Vision boards clarify goals and life direction


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Vision Bored? 13 Ways to Breathe New Life into this Classic Activity!


by Elizabeth Graff and Chris Batchelder

4 March 2019



Image

You’re likely familiar with the “Vision Board,” a classic coaching and team-building exercise. If not, the general idea is that you create a collage of inspirational words and images that represent your goals. Then, you hang it in your office where it will inspire you to take actions every day that move you incrementally closer toward your goal. The subject of your vision board can be anything: an important relationship, your career or business, your health, finances, your inner life, etc.

It’s a great exercise for clarifying your vision, and it may even help you achieve your vision — granted that you accompany your vision board with concrete action steps rather than mere daydreaming sessions. However, while we recognize its value, this yearly ritual comes along with a dull groan for some of us. So we put our heads together and brainstormed 13 ways to breathe new life into this classic activity. We also thought about ways to couple this visioning activity with reminders to take action — a crucial idea that the original idea lacks. Ready to get inspired? Here we go!

1. The Letter Project. After you create your vision board, cut it up into pieces. On the back of each piece, write a step or concrete action that you can take toward achieving your vision. Place each piece in a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and ask a friend to mail the pieces back to you at regular intervals. Each piece will serve as a little reminder, inspiring you to return to your vision and check in on your progress over time.

2. 3D Journey. Maybe you’re not the collage type. That’s cool. Instead of leafing through magazines, consider dusting off the ol’ LEGO collection and representing your vision — and the journey you’ll take to get there — in three dimensions. If you don’t have LEGOs, no worries! Now you have something useful to do with the chopsticks, rubberbands, thumbtacks, shoelaces and miscellaneous doodads that have been clogging up your junk drawer. Don’t underestimate the power of 3D modeling. You might be surprised at what you discover when you start building with your hands.

    3. The Vision Map. If you already know what you want and now you’re focused on how you’re going to get there, this one’s for you. Ask yourself what you want to feel like as you work toward your vision. Like you’re searching for treasure? Hiking up a mountain? Riding the subway? Migrating south for the winter? Seek visual inspiration from treasure maps, hiking maps, subway maps, bird migration maps… anything! Break your quest into steps, plot them on a map and mark your progress as you get closer to your vision.

    4. The Burn Board. Here’s a twist for all the (law-abiding) pyromaniacs out there who would like to — quite literally — ignite their passion. Instead of asking yourself what you want to bring into your life, ask what you want to get rid of. Where are you leaking energy? What’s standing in your way? Represent these negative forces on a vision board. Then write the actions that you can take to change the situation on another. Finally, (carefully!) burn the first board. Keep the second board somewhere you can see it daily. When aspects of our lives aren’t how we want them to be (e.g., relationships, careers, homes, etc.), it is our responsibility to either change them or let them go. So, be sure to follow up with action.

    5. Write it on Your Window. Use window markers to represent your vision on your window. And if you have two windows next to one another, you can draw your vision on one window and use the other to track your progress.

    6. The Mobile or Dream Catcher. Who says that your vision board has to stay in your office, or that it has to be stationary? Instead of making a collage, make a vision mobile, dream catcher or wind chime and hang it above your bed. It’ll be the first thing you see each morning and the last thing you see at night. Keep a journal next to your bed, and before you go to bed, record the steps you plan to take toward your goal the following day.

    7. Vision Birthday Cake. It could just be lunchtime, but what better way to really integrate your vision than by eating it? Try making a vision cake, with candles and all. Decorate the cake in a way that represents your vision. Throw your vision a celebration and invite your friends. Explain your vision to your friends, and ask them to hold you accountable. Mark the monthly anniversary of the day you made the cake on your calendar and set monthly goals that move you closer to your vision. On the one-year anniversary, bake another cake to celebrate your progress!

    8. The Garden. Nurturing a vision is a lot like planting a seed. Running with that metaphor, consider turning your vision into a garden. Purchase some seed paper and write or draw your vision on the paper. Then, plant the paper under a thin layer of soil and tend to your garden. Your plants will serve as a reminder to keep taking steps toward your vision.

