A few weeks back, I decided to host a small vision board party. Nothing fancy really – friends and me and an intro article to get us in the mood. I had not tried doing a vision board before, much less an actual vision board party, but after a few readings I was ready for our experiment. Importantly, some of my friends tagged along and we had a quorum. So I share an experiment that worked, not a best of tried and tested recommendation!
Why a Vision Board
I have been keen on goals for the last 3 years. If you have been here for a while you are likely to have encountered my goal setting template. But this year, I wanted to try the vision board as well. A visual representation of what I want life to look like. Images of what success means in my own terms. Images that would inspire me when I needed a reminder. For this year, but likely for some years after as well. The power of visualization is something many people preach. And whilst I have no proof to preach it I rather go with the belief that it can’t hurt!
Anything you can imagine, you can createOprah Winfrey
How do you host a vision board party…
… in a virtual environment and considering you have never done a vision board before. All valid points. In all honesty, a couple of magazines, scissors, large colourful posters, sticky glue and wine would have done for a much better experience. But, as we all learnt to live with the way of the pandemic, a google meet to share a screen, a few picture websites and good spirits were what we had (wine allowed). Here were our materials
- Pinterest Board – you can create one only for everyone and create sections for each friend that is joining, adding everyone as collaborator to the board or you can create one board for each. We did the former, but looking back, the later would have allowed us to have sections and allocate our pictures accordingly. So you can decide if you are an organized mind or a wonderer one.
- Virtual Magazine Equivalents – Unsplash, Google, or even just Pinterest. All you need is the ability to pin a photo or, if you go to the trouble, save to your computer and then upload to Pinterest. Whilst the later is more painful, it does allow you to edit the title and description of each picture, which does not work if you are just pinning from someone else’s board.
- Laptop with Google Meet/ Zoom/ Teams – the platform does not matter but I recommend doing it on a laptop, so you can actually properly see the screen of who is sharing. You can use your phone as an added device so you can easily roam through your own pictures and pin them to your board. In the beginning I was pinning everyone’s pics, but as people warmed up to the idea, they also started searching for their own, so an extra device helped.
As an aside, we have made our board secret, as I wanted everyone to be comfortable to pin their own pictures and thoughts freely. Whilst I have replicated a portion of mine to be public to illustrate this post, I have not included many family related pictures intentionally. So if you notice them missing, don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten all those important things in life.
Putting your vision board together
The first picture I added to my vision board was my word of the year: Fearless. If you have one, that can be a good place to start. If not, don’t give up hope yet. You can do a vision board based on your goals or you can use your vision board to find out more about your goals. You don’t have to have it all figure out just yet (or at all).
For our “party”, I decided to give it a go using words or themes. So we would chose 1 theme and browse through pictures related to it. As people spotted something that appealed to them, I would pin them to their boards accordingly. I share our main themes:
This was the first word one of our friends chose. If you search for this word on Unsplash, the results are … abundant! What you need to bear in mind is that not everyone feels the same about abundance – it can be food, money, relationships, work, or all of the above. In fact, for me, abundance means all of the content of the vision board, so I did not necessarily pick a picture to illustrate it. What is important when participating or leading such a party is that each person needs to go with their gut. Herd mentality does not work, otherwise, it is not your own vision board
The next topic we covered was wellness. For me, I had quite a lot of pictures to add here. In fact, this is my #1 goal for the year, to be fit and healthy. And it is nothing to do with coronavirus. This has been a goal for me for 2 years, and I have noticed very small improvements, if any. So, this year, I want to step up my game. I chose pictures that made me feel like I loved my body (yes, a bikini body, but to each their own), but also pictures of strong yoga balance, surfing or cycling, because being healthy will allow me to do that. And writing this I just realized a picture of tennis was missing on my vision board so I took a break to add that in! (yes, your vision board can and should be fluid, life is always in motion)
And no, we did not forget mental wellness. I had a picture of calm to reflect my desire to practice more meditation (and be calmer) but also a picture swimming in the middle of the ocean as a sign of freedom. After having felt in a dark water well for a good number of months, that picture represents the ultimate freedom of my mind.
This topic was the next one on the list and we all approached it in different ways. No, I did not invite only married women with children to my party! Personally, I added my core family relationships, with individual pictures with each of my children in happy moments, a picture from my wedding day (our 10-year is coming up!), pictures with different members of the family and pictures with friends. This is a year where I want to continue to invest in family, as I have done for a few years now, but also one where I want to reunite with friends and re-connect in stronger ways. Having this vision party with friends was part of it.
“True friendship isn’t about being inseparable, it’s being separated and nothing changes”
Work was a sensitive topic but one that I had to bring up to the table. Sometimes we think vision boards are all holidays and fun. However, vision boards are a great way to manifest what you want to achieve in your career. Or how you want your work to fit into your life. I chose a laptop with a magnifying glass as my work vision. Both have meaning. The laptop is the freedom of not being attached to an office space. The magnifying glass is the way I like to look at problems – through deep analysis.
I also added additional aspects of my work – pictures of the children of Mozambique for my charity work, pictures of a typewriter to stay in the zone of writing and pictures of my podcast to ensure I go back to it as soon as possible (which I did, last week!). I also added a few quotes to go along. A cautious note on quotes. It is easy to fill your vision board with quotes and get carried away. Pinterest is good at showing you new good ones based on what you select but you want your vision board to also have pictures and images that you don’t have to read, but will rather just elicit a feeling in you.
Needless to say travel was part of most of our vision boards. For this year, I had my 10-year anniversary trip planned to the Maldives. Whilst I will not make it there in May, I want to retain the thought in a near future when that is possible. And more importantly, I want to retain the feeling of peace I get when I go there. Same applies to the ski trip we did not do last week. It is important that I continue to find ways to rejuvenate the same way I do when I go skiing (and yes, go back as soon as possible).
Finally, we had another ambition for 2021 – the Camino de Santiago. Under the current circumstances, that is also unlikely to be happening. But just because it does not happen in the year that I expected, I am not taking it out of my plans, and so added a little reminder to my vision board as well. Do you have something you postponed indefinitely that you want to keep in mind?
Creating a vision
I can’t claim to have a grand plan or vision for my life as a whole. However, I do have snippets of what I believe is important for me and how I see myself living life according to my values. In the past, I have been more of a writer and not as much on the visual side. But this year, images were more important than ever to act as a reminder of what I want to create for my life. Whatever is in your vision board, in such a dark year, this can be a good way to add colour to it. And I still plan to print it and put it on a wall… at some point!