Visualizing Your Dreams

Vision Boards

This week, I’m blogging about the power of positive thinking, or The Law of Attraction, which, as I explained in my post on Monday, is not some magic wand that will make all of our dreams come true, but is instead, a roadmap that helps us attain the goals we want for our lives – like moving to our own little dream home.

Successful business owners don’t have successful businesses without a business plan, a roadmap to help them attain their goals for their business.

Vision journals and vision boards, as it relates to The Law of Attraction in our lives is much like our life’s business plan. We outline our goals either in written or picture form and then we grasp the opportunities that come our way that help make those things happen.

As I mentioned in my post on Monday, I began a vision journal just before our move. I wrote about what I wanted to happen in our lives everyday. When those dreams I had written became a reality  – and actually proved to both my husband and myself that it could – I stopped writing.

I also blogged that about a year into living our dream things here started to go askew.

Part of it was due to the economy. I mean we are in the midst of what the media is calling The Great Recession. My husband was laid off from that dream job I wrote about in my journal and then he was laid off from a second job.

However, part of it is that our dreams became muddled as well. I hadn’t taken the time I really needed in 2007 to grieve my mother’s passing and once here, I was missing her, my friends, and many thing about living in the city. At the same time, Dale also missed his friends and his steady job, of course.

Our minds were stuck somewhere between our old home and our new one.

We were also so focused on our first set of goals – getting here and getting settled – we never set our sights further.

We made three big mistakes in our life vision to attract positive things into our lives:

  • I no longer wrote about our goals because I didn’t know what they were anymore
  • The perceived negatives had us thinking less about gratitude
  • We didn’t look at those perceived negatives as opportunity

This year, I took a step back, re-watched the DVD, “The Secret,” took that further and watched “What the Bleep do we Know?” which helped fill in the holes about where gratitude, love and spiritual faith fits in for me.

I also found the book, “The Idiot’s Guide to Vision Boards,” by a colleague of mine, Marcia Layton Turner.

A vision board is the pictorial partner to my vision journal. Instead of journaling a life plan, it’s visual.

I’m now focusing more on the gratitude, trying to view the perceived negatives as opportunity and I’m setting new goals/vision for my life. I’ve never been too artsy, but decided to give the vision board a try this time. I do have one wall across from my desk in The Belle Writer’s Studio that will be perfect for it.

After reading the book, I was very excited and contacted Marcia. She was kind enough to answer a few questions about vision boards:

1). The Secret was a major seller several years ago, is this how you came up with the idea for your book? Do you have a vision board?

Marcia: No, although I listened to The Secret on CD two or three years ago, it was not the catalyst for the book. I began researching vision boards after a friend invited me to a vision board class a local artist was hosting, prompting me to investigate the science behind the boards. The more I learned, the more I thought there might be a book-length work in it, so I pitched it to my agent, who sold it to Alpha.

Yes, I do have a vision board – the first one I created – and am now in the process of updating it. Since preparing that first one my goals have shifted and I’ve learned so much more about what works and what doesn’t that I need to revise it (hint: be very literal about the images and words you use rather than general).

2). You say in your book that one of the problems with The Secret was that it made things look too easy, that it didn’t map out that you have to actually work at attaining your vision. If you have to work at it, how is having a vision board different from just having goals?

Marcia: Good question. A vision board is a visual representation of your goals, which helps you imagine what it will be like to attain them. Those images are both reminders of what you’re striving for and a road map for your conscious and subconscious mind to help you recognize opportunities that are presented. Let me give you an example of how vision boards can make you hyperaware of opportunities to succeed.

You could set a goal to buy a new BMW by the end of the year, and you could even write that down and place it on a bulletin board. But that’s not as powerful as getting a brochure of the exact BMW model you want, in the color you want, and placing it on a vision board. With your brain constantly reminded of that image, you will begin to spot that model BMW on the road, everywhere. You will also start to notice ads offering special pricing incentives or trade-in offers, as well as other moneymaking opportunities that put that car within your grasp. Your brain is very visual and the process of visualization, which even the Olympians use, trains your brain to point out ways you can achieve your goal.

It’s really all about focus. Showing your brain an image of what you want triggers a focus that can lead to success if you pay attention. Images are much more powerful than words alone.

3). I was hoping you would address couples and how they should do their vision boards. Should they be separate or should the create one together? How do they mesh their dreams into one?

Marcia: Couples can create separate vision boards, which many do, or a board that represents what they want together. The key is confirming that both individuals picture their goal(s) in the same way. For example, if one wants to retire on a beach, but in the Caribbean, and the other agrees that they want to retire on a beach, but the beach they’re picturing is Cape Cod, they’re going to have a problem achieving that goal. I’d recommend first talking through goals and then separately gathering images to go on their individual or joint vision boards. Compare the images to reaffirm you’re on the same page before affixing them to a board.

