Monday, August 27, 2012

Vision Boardom

One of the questions that's toughest for me to answer is that of "where do you want to be in 5 (10, 15, etc) years from now?". My immediate inclination is to say "god, I have no idea!". However, I feel this would make me sound like I have zero foresight and am not very well put together, so I usually try to think of something a little more appropriate-sounding.

The truth is, life tends to toss me and my plans/expectations about like a blender. It's not that I have no idea what I want to do, no goals and dreams. It's that I don't want to pigeonhole myself, and get upset when things don't go as planned. If I looked at my life at the age of 24 - newly married, home owner, working for a corporate fitness company - I'd never have imagined that at almost 33, my life would look like it does now. That being said, I'd not change my life right now at all, nor the path that took me here. So it's tough for me to think that far ahead, because it seems like every time I get somewhat of a plan, it's shuffled around. Sometimes, I think that somehow life is doing this on purpose, to help me grow, adapt, and get to where I really want to be, even if I don't know where that is yet. Not in a "fate" way, but just as a way to make me continually grow. Who knows, perhaps I'm unintentionally doing it to myself, which makes a bit more sense to the rational brain. 

Because it's so tough for me to pinpoint on the spot what my 20-year plan is, I opt for a more imaginative an creative method - vision boarding. There is a lot of information out there on creating vision boards. It's definitely worth taking a look at the different sites and suggestions. Still, I thought I'd share my basic "rules" for creating a vision board, that help me to feel that I'm really getting something out of it, and learn about myself in the process. It also helps me from getting "bored" or stuck during the process. 
  • The number one rule for vision boarding, in my mind, is that there are no hard and fast rules about what to include, what not to include, what it should look like as a finished product, etc. 
  • Pull from a wide variety of materials. If all of my sources were travel magazines, I'd learn a lot about my travel future, but basically nothing about any other aspect of my life. Choose sources you might not to expect to find a lot in, just to see what you do find. 
  • Don't have a set out plan when you begin. It stifles your creativity. If I say, "ok, I want to own a german shepherd dog, so I'm looking for a picture of one"; "I want to live in this city so I'm trying to find an image of that", I'm just putting up pictures of what I already know. I'm not discovering anything. If you see something that speaks to you, cut it out and put it on the board - even if you have no idea why it seems important or even what it is. 
  • Don't feel like certain things should or shouldn't be on there. If you see a picture of a house in the Maldives and think, "boy I'd love to retire there", add it! The board is supposed to be visionary, to provide you with dreams and goals to shoot for, not factually and financially accurate. Again, if you go through with the mindset of "I'll never be able to afford that" then chances are, you won't - you're not setting it as a dream/goal to reach for. 
  • Hang it up somewhere where you'll see it frequently, and really have the chance to study it. If that's in front of the toilet, so be it - it'll make an interesting conversation piece! (For the record, mine is not in front of the toilet). 
  • A vision board is ever-evolving. As your dreams and goals change, so will your vision (board). If you see something later on that you want to add, do so. If one day you look at your board and think that something up there is no longer what you want, remove it. A tip though - save it for a short while. It could be you're just in a different mind frame at the moment.
Do you have a vision board? I'd love to hear about how you made it, or even some of the things on it, if you're willing to share! 

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