Your Best Life, in Images
Vision boards are often a first step in manifesting abundance or reaching a goal. They’re visuals of how we believe our best life should look and feel. I remember amassing a bedroom of magazines, with pictures I clipped for random inspiration. It was a fun activity, but thinking back on it, the problems with creating a vision board become clear. My vision boards were nothing more than random clippings of glamorous and pretty images that caught my eye. The images spoke to my eyes and to my idea of what I wanted others to see me as. It made my ego dance with delight. However, the most important thing missing from my vision board was my self-awareness. Self-awareness is crucial in understanding what looks good vs. what feels right to you). In this post, I’ll share three reasons why I think that vision boards are a time-waster so that you can decide for yourself.
1) You’re Already a Pro at Envisioning
We’ve all been in one, if not all, of the following scenarios. A boring class, daydreaming romantic scenarios with your latest crush. Being stuck in a staff meeting, drifting into the details of becoming your own boss. My personal favorite was lying in bed with my headphones on; each song drifting me into different aspects of how my best self looked, felt and behaved.
I use all of these scenarios to point out this one absolute truth. We’re already pros at picturing/envisioning, (which in my humble opinion runs deeper than looking at a static collection of images). We’ve imagined since childhood! While we’re busy completing our mundane adult tasks, it’s these daydreams warn us how out of alignment we are from our dreams.
When we envision or daydream, we often conjure up vivid details, at our own will. Searching for images only allows us to connect with a pre-existing image. It also becomes tricky when you’re visually bombarded with “pretty,” eye-catching images, that may not necessarily resonate on a deeper level. Your organic envisioning is more powerful and accurate in this way.
Another benefit that stands out about daydreaming, (compared to vision boards), comes from the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue. Authors Benjamin Mooneyham, and Jonathan Schooler summarize five potential functions that daydreaming serves. One of these functions is future thinking (AKA autobiographical thinking). It serves as a way to speculate and anticipate future events. Pretty useful when we’re in the process of mapping our path to living aligned with our best self).
2) Vision Boards Focus on the “Who,” Not the “Why”
Surviving abusive relationships, crippling fear of failure, and zero self-awareness, I know that material goals only make sense after the deeper, internal pieces come together. Vision boards offer a vision of what you’d like your life to look like but neglect the deeper insights that are necessary to align with your best self.
A vision board is much like the concept of Build-a-Bear. It overemphases the details of dressing up your life, (to look picture perfect), without much thought into what’s on the inside. You get an idea of your “who,” but are still in the dark about your “why’s.” Why do you want to be an Entrepreneur? Is it because a part of you has something to prove to your parents? Do you think entrepreneurship will compensate for feelings of failure in other areas? Maybe you’ve been seduced by social media gurus, showing off their mansions and yachts. It’s incredibly easy to fail at obtaining things that you “want” when you want them for the wrong reasons.
If a vision board allows you to look at what you think you want, without a more in-depth audit on the “why’s,” then it’s silently egging on a lack of self-awareness. Pushing you in the opposite direction of what your higher self truly aligns with only creates confusion and frustration.
3) Vision Boards Aren’t Where the Magic Happens
When someone goes into business for themselves, they usually become entangled in “busy work.” Tasks that take up time, but aren’t getting their business any closer to generating a profit. There’s a tremendous difference between being busy and being productive. Vision boards are mostly busywork, in self-improvement, and manifesting worlds. Adding new photos to your vision board is like being excited that you received engagement on a post from your business page (rather than an actual sale). Vanity metrics type of fluff.
The vision board isn’t where the magic happens. The magic happens in the chunks, small bits that we put toward achieving self-awareness to define and work toward goals. We can only be all-in, on goals, and “why’s” that touch our soul. These “why’s” create deep roots, making abandonment of our goals and success unthinkable. Anything less than that, can’t stand up to the constant tests that life throws at us. Read this post if you genuinely want to set compelling goals that impact every aspect of your life, along with smart goal setting strategies.
Many of us get super excited initially, creating our vision board (similar to imagining how we’ll spend a million-dollar jackpot). Unfortunately, for many of us, the creation of this vision board is where our journey begins and ends. Life comes fast. Our day job is demanding, and our families can be even more so. We have a chance to catch up with a good friend. We finally go on vacation, or pick-up into more responsibility at our job. The kids need help with homework… and there sits our vision board. A pretty reminder that one day, we decided we were going to go for it.
To focus on what, in my opinion, is a more productive tool, read my core post on how self-awareness helps you create fulfillment in every aspect of life.
What’s your experience with vision boards? Did this post offer you a new perception? Let’s talk about it, and don’t forget to share, to get the conversation going.