You will notice that throughout the research, planning, and implementation stages, I stress the use of physical documentation. Keeping it all straight in your head is pretty much impossible, but beyond that, you are creating visible resources. With these, you can literally see the path ahead, along with the progress you’ve made.
Being able to hold your plans in your hands (as well as show them to others) means you have already taken steps toward your goal. It gives you something to show for your work, something to keep you on track, and something to keep you motivated and even inspired.
This is all something you can take to the next level by making a vision board, a collection of images that helps you maintain a laser-like focus on your goals amid the daily flood of sensory information.
The first component of your vision board is your roadmap. Unlike your action plans, this is a one-page, simple document plainly stating how you will be getting from your present place to your end goal.
Say you have a small tailoring business in your house, and you decide you are going to put that business online. Your roadmap will include many elements, such as:
- Interview and hire web designer
- Gather testimonies from clients
- Hire photographer and studio time for online portfolio
The path of your overall roadmap will not change, but you may add to it or modify some of the details as you go along. The entry “Gather friends to be models for the site” might change to “Use photographer’s recommended models,” but that doesn’t change the basic idea that you’ll need models to show off your tailoring skills.
Having this roadmap lets you see your path, telling your brain specifically: “This is where we’re going. Pay attention.” And when you inevitably encounter detours and breakdowns on your journey, the roadmap will keep you from losing your way.
The rest of the vision board should be used to augment that roadmap, like tourist photos of a trip to a national park and inspirational quotes from people who found the experience life changing. You should pick images that inspire you, perhaps your son’s drawing of a happy family, an ad about dressing for success, or a photo of the city you want to live in.
While the roadmap stays the same, the images can stay or be replaced depending on your feelings as you look at them. Looking at your vision board should make you feel lighter and better focused with images of the life you are going to make for yourself, not depressed by things that seem impossible. As your ambitions grow, so may your board.
And don’t forget about where the board will be best placed. If you’re trying to get up earlier to make more of your day, perhaps put it next to the coffee machine. If your children make you long for a better life for you and your family, put it where you watch them play in the evenings.
Your vision board shows you where you want to be, and that’s a powerful motivator indeed.