Vision boarding: a Friday night alternative to Netflix?

Example vision board - collage of images and words

What future do you want for yourself? A vision board might just help you make that future a reality. Donor Relations staffer Sarah Tarnopolsky gives us a first-hand account of learning to vision board.

I’d heard about vision boards, but never felt the need to produce one. So, when an email appeared in my inbox from a friend inviting me to join a vision boarding workshop, I surprised myself by replying, “I’m in”.

The premise of vision boarding is simple: what we focus on becomes our reality. A collage of meaningful images and words can help bring focus and clarity to your next life choices.

Perhaps it was the combination of a lot of time stuck at home pondering the “new normal”, with a big zero birthday imminent, that made this line in the invitation stick out: “Choose things you want more of.”

Several doodle polls later, I found myself on a Friday evening armed with magazines, scissors and glue, connecting via Zoom with a facilitator and three other participants.

Our facilitator tells us the goal is to capture ideas and images that indicate joy or positive outcomes. I guess the process began for me when I chose magazines for the workshop. National Geographic, BC tourism, gardening and mindfulness magazines filled with helpful phrases like “Time to log off?”, “Stretch yourself” and “Breathe”. Already I was making choices.

We chatted about process and goals, but before long I’m flipping and ripping, cutting and piling pictures and phrases. As instructed, I’m looking for anything that grabs my attention or makes me pause. The important thing at this stage is to hush the editor or critic in you, and just choose anything that resonates.

I spread my pile over the floor and revisit the words and images, grouping themes and discarding anything that isn’t really speaking to me. Then I arrange and finally glue things down on a large sheet of red poster paper. And that’s it. Simple. Being told not to overthink something is entirely liberating.

I now have my vision board pinned above my desk. My eyes frequently fall on the photo of a lone figure floating in a beautiful lake. I’ve since joined an outdoor swim club, so I guess that’s my proof that vision boarding works for me.

Five tips for making your vision board from facilitator Alex Van Tol:

  1. First of all, accept that nothing is impossible. Put whatever you like on your board. You will be surprised. 
  2. Don’t analyze why a picture or word jumped out at you. If you like it, stick it on there.
  3. The exercise is less about what you want to have than about how you want to feel
  4. Add to your board over time as things change, or make a new one. You’re allowed to make two a year, or four, or twelve.
  5. It’s only partly the board. The rest happens in your brain. Keep your attention on the things you want to see. Focus. Focus. Focus.

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