While it’s really important to do the ‘proper’ work of goal setting, looking at specific targets and metrics and so on, for your business, that strategic work is probably going to end up in a drawer somewhere sooner or later. A vision board can be a fun but powerful way of visualising and reminding yourself of your goals to keep you focused and motivated all year. Find out how you can create your very own vision board!
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
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Creating a vision board for the new year
Hello there. And welcome back as we continue to explore this idea of envisioning and planning for the new year, because yes, it’s an important time of year to really define success for the new year 2021 and beyond.
Now, last week, we got into more detail specifically for a business in terms of coming up with your strategy and goals and plan for the business. And if you’re listening to this more or less on time, then we will literally have just finished our annual goal setting review planning session over in the Outsiders Business Accelerator. So, that was exciting. Hopefully you have been able to join us and if not, then perhaps you can join us later in the year. I do the quarterly review session as well, every three months, and I’m bringing people into the Accelerator on a rolling basis. So if it’s something you’re still interested in, then don’t delay, you can still join us at onestepoutside.com/accelerate.
Now, today is a lighter touch version of envisioning because yes, it’s really important to have proper goals and financials and templates and strategies and plans and so on. However, that’s probably going to be in a drawer somewhere at some point. And certainly in Accelerator we find, that’s why it’s so important to check in monthly, certainly quarterly to make sure that we are still clear on what our goals are. And we are still taking the actions we committed to taking. And one tool that can really help us do this in a fun creative visual way is a vision board.
And now you may have come across this idea before, maybe you’ve tried it before, and it hasn’t really worked for you. Or again, you’ve just put it away in your drawer somewhere and forgotten about it. Maybe you haven’t heard of it. Maybe you’ve never tried it and it seems a bit silly or whatever. Whatever the case, I would encourage you to give it a go or give it another go and see if we can make it a bit more effective for you.
Now, why bother with a vision board? Well, it’s really a tangible visual reminder.
I think the process is really meaningful in itself actually because we’ll spend some time really thinking about what it is we want to achieve, we’ll be in some cases,physically sticking pictures and words or drawing onto a board. So the process is fun in itself, but also, I feel like that’s quite visceral in a way. It’s not just typing a goal on a sheet or something. It’s really, okay, I’m creating, I’m producing, I’m visualising what that’s going to look and feel like. So, that’s really powerful.
And then really, and I’m going to show you a few of my examples here. So I’ll be a little bit vulnerable here, demonstrating some of my visions from the past few years, but you can really have these front and centre. I have mine here at my blackboard. You can have it up on the window, on your mirror, in your wallet, pull it out now and then, so it can be a really important reminder. Now whether or not you believe in the whole law of attraction, this idea of the book and the film, the secret and manifesting and all these things, I’m not quite there and I hope you’re not quite there of just sitting here, “Yep, I’ve done my vision board. Now it’s all going to come to me.” That’s not quite how it works.
However, it is a fantastic first step to set your intention, to define success, to visualise what it is you want.
And then of course, I believe that we need to then take action. Having said that, I also do believe that there is an element of this opening up our eyes and our intention and those opportunities will come and we’ll see them much more than we would have otherwise because we have now visualised and imagine this. So our eyes are open to these opportunities that perhaps we wouldn’t have considered before. So there is a little bit of magic happening as well. So, that’s exciting.
Okay. Now, how do we go about doing this? It might sound really obvious, but bear with me. There are a few different angles, a few different ways we can tackle this really. And the first one is to think about, okay, where are you in the goal setting process? Because if you don’t know, and let’s say, we’re thinking also about a specific topic or just the next phase of your life, quite broad, and you don’t really know what it is you want. Then this can be quite an interesting exercise just to grab a bunch of magazines, flip through. Don’t give yourself any structure, just kind of cut out and choose pictures and words and whatever that really resonate with you, and then see what comes up.
And that can be quite a powerful exercise in itself when you’re just allowing it to be free and creative. And then having this board that might show you some certain themes. Maybe there’s something that comes through about a sense of freedom that you’re looking for. Maybe there’s an element of travel you’re wanting to do. Maybe there’s a certain type of work or being with certain people, maybe you’re alone. And there’s an element of love and romance and relationship on there. All these emotions and aspects of your life could come through. So, that’s the first approach. If you don’t yet know what you want, and in any case, it can be a really interesting free exercise just to see what comes up.
On the other hand, if you have already set your goals, you’ve got your plan, your vision, you know exactly what you want, it can be a really interesting exercise to just choose pictures and words and so on to remind yourself to really concretely tangibly, again, visualise and concretize these ideas in sort of physical form. So look, I’ve got, these are the three things I want to do this year, and I’m going to depict those on this vision board to remind myself it’s going to be up there and I’ll look, yes, these are my three big goals for this year, or my one big goal, even for this even better. So if you know exactly what you want, it can also be a useful backup device in a way to remind you, a tangible reminder every day there while at your desk or in your bedroom, wherever you want it.
