I have been using vision boards for several years, however, only in the last six months or so have I used one that I created on the computer, and included viewing it as part of my meditation routine, watching it almost daily. This has been a really effective tool for me, both the creating of the project, constantly adding to it, and viewing it, which I look forward to as a sort of little vacation in my day. I decided to write a series on vision boards, and their use for motivation, which can be a key part of any job search, starting a new business, or exploring new career or business opportunities, as vision boards are great for helping you recognize what you really desire, what’s important to you, and to keep your focus on the goal, and your pictures show you exactly what achieving that goal will look like.
What is a vision board? Part 1
A vision board is a collage of images typically combined with text, phrases, quotations, that you create yourself, for yourself, and use to inspire, motivate, remind you of your desires or goals, and thereby keeping your mind, and ultimately your actions, working toward fulfilling those desires and goals. The act of creating the vision board is for many people as inspiring, if not more, than using it after its completion, although I recommend not considering any vision board complete, but an ever-changing and growing reflection of you and your inner vision of your ideal world.
There are several common types of vision boards, but we’re going to focus on two of the most common.
1) Physical – A physical collection of images (photography, art, graphics, etc.) often combined with words or phrases that all have a meaning for you, and that represent something you desire, that inspire or motivate you, or evoke a strong [positive] emotion within you. This collage of images and/or words can be attached to an actual “board,” such as a piece of cardboard, construction paper, cork board, foam board, or anything you’d like to use as a background and foundation for your vision board, or you can simply arrange them into a collage attached to a wall, a door, a cabinet, a mirror, window, or anything that gives you the space and an ability to mount the items to it. Frame, unframed, any background you like, mount it or just lean it against a countertop or dresser or table, use your creativity here and what appeals to YOU.
2) Digital – Another type of vision board can be created digitally on a computer, using any type of software that will allow you to work with images and text. There are actual software programs sold specifically for creating a vision board, but you can also use photo management software or presentation creation products, such as Microsoft’s PowerPoint or Keynote for Macs. I happened to have used PowerPoint to create my digital vision board, mainly because of my comfort level and familiarity with PowerPoint, and my lack of experience with photo editing or managing software.
If you have ever taken a picture from a magazine and put it on your refrigerator, you have essentially created a vision board. You see a beautiful picture of a beach that just calls to you, reading the article about it made the amazing tropical paradise make you want to start shopping for travel packages, or at least Google it on the computer to read more about it. You may not be able to whip out your credit card and book your trip right then and there, but you like the feeling that you have when you think about planning a trip there, so you stick the photo on the refrigerator with a magnet or tape, where you can see it often and although you might not realize it – evoke the feelings again that you had at the thought of planning that trip and traveling there, and as a goal or motivation to do whatever you need to do to get that trip. (Work overtime, get a second job, cut back on shopping trips for shoes, eat more at home instead of out, paint your living room yourself instead of hiring a painter, etc.)
The difference between the scenario with the beautiful tropical beach photograph and a vision board is simply that the vision board is all done consciously and with intention. Instead of just happening across a photo that evokes enough emotion and desire to cause you to put it somewhere where you will see it regularly as a motivator and reminder, you sit down with the intention of finding images about something in particular, or looking for phrases or words, quotes or sayings, all that touch you or move you, and inspire and motivate you toward a goal.
Whether you wish to create a vision board the “physical” way, with magazine photos, photos you’ve taken yourself or printed off the computer, newspaper photos or text, cut or torn out, stapled, taped, glued, or otherwise attached to a form or a background, or the “digital” way, adding photos available through the media library already available on your software product, images you’ve taken and uploaded to your computer, other images available online, and typing in the text yourself—it should:
- Be somewhere you will see it or be reminded to look at it frequently
- Be designed in a format that is easy to look at, pleasing to your eyes
- And most importantly, be images and words that you WANT to look at and are positive. A vision board should give you happy thoughts and pleasant feelings, not a reminder of tasks not accomplished and goals not reached. (More about that later on.)
You might want to make more than one, or try making one of each kind, a physical one and a digital one, see if one method is more fun to work on or you like the results better, and you might be surprised at what you find out! I happen to be someone who has been crafty and hands-on all my life. From home improvement projects, to art projects with my kids and grandkids, sewing, needlework, and like the typical crafter, boxes filled with glue guns, fabrics, yarn, thread, glitter, other craft supplies, and yes, half-finished projects! And though I’m also very comfortable on a computer, I generally have not been particularly artistic with computers, I quite frankly find photo imaging software something that makes me want to rip my hair out if I do anything more than add photos to it, and I have never done anything with graphics except insert ready-made ones. And so I would have expected to have preferred creating a physical vision board, with all the enjoyment of crafting and using my hands. However, as it turns out, the vision board I created in PowerPoint is definitely the one I enjoyed creating the most, adding to it regularly, and definitely watching – every day!!
One of the key reasons for me with the digital PowerPoint board, is that it is not static, the pictures are moving in a slide show without any effort on my part, and although I try not to overdo it, I do add some of the special effects that are very easy to use and so there is added visual interest. The second key reason—music— is probably even more instrumental though in my enjoyment of the digital board (pun intended) because as with most people, music really moves and inspires me. So for me, adding in music with the ever-changing visuals, and the ease of use of PowerPoint, all adds up for me to be definitely my most favorite.
So exactly how did I go about making my vision board and what did I include in it? That will be in the next part of this series on vision boards, as well as why we should use them, how to use them, and how you should determine what desires and/or goals you want to include in yours.
In the meantime, give some thought to a desire or a goal that you have, something that you might like to have a visual (and possibly audio) reminder of it, to provide inspiration or motivation to help you reach that goal or achieve what you desire. Your goal or the purpose of this vision board should be your first step before you start collecting photos or quotes or other text. Don’t limit yourself to material objects or things you can buy, but also think of behavior or actions, activities, habits you’d like to form or that you already have but want to nourish them, a job or promotion or career you want. Don’t limit yourself to what you think is “realistic” – this is for dreams, dream BIG! And lastly, make sure this is YOUR dream, not what others are telling you they want for you or that they think you should want for yourself, there’s no point in trying to fool yourself and in fact, it’s simply a waste of time. You’re doing this for you, your dreams, your goals, your desires—you are worthy and deserve them!