create an empowering dream board

Whether you call it a dream board, vision board, or treasure map, the process of creating your own board is a powerful first step to achieving your goals. Your board serves as a visualization tool by providing a snapshot of your “desired future” … it helps you focus your goals and envision where you want to go, what you want to do, who you want to become, what you want to have … and with whom you want to enjoy it all!

5 things to consider before creating your kick-ass board 

1.     The #1 rule. dreams vision-board1 vision-board-poster

… actually, it’s the only rule:  Have fun with it! Think big. Think ideal. Think the moon. Think “What would I do if I knew I could not fail?” If an idea or goal does not excite, or even scare you a little, it’s not daring enough – and chances are it will drop off your radar as one more ho-hum thing to do.

2.     Your board must resonate with you on an emotional level.

Looking at your finished vision board MUST create an emotional charge that you feel in your body … you should feel a “yes!” in the belly that revs you, reminds you where you’re going, propels you to take action, fires you to succeed.

Visualization is meant to raise your level of vibration, so as you create your board, only include goals that challenge you, and images that spark real desire.

Don’t add images just because they’re pretty, or might be nice to have. Don’t include certain goals because you think you “should”.

And don’t include the dreams,  aspirations, and expectations that others project for you. This is your board … your life to create!

3.     Consider the type of board you prefer.

I’m using the term board, which implies a flat board that you’d pin to a wall, but you might prefer a folding board, like a large menu; or a portable three-ring binder, scrapbook, or ringed note cards. You might prefer a document or workbook on your computer or tablet. Or you might prefer a mindmapping software. Consider your lifestyle and work style, and do what works best for you. (I create a flat board to pin on the wall, then shoot it with Evernote camera, so it’s always with me on my smartphone and synced on my laptop.)

4.     Determine whether to create a single board or multiple boards.

career-vision-boardSome prefer to encompass all of their goals on one board. Others prefer separate boards for different purposes, or different roles and goals  e.g.,  family, money, health, marriage, career (like the one on the left).

Since I’m very visual and tend to take a global perspective on things, I typically prefer one global board that encompasses all aspects of my life.  It gives me the big picture view I need, and keeps all of my goals in front of me. However, when I work on a really intense project or longer-term assignment, like a book or film project, I might make an additional board dedicated to that specific project. It helps focus goals and visualization around that project, and prevents my global board from becoming cluttered.

5.     Your board is a visualization tool, not a panacea. Visualization works … when supported by action.

Without action, your board is merely a collage. You’ve heard the expression “Where focus goes, energy flows” – your daily actions and thoughts must support your goals. As a visualization tool your board should align with your overall written plan. (Assuming you have one, your written plan defines your objectives, goals, strategy, tactics, timelines, and deadlines, etc.).

Creating your board

Select pictures, words, photographs, quotes, textiles, and objects that inspire you.  They represent the experiences, accomplishments, and possessions you want to attract into your life and that are symbolic of the lifestyle you’re in the process of creating. For example, you might want to attract a new lover or marriage partner, a bigger home, a specific car, or new career. You might want to travel through Asia, learn French, take up Salsa dancing, master golf, or lose 50lbs.

Grouping your cutouts into content categories or similar groups – such as family, love, money, career – helps create flow to your story.  I also recommend leaving random space between images or content categories for the following reasons:

  • Too many images create distraction. Covering your whole board, leaving no empty spaces, makes your board look cluttered, even chaotic (and chaos is the last thing you want to attract!).
  • With some background space, the eye can scan your board more effectively, seeing the big picture and the small details.
  • Grouping images into role or goal categories makes it easier for the brain to organize the information, which strengthens visualization.

Positioning your board for best results

One of the most effective places to keep your vision board is by your bed. Aside from your honey, make it the last thing you see before you turn out the light at night, and the first thing you see in the morning. Spend some time looking at it … but it’s not enough to just see it … you must feel it.

  • Envision meeting your goals and internalize the experience.
  • What does that feel like? Do you feel excited, loved, awake, alive? Do you feel knowledgeable, energized, empowered, liberated?
  • Close your eyes; breathe into it. Draw on your senses … what surrounds you in your future life? Imagine smells, touches, tastes, sounds.
  • Feel grateful for what you already have, and for what’s coming. Welcome these things into your life. Embrace them.

Okay, okay … so the first few times you do that, you’ll probably feel a right tosser!  Even if you’re alone. Been there, done that.

But neuroscience shows that what we’re exposed to before we go to sleep works deep in our subconscious. It also shows show that when we visualize, our brain is activated to subconsciously start seeking what we’re looking for. Have you ever bought a rare foreign car that few people have seen, and suddenly you start noticing them everywhere without even looking for them? That’s your brain doing what it’s designed to do.

So get over yourself! Start visualizing morning and night, and any time in between when you have a few moments to yourself. You want this, right?

To share or not?

There’s always debate around whether or not you should share you dream board (and goals in general) with others.  My recommendation is this:

Unless you know with 100% certainty that someone will fully support your aspirations, keep your vision board and goals to yourself.

Many researchers believe that sharing goals leads us to “talk” about them more than “work” on them.

Also, when you share goals at large, you open yourself up to potential sabotage (intentional or otherwise) by the naysayers – by those who don’t understand what you’re aiming for, or who those who might feel threatened that you’re creating change or succeeding where they’re not.

