Whether you are an entrepreneur, a business owner, an employee, a manager, a student looking for work, someone wanting to return to work after an extended break, or someone planning to change jobs or careers, you need to think of yourself as a business. And as the CEO of the business of Yourself Pty Ltd, it's your responsibility to develop a vision of where you want to go, along with a strategy on how you plan to get there.
Before you can achieve the goals that you have in mind, you have to be able to imagine them, to have a visual image of them. You also need to be able to imagine the process of how you are going to achieve those goals. Developing a vision board is one powerful way of creating a mental image that will kick start a process of change.
A vision board was a catalyst for change in my life
About three or four years ago, I developed a vision board for myself - it was a graphic representation of where I wanted to get to and how I wanted to live my life. It was one of the first steps in an online coaching programme that I had signed up for.
I enjoyed the process of thinking about the life I wanted to live, what I wanted each day/week/month to look like, who I wanted to be present in my life, how I wanted to balance the various elements of my life, how I wanted to work, what work I wanted to be doing, how I wanted to dress, look, feel.
In the process I cut up a lot of magazines and created a visually pleasing mosaic of images that represented a life with a lot more flexibility and freedom, self-employment, coffee shops and play. Some travel, time to cook, garden and read were also thrown in along with a photo that represented feeling comfortable within my own skin.
I wasn't convinced that it was a life I would ever lead because it was so different to where I was at the time, but it was a life that I yearned for and I had a clear mental image of what it would be like.
For a while the vision board was stuck to my wall. One day it fell off and I put it in the back of a cupboard - I didn't want to throw it away. And then I forgot about it.
But a subconscious process had started. Little by little I started making changes. I signed up to train as a business coach. I cut down my working hours to give myself extra time and flexibility. I started baking - so much so that I set up a Facebook page and for a while baked ciabatta and biscotti for sale. I started a veggie garden with the help of my cousin, and cooked some really gorgeous meals with my organic produce. The list goes on.
And one day, I decided it was time to resign from my job and launch myself into an unknown world of business ownership and a completely different career path. A year or two before this, I would never have believed such a change was possible.
I found my vision board at the beginning of this year and was a little gobsmacked when I realised that it represented the life that I am now living.
But how does it work?
I truly believe the process of visualising, imagining and mentally experiencing where I wanted to be, kick-started a subconscious process of change and decision making.
I am doing a lot of reading to get to understand how visualisation works. These are just two articles that talk about how to use visualisation to achieve your goals, and the science behind visualisation which is based in the the reticular activation system (a bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information to let in the important stuff).
So here are some tips...
Ask yourself a few questions to get started on developing your vision, such as:
What are two words that characterise how I want to life my life? What are the things I will need to do, to ensure that I live by these words?
What areas of my life/career do I really what to make a shift in? What does that shift involve and what steps will I take to get there?
What areas of my life to I want to consolidate and strengthen?
What resources do I need to support myself in achieving my goals?
Answer these questions in as much descriptive detail as possible.
Once you have answers, look for images that represent the principles of what you want to achieve, and your process of achieving these goals (try and avoid aspirational images that you might beat yourself up with).
Just remember, in the same way that a company's mission and vision have no meaning if they are not acted on, make sure that the vision board that you develop for Yourself Pty Ltd, includes not just goals, but also the process and actions that you are going to take to make these a reality.
As soon as you start to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has meaning. - Barbara Sher
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