Back when I was in the third or fourth grade, I came up with a list of things I would do the time I turned 30:
-graduate from college
-get a job
-buy a house
-get married (closer to when I turned 30)
-get ready to have kids (by doing the rest of the things on the list)
It recently occurred to me that it’s time to come up with a new vision for my future. I’m 29 now, and I’ve done almost every item on my by-the-time-I’m-30 list. (I’m not married yet, but I am engaged. Love you, Sam!)
This time around, I’ve chosen to approach my future in a different way. Ever since my sister watched The Secret, she had talked about how we should create vision boards for ourselves, visual representations of what we wanted in life. I liked the idea, and we agreed that someday, we’d get together and do just that. For years we put it off, but with the impending completion/expiration of my by-the-time-I’m-30 list, I figured now was a good time to get together over a weekend and get it done. My cousin came over, too, and my living room turned into an arts and crafts and vision and encouragement fest.
Visions are different from goals. Goals are characteristic of the logical, analytical side the brain. A goal is binary: either you’ve met it or you haven’t. In defining the path to meeting a goal, you can break your big goal into smaller, intermediary goals. Visions, on the other hand, evoke the imaginative side of the brain. Visions are multi-dimensional; not only can they include what you have done, but also where you are, who you’re with, and how you feel. Visions capture the possibility of what could be, as opposed to the obligation of what you are signing up to do. In forming a vision of the life you want, you have the freedom to dream big. We each may have some loose ideas of what we want. To clarify your vision, ask “What if I could?”
I would like to own a house in the Bay Area. What if I could actually do that? What would that look like? Well, I’d like it to be in my current neighborhood. What if I could have that? I’d like it to have a stoop, a yard, and be big enough to fit all of my dreams (and my fiance’s dream man-cave) in it. Kind of like the house down the street from me. What if I could… well, shoot, let’s just take a picture of that house and stick it on my vision board.
What if I could have the life I want in the next 5 years? Here’s what it would look like:
And on the professional side:
Somehow, over the course of this vision board project, I feel like the life I’ve imagined for myself has become more real than it ever was before. Maybe it’s because I dared to think through “What if I could…” and defined, with specificity, what that life would be like. Or perhaps part of it was my openly discussing the possibilities with my sister and cousin, who cheered me on. It also helps that I now have a tangible, daily reminder of what life could be like hanging on my wall where it can be the first thing I see when I wake up and the last thing I see before I go to sleep.
What if you could have the life you want?
What would it look like? What would it feel like?