The surprising benefits of creating a vision board

I've been doing vision boards for close to ten years. I have a fairly ritualized year end routine that includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • creating a vision board
  • doing a year end review
  • choosing a word for the coming year
  • walking a labyrinth on the last day of December

This year, I thought I would email a few friends and see if anyone wanted to join me for an afternoon of creating a vision board. I got such a positive response including friends inviting friends, that I ended up organizing it at a great space nearby called ThinkSpot. My podcast co-host, Jo-Anne Gibson, got on board and we put just the right amount of structure around it. Fourteen women showed up and we crowded in around a table for the afternoon. As you can imagine the conversation was deep and thoughtful. You don't go into a vision boarding day unless you hold a certain quality of intentionality about your life. 

I talked a little bit about vision boards at the beginning. What they are and what they aren't (in my humble opinion). I don't consider them to be 'woo woo' although there is an element to them that does seem to invite a more spiritual dimension. The vision boards I do have the following benefits for me:

1. Clarity: As I flip through a stack of magazines, looking for words and images that draw me in, I start to see what I want more of in my life. It's almost like the spiritual practice of consolation and desolation. I don't over think this stage. I just start chatting with who ever I am with and then suddenly a picture or word pops out and I think - that's going on my board.  When I review the pile I've torn out at the end of going through the magazines, the colours, images and words reveal something to me about what I want or need in my life in the coming year.

2. Patterns Emerge: I do my vision boards on a 12 X 12 cardstock. I have a frame that I put the current year's board in over my desk. The previous year goes in a scrapbook (which also helps me feel good about all those failed scrapbooking attempts and unused supplies). When I look back over the past several years I see that there are consistent patterns in what I choose. There maybe a shift over time and one year has a stronger theme but similar images that reflect what is important start to emerge. It's rewarding to see how certain things have taken root and grown in my life.

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3. Confirmation: Reviewing my current vision board at the end of the year is where it does get a little woo woo for me. My vision board for the past year is above.

In 2017 I noticed a number of thing shifted for me. I travelled more than I was planning. I ended a business partnership. I started to really focus on building my business online. I went to Ireland (and I knew I was going when I put it on the board) what I didn't know was that the labryinth I had put on my board was in Ireland and I walked it! I began to get clarity around some issues around faith and religion and spirituality. I had a very intense conversation recently around the word 'Sparkle' and then I remember it was on my vision board! I'm still not sure how Nunavut fits into this year but I've got another month to go!

4. Gratitude: It's impossible for me to not be full of gratitude for the opportunity and luxury of spending the day with a group of women dreaming and envisioning how we want our future to be. To talk about what wants to emerge through our lives is incredible. I recognize that not every person has the ability to go through a process like this and I am very thankful that I do.  I also hold this board with open hands knowing that what I put on my board may not happen or it may show up in unexpected ways.  For example, I haven't been bringing as much work home as I hoped - but it is still my intention and desire. 

Reviewing my vision board helps me to trust that there is a reason I am being drawn to certain words and images - even if I don't understand it. And to pay attention to what those things are and live into them.