Where Are You Going? I Don’t Know But I Think I’m Almost There
That was an actual exchange that I recently had with my husband. I was driving to a meeting that was to be held at a beautiful country club in the mountains just west of Denver, Colorado. I knew that I had to be getting close to my destination but the more I drove around on the winding, mountain roads, the more confused I got. Even Siri was confused—she kept telling me that I had arrived at my destination but the only thing that I had arrived at was a house on the side of a mountain. The house was nice and all but it clearly was not a country club.
After making a call to the meeting’s organizer, I discovered the reason for my (and Siri’s) confusion. I had mistakenly entered the final destination as River Ranch Rd. instead of RiverValley Ranch Rd. into my GPS. I left out one small detail but it was enough to send me (and Siri) on a wild goose chase. Fortunately, the meeting’s organizer was able to give me better directions and I didn’t end up being too late for the meeting.
Now, as I look back on that experience it occurs to me that (just like I spent too much time driving around lost in the mountains) so many of us spend our days, weeks and years driving around on our own figurative mountains looking for something but not knowing exactly what it is or how to get to it. We have a vague idea as to what we might be looking for in life but our destination is fuzzy which causes our tracking system to be useless.
Not having a crystal clear understanding of our final desired destination, can cause us to waste all kinds of valuable time, energy and effort without ever arriving anywhere in particular.
This is why it is crucial that we give serious and intentional thought to the question, where do you want to go in life?
This is a question that I’m sure you’ve considered from time to time; I mean, we all have things that we’d like to do someday, places we’d like to go and goals that we hope to accomplish. We all have some sort of notion of what we’d like our future life to look like. The thing that we need to consider as we ponder this question is how clear are we on our intended destination. Are these visions in our minds nothing more than fuzzy, out of focus musings that we hope might come to pass one day, or are they clearly defined images of concrete goals that we have strategized, mapped out and are taking daily action to achieve. One will leave us (and Siri) driving around in circles, lost and confused on the side of a mountain while the other will move us ever closer to our desired destination.
If you aren’t exactly sure where you’d like to eventually end up in life, it’s time for you to start exploring what your life will look and feel like when you are truly living within the fullest expression of your FabYOUlousness. This destination can almost always be found at the intersection of your talents/gifts, your passions and your contribution to the world at large. When you are successfully able to integrate your natural gifts and abilities with your ingrained passions in a way that serves others, you will know that you have arrived at your FabYOUlous sweet spot.
Sometimes though, it can take a little work to sharpen the focus of this vision and move it from some vague and fuzzy notion to a fine-tuned and actionable goal. One of my favorite ways to get the ball rolling and creative juices flowing in regard to creating a vision of where I want my life to go, is to create a vision board.
Now, before you roll your eyes and decide that I’m some new age whack job, let me assure you that I am not. I understand that there are two different camps when it comes to creating vision boards—those who have watched The Secret seventeen times and have vision boards in every room of their house and those who think that vision boards, while fun to create, have very little real impact upon a person’s life. I happen to fall somewhere in the middle. Yes–I’ve watched The Secret (once) and I have a vision board (one). I do not however buy into the notion that just cutting out pictures and gluing them to a piece of poster board is all that is required in order for all of those beautiful images to magically become manifested in our lives. This does not, however, mean that I don’t find any value in vision boards. Quite the contrary—I find vision boards to be incredibly valuable and effective. I simply believe that the true power behind a vision board comes from its ability to inspire you, excite you and propel you toward action. As I mentioned earlier, I have a vision board of my own and it is hanging front and center in my office where I see it every single day. I also have a photo of it on my phone and it is the backdrop on my laptop computer. Having my vision board in my face (literally) every day is a great motivator and not-so-subtle reminder for me to take strategic action towards my goals. Every. Single. Day.
For you hard core cynics out there (it’s okay—I get it, I was one too before I started to experience the magic of my vision board) there is legitimate science behind the power of visualization. It involves using images to program our Reticular Activating System (the part of our brain that acts as a filter between our conscious and subconscious minds) to work on our behalf. When we regularly visualize our desired outcomes, our Reticular Activating System will spring into action and begin to filter information accordingly. Your Reticular Activating System will begin paying attention to information and details that will help you to reach your desired destination. This information would have previously been filtered out, but now is made accessible to you.
