that plan, again and again, modifying it at times when indicated by events or personal and professional growth,
43 years later...
For giggles, I took a look at that plan 43 years later to see how it had all panned out not too long ago. The twists and turns of life can prevent you from seeing the forest for all the trees, and I wanted to have a 10,000-foot view.
I wanted to see what the outcomes were, and how closely they matched what I put together so many years ago as a kid with kids...
Results - Planning Works!
It turns out that many of the goals I had set for myself were accomplished over the short, mid, and long term. In fact, I had to move the goalposts several times over the decades, as the goals had been attained.
I doubt seriously that I would have been as focused as I was over the long term had I not gone through this simple exercise so many years ago, and stuck with the plan created, through many changes life brings.
That simple exercise kept me focused over the years on what I was shooting for, and all the actions I took were always intentional. I mean that with that mindset, I was able to always analyze if what I was doing was taking me forward, or not.
It seems there is nothing new under the sun, but things do get reinvented, updated, improved upon, and thereby become again relevant, useful for next generations, and perhaps to a greater degree.
That is a good thing, IMO...
What Has My Short Story Have To Do With A "Vision Board"?
Glad you asked. Sometimes old people tend to ramble on, and if I ever get old I will be careful not to be the poster child for such a person!
Let's have a look at how the story relates to the subject of today's post, a Vision Board...
Essentially fast forward to maybe a decade ago, and the new age and young people decided to update that old system I used so long ago. They adapted it in some good ways, as mine was text-based, not fancy, and had no motivational quotes or the like.
I did not have a physical board as some do today. Nor did I have a digital board ether as some use, as the only thing digital in those days was the joints I flexed quite often while doing physical training (PT).
Also, I did not have the luxury of a big office area at home (the rooms were full of baby stuff like bathtubs, cribs, toys, and the like)...Things were tight for a young soldier with stereo sounds of two babies screaming for this or that (on occasion).
Nonetheless, what today has morphed into what is commonly called a Vision Board is as useful and perhaps more so than that simple plan I put together so long ago. In fact, I would say that today having something like this is more important than it ever was.
People have so many points of sources for inputs into what they see, do, hear, feel, and experience compared to those days when I was putting together my plan. It is easier than ever to get distracted and lose the plot.
When that happens, the overwhelm can produce analysis-paralysis. This is a fancy term for saying nothing gets done. You may feel like you are, and perhaps you are busy, but in reality, no movement is achieved towards achieving your goals.
What Is A "Vision Board?
Excellent question and many readers will either already know what it is or they will at least have heard of it. Maybe they have thought "Oh no, ANOTHER new age concept - what bull-pucky!"
In reality, a vision board can be every bit as useful as that old planning exercise that I went through. The basics are there but, many useful additional factors are included IF the process is used to create one.
It's No Secret...
Want to know a secret that is NOT a secret? Goal setting and creating big changes in your life and business does not have to involve some boring corporate-like list of measurable and deadlines.
In fact, for many creative entrepreneurs, that’s just the kind of thing that makes us feel stiff and anxious. We look at that list of dates and to-dos and we’re instantly overwhelmed with the enormity of it all, so we file it away for “later.”
My personal life and professional planner created so many years ago was general enough that it was applicable to decades of use and yet specific enough to provide me a road map for years of actions.
If we add too many specifics to such a plan it can be easy to put off milestones - and “later” in this sense means "never" too often.
Yet that’s just how we were taught to approach goal setting. We’ve all heard the expression “A goal without a deadline is just a dream.” That is a true statement, but...
Sometimes dreaming is what we really need to build a clear path to our destination.
And that’s what vision boards are all about. Dreaming.
Rather than a bland calendar or spreadsheet with dates and impressive sounding goals on them, vision boards give you the creativity to let your dreams grow.
Being a visual-oriented person, when I started getting involved with vision boards, I could immediately see the advantages over the old planning I had done.
OK, So What Is A Vision Board?
The most basic definition of a vision board is just this: It’s a collection of images, quotes, and symbols that have meaning to you and which bring out feelings of joy, peace, love, and happiness.
They represent your dream life.
