I’m not going to lie. I haven’t always been a vision board person. In fact, I’m sure there was a time in my life when I likely would have scoffed at someone if they told me to make one. I’m not sure exactly when my attitude shifted but it’s been incredibly enlightening and actually (excuse me while I sound a bit nerdy) exciting journey for me and now I can proudly say I’m a vision board person. And I don’t really know how best to explain how this transition came about and what making it has done for me without waxing on and on about personal growth and development so I’m going to try to be short and sweet and keep it to the point!
What is a vision board? Well, if you look up the definition on wikipedia you’ll learn that: A dream board or vision board is a collage of images, pictures and affirmations of one’s dreams and desires, designed to serve as a source of inspiration and motivation, and to use the law of attraction to attain goals. And honestly I don’t think I could put together a better definition than that….but what I think I can tell you is WHY I made one, HOW I went about it and WHAT positive things having one around does for me and my family!
Why did I make a vision board? As I write this post I had to sit here and weed through the cobwebs to just a few short months ago (how is it that hard for me to remember so far back…oh right…my brain is way too busy and I need to meditate more….). I remember reading about it in a magazine I got through my side business. (I’ve done a whole other post about that side business so won’t get into the details of it now but you can read that blog post here if you’re interested in learning more.) This magazine was about success and leadership and had an article about vision boards and what they can do for you; namely help you sit down and plan out what it really is you’re working for. What is the WHY of your day to day? Who do you want to be? I’ve been doing a lot of personal growth and soul searching for the past 6-8 months since I started seeing a clinical counsellor (which I will talk about in detail at another time because I honestly think EVERYONE could benefit from therapy/counselling… whatever you want to call it). In working with my counsellor, I’ve started to realize that it’s important to figure out your why; it’s important to find your balance; it’s important to figure out what your priorities are at work, at home, in life and make sure your days/weeks/years are honouring those priorities.
HOW did I go about making my vision board? Well for starters, believe it or not I roped my husband in to the initial process (though he didn’t go so far as to do the amazing collage work like I did in the above photo :). We had a date night at our local wine bar and chatted about goals and priority setting for the new year and brainstormed what major goals we wanted for ourselves and our family in the coming year. Then when we finally found the time, we sat down and divided our board into six major categories we feel are important to us. FAMILY. CAREER. FITNESS. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. HEALTH. HOME.
Then, under each of these categories we each sat down and chatted about what we would each want to focus on or work towards in the coming year. We chatted about where we wanted to see ourselves go with our careers, what our fitness goals were for the coming year, how we thought we could improve our health; what we could do to ensure we spend quality time as a family; what we wanted to do to ensure personal growth and development and what we wanted to see happen with our home. THEN after we hashed out these details I took the time to leaf through a pile of magazines we had lying around the house and cut out photos that I thought fit with these visions and dreams I had. The final masterpiece (and I do call it a masterpiece as it took me the better part of an entire evening to put it together) is above. I have it sitting on my dresser in our bedroom so I can see it everyday, multiple times a day to remind me of what’s important to me and to remind me to make THAT a priority and NOT what other people are asking me to make a priority.
WHAT has my vision board done for me? Well, for starters it made me realize there was a total disconnect between what my vision/dream and how I was living my day to day (though it took showing my vision board to my counsellor to realize that!). My vision board is COVERED with photos of nature, people running, doing yoga, meditation, travel and quotes about slowing down, and just a small part is dedicated to my career yet I was (and am still to a degree) spending most of my days working or thinking about work and wasn’t making the time to get outside, to run, to do yoga, to meditate, etc. BUT instead of getting bummed out about this (and really I wasn’t bummed because secretly, or not so secretly inside me lives a work-a-holic) my vision board serves as a daily reminder about what my dream is and about who I want to be on a day to day basis. Do I still want to be a physician? YES. Do I still want to be a medical leader? Abso-freaking-lutely. But do I also want to take care of my body, my mind and my soul? YOU KNOW I DO. Because if I don’t, I’ll burn out and won’t be able to take care of anyone.
So there it sits on my dresser. And when I wake up, I take a look and it reminds me to open up my iPad and sneak in my daily @downdoggyoga app session. And it reminds me to be present. To enjoy my children. To sit down and read a book and actually READ the book, not make my to-do list in my head while absentmindedly reading and playing with them. It reminds me (and so does my therapist) to THINK before I say yes to the next person who asks me to join a committee, attend a meeting, teach a lecture. It reminds me how much I love running, especially on these (cough) cold winter days. It reminds me to sign up for that running clinic I’ve been thinking about checking out; to commit to the pilates class I’ve been flirting with joining for the past year. It reminds me to nurture my marriage, my soul and my family.
So, I made a vision board.
And I can’t wait to sit down and make them with my kids in the next few weeks! Check back to see how that went. Inspired and want to make your own? Check out this article for more detailed instructions.