Where do you see yourself in ten years' time? Really think about it - will you be in the same house, the same job, with the same friends? Think back ten years, how have things changed in your life since then. Could you have predicted where you would be today?
For me, the answer is a definite no! Ten years ago I was living in the UK, recently graduated from university, living in a share house and working as technician for events and theatres. I could not have imagined that I would be in Australia, working in an accounting firm, married, owner of my home and (finally!) owner of a dog.
Despite all the business planning and personal goals in the world we cannot (yet) predict the future, so how can we help ourselves achieve or evolve our dreams?
One useful tool is vision boards. You may have heard about these in the context of business planning and personal goal setting; in summary they are a collage of images which remind you of what you want to achieve. They are more inspirational than a to-do list (although these most definitely have place for short-term achievements) because people don't do very well with large amounts of text. Reading can be overwhelming, our visual systems have evolved to process images as we see them whereas text requires us to scan the characters, recognise them, piece them into words, then sentences and so on to gain understanding. Vision boards work because pictures stimulate your mind and your feelings without too much brain power, so how can we utilise them for day-to-day inspiration?
To start with, consider the intention of the life you want, the 'why', not just the 'what'. Do you want to run your own business purely for the profit or are there other factors, for example working for yourself? Do you want a big house as a status symbol or to fill it with family and friends? To be effective vision boards need to be a constant reminder of why you are doing something. If you are having a bad day they need to serve as a reminder of why you are doing what you are doing.
Perhaps you are not sure of your long-term goals yet but need help getting through things on a daily basis. Picture collages can be used here as 'mood boards' to evoke a certain emotion. My personal recommendation is to create a wall of photos that help you feel calm; being calm and grounded can help you through almost any situation.
A good friend of mine has a great mood board which includes photos of snowy mountains (a favourite place), an island beer (conjuring great memories of a fun trip), sunset over the water (another fun holiday), the view skiing down a tree-lined alp (encompassing mountains, snow and a holiday), a favourite meal, and many more inspiring photos. They are all good, calming memories; events where reoccurrence would be welcome. A mood board is a reminder that even when you are having a bad day, or struggling with a task, there are lots of positives in life. It serves as a reminder of the 'why' – work hard to be able to get more of your favourite things in life.
Possibilities for vision boards include:
- Business targets
- Personal goals
- Team motivation
- Design inspiration
- Plans for the year ahead
- Expansion of concepts and removal of limitations of ideas
- Bringing awareness
Just one more thought – we (still) can't predict the future, it's ok to change your vision boards as things evolve. Looking back on where I was ten years ago I think it's imperative to remember that dreams are allowed to change!