A new year tends to bring new resolutions. Although I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, in the spirit of change I decided to try something new. Last weekend a colleague invited me to a workshop where I spent the afternoon creating a vision board for business.
Naturally, any vision board for business will include personal goals as well – because if I’m not healthy my business most certainly isn’t.
And, overall, I found it to be an engaging exercise!
The Power of a Vision Board for Business
Most successful people have one thing in common – an unshakable vision for their future. And whether you achieve that vision through mindfulness, meditation, or mind-body connection exercises – and we did a bit of all of those approaches during the workshop, there’s growing evidence that the brain is more malleable and open to change than we ever thought. And that you really can influence your life – and your health – using your brain.
I was concerned it might be a little hokey, but I arrived with an open mind and gave it my all. I focused on my goals for 2019 and the future in general: what I wanted to achieve, and where I wanted to see change happen.
A Letter to My Future Self
You might have noticed the recent trend of people writing a “Letter to My Future/Younger Self.” It’s basically the same idea. But where a letter to your younger self is more an exercise in forgiveness, a letter to your future self is visualization and goal setting. Picturing yourself a year from now. And writing it down to make it concrete.
A vision board for business is exactly the same thing. It’s a way to map out objectives and strengths, and explore weaknesses and areas you want to change. It’s fascinating to analyze your finished product, and explore what images or themes you were drawn to – especially why you opted to edit out this or that pathway.
How to Create a Vision Board for Business
If you’re considering trying out vision boards as a team building exercise, remember the larger the group, the bigger the chance that chaos can ensue! So, while it’s a pretty simple exercise, I thought I would map out a few steps for you:
Gather magazines and other images: The woman who ran my workshop does a neighbourhood magazine drive, which is a great way to put old mags to good use. Have your team bring copies from home, BUT, put them in a big pile and then dole them out yourself! The goal here is to get people outside their comfort zones. Popular Mechanics in addition to Fast Company or Vogue, if you know what I mean. This tends to spark more creative thinking.
Free your mind from deep thought: Do your thinking before you begin the creative part of the exercise. Get out a pen and paper. Spend 20-30 minutes thinking about the previous year and the year ahead. Write down what you want to achieve or leave behind this year on a personal, professional and business level. Bullet points are fine. You don’t need to be fancy or succinct, no one else is going to read it but you.
Focus on images not words: Flip through the mags one, but focus on the visual. NO READING! Then flip through a second time and note which images have caught your eye…which ones really draw you in. Cut those images out and arrange them roughly in a pattern or in a less structured manner if you prefer. If you’re captivated by inspiring words or phrases along the way, you can include them too.
Clear your mind and focus: Now, get into a “bubble” with your images. Walk around the table or lay them out in a quiet corner on the floor. Look at them from different angles, rearrange them if the impulse hits. Shake off stress, clear your mind, and let the images guide you.
Make notes: Make mental notes about what each image means to you. Why you chose it. What emotions it triggered. There might be more than one reason per picture – that’s ok! Consider the potential goals, actions, or changes that the image represents or inspires in you. If you don’t know right then and there, don’t worry about it! Just continue working on your vision board and you can do the additional thinking afterwards whenever the mood strikes.
Create a Vision Board But Save the Planet
If you’re interested in exploring this fun, creative way to explore mind-body connectedness but are concerned about using hard-copy magazines, there are lots of ways to adapt this exercise.
- Use digital imaging to build your board or insert yourself into your ideal life
- Get creative with paints, markers, or chalk
- Pick up “word magnets” and explore using text
This is a great resource with more ideas for taking the “arts and crafts” out of the equation.
What Does it All Mean?
Ultimately, you end up with an “end result” – where you see 2019 heading. It’s a bit like having an image of 2019 done, dusted and wrapped up in a nice bow – where you want to be, what you want to achieve, where you see yourself or your business in 12 months. That sort of thing.
Think of it like planning a trip. You’re driving the car, you know where you’re going, you’ve mapped out routes you will take, and where you want to stay along the way. But the bottom line is YOU are the one who has to get yourself there.
Make sure you use your board. Look at it regularly. Make adjustments to it if you like. There really aren’t any hard-fast rules.
Your vision board for business (and for YOU) is a map, with directions and goal-posts, locations and pit-stops, and a great reminder that, whatever path you take, your goal is to arrive at your destination. And everyone’s destination will be different.