Thursday, October 18, 2012
Amber L. Carter's Guide To Making A Kick-Ass, Totally Bombastic Vision Book.
The form is not important.
I travel a lot, and so a journal-sized vision book is handy for me (it's also handy if it's super cute - for instance, my new one is teal, because teal if very on-trend right now and I'm super trendy - and labeled "Journal" so snoopy jerks know to keep their grubby paws off of it). I don't like using boards because invariably someone's gonna come over to my place and see it and will want to ask a lot of questions about it, and I ain't the type to twirl around all Jamie-style and proclaim, "These are allllll the things I want to MANIFEST!" But I've also recently found that downloading images from a picture folder (labeled "Vision Board" because I'm super creative with names) on my laptop to my iPhone is suuuuuper handy. It transports really well, it's stealth, and can easily be modified with changing goals and times. I also have a "Vision Board" board on Pinterest for collecting images and sayings and goals. I then morph that into something more tangible, but maybe just having something on there works for you.
The point is: however you choose to do it, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you make it something you LOVE. Something that you can look at at any point of the day and it gets you excited. Ramped up. Psyched and motivated.
The content is. So get some.
Here's one thing I know for sure (Opppprrraaaaahhhh!): You can't get what you want until you actually know exactly what that is. And there's no better time than now to find out, right?
So set aside a couple of hours for yourself, make a cup of coffee, put on some music, grab a stack of magazines and a pair of scissors (Or, if you want to do it 2.0, go on your Pinterest account, make a new board titled "Vision Board" or some other variation of that name, and then go through your existing boards and repin to your Vision Board anything that really stands out to you) and have at it. Cut out and save any and all images, photos, articles, or phrases that you find yourself attracted to. Don't think about it too much. And don't skip over something because you think it's too "big". Don't you dare make yourself smaller or try to talk yourself out of the good stuff you're drawn to. This is YOUR book. Whether it's an Oscar or a new car, if a voice inside your head says, "I want that" when you see it, cut the damn picture out and add it to the pile.
Clarify the Very Damn Important.
When you're done, spread out all the things you cut out and notice any identifying themes. For instance, from my own experience making vision books, I now know from every single picture of a "dream house" that I've torn out of a magazine that, while all those dream houses might look a little different, they all have the same things in common: High ceilings and lots of light.
I know that I've never once added a picture of a woman in a business suit. All of my professional pieces of inspiration include themes of autonomy and entrepreneurship.
I know that whenever it comes to travel, it always has something to do with water: A cabin on the lake, a tropical beach, a city on the ocean.
I know that I'm drawn to clean lines and neutrals with pops of color when it comes to design - whether it's a dwelling, an outfit, or a Wordpress design.
I know that every "role model" I've included for anything - business, romance, style - always has the same four qualities: Aspirational but still accessible, fun, and a little bit nerdy.
I know that almost every single dream job I've been attracted to has the same inherent skill attached to it: writing.
So, bottom line? You can't get what you want until you know what that is. And this part will help you clarify it in a really easy, flexible way. This part tells me that it's not super important to me whether I live in a city or in the woods...but it is very damn important that where I live has lots of light and vertical space. Why? Who the fuck cares?! Those things apparently just make me happy for some reason. So let's build on the happy, mmkay?
So after collecting pieces of inspiration, edit. I kept only the ones that I really, really loved: the ones that, for whatever reason, inspired a certain elation or excitement. I got rid of the ones that - again, for whatever reason - either held even a small negative association or inspired even a tiny bit of anxiety (we'll talk more about this in a later post).
Then I took a step back and thought about what each piece represented for me, and did some life design from there.
Design your new fucking life.
Think of your vision book as a visual representation of your Written Shot of Courage. You're working toward the bigger and better...your vision book is what all of that looks like when you get there.
Now, like I said before, there's a lot of different philosophies when it comes to vision books and goals. Some say that you should make goals first and then use your vision book to illustrate them. Some say to make a vision book and then create your goals out of the clarity you get from it. Some say love is a river that downs the tender reed. The point is, go with your gut on this one.
I, myself, prefer to go with the broad strokes when it comes to my vision book. For instance: when I make a section in my vision book for my professional life, the main idea that I'm trying to illustrate is that I want to be paid generously for my skills and talents, and I want to achieve autonomy: I wear what I want, work where I want, and am in charge of my own success. That's the Very Damn Important basis of all of my career goals.
That's the broad stroke. That's the big picture. That's the vision part of this area of my life. From there, I can create smaller, more specific goals, but every other goal I make - whether it's to sell this many books or take on this many clients - are now all made with this vision in mind.
And the whole point of this book is to help you feel good about your life. To get you excited about it again. So whatever format is most going to help you feel that, do it that way. You want this book to be the thing that reminds me of why you get out of bed every day (especially on the days when that feels like pretty much the hardest thing in the world). It's the thing you can flip through when the work starts to suck and you'd rather watch Gossip Girl. It's the file you can visit when you need to make a decision and want to be sure that the one you make will align yourself with the future you want to have.
And for times like these, it's like the montage preview. You know, those "I'm gonna go all the way to the Olympics!" makeover/self-improvement/training montages in movies? I love them. I wish my entire life were an inspiring montage set to a power anthem. A vision book is like the flip-book of what your montage is gonna look like. When you're down and out, it's really great to have a book you can pick up that will remind you that life can still be pretty great. That's why you want to make sure to fill it with the things that you really love. Not with things that make you feel guilty, or anxious, or pressured, or nervous about the future. You know that visualization technique of "going to your happy place"? This is your happy book.
So make one.
In the next few weeks, I'll share some of the pieces from my own vision book with you, because there's some miracle-type shiz that happened once I started putting the book together. And none of them include sayings like "Dance like no one's watching!" or any crap like that.
Mostly because I dance like everyone's watching.