It has come to my attention that Saturday, January 14th is “National Vision Board Day”. Like most other nationally recognized “Days”, I don’t really care how or why vision boards have their own day. Like National Dog Day, National Donut Day, or National Sibling Day, I will blindly celebrate without question, and encourage my friends to do the same.
What IS a vision board, anyway?
A vision board is a tool that allows you to define goals and then align those goals with inspirational images that will excite and motivate you along your journey to achieving those goals.
Before ever making a vision board myself, I’ll admit, I thought they were hokey. Honestly, sometimes I still feel a tiny bit silly whenever I get started with a new one- but that feeling quickly passes because it is just. so. fun. Also, vision boards are completely up to you to make what you want out of them. For me personally (and for Gild), this means leaving a lot of the hokey stuff out of the process and focusing on setting goals and finding inspiration for achieving them. The definition of vision boards above is completely our take on vision boards- there are plenty of definitions out there, so I encourage you to explore and find the one that resonates with you.
I won’t go into too much detail here on visualization as a science because, well, I’m not a scientist. If you are interested in digging deeper into visualization and what it can do, I highly recommend these articles:
New York Times: Olympians Use Imagery as Mental Training Most likely you gathered this from the title, but this article focuses on how Olympians use visualization to enhance their performance.
Psychology Today: Seeing is Believing: The Power of Visualization This one is full of examples of people using visualization to achieve the unbelievable in truly wild scenarios, like this one:
“Mental practice can get you closer to where you want to be in life, and it can prepare you for success! For instance, Natan Sharansky, a computer specialist who spent 9 years in prison in the USSR after being accused of spying for US has a lot of experience with mental practices. While in solitary confinement, he played himself in mental chess, saying: “I might as well use the opportunity to become the world champion!” Remarkably, in 1996, Sharansky beat world champion chess player Garry Kasparov!”
Image Courtesy of the New York Times
Rules are there are no rules. Except there IS one rule.
When we work with organizations to create vision boards in our workshops we emphasize that the process is completely unique for every person. We always say that there are NO rules in creating vision boards, except for one: focus on your feelings.
Regardless of what topic we’re discussing in the workshop alongside the creative project, we always begin vision boards the same way: we identify core values and we set goals to align with those values. Core values are your driving principles, your “gut instincts”. The goals you set within each of those values can be specific and based on anything you want (material or immaterial).
When it comes to bringing those goals to life through your vision board, the only rule we encourage our participants to follow is to focus on what images make them feel, not what an image actually is. I encourage this “feeling focus” for a few reasons:
- If you are set on finding a specific image to represent a specific goal (i.e. a picture of a Rolex watch because your goal is to earn enough money for a Roles watch) you will spend forever searching for it and most likely not find it. If you search for an image that makes you feel the feeling of financial gain that would inspire and motivate you to work hard for that watch, you’ll have TONS more images to choose from.
- I believe that human beings, regardless of how much some may pride themselves on rationality, are completely driven by their feelings. If something makes us feel good, that matters a lot more than if someone tells us something is good. Make sense? If not, that’s OK, I’ll explain more over a workshop some time.
As you can see from these photos, my vision board is out of date. 2017 is here, whether or not we can believe it, and I have some serious goal-setting to do. I do have an excuse for being behind, though: I’ve been helping other women set their goals and create their vision boards!
Here are a few images from a workshop we hosted last week with a local nonprofit organization, where we focused on building our personal mission statements and setting goals for the new year:
Excuse the iPhone grain, folks. No 7+ here!
I hope I’ve inspired you to create a vision board yourself. Don’t worry, though, because there’s no need to do it on your own. Reach out and let us know how we can guide you through this amazing, creative exercise with the women in your life that inspire you!