Written by Katty Douraghy for EO. Katty is an EO San Francisco member and president of Artisan Creative, a staffing and recruitment agency for digital, creative and marketing talent. She is also the MyEO Families of EO Champion.
Each January, I look forward to Artisan Creative’s first company-wide team meeting: The day we present our annual vision boards. It’s such a powerful experience―standing before colleagues and committing to priorities and intentions that will benefit every aspect of our professional and personal life. It holds us all accountable for becoming better versions of ourselves. First we visualize, then we strategize and achieve.
For the past seven years, I’ve created a vision board, a process I’ve also introduced to my team. They find it so valuable that they each now create Vision Boards for themselves and many do so with their families as well. Every year, each member of the Artisan Creative team sets an intention, establishes new year’s goals and creates their vision board.
Creating my annual vision board
My board is a combination of personal and professional development. Before I start the process, I set an intention, asking: “How can I become a better version of ‘me’ in the coming year? A better leader, a better entrepreneur, a better person, a better family member, a better community leader…” and then I start creating my vision board with this intent.
I select quotes and pictures that inspire, create clarity and build on my intentions and priorities. I look at my vision board daily throughout the year to ensure I am keeping the commitments I’ve made to myself.
Although electronic quotes and images on Pinterest will work, I prefer the old-school, tactile method of physically searching for and cutting out imagery and words from magazines and deciding where to place them on the board. The physical process of creating the board is, in itself, an opportunity to reflect and plan via a very tangible exercise.
Presenting our vision boards
Presenting to the team develops accountability and enables the group to learn more about each other’s ambitions, dreams and commitments. Some people set a theme for their board or their year—others use inspirational quotes. They all have in common a shared use of imagery that inspires, tells a story and conveys a message to create a powerful visualization tool.
In addition to sharing our vision and goals each January, we review our boards mid-year and share a recap at our year-end meeting. This creates a sense of accountability that helps keep us on track during the course of the year, which can have many twists and turns. Creating and presenting our Vision Boards is one of our strongest team-building exercises, as it stays “evergreen.”
6 tips for creating your vision board
- Select words and images that inspire and are true to your core values.
- Create positivity and inspiration for yourself and others.
- Imagine the integrated life/work you want to live.
- Either divide your board into business and personal sections or mix the elements together throughout. The important point is to create an integrated board where both personal and professional aspirations are represented.
- Hang the board where you will see it and revisit it daily—read the inspirational messages out loud— and often! Mine is right in front of my desk, where I see it every time I look up from my computer.
- Share with others. Having an accountability partner will help you get closer to achieving your goals.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started
- A large poster board that gives you plenty of space to visualize your year, yet is small enough to hang on the wall. We use a 22-inch x 28-inch board.
- A good pair of scissors and a strong glue stick, so the pictures stay on all year long.
- Various magazines to look through and find inspiring words and pictures.
- Markers/stickers to write on or embellish your board (optional) .
- Patience and creativity.
- Time to reflect. I cut images and words throughout the month and then schedule some quiet time to create my actual vision board. For some, it’s easier to start with a theme. For others, the pictures and words shape the board’s theme. There is no right or wrong method: Harness your creativity in any way that works best for you.
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