There is plenty more scientific data to back up the validity of vision boards, but it would take far more space than I have in this blog post to cover it all. Therefore; I will leave you to do your own additional research on this subject (you can start by Googling ‘Law of Attraction’ or Quantum Physics) if it interests you. Instead, I want to provide you with the inspiration and direction to create your own powerful vision board. If however; you still think that vision boards are a bunch of new age, hippie-dippie malarkey, that’s fine—just create your board as an experiment and see where it takes you…I bet that you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Creating Your Own Vision Board
- The first step for creating a vision board is to determine a theme for your board. My board is fairly general, so I just call it my FabYOUlous Life board. You might want to narrow the focus a bit more by choosing a specific theme such as career, fitness or relationships. Choose whatever theme (however general or specific) feels right to you.
- The next step to creating an effective vision board is to begin collecting images. You can print images that you find online or cut images out of magazines, catalogs etc. These images should be images that get you excited and that make you feel inspired to take action. I also happen to be someone who is motivated by words and phrases so I include those on my vision board as well. This use of words and phrases has some scientific validity as is discussed in the book Blink by Malcom Gladwell. In his book, Gladwell gives numerous examples of how simply reading lists of words designed to evoke certain feelings can indeed bring about those emotions within us without our conscious awareness. Since this is a scientifically proven strategy for altering one’s emotional state, we might as well put the science to good use by including powerful and positive words and phrases on our boards along with the inspiring images.
- Once you have a pile of images and words/phrases, it is time to find something to anchor them to. I’ve seen some vision boards created on bulletin boards and others on large pieces of poster board. My personal vision board is created on a piece of foam core board. I like that the foam core board feels a bit heftier than a regular piece of poster board but is still light enough that it doesn’t require anything heavy duty to hang it. I’ve also seen vision boards that were nothing more than photos stuck to the front of a refrigerator. There really is no wrong way to create your board—as long as it works for you.
- Now it is time to really start having some fun. Grab your pile of images and start arranging them onto your board. Don’t glue anything down just yet because you’ll probably need to move things around a few times before you settle on an arrangement that you like. Once you have your board arranged, I would suggest taking a picture of it with your phone. This will serve two purposes 1.) it will enable you to always have a photo of your vision board with you so that you can look at it whenever you are needing a shot of inspiration and 2.) if you get up to use the restroom and come back to find that your cat has sprawled out in the middle of your board and has stretched and rolled around enough to totally rearrange your images, you’ll have a cheat sheet to show you where everything was. Yes—this happened to me. If you look closely enough at my vision board, you will probably see that it still has cat hair on it. Here is a photo of my board to give you a shot of inspiration…
- Once you have your images/phrases arranged in a way that you like, it is time to stick them down. For this step, I like to use good ol’ Elmer’s glue sticks but I have some friends who insist on using fancy scrapbooking adhesive that comes with its own dispenser. Seriously though—cheap glue sticks work just fine. Stick your images down and allow the glue (if that’s what you’re using) to dry. Obviously, if you are choosing to create your vision board on a bulletin board or the front of your fridge, you’ll want to use thumbtacks or magnets instead of glue.
- The final step in vision board creation is the most important step and that is to find a special place for your board where you will see it EVERY day.
It might sound crazy but there truly is power in keeping your vision board in front of you and looking at it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I won’t pretend to understand all of the magic behind it–oh sure, I’ve read about the law of attraction and raising one’s vibration to match the frequency of the things that you desire and I absolutely believe that there is a lot truth in all of this–even though I’ll admit that I don’t completely understand it all. What I do know from personal experience is that focusing on your vision board every single day WORKS. Maybe it has to do with vibrations and frequencies etc., but I suspect that it also has something to do with the fact that we tend to naturally navigate toward that which we focus upon. This concentrated focus keeps our FabYOUlous vision in our top of mind awareness, thus supercharging our Reticular Activating System which then allows us to see opportunities and possibilities that would have previously gone unnoticed. You can read more about this focus phenomenon (which I call the Racecar Effect) here.
I am a firm believer that in life, we get what we focus on. If we are focusing on all of the crappy and unfortunate circumstances in our life, we will constantly find more crappy and unfortunate circumstances to deal with. On the other hand, if we focus on the positive aspects of our lives and the FabYOUlously exciting goals that we have created for ourselves, we will naturally move towards those things and bring more of those positive experiences into our lives. This is where a vision board comes into play. By creating a vision board and keeping it front and center in your life, you will force yourself to focus upon those inspiring and energizing images instead of the yuck that might otherwise hold your attention. Focusing daily on your vision board will cause those FabYOUlous images to remain in your top of mind awareness therefore powerfully charging your Reticular Activating System, and focusing on your vision board will generate enthusiasm and excitement which will raise your vibration and align you with the frequency of your desired outcomes.
When it boils down to it, whether or not you truly understand how or why a vision board works doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you open yourself up the possibility that it does work. Allow yourself to believe in the magic of your FabYOUlous vision and then be willing to follow where that vision leads–you won’t be disappointed.