“We go where our vision is.”
— Joseph Murphy
Or said another way – we bring about what we think about. And one of my favorite tools to suggest to clients in the midst of transition, or to partake in myself, is putting thoughts and dreams on paper in the form of a vision board.
I crafted my most impactful vision board almost 15 years ago and am amazed at how much of what I put on it has already been manifested. I had just resigned from a very good job because it was no longer a very good job for me. I was burned out and bummed out with no clear career or personal path in sight and no trust fund, boyfriend or dog to find comfort in. But I did have a fairly large blank wall across from by bed that practically begged for some adornment.
So I created a flipchart canvas by taping together 4 horizontal sheets of flipchart paper in 2 rows to become a roughly 5 x 3 foot canvas.
At the top of the canvas I wrote “2020 Vision” – an intentional double entendre representing what I wanted my life to look like and feel like in the year 2020, as well as the clarity of focus and intention I wanted to bring to the journey.
Somewhat organically, I began framing the edges of my vision board with color-coded action verbs that I wanted to cultivate in my 2020 life. I challenged myself to not repeat any of the words and to not look in a thesaurus. To my astonishment I ended up with 77 different action verbs! I know this because I would often count the words and say them out loud if I was having trouble falling asleep. Or I’d focus on one particular word for a minute or two before starting my day. Some of the words had little to do with my life at the time – like “mothering,” “writing,” and “receiving.” Others represented core values/activities I knew I wanted to continue honoring like “befriending,” and “coaching,” and other verbs like “tumbling,” “decorating,” and “serenading” just sounded fun so I included them, too.
Then I divided my canvas into four sections with smaller subheadings:
- People: names of those who I wanted to stay in my life, and new relationships/communities I wanted to create like “husband” and “volunteer”
- Places: the kind of home I wanted, places to visit, and work environment I’d spend my days in
- Passions: vocational and avocational ambitions and delights – how I wanted to earn a living and enjoy my life, and
- Prouds: things I wanted to accomplish by the year 2020 – like have a family of my own, run a half-marathon, and write a book.
Under each word I added pictures, symbols, song lyrics, quotes, and magazine clippings to enliven and clarify my vision.
A few tips for you to consider:
- Don’t do it my way, do it your way. If that means starting in a journal then start in a journal. If it means starting on a post-it note then start on a post-it note. Just start it, and post it.
- Don’t rush. It took me about a month to fill in my canvas but I wouldn’t say it was ever “complete.” It was always a work in progress and I liked it that way. Do be patient.
- Do make it visible. At least to yourself.
- Do send any inner or outer critics out for a walk or a long run when you are working on your vision board. No cynics or doubters allowed. But do feel free to invite in anyone who knows you well and can listen with an open heart.
- Don’t tell yourself you have to do whatever is up there or that you have to know how you will make any of it happen.
- Do give yourself ample permission to want what you want.
- Don’t feel you have to have it all figured out or filled out. I intentionally left plenty of white space on my vision board to invite possibilities beyond my imagination.
- And no matter how pretty or yummy the markers look – don’t use permanent ones unless you double up on the flipchart paper! Something I learned the hard way.
So dear reader, what three action verbs do you see as part of your 2020 vision?