One of my most popular past blog posts is Vision Boards: A Quick Story. I wrote it months before the DVD The Secret was released. Then John Assaraf’s story of manifesting his giant mansion by using vision board (in The Secret) popularized the concept. Many of us, however, have been doing them for years. (I’ve been using them at my women’s retreats for about 5 years now.) And the value of a vision board goes way beyond just mansions and gold watches! In this post, I’ll cover how to make a vision board for future success.
Before you learn how to make a vision board, read “What is a vision board.”
A vision board (also called a Treasure Map or a Visual Explorer or Creativity Collage) is typically a poster board on which you paste or collage images that you’ve torn out from various magazines. It’s simple. Really. If you don’t believe me, check out my 3rd edition ebook on Amazon, “The Complete Guide to Vision Boards.”
The idea behind this is that when you surround yourself with images of who you want to become, what you want to have, where you want to live, or where you want to vacation, your life changes to match those images and those desires.
For instance, before I ever started performing music and I had no idea how I’d ever get a gig, write enough songs, or assemble a press kit, I drew a picture of myself in a bar with people watching me perform (I’m a terrible visual artist, so I actually had to label the people “people!”). And though it wasn’t the only factor in making it happen, I had a calendar full of bar and coffeehouse gigs by the next year.
My drawing was a kind of a vision board. Vision boards do the same thing as my drawing did. They add clarity to your desires, and feeling to your visions.
For instance, at the time I did my drawing, I knew I wanted to play in bars and coffeehouses. (I have since left the that circuit, and I’m performing in theatres and at conferences. But in my early twenties, I wanted to play in bars and coffeehouses. I was pretty clear about that!) Knowing how to make a vision board that will help you achieve your dreams takes a little time and thought. For me, taking the time to draw it out, even poorly, made it indelible in my mind. In The Complete Guide to Vision Boards, I cover all of this.
There are several methods for how to make a vision board. I’ve written about each one below. You can choose which one works best for you, depending on where you find yourself on this path of creating your life.
To get started with how to make a vision board, you’ll need these supplies:
– Poster board. (Target sells a really nice matte finish board. I highly recommend it.)
– A big stack of different magazines. (You can get them at libraries, hair salons, dentist offices, the YMCA.) Make sure you find lots of different types. If you limit your options, you’ll lose interest after a while. When I facilitate my women’s retreats, I always make sure we have plenty of Oprah, Real Simple, Natural Home, Yoga Journal, Dwell, Ode, Parenting, Money, Utne, and an assortment of nature magazines.
– Glue. Not Elmers. (It makes the pages ripple.) I like using Yes! Glue or Rubber cement. Glue sticks are my second choice because they don’t last.
Before you begin your vision board:
No matter which method you’re choosing, how to make a vision board that is right for you should be started with a little ritual. Sit quietly and set the intent. With lots of kindness and openness, ask yourself what it is you want. Maybe one word will be the answer. Maybe images will come into your head. Just take a moment to be with that. This process makes it a deeper experience. It gives a chance for your ego to step aside just a little, so that you can more clearly create your vision.
How to make a vision board in 5 steps:
Step 1: Go through your magazines and tear the images from them. No gluing yet! Just let yourself have lots of fun looking through magazines and pulling out pictures or words or headlines that strike your fancy. Have fun with it. Make a big pile of images and phrases and words.
Step 2: Go through the images and begin to lay your favorites on the board. Eliminate any images that no longer feel right. This step is where your intuition comes in. As you lay the pictures on the board, you’ll get a sense how the board should be laid out. For instance, you might assign a theme to each corner of the board. Health, Job, Spirituality, Relationships, for instance. Or it may just be that the images want to go all over the place. Or you might want to fold the board into a book that tells a story. At my retreats, I’ve seen women come up with wildly creative ways to present a vision board.
Step 3: Glue everything onto the board. Add writing if you want. You can paint on it, or write words with markers.
Step 4: (optional, but powerful) Leave space in the very center of the vision board for a fantastic photo of yourself where you look radiant and happy. Paste yourself in the center of your board.
Step 5: Hang your vision board in a place where you will see it often.
Three Types of Vision Boards:
1 – The “I Know Exactly What I Want” Vision Board
Do this vision board if:
– You’re very clear about your desires.
– You want to change your environment or surroundings.
– There is a specific thing you want to manifest in your life. (i.e. a new home, or starting a business.)
How to make a vision board if you know what you want:
With your clear desire in mind, set out looking for the exact pictures which portray your vision. If you want a house by the water, then get out the Dwell magazine and start there. If you want to start your own business, find images that capture that idea for you. If you want to learn guitar, then find that picture. I remember at the last retreat, one woman yelled out, “If anyone finds a picture of a little girl with red hair who looks happy, give it to me!” And someone else yelled out, “I’m looking for a Cadillac!” Pretty soon, a lively trading session began. Following the five steps above, create your vision board out of these images.
2 – The “Opening and Allowing” Vision Board
Do this vision board if:
– You’re not sure what exactly you want
– You’ve been in a period of depression or grief
– You have a vision of what you want, but are uncertain about it in some way.
– You know you want change but don’t know how it’s possible.
How to make a vision board if you’re not quite sure what you want:
Go through each magazine. Tear out images that delight you. Don’t ask why. Just keep going through the magazines. If it’s a picture of a teddy bear that makes you smile, then pull it out. If it’s a cottage in a misty countryside, then rip it out. Just have fun and be open to whatever calls to you. Then, as you go through Step 2 above, hold that same openness, but ask yourself what this picture might mean. What is it telling you about you? Does it mean you need to take more naps? Does it mean you want to get a dog, or stop hanging out with a particular person who drains you? Most likely you’ll know the answer. If you don’t, but you still love the image, then put it on your vision board anyway. It will have an answer for you soon enough. Some women at my retreats had NO idea what their board was about, and it wasn’t until two months later that they understood. The Opening and Allowing Vision Board can be a powerful guide for you. I like it better than the first model because sometimes our egos think they know what we want, and lots of times those desires aren’t in alignment with who we really are. This goes deeper than just getting what you want. It can speak to you and teach you a little bit about yourself and your passion.
3 – The “Theme” Vision Board
Do this vision board if:
– It’s your birthday or New Years Eve or some significant event that starts a new cycle.
– If you are working with one particular area of your life. For instance, Work & Career.
How to make a vision board for a theme:
The only difference between this vision board and the others is that this one has clear parameters and intent. Before you begin the vision board, take a moment to hold the intent and the theme in mind. When you choose pictures, they will be in alignment with the theme. You can do the Theme Vision Board on smaller pages, like a page in your journal.
Some things to remember about vision boards:
– You can use a combination of all three types of vision boards as you create. Sometimes you might start out doing one kind, and then your intuition takes over and shifts into a whole different mode. That’s called creativity. It doesn’t matter how you make a vision board. once the creativity is there, just roll with it.
– Your vision board might change as you are making it. I was just talking with a friend of mine who said that she had been making a vision board for the new year. The theme was all about what she wanted in this year. Then, as she pulled pictures and began to lay them out, the theme changed into a simpler one about her everyday life and the moments in each day. It surprised and delighted her to experience that evolution. You might find that you have little epiphanies from making a vision board.
Make a Vision Journal
Another option is to use these same principles in a big sketch book. Get a large sketch book and keep an on-going vision journal. This is especially effective if you’re going through many transitions in your life.
I welcome anyone who has created a vision board to write your own experience in the comments…