What is a vision board?
A vision board is a visual representation of your hopes, dreams and goals, designed to inspire you to take action towards achieving them. It features images and words that can motivate you to work towards creating your dream life.
I’ve always believed that if you can dream it you can achieve it, so it would be logical to assume that vision boards would be one of the many tools I would have in my success toolkit. Well, that sounds logical to me. Plus I really love the idea of creating a vision board and the process of curating images and words and cutting and pasting them onto a board, whether physical or digital, definitely excites me.
Why don’t vision boards work for me?
And yet, every time I try to do this, I fail! Choosing images that depict the reality I want to create and live turns out to be much harder than I thought. For the most part, the images that I choose provoke no emotional response in me at all, particularly if they feature photographs of other random women doing the things I want to do. The fact that it is not me that I see in the image creates a huge barrier to my ability to believe that it could be me.
I know it’s only meant to be a representation of what I want to have or how I want to live, but something about it just doesn’t work for me and never has. There’s never a feel-good feeling when I attempt to create my vision board. I never feel excited by the images. The emotional connection is always missing and I’ve really struggled to understand why.
Then, the other day, I had an epiphany and it suddenly fell into place. When I create a vision board of how I want my life to look, feel and be like in the future, it serves as a massive reminder to me of all the things that I have not yet achieved. I look at it and all I see is failed hopes and dreams. Things I have been working towards for years already that are not coming to fruition. I actually find it hugely depressing if I’m honest.
I’m the kind of person who lives in the future already. I’m always imagining what the future could look like and trying to work out the many ways to get there. I have no problem dreaming big. But I always have this sense that I am behind. That I’m not working quick enough. That I’m running out of time somehow to achieve those hopes and dreams.
Because I live in the future, I’m not very present now. I easily forget where I am right now and how awesome it is to be right here. I forget where I’ve come from and all the big dreams that have already manifested. I’m just too busy focussing on the ones that haven’t.
This pandemic has taught me how much I need to focus on the present moment, appreciate where I am right now, how far I’ve come, and surrender a little more. I need to remember that the future will sort itself out in the most magical and unexpected way. Do you know how I know this? Because that is what happened in my life so far.
When I stop to think about it and remember the hopes and dreams and goals that I had 10-15 years ago, I realise that I am actually living many of them right now. I wanted to meet the love of my life (preferably from a different country), buy a home together, start a family, become a writer, build a successful interiors blog and make a full-time living doing something that I love and that involves travel. (There were also very fleeting visions of a coworking space but I quickly dismissed those).
All of those things have happened. Not in the way that I imagined either, but in a way that was so much more brilliant than I could have ever anticipated. The journey to get here hasn’t been direct or predictable, but it has been just perfect. It has brought me to this perfect moment, which only doesn’t feel perfect when I look at it from the place of lack that the future instils within me. Or when I let my impatience get the better of me.
So what does this have to do with vision boards? Well, it occurred to me that when I look back I realise how wonderfully my life is manifesting. It makes me feel so grateful and appreciative of the journey and of how things have unfolded. It also fills me with confidence and makes me feel like anything is possible even if I don’t know exactly how it will happen.
What is a Now Board?
So I’ve decided to give up on creating vision boards that depict my big huge future goals (it feels too difficult right now with COVID lurking ready to sabotage us all again). And instead, I am going to focus my energy on creating the life I want to live right now based on how I want to feel. After all, everything that we hope to manifest is because we believe that we will feel better and happier for having it. And actually, I can choose to feel better and happier today.
So I have created two new vision boards that will help ground me in the present moment. One looks back at some of my proudest moments since I left school. This will serve to remind me of who I am and what I am capable of. It shows the dreams and hopes that have already manifested and is a reminder of what is possible.
The second board is a board for right now. It features the things that bring me the most joy and that I would like to focus on in order to feel better and be happier right now. These are small goals and things that I can implement today. I can start exactly where I am. This board will help me to acknowledge every little step I can take each day to improve my life.
When I look at these two boards, I can feel that emotional connection. I can feel the excitement build inside me. Excitement for all that is possible in my future, even if I’m not yet sure what it is or how it will unfold.
Do you make vision boards? Do they work for you? Maybe if you too have struggled with the traditional concept of vision boards, a ‘now board’ will work for you too. Let me know your thoughts below.
Stacey Sheppard is the founder of The Tribe, a small community-driven coworking space in Totnes that caters to creative, growth-oriented female entrepreneurs by providing an inspiring working environment designed to foster collaboration, connection and community.