Back to the drawing board

I have always been a creative person. From as far back as I can remember, I permanently had some form of drawing utensil in my sticky little hand, ready to create a work of art (or something to that effect). If the house was quiet, and my mother wasn’t sure where I was, all she had to do was follow the trail of glitter, paper cuttings and bits of ribbon to find me.

My art skills became more refined as time went on, and despite not having achieved spectacularly well in school, I managed to do well enough to sell my art internationally, and be featured in a very successful online art gallery. (A quick punt here: you can go and have a look at my artwork there if you haven’t done already https://www.artfinder.com/artist/abigail-long/ ).

When I was in my early 20’s and eager to conquer the world, I had lots of ideas and plans of things I wanted to own; things I wanted to achieve; places I wanted to go and people I wanted to meet. I sat down at my kitchen table one afternoon, surrounded by magazines, armed with scissors and a glue stick. I proceeded to page through the magazines like a magpie searching for shiny things, and whenever something twinkled at me, I cut it out and stuck it on to a large piece of coloured backing board. I accompanied the pictures with quotes from people I admired, and added a few of my own descriptions to clarify what the images represented.

After what was most likely a good few hours, I had finally completed my first Vision Board. Of course I didn’t know that was what they were called at that point. I didn’t know it was even a thing. It just seemed like a good idea at the time, and I put it up on my bedroom wall where it would be the last thing I’d see before I went to bed at night, and the first thing I’d see when I woke up in the morning. Over 20 years later, I can still actually picture where it was in my room, and I can even see one of the quotes I had put on it. Ironically, that same quote I used in my very first blog here on Internal Intention!

Fast forward to today, and I still have a vision board stuck on my bedroom wall. It has been a habit that has stuck with me throughout my whole adult life. The things on the board are always changing. I have very few material things on my current one versus the ones I made in my 20’s and even 30’s. They seem to have become simpler. Perhaps that is as a result of having achieved many of the things I wanted to already? Maybe it is because I am closer to a place of spiritual contentment having identified my IKIGAI and being on that pathway that will ultimately lead me to my life goal? Or could it just be that as a result of the pandemic there’s so little left for anyone to be able to do, so there’s not much to get excited about? (I’m just kidding with the last one – although where I had pictures of a snow covered Montblanc, and a caption that said: “Our anniversary trip to Chamonix!” I did have to paste over with a caption that now reads: “Places we will go…”)

What I find remarkable is the fact that when I look back at many of the things I’d put on my vision boards in the past, I recall a feeling of almost desperation, and thoughts of: “Do I really think this is possible?” Yet the visions have come to fruition time and time again. I have learnt to dream big, because it appears we are only limited by our own imaginations as to what we can achieve.

When I was still living in South Africa, I had made a board which depicted me earning a figure which was nearly double what I was making at the time. I recall feeling slightly uncomfortable with the amount that I had written in a box that read: “I am so happy to be earning X every month!” simply because I didn’t know how I was meant to achieve it. The same board had a picture of the BMW X4 which was my dream car. At that stage I figured the only way I’d get to drive one would be by taking one on a test drive, or if I won the lottery, but I still stuck the picture there with a note that said, “I just love driving my brand new BMW!” There was also a picture of a lady wearing a stunning dressage tailcoat, which represented a lifelong dream of mine to compete in tails.

These were all quite big dreams, and I didn’t have the first clue how to achieve any of them when I first put it on my wall. But this is the beauty of having a vision board in a place where you see it every single day: your subconscious mind begins moving the pieces of the puzzle into place to make things happen. Little ideas suddenly pop into your head, and you notice potential opportunities that you may otherwise have missed. It’s the same as when you hear a word for the first time, and learn what it means, all the while thinking, “I’d never heard of that before.” The next thing you notice, that word is everywhere! It’s on a billboard, it’s on the radio, your friend uses it in a post. It was always there – you just weren’t tuned in to it.

Within a year of putting that vision board up, I had not only competed in tails, but I had stood on the podium wearing them to collect my prize in my first Advanced dressage show, I had exceeded the figure on my monthly earnings, and thanks to my husband’s job, I now get to drive a brand new BMW of my choice every 6 months!

If you’ve never done one before, I urge you to have a go at making your own vision board. It is so much fun. I generally make a new one at the beginning of each year, but you can make one anytime. You should make one today. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Be sure to put at least one thing on there which is bigger than you think possible.

  • Make it colourful and eye catching
  • Use description boxes, and put everything in the present tense
  • Address all areas of your life: health, wealth, relationships, career, travel etc.
  • Stretch beyond your comfort zone when it comes to what you really want
  • Display it somewhere you will see it daily

This is the one tool that I really believe everyone should have. I’d love to know how many of you already use vision boards. Perhaps if you’re willing, you might like to drop me an email with your own success stories from using vision boards, and they could end up being featured in this section of my book.

Thankfully you don’t have to be an artist to create one of these. All you need is to be able to visualize what you really want, and what would make you happy.

You don’t need eyes to see, you need vision

Maxi Jazz, lyrics from the song Reverence by Faithless 1996

Of all the goals I’ve reached and dreams I’ve made reality from using my vision boards, the greatest success has to be having seen my daughter create her own vision board, and witnessing first hand those hopes and dreams coming true, daring her to dream bigger and better as she continues to reach for the stars.

I will encourage her to keep her old one when she is ready to make an updated version so that in years to come she will have a beautiful record of all the things she wanted to achieve, and did; and that it might serve as a reminder of how far she’s come.

What will you do with yours?

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