Vision Board: What it Is and How to Make One

vi·sion: [vizh-uhn] , noun

  • the act or power of sensing with the eyes; sight.

  • the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be: prophetic vision; the vision of an entrepreneur.

  • a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation: visions of wealth and glory.

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It's taken me a while to realize that I have nothing when I am not actively with vision. When I have a clear goal, an idea and an anticipation of what I want to come to pass in my life, that's when things happen.

I think many people in America confuse this bit about "vision" and about "wanting" something with what mainstream tells us we should want – stuff, mainly. You know, a new car, a big house, plump retirement plans. Slim bodies, ageless faces, yada, yada, yada. What I found in my years of counseling people was that at the very heart of it, people don't care so much about that stuff. No. In our core, in that deep and still place inside, we yearn for our own unique life experiences, for things that are not things, but rather feelings, emotions, opportunties, learning, growth. Love.

When I heard that enough times to understand that it's truly universal, I realized that there is room for us all. That none of us are actually in direct competition with each other because none of us desire exactly the same thing. Each desire is unique, each vision of that desire is different, the expression of it all is different.

But we get so dragged down with what others tell us we ought to want, should do. We get tired, this shlepping from job to home to family to life and it takes its toll. It's hard to frame that desire – pull it out, even – and I think we often keep it tucked away inside us as we go about the day-to-day.

And sometimes we don't even know what it is we want.

Vision boarding is a great exercise for fleshing out those desires, sometimes hidden, sometimes unknown and sometimes achingly clear.  At whatever stage you might be, it's a handy tool.

This is how I make mine.

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What you need:

  • Magazines, lots of them, and a wide variety at that – even reach for the magazines that you don't normally read. (beauty shops and the library are my go-to places for free old 'zines)
  • Glue – I recommend using both the spray-on adhesive type and rubber cement. If you want to get fancy, have a glue gun on hand
  • Scissors. Sharp ones. I usually have a razor blade as well, for some harder-to-cut items
  • Poster board. I think it's worth it to just buy good presentation board (it's between $3-5) rather than used cardboard, but whatever
  • Any other types of art/embellishments: glitter, pages from art books, story lines (I love Griffin and Sabine)… there are no rules here
  • Music is great. Something that truly floats your boat
  • Space
  • Time. I have done mine in increments, but you really need to have at least a couple hours an increment to really *get into it*

For this session, the first thing I did was take a photo of me and the vision board I was retiring

That board served me well. Everything on it – from Nikon Camera to trailer, long beach trip, second and third child – I got.

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For this next board, I wanted to keep a few elements from the old one, like the newborn baby images, but wanted the rest of it to reflect my changed vision.

I set up my materials

 

My boy was working his cardboard model wheel on the table across from me.

 

 This is another thing that I love about making a vision board – while it's easier to focus and do it alone (or with friends), if you are in a pinch, you can do it with your kid(s). Just get them set up, have the music going and they will be happy.

 

I haven't had the chance to work at it alone for a long, long time – and that's okay.

 

This is a kid-friendly activity.

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There are a few approaches to cutting/collecting what you want on your board. In one, you have an idea of exactly what you want – and you find those images in the magazines, or you find them online and print them (or better, draw/paint them yourself!).

But sometimes you don't know what you want.

Flipping through a wide variety of magazines and randomly cutting out the things that are interesting to you will serve you  with a big pile of images and maybe words that you can sift through and use – or not – later. It's incredibly helpful because in the end, as you piece them all together, themes and sub-themes are revealed – usually without you even being aware of it!

 

For this board, I was specifically seeking images of couples – My One True Darling Man and I have a really hard time managing the logistics of Date Night – and just spending time together the two of us. I think our love is strong and our romantic pieces get lost in the wayside of raising two small children. So I specifically wanted to have us reflected in my vision.

And…it's hard to find pictures of happy normal couples! This is what I was coming up with:

Um, yeah. Or this:

 Totally us, no?

Redbook was a surprising fount of sexy-stuffs:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Intimate massager"s and "Masque" – and NOT what I was looking for (which I ultimately found in National Geographic). My point: it can take a while sometimes before you find what you are looking for or what feels right to you. Don't settle for less.

 

This little gem I loved – I wish I could find more like it. Kids engaged in super-cool activity.

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It all came together over a period of a couple of weeks. It was exciting to see it emerge, this new vision that I have and will remain mine until either the vision shifts or new details emerge.

There were things that I was completely expecting to see there, like travel, living life with moxie. I was surprised to see how much running-related ended up there – I guess it's even more important to me to try and keep with running than I thought it was.

That's another thing that I love about vision boarding: even when I think I know everything about the vision that is in my heart and what I want for my future, the action of creating tangible, visible evidence of that vision always gives me something to be surprised about, something that I wasn't fully aware was there.

 

Give it a shot.

I'd love to hear how it works out for you.

PS

When done, hang it somewhere that you can easily see every day. I have mine above the computer.

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a deaf artist, tech-junkie, Counselor (and sometime teacher), mom (one with Down syndrome), cat-lover, Trekkie, yurt-dwelling off-the-grid farmer's wife. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done.

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