    9. The Vision Box. Find an old box that you don’t need anymore. It could be a shoebox, a tissue box, a cereal box — or even a matchbox if you like working in miniature. Collect images and words that represent your vision, as you would a traditional vision board and store them inside the box. Then, turn your attention to what it will take to move you toward your vision. Brainstorm action steps and decorate the outside of the box with those steps. Each time you achieve part of your vision, take that part of the vision out of the box and affix it to the outside.

    10. The Vision Dance. From the rain dance to the sun dance, cultures around the world and throughout history have used dance rituals to manifest their wishes. And as any dancer would agree, sometimes it’s easiest to express emotions through movement than through words. So here’s one for the kinesthetic learners among us. Meditate on your vision, and allow your vision to express itself through your body’s movements. Start by expressing how you feel now, and dance your way to how you want to feel. You may want to start each day with a moving meditation, setting a daily intention for moving closer toward your goal.

    11. The Vision Talk. If your vision involves other people, it’s helpful to co-create your vision together. Set aside time to discuss your vision with your team or partner(s). Split your meeting into three phases: 1) What do we want to create?, 2) Where are we now? and 3) How can we get from where we are to where we want to be? Be sure to record your answers.

    12. The Vision Act. Some people love role playing. Others hate it with a fiery passion. Regardless which camp you fall into, there’s no denying that role play can be a powerful tool. So, consider taking your Vision Talk to the next level by turning your vision into a skit with your team. Wear costumes. Get into it! You can even create small groups, and then perform your skits for one another at an evening gathering over dinner.

    13. Vision Earworm. I’m not sure about you, but sometimes a melody can get stuck in my head for days, if not weeks, at a time. Why not use this to your advantage? Pick a melody that you love. Whether it’s one you hear on the radio daily (like the first eight seconds of this), the theme song to your favorite childhood video game or your favorite TV show, make sure it’s catchy. Then, distill your vision into a simple, rhyming motto capturing the essence of what you want, and set the words to music. Every time the melody pops into your head, use it as a reminder to take action toward your vision.




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    interstories



    Vision Bored? 13 Ways to Breathe New Life into this Classic Activity!


    by Elizabeth Graff and Chris Batchelder

    4 March 2019



    Image

    You’re likely familiar with the “Vision Board,” a classic coaching and team-building exercise. If not, the general idea is that you create a collage of inspirational words and images that represent your goals. Then, you hang it in your office where it will inspire you to take actions every day that move you incrementally closer toward your goal. The subject of your vision board can be anything: an important relationship, your career or business, your health, finances, your inner life, etc.

    It’s a great exercise for clarifying your vision, and it may even help you achieve your vision — granted that you accompany your vision board with concrete action steps rather than mere daydreaming sessions. However, while we recognize its value, this yearly ritual comes along with a dull groan for some of us. So we put our heads together and brainstormed 13 ways to breathe new life into this classic activity. We also thought about ways to couple this visioning activity with reminders to take action — a crucial idea that the original idea lacks. Ready to get inspired? Here we go!

    1. The Letter Project. After you create your vision board, cut it up into pieces. On the back of each piece, write a step or concrete action that you can take toward achieving your vision. Place each piece in a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and ask a friend to mail the pieces back to you at regular intervals. Each piece will serve as a little reminder, inspiring you to return to your vision and check in on your progress over time.

    2. 3D Journey. Maybe you’re not the collage type. That’s cool. Instead of leafing through magazines, consider dusting off the ol’ LEGO collection and representing your vision — and the journey you’ll take to get there — in three dimensions. If you don’t have LEGOs, no worries! Now you have something useful to do with the chopsticks, rubberbands, thumbtacks, shoelaces and miscellaneous doodads that have been clogging up your junk drawer. Don’t underestimate the power of 3D modeling. You might be surprised at what you discover when you start building with your hands.

      3. The Vision Map. If you already know what you want and now you’re focused on how you’re going to get there, this one’s for you. Ask yourself what you want to feel like as you work toward your vision. Like you’re searching for treasure? Hiking up a mountain? Riding the subway? Migrating south for the winter? Seek visual inspiration from treasure maps, hiking maps, subway maps, bird migration maps… anything! Break your quest into steps, plot them on a map and mark your progress as you get closer to your vision.

      4. The Burn Board. Here’s a twist for all the (law-abiding) pyromaniacs out there who would like to — quite literally — ignite their passion. Instead of asking yourself what you want to bring into your life, ask what you want to get rid of. Where are you leaking energy? What’s standing in your way? Represent these negative forces on a vision board. Then write the actions that you can take to change the situation on another. Finally, (carefully!) burn the first board. Keep the second board somewhere you can see it daily. When aspects of our lives aren’t how we want them to be (e.g., relationships, careers, homes, etc.), it is our responsibility to either change them or let them go. So, be sure to follow up with action.

      5. Write it on Your Window. Use window markers to represent your vision on your window. And if you have two windows next to one another, you can draw your vision on one window and use the other to track your progress.

      6. The Mobile or Dream Catcher. Who says that your vision board has to stay in your office, or that it has to be stationary? Instead of making a collage, make a vision mobile, dream catcher or wind chime and hang it above your bed. It’ll be the first thing you see each morning and the last thing you see at night. Keep a journal next to your bed, and before you go to bed, record the steps you plan to take toward your goal the following day.

      7. Vision Birthday Cake. It could just be lunchtime, but what better way to really integrate your vision than by eating it? Try making a vision cake, with candles and all. Decorate the cake in a way that represents your vision. Throw your vision a celebration and invite your friends. Explain your vision to your friends, and ask them to hold you accountable. Mark the monthly anniversary of the day you made the cake on your calendar and set monthly goals that move you closer to your vision. On the one-year anniversary, bake another cake to celebrate your progress!

      8. The Garden. Nurturing a vision is a lot like planting a seed. Running with that metaphor, consider turning your vision into a garden. Purchase some seed paper and write or draw your vision on the paper. Then, plant the paper under a thin layer of soil and tend to your garden. Your plants will serve as a reminder to keep taking steps toward your vision.

      9. The Vision Box. Find an old box that you don’t need anymore. It could be a shoebox, a tissue box, a cereal box — or even a matchbox if you like working in miniature. Collect images and words that represent your vision, as you would a traditional vision board and store them inside the box. Then, turn your attention to what it will take to move you toward your vision. Brainstorm action steps and decorate the outside of the box with those steps. Each time you achieve part of your vision, take that part of the vision out of the box and affix it to the outside.

      10. The Vision Dance. From the rain dance to the sun dance, cultures around the world and throughout history have used dance rituals to manifest their wishes. And as any dancer would agree, sometimes it’s easiest to express emotions through movement than through words. So here’s one for the kinesthetic learners among us. Meditate on your vision, and allow your vision to express itself through your body’s movements. Start by expressing how you feel now, and dance your way to how you want to feel. You may want to start each day with a moving meditation, setting a daily intention for moving closer toward your goal.

      11. The Vision Talk. If your vision involves other people, it’s helpful to co-create your vision together. Set aside time to discuss your vision with your team or partner(s). Split your meeting into three phases: 1) What do we want to create?, 2) Where are we now? and 3) How can we get from where we are to where we want to be? Be sure to record your answers.

      12. The Vision Act. Some people love role playing. Others hate it with a fiery passion. Regardless which camp you fall into, there’s no denying that role play can be a powerful tool. So, consider taking your Vision Talk to the next level by turning your vision into a skit with your team. Wear costumes. Get into it! You can even create small groups, and then perform your skits for one another at an evening gathering over dinner.

      13. Vision Earworm. I’m not sure about you, but sometimes a melody can get stuck in my head for days, if not weeks, at a time. Why not use this to your advantage? Pick a melody that you love. Whether it’s one you hear on the radio daily (like the first eight seconds of this), the theme song to your favorite childhood video game or your favorite TV show, make sure it’s catchy. Then, distill your vision into a simple, rhyming motto capturing the essence of what you want, and set the words to music. Every time the melody pops into your head, use it as a reminder to take action toward your vision.