Vision boards come in many different formats, both digital and physical, as mentioned above. Let’s take a look at the types of content that make up vision boards.
(1) Images. By far the most common item to find on vision boards, images can be photos, drawings, mind maps, sketches, or anything else that has some meaning for you.
For example, if world travel is one of your goals, you might include photos of historic landmarks you want to visit, or airplanes or ships (imagine the feeling of freedom associated with those).
If you dream of retiring young, then a photo of you and your family relaxing on the beach will serve as a happy reminder of what life will be like when you no longer have to work. This is a visual reminder that triggers much more than the photo itself within you.
(2) Motivational messages. You’ve seen those motivation posters that say things such as, “Challenge: Always blaze the trail; never follow the path.”
For some people, these messages can be extremely powerful.
Your vision board might include messages you see posted on social media, phrases you read and jot down in your journal, or even testimonials from your clients or nice things others have said about you.
(3) Inspiring quotes. Inspiration is different for everyone. For some, the greatest source of inspiration is the Bible. For others, words of encouragement from industry leaders or historical figures is uplifting. You can have fun with these, too. Maybe your best inspiration comes from the notes inside a Dove candy bar or a fortune cookie. Whatever makes you smile or brightens your day is a good fit for your vision board.
(4) Everything else. What else inspires or motivates you? The blue ribbon your grandmother’s quilt won at the state fair? A small vial of sand from that secluded beach you’ll retire to someday? Your daughter’s baby shoes?
We’ll talk about the materials for creating a vision board below, but first, let’s look at the reality of how vision boards can change your life.
How Can A Vision Board Help YOU?
There are so many areas that a vision board can be helpful for. Most well-known might be the use case as for my planner, but there are many areas of your life where the vision board can help.
To mention a few:
Probably the most common topic of vision boards, and with good reason. Chances are you started your business with the goal of creating a better life for you and your family. It’s likely one of your driving motivations, so it’s natural to seek out tools that will help you achieve the outcomes you desire.
Vision boards are a perfect choice.
When you’re building your business vision board, consider the following questions:
- How do you want your day to go?
- What clients do you want to work with?
- What projects do you love?
- What do you want your typical workday to look like?
- Where will your “office” be?
Look for images and other items that represent your ideal business day, your perfect client, and your ultimate desired end-state.
This is another favorite topic for vision boards, and if big financial goals are part of your life plans, it's one area you should pay close attention to.
The reason many people don’t reach their financial goals is that we let those negative internal voices hold us back. You know that voice. It says things like:
- “You’ll never earn that much.”
- “No one will pay you to do that.”
- “You’ve always been financially irresponsible and you always will be.”
- “You’re just not ‘good’ with money.”
- “They’ll never accept that price increase.”
We let this negative voice in our heads create our income cap, and unless we take steps to silence it, we will never earn what we’re truly worth.
A creative vision board can help. Start by asking yourself…
- What does financial freedom mean to me?
- How can I change the world if I earn more money?
- What charities will I support when I start earning $xxx?
Then find the images that represent the feeling of fulfillment and joy you’ll have as you’re able to achieve these goals and more.
Maybe that’s a photo of needy children your church group helps support or an animal rescue organization you love.
Or maybe it’s just a big pile of money so you can retire young and live on a yacht. It’s your dream, and it can be anything you want it to be.
The point is, your vision board is the perfect vehicle for finally silencing that negative voice in your head that’s keeping you from your financial goals.
How’s your health? For many online business owners, it could be better. I know mine sure could be better!
We spend far too much time inside, sitting down, staring at a computer screen. We don’t exercise enough. We don’t eat right. We don’t drink enough water.
How can a vision board help?
By making it clear how much better you will feel (there’s that word again) when you do eat healthily, work out, and are hydrated.
A vision board filled with images of fun activities in relaxing locations is just the thing to remind you—the next time you reach for another slice of pizza—that you’re working toward an achievable goal.
Here’s an area where the sky is the limit. You might not be able to afford an around-the-world cruise (yet) but there’s no reason you can’t put it on your vision board. No matter what silly, unrealistic adventure you’re dreaming of, create it on your fun board.
(5) Family & Friends.
