Nadine’s New Love of the Vision Board:
Why committing to a vision for my life made everything come into focus
Confession: I am nearly 46 years old and never had a vision board until this year.
Getting divorced was the hardest and most liberating thing I’ve ever done. It’s been nearly four years since I turned my life upside down. I shook it out like a purse that got filled with too many gum wrappers and old lipsticks over time. According to a recent Chatelaine article, it’s quite common for women to do this between 40-43. You’re making sure that what you find in those hidden pockets still fits. You have enough runway left to still find your purpose and be in service of others.
Is this all there is?
For years I was plagued with a “Is this all there is?” feeling. Every day felt like Groundhog Day. I was always living for the weekend or the next renovation or the next family trip. But then the weekend hours would get sucked up making sure the kids’ homework was completed and our family meals were prepped, only to find I hadn’t done anything for myself. I’d come back from the trip only to face a laundry mountain and unanswered emails. I was exhausted and grumpy. Surely life could be more beautiful? Who the heck was I when I wasn’t taking care of everybody else?
On the surface, I had it all, I had ticked all the proverbial life boxes (house, car, career, marriage, kids…) so why was I so angry all the time?
I now know that I couldn’t prioritize myself and decide how best to spend my time when I didn’t have a roadmap for where I wanted to go in life.
In coaching, we talk a lot about mindset, self-image and having a strong vision to help guide us in our decision-making. With my 50th birthday on the horizon (four years away!), I’m imagining who I want to be and how I want to live. I’m dreaming of the world I want to live in, full of details like where I am and who I’m with. And when I actually spend time connecting with these ideas and this energy, I get goosebumps. I get a thrill when I wonder, “Who is the woman who lives THAT life?”
Making my vision board
Recently I made this slide in a professional-looking presentation about the commitments I would make to myself in 2020. I am a visual person, so I wanted to look at something that reminded me of my lofty dreams.
1. To work remotely, preferably with a cute dog (I ♥️ corgis, if you didn’t know).
2. Oprah, because to me she represents the highest level at the intersection of journalism, human storytelling and personal growth.
3. Cullera, Spain. A beach town an hour train ride from what I hope will be my future hometown. Water is therapeutic for me and I feel very connected to it.
4. Valencia, Spain. The city where I’d like to spend considerable time when my kids are grown, avoiding winter so I can bike and bask in sunshine year-round.
5. Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz making out on a beach. I’m looking for a committed and passionate relationship between two individuals who are at the top of their professional and personal lives.
6. A nice tidy desk from where I could see clients and also write my articles and books. That one makes me super duper happy.
How to make your vision board empowering
If you want to try a vision board, get quiet with yourself and ask, “What do I really want from life? Who could I be if I didn’t limit myself?” I printed off a few of these and look at them several times a day. What images, songs, smells, feelings are conjured up? Which ones make your heart soar? Then choose 4-7 images that align with who you want to be and how you want to live. Stay in the feeling of possibility. If there’s an image of it, someone else figured out how to get it! How could you possibly not be worthy enough to get your own version?
Every morning I offer gratitude for this life that I’m not yet living, but know is coming to me. I’m not waiting for this all to magically get handed down from the universe just because I made a collage (Contrary to what you’ve heard about vision boards). I’m determined to make it happen.
Sticking to your vision takes consistent effort and determination
Some days I struggle with attention and focus, and some days I need motivation (funny how it’s never found in the 47 tabs I have open). And when I look at the images on my vision board I shift to doing something that moves me closer to achieving it. I no longer doubt the possibility of it happening, and I am working on the consistent effort needed to achieve it. Because I want it really and truly. I don’t think, “I’ll be happy when I get it,” because I am already happy and grateful when I’m working towards this vision!
It is working. Working towards this vision feels better than the regret of not going for it. When I look at old journals, I see that I wanted very specific things for my life, and I’ve been lucky enough to get most of them, though they didn’t always look how I pictured them to be. I dreamed of being a crackpot journalist who wore cute shoes and got to work at some of the best magazines in the country. I set sights on whom I would meet and be friends with. It’s funny to me now, working in magazines and journalism (my cute shoes parked at home due to the pandemic), having my heroes on my cell phone to text if I want. I’m glad I ticked the boxes that 16-year-old me hoped I would. When did I stop believing I could make it happen for myself?
When I think about warm sunny Spanish days, working off my cool setup with a pup in my lap, meeting mi amor after work for beach snuggles, I get really fucking pumped. I put off the binge-watch of Little Fires Everywhere to sit down and write this for you, because writing for you is what helps me get the dream! The vision board reminds me that it’s all within reach. If you can see it, you can achieve it.
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Stephanie’s Take on the Vision Board for Life Coaching
I’m not going to disagree with anything (for once) but I will admit that I cringe when I hear the expression “vision board” because I picture shopping at Michael’s (a fascinating but also confusing and disturbing place) for supplies and then having to cut images from magazines. Sounds a little crafty to me and that’s not my thing.
But… confession, I have some Pinterest Vision Boards and the picture of someone swimming in the rain? It’s there.
One more thing, as someone who still sometimes rolls her eyes at the flowery tone of “wellness” culture, I want to clarify something. The idea of having a “Vision” isn’t about whimsical wishing for pretty things, the purpose is a little deeper and more complex.
Developing a vision has two primary purposes:
1. Training you to recognize what you consider possible and helping you expand that as needed.
2. Helping you clarify who you want to be, how you want to live, and what kind of a world you want to live in. One idea at a time. This then becomes a tool to set goals, create habits, and work on developing the right skills and mindset.
Creating a vision isn’t easy for everyone but it’s a really useful tool, get in touch if you are curious about creating one or want to get into how to use it for maximum results.
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