Some dreams and goals need to overlap, such as where you want to live, how long you want to work, etc., but others don’t. Hobbies you want to develop or self-improvement activities you want to adopt do not necessarily need to be something you both do. But you’ll want to discuss them to make sure they don’t preclude something that your other half wants to do – such as if one of you wants to try a restricted calorie diet for a month and the other wants to plan a gourmet tour of France.

Constructing a vision board can be a great way to check that your goals are in alignment and, if not, to discuss how to bring them back into harmony.


The rest you will have to learn through Marcia’s book, one of which she will be giving to a lucky reader of Living Large. Just go to the comments section on this post between now and the post on Friday 2/26 (which goes up at 5 a.m. CST) and tell us a few things you would put on your vision board. I will draw one lucky poster from the comments and announce the winner on Friday afternoon in a separate post. You do have to be a U.S. based resident to win.

Stay tuned on Friday, as I will have a guest telling us about how she uses The Law of Attraction in a group setting.

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71 Responses

  1. Meredith says:

    I’m a little late to the party but really enjoyed this post and am enjoying Marcia’s book (look for her on my blog soon!) because it is all about growing and changing. Thanks Kerri and Marcia!

  2. MICHELE says:

    Coincidence? I’ve been studying the Law of Attraction, but recently began questioning it. Lo and behold, I read an article in MotherEarth about your little house and when I looked you up the post was Law of Attraction. Wow!

    I have my vision board in my head, but need to get it down on paper. Like you, I am questioning my goals and what I really want to focus on.

    Right now, it would be a small farm with the old farmhouse, barn for a horse and couple alpacas, chicken coop, and huge orchard and vegetable garden. Three dogs and a couple cats running around. Plus a great husband to fix it up.

    Great post, thx

    • Welcome to Living Large! I personally don’t believe in coincidence, Michele! 🙂
      Good luck with your vision and getting it all down on paper – it looks like it’s already beginning to take shape for you!

  3. Kim says:

    Oh, I love this! (And I NEED this kind of focus!)

    There’d be a picture of a greenhouse for the backyard, a fence to contain the kids while I garden, blueberry bushes, blackberries, peach trees, and a swingset for the kids…
    and (somehow?) a picture of us getting along famously with my sister-in-law and her husband.

    Hmm. And a tidy, organized basement… I could continue on forever!

  4. Curt L says:

    I would help my daughter to create her vision board, something I wish my parents could have done for me. My daughter is just 13, but I don’t think it is too early to dream. I would love for her to see that she can think outside the box and plan a life around something she really enjoys and live life, not just make a living. I want her to see that by living simple and small, she doesn’t have to buy into the main stream “American Dream”. It would be filled with images of small, beautifully built homes and wonderful spaces, both inside and out. Maybe after her vision is cast, then my wife and I can vision this for ourselves.

    • That’s great, Curt. I wish my mom would have taken it further and done this with me. It’s never too early. Just remember, though, it has to be her vision, she has to be the creator of it.
      You and your wife should also do one too!

  5. Lyneya says:

    If I had a vision board right now it would have enough wooded acres to heat with deadfall, goats, rabbits, a big garden and the knowledge to use all these things. Maybe finding others to share and trade with and elders to learn from.

    I think this book would help my honey and me solidify our dreams. Please enter me in the drawing.

  6. Katie says:

    By coincidence (or not!), I started creating a vision board earlier this week.

    It shows the larger location my husband and I would like to move our business into… grabbed a snapshot of the building off of Google Maps and then added some details using Photoshop. I’m very excited about it…!

    Thank you for reminding everyone to focus on gratitude for what already exists, too.

  7. CatHerder says:

    I have seen The Secret, but have never done a vision board…mine would be unlike most peoples though I do think….it would be much more scaled down with a small ‘green’ home, fertile land to grow my own food and raise chickens for eggs and bees for honey…a simple life 🙂

  8. Cindyt says:

    Hmmm…looks like I have been doing this without knowing it. Have practiced the Power of Positive Thinking for years. Then I learned that when you write your Dreams down as positive and specific goals or road maps they were more likely to come to fruition. Recently, as you know I bought my downsized cottage on a small lake (closed last week) Moving this Weekend! But when I was in the Looking mode with my daughter (Realtor) I wrote her a list of 10 specific things I wanted in my new place. Hah she found me the place with 11 points..the 11th one I didn’t know I wanted till I got it. Made an offer on it sight unseen it was perfect!!! Recently, I started a new file of visions of how I would decorate it once I move and start the ‘nesting’! So as I said it seems I am doing this naturally, I think I would like to read this book to gather additional points! Thank you for your most creative ideas! and I apologize for this being so long…I run off at the keyboard sometimes! 😉

  9. Sandy says:

    I am so excited to find this post. I am celebrating a birthday today, and with that has been all kinds of thoughts on how to get all these idea’s out of my head and into my own reality. This book sounds awesome. Thank you for the opportunity to enter the drawing.

  10. Summer says:

    Please enter me – I’d love to learn a little more about the science side of this idea.

