by Liberty Stembridge, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 23rd July, 2018
There's a trick that the most successful people on the planet have been hiding, and it's much simpler than you'd imagine. Visualization is a powerful tool to work your way to success (whatever that may mean to you) and achieve your dreams, and one of the most effective and powerful tools in your arsenal is a vision board. It sounds almost ridiculous, but once you try it out, it won't be long before you'll be noticing the effects in your own life.
A vision board is a tool for success, and your ultimate motivational weapon. It's a collection of words and images that represent all your hopes, dreams and desires. Nothing is too wild or unlikely that it cannot be included in your vision board. You can create one easily at home by searching out pictures, online or in magazines that inspire you and represent what you truly want from your life, and collating them into one area of your home. It could be a cork board, a piece of paper, the desktop wallpaper of your computer, or even just a Pinterest board, as long as the intention behind it remains the same. A vision board reminds you of what you're aiming for, and keeps you on track, and over time becomes a way to actualize and realize your dreams.
You might be wondering how exactly a bunch of pictures stuck to a piece of paper could help you work your way to success, and you wouldn't be alone, but it turns out there is some science behind the magic.
A vision board is a collection of everything you want in life, whether it's for certain things to stay the same, or for things to change. Where else in your life do you get to see a concentrated collection of all your hopes and dreams? I'm guessing there aren't many other places. Having that space that you can look at every day reaffirms and re-focuses your mind to concentrate on what you want. While it's good to be mindful and live in the present moment, vision boards offer a positive stimulus, to remind you of what you want to work towards in a way that inspires and motivated you. Looking at your vision board every day passively influences your brain, meaning that when you make decisions throughout the day, you'll be contributing to your dreams, whether your conscious of it or not. It keeps you focused and in a success mindset, and stops you from deviating or getting too distracted.
There's a popular quote in the field of goal-reaching and success coaching - "Energy flows where attention goes." It means that when you pay attention to what you really want in life, even if it's for just a fraction of the day when you wake up and look at your vision board, you are directing energy towards that goal and this influences how you feel, act, think and how other people treat you. Focusing your energy onto what you really want in life is the key to achieving it, and a vision board is just one of the many tools you can use to concentrate that energy.
Creating a vision board might sound incredibly simple - you just stick a load of pictures to a page and call it a day, right? Wrong. If you want to reap the full benefits of your vision board, you'll want to spend some time on it. Remember, this is your life you're trying to plan out, and putting the wrong things on your vision board could result in disaster. For example: let's say you want to earn more money, but you don't think it through and you put "get a higher paying job" on your vision board. A few months later, you've been job hunting and you find a job that you're qualified for, that has a much higher salary attached to it. You apply, get the job, but a few months down the line find that you're miserable because although you have more money, your new job is incredibly stressful and takes up all of your time. This is why it's important to think your vision board through, and take time to focus on what you really want.
There are four main steps to creating a vision board: deciding, planning, creating and placing.
Probably the most important step in the process, this is when you decide what should be put on your vision board. What areas of your life would you like to change, and what does your dream life look like? Take time to really consider what you want, and don't hold yourself back. If it's truly your dream to be a millionaire, that's okay, this is your life and you can dream as big as you want. A useful quote to go by: "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." If it appeals to you, use this time to meditate, journal or discuss what you might want from your life with close family and friends. If it makes things easier, try splitting your life into categories or themes that you can focus on. The most common ones are: Health, family, relationships home, career, money and spirituality, but you can create as many as you want.
The next step is planning: what are you actually going to put on your vision board, how are you organizing it and what kind of medium is it going to be in. You need to find the words and pictures that truly represent what you want, and be bold here. If you want financial freedom and an abundance of money, find a picture of someone holding a bunch of money, or a wallet full of cash rather than an artsy shot of someone in a fancy hotel room. This isn't the time to be vague - find pictures that stir up some emotion in you and make you think "yes, that represents what I want". It's useful while you're finding these pictures to try and maintain an attitude that whatever these pictures represent, will actually be happening to you soon. Many people find that when they are finding and printing out these pictures, they look at them and feel sad or overwhelmed because they think they will never achieve what the picture represents. Let go of that fear and embrace that you can get what you want.
Once you've got all your pictures and quotes printed out or collected, it's time to actually create the vision board. Try to keep pictures with a certain theme together, so that looking at them altogether will have a more powerful effect. If you're creatively inclined, you can certainly put your own flair and go all out on your vision board, it's yours after all, but if you're not so bothered about the aesthetics, it's perfectly fine to just stick your pictures on a page and call it a day.
Finally, you'll need to find the perfect place to put your vision board. Try and place it somewhere where you will see it every day, and be reminded. A lot of people like to put their vision boards above their desks or on their mirror, where they know they'll spend some time every day.
The most commonly asked question when it comes to vision boards is: what the heck do I put on it? Really, the only answer is, that's entirely up to you. Some people really like having a very focused vision board, that zones in on one particular area of their life they want to change, such as a job or finding a new relationship or getting fitter. Others like to have a looser vision board that dabbles in all aspects of their life. To start off with, you might want to mix the two. Pick a few of the main areas of your life and zone in on them to decide exactly what you want. Just remember: anything goes when it comes to a vision board, there is nothing too big nor too small that can't go on there. It could be as simple as a new phone or as big as starting a family, it's totally up to you.
What happens when you've completed your vision board, do you just leave it alone to do it's magic? Absolutely not, a vision board only works if you do remember, it's a tool for success. It's important to keep your vision board visible and easily accessible, somewhere where you'll see it everyday. It's also crucial that you get into the habit of looking at and focusing on your vision board, even if it's only once a week (but even better if it's every day). Re-focus on why you put what you did on your vision board and what you can do to get there today.