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In the last blog, I shared what a vision board is and 4 compelling reasons to create one. Here I’m going to share the details on how to create one.

One cold winter evening, I was at my daughter’s elementary school for a parent-teacher conference and was waiting outside the classroom as her teacher was wrapping up with another parent. My attention was drawn to the wall outside her class. They are typically filled with exuberant crafts and projects demonstrating their limitless imagination. This time around, it was a showcase of write ups by kids answering the question “what would you want to be when you grow up?” The answers were quite bold and what you would expect from kids: Pilot, President of the United States, Scientist, famous rock star… It got me thinking: as kids, we aren’t afraid of having big, audacious dreams and somewhere along the journey of life, we get cautious about what we want to achieve and accomplish. We become more ”realistic”. As you create your vision board, DON’T BE!

Follow these 5 steps to put your dreams on paper through the vision board exercise.

Step 1: Visualize your future best self:

If you haven’t already done so, check out finding your purpose blog and consider completing the purpose exercise to offer you a solid foundation for your vision board.

Now, back to the visualization exercise: I’d challenge you to stop being just realistic and really push your imagination and be ready to get out of your comfort zone.

Ideally, do this activity first thing in the morning and when you can dedicate at least an hour to self-reflect and pen down your thoughts. Close your eyes, fast-forward and visualize your future best self in 10 years. What places would you have visited? What does your relationships look like with the key people in your life: family, spouse, children, friends? What is your ideal career? What impact are you making? Take your time to meditate on it. Do you have a clear picture of your vision? If so, open your eyes, write down your answers in a blank sheet of paper. Don’t overthink it, write every thing that came to your mind.

Step 2: Identify and prioritize your vital few

You did the purpose exercise and meditated on your vision: you are now exuding with fantastic ideas of your best future self. Now what? – it’s extremely important to distill the long list of dreams to a vital few that are most critical and have the most impact from your perspective. Why do I say that? – as legend would have it (thank you Vilfredo Pareto for the Pareto principle!): 20 percent of your activities will account to 80 percent of the results. Hence, focus your energy on the most impactful few to make a big dent on the outcomes you wish to accomplish.

Step 3: Pick the right words, quotes and images

Take a look at the vital few and identify some key words that tie to your dreams you decided to purse. There are 2 ways to create your vision board: you can review magazines and cut out a bunch of images and quotes and post it on a 22×18 poster board or create one online using power point. Do some key word searches for quotes, images and words that tie to your dreams. Here’s an example of my vision board created that way…

Step 4: Execute your vision

Once you have the vision board set up, make sure it’s in your sight every day. You can print and place it in your office, make it a screen saver on your laptop: don’t let ‘out of sight, out of mind’ happen to your vision! The purpose for that is to drive you to action. This will act as gentle reminder and offer daily dose of inspiration needed to take action towards achieving your dreams.

For me, making a difference and setting big goals that push me to grow are on my vision board and one of the actions that tie to this vision of mine is to build this blog. It serves as an inspiration to work on this blog- to learn, grow and share with others.

Step 5: Evaluate and adjust

As eloquently put by Clayton Christensen, author of How will you measure your life?”, a successful strategy usually is a combination of having a deliberate plan and making changes based on the unanticipated- emergent strategy. Be sure to evaluate and adjust your dreams/plan at least every year or sooner as needed.

Magic happens when you create a vision board, work towards it and share with others to inspire them as well. Are you ready to pen down your vision, take action and change the world?

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