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Vision boards: Only half of what you should be doing

Vision boards is pretty much the go-to advice for every life coach. It is said to be essential in one’s success story. I however, only half agree with this statement. When a certain book called The Secret came out, millions bought into the whole shebang. I guess when the sales pitch comes from Oprah, you wouldn’t expect anything less. I didn’t buy into it it so much though. Even back then I was skeptical about the laws of attraction. For one thing, good things came my why without following the practices said in the book, and bad things happen all the time! That’s life! It gets in the way. The universe gives AND it takes.

To prove or disprove this theory of mine whether vision boarding works, I tried it. This year, I wanted to complete a training year so that I qualify for continuing education in yoga and aerial arts. So I made a vision board on pinterest about the end game for me. I dreamt up my perfect life. The house, the business, and the skills acquired to complete this journey. Guess what happened after that___ I felt like crap. In an instant, it felt like an impossible thing that i could never achieve. So I wallowed. I started feeling anxiety again, I mulled it over, consequently that panicked feeling started taking over me. I had to find a way to stop it. I knew what I wanted, i just didn’t know how to get there. I had to do something else.

“My emotions were so caught up in the impossibility of achievement, It drowned out my creativity, and drive to think of a plan”

One of the books I bought for said anxiety, Organise Your Emotions, Optimise your life: Decode Your Emotional DNA and Thrive (long title I know), It talked about having an inner dialogue with yourself. I tried it and here’s what I came up with: while my emotions were so caught up in the impossibility of achievement, it drowned out my creativity, and drive to think of a plan. So after a hot shower, I created a quiet space for me in my bedroom to think, how do I get started with this? I came up with an action plan to get the ball rolling. Here’s how I did it.

1. Intel

In Psychology Today, Dr. Niel Farber, mentioned that vision boards may actually do more harm than good. Which is probably what happened to me. I took it too much to heart instead of just keeping it as an afterthought. The vision board may have given you the image of your professional nirvana but you won’t get there until you see what’s really out there. You need to know what’s available and what’s in your way. So scour the internet. Take notes of the sites, dates, destinations, whatever it is you need to make that dream happen. I wanted to add more cirque in my practice and license to teach. I looked at schools, workshops, and I talked to actual teachers and students who have taken the courses I wanted. I also signed up for different facebook communities and asked my peers. Facebook is a wonderful tool for you to make an informed decision. After this take what you’ve gathered and get organised.

2. Make A Timeline

Organising your information is the next step in making anything happen. Get a calendar. Make easy-to-reach steps into arriving at your objective. I knew that to get my certifications I needed to train first. For Cirque I paid for a 3 month intensive course which I will keep doing for atleast the next 6 months. By the summer when most of Europe is in Asia for vacation, I could take my first certifications there. From here I can calculate how much money I need to save, the dates I need to meet, most importantly, the schedule I´ll need to keep to reach these goals and start the next phase.

"Becoming your own boss means that you need to become your own secretary as well."

3. Don’t Make A Five Year Plan!

This is too overwhelming. Like I said above Crap happens. Map out 6 months, then map the next. Repeat. 5 year plans are too long. It works out if you want to be a doctor because your school has curriculum for you to follow. Becoming your own boss means that you need to become your own secretary as well. Make it easier on yourself.

4. Be Present in Whichever Phase Your At

Let’s say you have your 6 months booked but you’re still at the starting point. Don’t let your mind wander to the end of the 6 months. Don’t imagine the end while you are still at the beginning. You’ll lose focus that way. Where you’re at is exactly where you should be. Be mindful and don’t waste your day.

“Recognise it, handle it, then send it away.”

5. Forgive Yourself For The Bad Days

I will keep on repeating this. Crap happens! Whether its a Schadenfreude moment or something big resulting in you being less or monumentally unproductive__ forgive yourself and move on. You’re human it happens. The fastest way for you to get back to your work is to acknowledge the event, let it go, and not think about it again. I’m not saying push it down. I’m saying recognise it, handle it, then send it away.

6. See The Work Not The Triumph

In the same article in Psychology Today, It talked about a study wherein 2 groups of students who had a huge test coming up were visually guided through 2 scenarios: Group 1 were given a scene wherein they passed a big test with flying colours. While Group 2 were asked to imagine themselves studying. How they plan on studying, how they set up their space, and the time they were going to review their lessons. The first group had more confidence in themselves but scored worse while the second group prepared well, studied harder, lastly made better grades. What do we pick up from here? When we get a sense of the work ahead, it suddenly doesn’t seem so daunting. We see that we’re capable of achievement. This is more important because this is what will carry us through our career path.

While vision boards give you a nice image to think about, I want you to leave it in the background. Where you’re at right now isn’t near that picture yet. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. Keep the feeling. That sensation that you have taken the step of discovering what you want. That will help you stick to your road. Then get to work. Gather the information you need. Based on your realistic assessment, make your timeline, your budget, your deadlines, etc. Don’t make more than a 6 month plan. Don’t make it harder on yourself. Where you’re at is exactly where you should be. So if there’s anything you should be envisioning, it should be in the present. Working. Forgive yourself for the bad days, unproductive days, mistakes, it happens. You’re only human. You’ll get there before you know it. Maybe not the exact same one in your head, maybe a version of it but it will be yours. That’s it for today. If you’d like to know more about the articles and follow up articles about Neil Farber in Psychology Today, I put the links up in the references below. Interesting reads ( Not in reading order).

Nahmaste Misfit Yogis!


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