I’ve never found it helpful to share goals with groups or acquaintances, and so I don’t. But I do share with my goal partner, and with trusted family members and friends. Finding the right sharing partner is critical … but that’s another post for another day. Meanwhile, choose your counsel wisely!

The little choices you made yesterday and today may seem inconsequential. But keep making them, and they will design your future – positively or negatively.

Good luck … and have fun creating your board! I’d love to hear about your experiences, successes, and challenges.

eternally grateful

Hey, Happy New Year to YOU!!!

Right now, I’m on my annual retreat where I revisit my goals, establish new goals, look at what I want more of, less of, and with whom!  And I want to begin by acknowledging someone who’s made a very significant and important difference in my life.

Twenty years ago I met Joyce Chapman at her book signing in San Diego. She does amazing work in the field of self-empowerment and human potential, and has a very playful style.  I immediately absorbed her work, and it helped change my world by creating a litany of new beginnings — i.e. new career, new US state, new life!

Much later (around 16 years later), I contacted Joyce when I found myself “stuck” and knew I needed help to climb through the mire and shake things up.  She became my personal coach and helped me move past the sudden death of my fiancé.

I’ve long been a huge proponent of Joyce’s techniques, including daily journaling, andLiveYourDream creating Dream or Vision Boards on a regular basis as a visual reminder of goals.

So, as I finish my 2015 vision board (my 8th or 9th in total), I think it’s fitting to share the work of someone that I think is very special.

Someone who has helped hundreds of thousands of dreamers realize their dream is possible.  Someone who epitomizes “living with passion and joy”.  Someone who has touched my life in more ways than she knows … and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

See Joyce’s blog and books at If you have a question, drop her a line … I know she’d love it.  Or share YOUR 2015 goals and dreams here.

Dream big my friend! 😉

P.S.  Next post will be on How to Create Your Empowering Vision Board.

no pants–no service

“Mind your Ps and Qs … ” she said, inspecting me, my brother, and sister, adjusting the knots in our thick winter scarves and making sure our coats were buttoned, socks pulled up, shoes polished, and gloves on the correct hands, “… and if you’re good, we’ll stop at Lyon’s Café on the way home for a Knickerbocker Glory.”

I made eye contact with my nine and ten year old siblings letting them know I expected to get a Knickerbocker Glory that day, so they’d better listen to Nan. My brother stared back, “Ditto!”

Fast forward a few years, rather a decade or two, and I’m sitting in an American diner known for its pancakes. I order my eggs over-easy with blueberry stuffed French toast, and cupping the chunky brown coffee mug in both hands, inhale my first coffee aroma of the day. That first aroma is always the best … just like the first gulp of steaming coffee is always the best.coffeemug

Savoring the rich dark roast, I glance around the diner while my honey runs out to the car for his wallet.

At the table next to me sits a family of five. Two girls and a boy, just like our family. But unlike our family, no adult ran a quick discerning eye over them to make sure they were dressed to meet the world. With sleep in their eyes and ratty, greasy bed-hair, all three apparently rolled out of bed at the trumpet call of breakfast and forgot to dress. They’re still wearing crumpled pajamas, bed socks, and slippers … and that ratty, greasy bed-hair. Is that a piece of lint?  No, it’s fluff.  Did they at least brush their teeth?  More than one of them needs a long hot shower with a hefty squirt of fresh spring bodywash and a dose of man-strength deodorant.

Lest you’re thinking these are babies, the youngest is probably 12 or 13. The others, around 18 and 20.

I tell myself to live and let live, but mentally sigh. My honey returns with his wallet and slides into the booth, facing me. He leans forward nodding his head toward the booth behind me and whispers, “I think we’re overdressed”.

Two more pajama wearers. And over in the corner, a group of five friends, three of whom sport ratty, greasy bed-hair and yes, those crumpled pajamas.

psj2I don’t get it.

It’s not a “generational thing” because since then I’ve noticed many pajama-wearing adults from Gen Y to Gen Xrs and Boomers … at diner’s, coffee shops, grocery stores. Even in the mall and at the movies.

It’s not a “trend thing” because, in most cases, these PJ-wearers still appear to be in the zombie state of unwashed and disheveled half-sleep.

nopantsnoservice_pajamashoppingIt’s not a “comfort thing” because we’re already a nation that wears stretch garments with elasticized waistbands and oversized sweatshirts – and we’re known worldwide for our preferred footwear of sneakers, flip flops, and Uggs.

Neither is it a “socio-economic thing”. When you drive your sleepy, pajama-wearing-ass home in a Lexus 570L – whether it’s owned, financed, or leased – let me tell you, you can splash down twenty bucks on a pair of pants at Target. (Or that other colossal store that begins with W and plans to take over the world, but that’s another post for another day).

And it’s not a “cultural thing”. My family in Europe sees it too, albeit to a lesser degree.

So what is the deal with wearing pajamas in public? When did it become okay to roll out of bed and not clean up or dress up before heading out in public?

I’m not talking about glamming up to go on the town. Or being obsessive about designer clothing and preening in front of the mirror for hours. Or worrying about having the right accessories. Or dressing to impress.

no-pajamas-no-service-signBut can’t we have enough pride in ourselves to at least clean up before going out? To run a comb through our hair? Splash some water on our face?

Why don’t friends and family say – as I admit I would: Wear what the hell you like. Dress to express. But ditch the PJs and wear something.

Beachside restaurants and stores post signs saying: “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service”.

I say: “No Pants, No Service.” And PJs, my friends, are not pants!

What do you think?