And then finally, you can also use it for a specific theme. So let’s say for your business, for example, could be really interesting, what are your goals and ideas and what’s your vision for the business?
And again, that could be a free exercise, or it could be really specifically tangibly representing your goals that you’ve already defined. You could do it for relationships and romance and that kind of thing. You could do it for your health and wellbeing and your body and your mind and your soul if that’s something you want to do, for your career path more generally, for some kind of aspect of your life, maybe for your home as well if you’re looking to build a home.
I had one that looks a bit more like an interior design magazine, but I, at the time hadn’t had a home in many years. And in fact, in some ways, never, at least since I was at my parents, because I’d been living in student accommodation and renting, not so nice places and so on. So for me, that was a really important anchoring grounding goal. And to be able to imagine all the beautiful designs and furniture I’d have in my study and so on was really exciting.
So again, those are sort of three options to put out there. One is to go completely free and just see what comes up. The second is to have specific goals and then try to visualise those and choose pictures and words that will really represent those goals that you already have. And then finally choose a theme. And for the theme, you could either go completely free or you could then choose specific images and so on to represent what you already know is your goal.
Now, the other dimension, see, it’s more complicated than you thought, is how you actually are going to go about doing this.
And the first obvious one, I think, and the most fun, although albeit the one that I’ve done the least, I must say up until recently is to grab a bunch of magazines. I went to a local newsagent and I just got a bunch of travel magazines and then business magazines, car magazines, even if that might be on your vision board, different aspects, lifestyle magazines, home magazines and so on. So you get a range of pictures. You don’t just want one with lots of skinny bikini girls on the front, for example. You don’t want one just with cars, maybe unless you really have a very strong vision to buy a super car like my nephew, perhaps. But really a range of different magazines. You don’t need a lot.
But by the way, I did this last year with a group of women. And I think if you want to have some fun with it, then do invite your friends over. There are formal vision board sessions you can do, but I think it’s something you can do by yourself as well. Get your partner involved. However reluctant, get your kids involved if they’re old enough to wield a pair of scissors. Get some glue, tape, stickers, washi tape, whatever, you can get really creative and make it almost like one of those incredibly beautiful scrapbooks that they do as a hobby, but really up to you. But you can keep it simple as well, but pictures and words and things from these different magazines.
So, that’s the most organic way. So in particular, if you don’t yet know what your goals are, I think that’s the most useful way of doing it. It’s the most fun. Just sit there, put some music on, have some biscuits, have some friends over and sit and chat with each other while you’re sort of casually browsing through and cut out some pictures and words and so on and then stick them on when you’re ready. So that’s an organic way.
Now, the way I’ve preferred to do it in the past has been more digital. Especially if you know what your goals are, it’s easy, you can search words. So I was able to search, I don’t know, sailing or freedom or whatever it might be, right? So yeah, even quite vague concepts you can search and you can find on Google Images. Don’t worry about copyright because we’re not going to be publishing this anyway. You can just keep it at home. But digitally, you can search for images and words and things, and then you can stick that onto a keynote or PowerPoint, so you don’t need to print anything out or use anything physical if you don’t want to. Of course, it’s nice if you then print out that final copy or perhaps why not make it your desktop background.
And then the third version, which is also digital would be a Pinterest board.
So again, it can be sort of organic, just browse, but it can also be that you’re searching specific concepts and ideas and words, and following people. Put some food on there, put some sport on there, whatever else, right? You can also of course use your own pictures. I sometimes use my own personal pictures if it’s something that I’ve done already and I want to do more of, for example.
So again, three different approaches there, you can go completely physical and old school and fun with scissors and glue and friends, or you can do it digitally by searching Google Images or even more digitally, I suppose, with a Pinterest board as well. So it depends how you want to use it as well if you’re on the move, if you’re nomadic, maybe you don’t want to have lots of paraphernalia. In our workshop, we did these concrete A3 boards, which are really nice again for me to have here on the side.
But to show you some examples, and I’ll just flash them up quickly. But this was one of the ones I did. In fact, I should say before I show you the ones that I think are better perhaps, to really try to think about how you want to feel and not just the physical things. This is the house and the car and the money and so on. Right? That’s fine. But if you’re familiar with Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Mapping, for example, it’s much more around, “Okay, well, why do you want a house and home?” “Well, I want to feel like I belong. I want to feel grounded. I want to feel safe.” So think about the feelings and try to depict the feelings around perhaps a beautiful picture of a house by all means rather than the actual, only the tangible thing.
