“If you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney
Visualization has been instrumental in bringing dreams to life since the dawn of mankind. Everything that has ever been achieved or created by any group or individual first started with a vision and powerful belief that the vision would be realized. Empires , historic marvels, and institutions of all types originated from a vision. The ancient pyramids in Egypt, the Roman aqueducts, our modern civilization—all began with a vision. Vision is the secret to bringing dreams to life.
Great leaders throughout history had vision and thus created civilization as we know it. Vision is the act of a leader seeing the future the way they want it to arrive. Tracy (2003) notes, “This means they can visualize and imagine an ideal future, well in advance of its becoming a reality. Just as Walt Disney clearly saw a happy, clean, family oriented amusement park many years before Disneyland was built” (p.190).
Visualization, also called mental imagery, is using the power of your mind to bring goals and dreams to life. It is painting a picture in your mind of your desired outcome prior to it becoming a reality. Mental imagery involves more than just the visual aspect as it also consists of using kinesthetic sense (feeling the wind on your skin) and auditory sense (hearing the crowd cheer you on). Additionally, emotions (feeling exhilaration) play a huge role in the visualization process. Many elite athletes have used the technique of visualization or mental imagery to increase performance and take home the championship title as noted by LaVan (2009):
“Seasoned athletes use vivid, highly detailed internal images and run-throughs of the entire performance, engaging all their senses in their mental rehearsal, and they combine their knowledge of the sports venue with mental rehearsal. World Champion Golfer, Jack Nicklaus has said: “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head”.”
How exactly does visualization work? Apparently, the brain does not know the difference between what is real or imagined. According to Gregoire (2014),” Research on the brain patterns of weightlifters found that the patterns activated when a weightlifter lifted heavy weights were activated similarly when they simply imagined lifting”.
Hollywood elite have used visualization to rise to stardom. To illustrate, Jim Carrey , who was broke and unknown at the time, parked his car on Muholland Drive every night and visualized becoming a Hollywood star. He wrote himself a ten million dollar check for “actor services rendered” and postdated it for three years. Within three years, he secured a ten million dollar deal to star in the movie Dumb and Dumber.”
Visualization has been instrumental to bringing dreams—big and small—to life for people from all walks of life: great leaders, olympic athletes, movie stars, and those who set smaller goals such as the participants of a life skills training program called Learn to Earn . Learn to Earn is a State of Connecticut pilot program implemented by a Waterbury Connecticut community action agency , New Opportunities, Inc. This intensive 24 week employment readiness skills development program combines the aspects of life and job skills development with real-world work experience and a supportive job search. Kathy Collins, who oversees the program, says “visualization techniques are incorporated in the curriculum”. The very first step in the Learn to Earn program is the creation of a life board which is a timeline of images selected or sketched by participants that represent significant life events from birth to the present time. This empowering self-reflection project helps the students exercise introspection to obtain an understanding of how certain life events, past choices and other factors led them to where they currently are in life. The final step in the program is the creation of a vision board which helps the students focus on their future goals through images they select and paste on a poster board. This empowers students by providing them with a blueprint to realizing their goals through visualization. Once they meet their established goals, they obtain confidence in their visualization abilities and can go on to set and achieve bigger goals.
What Is a Vision Board?
A vision board is a collage of images selected form various magazines and pasted on a poster board. These images represent dreams and aspirations one would like see come to life. Love, money, a car, a house, a new job, a published book, a fit body, a flourishing business, increased sales, a promotion or anything a person can imagine can be achieved with the help of a vision board. According to Kane (2014):
“A vision board, at its core, is a visual representation of all the things that you want to do, be, and have in your life… It’s a daily reminder of those things. Something you can look at every single day to remind you of your deepest desires. And it’s powerful. Because the thing is, ATTENTION is powerful, and where your attention goes, your energy flows.”
Creating Your Vision Board
Materials required to create your vision board include old magazines, a poster board, scissors and a glue stick. You can also take pictures of images that represent what you would like to bring to life. An example would be taking a picture of the street you would like to live on one day. The more challenging part of creating your vision board is getting clear on your intent. What exactly do you want to bring into your life? The best way to clarify your goals is to begin the process with a ritual. Kane (2014) writes:
“Sit quietly and set the intent. With lots of kindness and openness, ask yourself what it is you want… This process makes it a deeper experience. It gives a chance for your ego to step aside just a little, so that you can more clearly create your vision.”
Begin by going through the magazines and cut out images and phrases that energize you. Use your intuition to guide you. Arrange the cutouts on the vision board in a way that feels right to you but do not glue them until you have the layout down. You can create specific areas on your vision board for various themes. Kane (2014) writes:
“As you lay the pictures on the board, you’ll get a sense how the board should be laid out. For instance, you might assign a theme to each corner of the board. Health, Job, Spirituality, Relationships, for instance. Or it may just be that the images want to go all over the place.”
I would love to hear your stories on how your dreams came to life by using visualization and vision boards. Please share your stories to inspire others and remember to DREAM BIGGER!
Gregoire,C.(2014, February 11). The brain-training secrets of Olympic athletes. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/11/mind-hacks-from-olympic-a_n_4747755.html
Kane, C. (2014,November 1). How to make a vision board. [Web log comment].Retrieved from http://christinekane.com/how-to-make-a-vision-board/#sthash.o3cHIRgi.HTpj1qJ9.dpbs
Kane, C. (2014,November 1). What is vision board? [Web log comment].Retrieved from http://christinekane.com/what-is-a-vision-board/#sthash.SEE1SRHh.4dM1F0Ae.dpbs
LaVan, A.J. (2009, December 3). Seeing is believing: The power of visualization. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/flourish/200912/seeing-is-believing-the-power-visualization
Tracy, B. (2003). Goals: How to get everything you want – faster than you ever thought possible. California: Berrett-Koehler.
What Oprah Learned from Jim Carrey Oprah’s Lifeclass Oprah Winfrey Network. [Video file]. Retrieved https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPU5bjzLZX0