Vision Boarding 101: Proceed, but proceed with an open mind

What is a Vision Board?

Vision boards are basically a collection of words and pictures that you assemble to keep you focused on a goal or on a specific vision of your future.

“If you build it, they will come.” -Field of Dreams

Many people say that envisioning your goals in this way makes it more likely that you will meet them.  For a quick tutorial on making a vision board, see this post by Christine Kane.

Soon after deciding to plan for a sabbatical, my husband had the awesome idea to create a vision board to keep us focused and motivated. We picked out a prime location in our home, bought a bulletin board and started scouring magazines donated by our friends to collect the images that spoke to us about our future sabbatical.

vision board example 1.jpg
Sample vision board

We hung ours right over our kitchen table, where we see it every day, and we added a weekly countdown that gives us a visual of how close we are getting to our anticipated start date and our savings goals.

Two People, One Vision?

In making that vision board, we realized pretty quickly that we have different ideas about what sabbatical would be like. My husband’s side of the board was sparse and had pictures of a hammock, yoga poses, a meditating monkey (don’t ask me to explain that one).  My side of the board was overflowing with pictures of faraway places, fast cars on open roads, and luggage.  We both said we wanted this sabbatical to recharge and really live, but it turns out that meant something pretty different to each of us.

Definitions are so important in life, aren’t they?

My husband talks about peacefulness and meditation when he talks about recharging on sabbatical. When I talk about recharging, it really does start to sound a little like a list of things I want to accomplish.

My Vision

  • Exercise every day to get in the best shape of my life
  • Live abroad
  • Take spontaneous road trips!
  • Write a book and blog!
  • Spend time with family
  • Explore new cities and try new things (long list here)
  • Have adventures every day
  • Read a bunch of books that have been on my list forever (One Hundred Years of Solitude, anyone?)
  • Camp (let’s be specific–car camping, not the crazy backpack in ten miles and pee in the woods kind)
  • Hike
  • Play with the dogs
  • Go to coffee shops every morning and just sit and people watch and enjoy NOT WORKING!
  • Do something every day that scares me

My Husband’s Vision

  • Sleep in
  • Exercise most days
  • Relax
  • Yoga
  • Road trip to Glacier National Park and a few other places
  • Volunteer
  • Learn
  • Spend time in nature

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are things we have in common with our visions, but the way we talk about them is so different. For example we both want to get healthy. He wants to exercise most days. But he doesn’t want to feel pressure to do it every day. I however want to kick my butt in gear and get super strong and lean by forcing myself to workout two to three hours every day. Period.

There are also some keywords that appear on both of our vision boards:

  • Relaxation

  • Renewal

  • Retreat

  • Connection

How we achieve these big happy words–Relax, Renew, Retreat, Connect–is where we seem to differ. And that’s what worries me a little bit (I’d be lying if I said it didn’t). That’s what we are working through.  And the only way to work through it is by talking about it, so we talk about sabbatical a lot, about what we are each looking forward to.

And in that process, we are drawing each other into a shared vision of our time off together and we are making it come to life.

Two People, Three Visions. Yep.

So so on our vision board, we have three sections:  me, him and us.  The “us” section still needs some work, but we are getting there. My husband suggested that we visit with a life coach to help us communicate about our shared vision. We did, and it was a critical step in our process.

If we don’t figure it out, I’m afraid we will spend our sabbatical arguing and resenting each other for impeding each other’s vision.  But that isn’t an option, so we are very focused on the three visions for sabbatical–mine, his and ours.

So, how to move forward?  Lists or no lists?  Plans or no plans?  Go go go or breathe breathe breathe?  As with most things, the answer surely lies somewhere in between.

We just have to keep going back to those keywords we both saw in our visions of sabbatical, and we have to keep TALKING.

  • Relaxation

  • Renewal

  • Retreat

  • Connection

The more we talk through what we want, the more I see that there is time and space for everything we both need. My adventure can come by way of experiencing a part of his peaceful vision, in a way that never would have occurred to me, such as cliff jumping while on a nature hike in a new place. And he can find that sense of peace he is seeking in some fabulous faraway place that is on my list.  Meditating on the beach in a foreign country perhaps.

We are opening our hearts and minds to each other’s concepts of happiness and fulfillment and that alone is bringing us both great joy and connection in the planning of our sabbatical.  We are finding each other and Us, and we haven’t even started yet!

Our Vision (so far…)

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Our vision board…so far…
  • Get Healthy
  • Spend more time together
  • Spend more time with family, both here and in Texas
  • Travel
    • Glacier National Park
    • State Parks
    • National Parks
    • Anywhere we haven’t been that is BEAUTIFUL (definition of beautiful TBD)
    • Anywhere that we have been that we want to go back!
    • Abroad… (more on that in a future post)
  • Camp
  • Try new things:  coffee shops, pubs, cooking class, yoga, new hikes, tai chi, dancing and so much more!

Send me pictures of your vision board, and I’ll post them to the site!  thefoundyear@gmail.com


4 thoughts on “Vision Boarding 101: Proceed, but proceed with an open mind

  1. You are already experiencing the openness you seek. For instance, it would be so easy to “spin” the reporting of your visions….making yours seem more desirable, his less so. But you reported fairly and clearly. Once again, I am grateful that you are sharing your journey with me.

    Liked by 1 person

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