So the mistake I think I made, I made my first board in 2012, I think before I quit my job and it had, as I remember, and that’s one of the only things I remember, some really specific logos of companies where I wanted to work. And if that’s the case, if you know exactly where you want to work and you wanted to pick those logos or office buildings or whatever, then by all means. In my case, I think I was just kind of putting on the superficial goal of wanting to career change to a more exciting industry. And I hadn’t really reflected on what that meant. So it would have been more powerful, I think, to represent fulfilling, meaningful work, making a difference, feeling more free, working independently, travelling more. And those things were on there. But I think, rather than necessarily put a specific logo on there, for example, just as a bit of a parallel of what perhaps isn’t as useful. So don’t go too concrete unless you are really sure you’ve done the work, you’ve done the due diligence on this really being exactly what you want.
Now, I can’t exactly see what you can see. So hopefully you can see this. And of course, if you’re listening to the podcast, you can’t see this, but if you weren’t aware, I do now do video work versions of the podcast. So you can find me at Anna S.E. Lundberg on YouTube, Anna S.E. Lundberg, and then you can watch the video as well. Just as an example, this first one was, I mean, in those days I was single and there’s an element of sort of sport and there’s running there and there’s kayaking with my friends. There’s a Thelma and Louise travel element, lots of photos there. There’s reading and books and living by the sea I think. There is also an element of… Oh, and paddle boarding, which I was doing. Writing books, which has been my goal for a long time writing and presenting and running workshops and that kind of thing. So there’s a bit of business there. And I had that I wanted to meet someone. So I was growing old with somebody and having somebody to spend time with.
I did a specific one for business too at the time. So I had, again, more concretely there’s a bookshop there, I’m writing, there’s my book, a pile of books that I’ve written. Be the role model you needed when you were younger, all the publications I wanted to be published in. What else have I got? Your comfort zone, that’s my main coaching concept that I’ve always had. The magic happens outside the comfort zone. What does success mean to you? She designed a life she loved, more presenting and workshops and retreats and a bit of paddleboarding still and being by the sea and so on. So pretty consistent, but you can see how the business one is a little bit more focused in that direction.
I do also have the home one, which again, was when I was single. So as you can see, it’s a little bit more pink perhaps than it’s become now, although my study’s quite pink, so quite feminine, but really beautiful. For me, at least, this felt really lovely in terms of the garden and the bed and having my own space was really important to me at that time. And then just as an example, of course, what it could look like with Pinterest. Now this is my dream car. If I ever live in California or somewhere like that, I’d love to have a yellow convertible beetle. It doesn’t look great here in rainy London, but it’s certainly something to think of the future. But again, that’s sort of having a Pinterest board, right?
I will show you also because in 2020 I had quite a different approach. So if you can see this, hold it up here, there are a lot more words on there. So I found the art of simplicity, going slow. There’s a lot around wellbeing and sleep. This was after I just had a baby, remember? Where next there is a bit of adventure, wonder weekends away. There’s also the business aspect of contributing and inspiring talks and writing, movers and shakers and so on. My daughter’s on there, date night, because not just motherhood and work, but also wanting to have time with my partner and so on. So happiness, home full of memories.
So to be honest, I don’t think that’s so far off, but of course we did get a few spanners in the works, didn’t we, last year, both globally and personally. Some things happened to shift my priorities, let’s say, and that’s okay, because this is quite a loose guide. It’s a bit like the theme that we had a few weeks ago in terms of having that concept, having that guiding star that isn’t too rigid. I’m not going to hold you account and say, “Hey, you didn’t sleep enough. It’s on your board here. You didn’t achieve what you put on your vision board.” It’s a guide. It’s a visual reminder, an inspiration and something that should again be fun and light and not something that feels really heavy and really dragging you down and sort of tying you to something that may or may not be relevant later in the year.
So there you go. If you haven’t done it before, I hope this is an exciting prospect. Have a go. Just in an hour or so, again, involve your family, involve your friends if you can. Do it digitally, by all means even easier, but it is more fun I’d say, and perhaps even more effective and certainly more visceral, more physical to do it tangibly with scissors and pictures and all sorts and cutting them out and glueing them on. But I hope you can see how it can be very powerful to both focus the mind on what it is you want, if you’re not sure yet. And then also represent physically, visually those things that you have identified as a goal, as a visual reminder throughout the year.
So I hope you enjoy that process. I’d love to see your vision boards. If you’d like to share them with me, you can share them. Perhaps share an Instagram story, and tag me in that, Anna S.E. Lundberg, or you can also of course, email me if you want to keep it confidential firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much for listening. Best of luck with your vision boards and I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.
If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:
Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation
Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall
Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com
Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5
Up-level with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate