You have either seen or heard of the movie phenomenon “The Secret”. You know that vision boards were discussed extensively in the film. Some people love them while others deride those who use them as builders of “castles in the air”. I have been grappling with this myself in my own life. I created a vision board and ‘nothing happened’ until I realised I think I may have been sabotaging it…more on that later. So I decided to do some thinking and clarify the subject for myself. I was surprised by what I learned so I decided to share it with you. But what I learned is more than one article can handle, so I have decided to write a series of posts on the subject. At the very least writing a series of posts will help me solidify the ideas for my own use – and apply them I will because this is amazing technology.

So, in this short series of articles I want to relocate the discussion about vision boards from where lots of folks put it i.e. the ‘whacky’ and place it where it belongs; into ‘business as usual’. Read on and discover how vision boards (or at the very least the principles behind vision boards) are an integral part of how we have developed/structured our lives for a millennia.

Before we discuss that, let’s use a shared definition of vision board so we are all on the same page. Christine Merkely defines (or perhaps describes) a vision board as a “…wonderful, graphic way to help define and align with what you really, really want for yourself in the future”.

What does that really mean? I understand vision boards as a tool to help our various levels of consciousness focus on our goals to help bring them to fruition. Yes, a goal setting tool to help us create what we want in our lives. Read on and you will discover this idea is not as far fetched as it sounds. The explanation for how a vision board works is still up for grabs; there are lots of different points of view on that. We will explore a few of the main ones later.

Going back to Christine’s definition, for me the key words/phrases in this definition are:

  • graphic
  • define (i.e. get clear about)
  • align with what you really want … in the future

Now you could be forgiven for assuming that to make a vision board you need to be able to draw. And I know the idea of drawing thrusts terror into the hearts of many. If this is you, fear not. More on the role of graphics later.

Define” [i.e. what you want]. Just so you know, I got stuck defining what I want. In the end I realised I was not defining what I want. I was selecting from a list of what I thought was possible. So, I thought thoughts like: “xyz is possible, what do I want from that list?” Inspiring huh? Not really…I’m in the process of modifying that process as we speak. More on that in a coming post.

Align with what you really want”: How does one ‘align’ with something? Great question! And one I am still in the process of answering. Evidently, a vision board is intended to help us do just that – align. For the moment I am thinking about ‘align’ as ‘connect with’ what I want.

So a vision board is a way of helping us connect with and create what we really want in our lives. Cool. I’m up for anything that will help with that ?

Just so you know, vision boards go by many names e.g. dream board and treasure map etc. Have to say up front, this idea is NOT new. Some authors vision board date back to the caveman. They assert that cave folk drew pictures of a hunt before the hunt a kind of ‘rehearsal’ or plan. I don’t know how they can know that with any certainty – but I like the idea of it.

Regardless of whether cave folk used vision boards or not, when you start to think about the ideas behind vision boards it’s easy to see examples everywhere. Let me sketch out just a few ways vision boards and or the ideas behind vision boards, are used in daily life:

  • armed forces create battle plans plotting their offensive and defensive positions.
  • Chess players use chart moves designed to stymie their opponent.
  • Story board writers plot out a story.
  • Designers and drafts people graphically depict the end product.
  • Sports people design plays.
  • Surgeons plot out new procedures.
  • Corporations have mission and vision statements and corporate plans.

At the most ‘mundane’ level, you could argue than any plan is a kind of vision board. The main difference between a vision board and a plan is a vision board depicts the vision while a plan attempts to define the vision and plot out the steps to achieve the said vision. In business, the steps in project plans go by many names including: milestones, Key Result Areas or Key Performance Indicators, etc.

And as any good project planner will tell you: all plans ALWAYS need revising. A project is never executed the way the planner thinks/plans/hopes it will be…and the planner has already defined their ‘final destination’. The vision (or outcome) is the ‘stable reference point’ planners use to ensure projects achieve their outcomes. You can’t aim for what you haven’t defined.

Now, before we proceed any further, time for a quick quantum physics lesson: Einstein told us approx. 80 years ago ‘the field’ governs everything. Have a listen to Lynne McTaggert (PhD) nearly 100 years later on quantum physics and the relevance of “the field” to our lives. In a nutshell Lynne states quantum physics proves we co-create everything in our lives, we are intrinsic to reality because we (co) create our reality. The universe is a vast expanse of probability and energy moulded by us on a second by second basis. In other words, what we focus on becomes our reality. The word to pay attention to here is ‘focus’; more on that later.

So, if you accept the validity of quantum physics and that a vision board is a tool for helping us hold our attention then I am sure you can see how important vision boards are/can be to us.

Most of us focus on what we don’t want, and get it. Remember the saying “Energy flows where attention goes” I think this is just another way of saying “As a man (sic) thinketh so he is” James Allen. Quantum physics seems to be proving this observation/assertion. Remember: what we focus on becomes reality…

So I hope I have wet your appetite sufficiently to stay tuned for the next exciting instalment of our series on vision/goals and vision boards and why they are so important.