Oprah Winfrey talked about a vision board a while ago on her show, and it has stuck with me. The idea is essentially to think about your goals and put pictures on a board to represent them, so you can tangibly see them and stay focused on them each day as you see the board.
I always thought the idea of putting your goals on a board makes sense to keep your momentum going, but I'm not a crafty person, so finding a poster board and photos to match my goals sounds like torture when I could be using that time to actually work towards my goals, so I've never done a vision board.
I did recently do a quick down-and-dirty version of a vision board. I took a post-it note and wrote, "You ARE a writer. Have confidence in that. You will get this." I carried it in my pocket for several weeks. Each morning, I took it off my closet shelf, read it, took a breath and closed my eyes and scrunched it in my pocket as I scrambled to get out the door.
And each night when I returned home, I would take the cheerleading post-it note out of my pocket as it got more worn with each day, and put it back on the shelf in the closet, rereading the words and doing my best to will them to life. You ARE a writer. Have confidence in that. You will get this....
Well, it turns out just because you can "see" a goal so clearly in your head and you put it in writing to put all your belief in it, doesn't mean the world around you will get on board. I didn't get the writing opportunity I was working towards not because I'm not a writer or I don't believe in myself, but because life happens and there are millions of other awesome people with goals who deserve success too.
The reality is, things obviously don't always go our way. If they always went our way, it would mean they're never going anyone else's way. I won't lie--I was pretty deflated about not getting the writing gig. I wanted it so badly I could see it and feel it.
I get so caught up in this narrative of "Things didn't go my way" that I remind myself sometimes to just take a step back and quit being such a maniacal control freak who gets whiny when the world doesn't fall into place according to my script where I'm always the hero.
This vision board idea is good in theory, but it brings false hope in the idea that anyone can envision something and the universe will follow along obediently because we said so. A vision board leaves no room for other possibilities that might be better than the ones we're dreaming of, and I don't want to lock myself into such a linear prison.
This won't stop me from being tenacious and going after my goals with grit. It is one setback away from where I envisioned myself to be, but maybe where I'll actually be is way better if I just tackle life with flexibility to trust that.
A vision board feels a little creepy and selfish to me now, so as I move forward I'll put my faith in actual work and looking out instead of looking in. It's important to have goals and work towards them, but if I live my life so focused on where I want to go, it takes away from the great place where I am.
Maybe I'm just getting old and soft, but a better way to focus my energy is to put a post-it note in my pocket that says, "How can I help?" That feels way more fulfilling to me, and although I have no idea what the answer looks like, half the joy is finding out.