We don’t often think of vision boards as being helpful with building relationships, but maybe that’s just because we don’t put enough emphasis on setting goals to improve them.
Creating a family and friends vision board just might change all that.
- What kind of relationships do you want to have?
- What’s most important to you as a wife? Mother? Daughter? Friend?
- How do you want your husband to feel when he sees you?
- How do you want your kids to feel when they’re teenagers?
Fill your vision board with items that represent the best relationships you can imagine, and soon enough, you’ll begin creating those bonds in your own life.
(6) Big Scary Goals.
This is one where you add in the seemingly unattainable goals. They may initially appear to be too much to handle or address at the moment, but this is the time to put them right out in front of you.
Here’s where many of us falter. We do not set the bar high enough.
Maybe you have a few goals. Say you want to increase your income by 15%. Or run in a 5k. Or vacation in Greece.
These are all fine, respectable goals, worthy of your vision boards. But what if you turn them up a notch…or three?
(1) Instead of increasing your income by 15%, increase it by 150%.
(2) Rather than running a 5k, run an ultra-marathon.
(3) Instead of a vacation in Greece, move there.
With your vision board populated with meaningful images, thoughtful and motivating quotes, inspirational messages, and plenty of creativity, even these big scary goals suddenly feel much more attainable.
And you know what?
That which you can visualize, you can achieve.
So don’t be afraid to start a vision board for your biggest, most intimidating goals. You might not get there tomorrow or even next month, but if you keep your focus, you will get there.
So there you have it, some uses of vision boards. The planning and text-based old-style planner or vision board I used for years was helpful no doubt, but the vision board is so much more (or it can be!).
Steps To Putting A Vision Board Together...
To get to a vision board use your creativity and personality. Include things that trigger the thoughts, emotions, and resilience within you that you need to accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish.
It is like my old planner on steroids, IMO. I used my planner in the same way, but mine did not have all the triggers that you can build into a vision board.
So now that we know what a vision board can do for your future goals and your present state of mind, let’s talk about the actual building blocks.
Creating a vision board can be as simple as cutting photos out of a magazine and tacking them up on your office bulletin board, or it can be as complex as a hand-made frame with personal photos and trinkets.
- Digital: Created with software designed for the task, or with Photoshop or some other image-editing tool. Ease of use is the obvious benefit of this kind of vision board because you can quickly add and edit your board.
- Physical: Paper, bulletin boards, whiteboards, or even a wall in your home with hanging pictures. Your creative options are endless here, but your vision board will obviously be less portable.
- Mobile: Created on an app made for tablets and phones. The advantage here is that you’ll have your vision board with you everywhere you go.
That is it, regarding the physical or digital aspects of a vision board. Most certainly there is a process that you go through, where introspective analysis, honesty with self, and allowing yourself to dream of the ultimate desired outcomes is required.
Have Fun With Your Vision Board...
As you go through the analysis process, do not forget to have some fun with it all. As opposed to my old planner process, with a vision board you can use images, article excerpts, motivational quotes or images, anything you want really.
Anything that will trigger the emotion and behaviors that you are shooting for to achieve whatever it is that the focus (or focuses) of the board may entail. You can create whatever works for you, in the format that works for you.
If you choose to use a digital vision board (as so many are on their smartphones all day long these days, I am sure some youngsters will prefer this sort of board), there are tools you can find online, some free and some paid you can use.
Vision boards are a useful tool for almost everyone. Especially if you are putting together an online business as many here are, they can keep you focused, motivated, and working regularly towards your business goals.
That plan I built so many decades ago is a relic these days, but in looking back, that simple version of a vision board was essential to whatever success I may have had. It allowed me to work regularly on all the tasks needed to hit the finish line, and then some.
I think that vision boards will do the same for many of you. If you want to get on the road to success, a vision board is going to help you do that.
Next (and last!)...
Let me know please in the comment section what your experiences have been when it comes to vision boards. Is this just another new age crock or is it a valuable tool? I need to know what others think...
Have a super day all!
The sun is shining here in Dubai after 4 days of lovely clouds and rain! I miss the rain, so it was special. Also, temps are under 30C for a change!
I wish the same for all...Life is great!
Coach Dave : )