    Let’s see, what would I put on mine? A tiny house of my own, on a plot of land of my own. A shelf full of my finished (and bestselling/highly acclaimed/awardwinning 😉 ) books. My bills, all marked “paid in full.” A reliable car. A college education – not sure how I would represent that. Maybe a graduation picture.

  11. Dot D. says:

    I have made a series of vision boards of the past five years. I have always used mine as an inspired way of visualizing what is next.
    In this evolution of visualizing, I have used fewer and fewer words. The one I did 6 months ago has no words at all. I had many images of spaces that were beautiful in unexpected settings.
    I had not really grasped the tiny house concept and living in less space. Being said, we decided to downsize in Dec 2009. Since then, my family(my husband, daughter and I) have downsized from a three bedroom row home to basement apartment measuring 12′ by 28.’ The amazing part is we started with a space that was cavelike and turned it into home for the three of us. Our little bit of created beauty for ourselves. The process has made the possibility of building a small house of our own a step closer.
    For me, the less literal and more inspired I am about my vision board creates the room for unexpected and for the things I don’t know I don’t know.

  12. I just did my first vision board a few weeks ago. For me the trick was NOT going in with preconceived ideas, but sorting through images and letting them “speak” to me, and then letting the board come together bit by bit. Even the arrangement of images was driven unconsciously. It was very revealing, and very appropriate!

  13. pam c says:

    Excellent! My visualizations help keep me healthy despite dire medical findings! They also keep me motivated for future projects
    and achieving all that I want to achieve! It’s never too late and life’s way too short not to do it!



  14. Scott says:

    Great write-up. – would like to enter in for the possiblity of a copy of your book.

  15. PapaWoodie says:

    I see a wonderful newly built traditionally styled wooden boat as our liveaboard home on the water. Long and beautiful, looking like a vision from the late ’30’s.. of a simpler time… Self-sufficient and elegant, yet capable and enduring.
    In fact, its the design that graces the desktop on my laptop.

  16. Mary Anne says:

    I am a big believer in vision boards and use them with my clients. We live in a small house in the country (one of our dreams) having moved from a large house in the big city. Now we want to work less and travel more. I want to win this book! Thanks for a great blog.

  17. MarthaandMe says:

    I read this with interest, but just can’t seem to get into the vision board idea or The Secret. It’s a little too hocus-pocus for me somehow, although I agree it is important to have goals, to focus on them and to have a real plan for how to attain them.

    • I think that might be because The Secret was like the “crib notes” of The Law of Attraction. It was the commercialized, packaged version for the masses. I think if you read more about it, you would understand it as I do, Brette, similar to the business plans we draw up each year for our businesses. There is science mixed in with it and you have to be able to accept that too.

  18. Art Borgesde says:

    Thanks for the informative interview. Best luck to both of you.

  19. Kellie says:

    Vision boards? Seems so much more dynamic than just making a list. Thanks for the idea. Is it too late to be entered into the drawing?

  20. Mary M says:

    I love your positive attitude. Thanks for the inspiration. Sounds like a Vision Board is just what we need.

    • Mary M says:

      I forgot to add some things for my Vision Board:
      as I am currently unemployed, a job that is positive and mean­ing­ful even a new career opportunity.

      maintain and better current health status and continue to get stronger by continuing to work out.

      Please enter me in the book drawing! Thanks.

  21. Josh B says:

    I love the way you phrased this “The Law of Attraction in our lives is much like our life’s busi­ness plan. We out­line our goals either in writ­ten or pic­ture form and then we grasp the oppor­tu­ni­ties that come our way that help make those things happen.”

    It was very helpful in making the connection between something I believe in and too often don’t practice.


    ps – definitely enter me in the drawing for the book:)

  22. We are a few years out but we keep the vision alive.

  23. Jill Iverson says:

    Please enter my name _ i am very interested. We made move and live in the cottage – still creating the life and I am very visual. I believe in living intentionally and purposefully & gently on this earth.

  24. Wolf Lahti says:

    The role of the subconscious is to maintain things as they are; change is anathema to it, which is why people repeat the same self-destructive patterns even when the consciously know they are bad for them.

    Various envisioning techniques and affirmations, if properly prepared, reprogram the subconscious to a ‘new’ version of reality, and any disparity it sees between its inner perceived reality and that outside launches it into to action to make the two coincide.

    This is why these sorts of things can work.
    It isnt magic, but it can sometimes feel like it.

  25. Michelle says:

    A cute little stone cottage with a fireplace on a huge lot with no grass at all – all edible landscaping; fruit and nut trees, berry brambles, a full biointensive vegetable garden, a tiny greenhouse, chickens and pygmy goats roaming about, a water view (river, lake or ocean I’m not too picky). My husband happy and smiling because we are still “close” to a cool city and our tiny house has high speed internet access!

  26. Christopher says:

    Vision boards work and I’m eager to read this book.

    I also journal as a way of moving towards goals. Several years ago I wrote a list of goals on a camping trip. I was amazed to find that list five years later and discover that every goal had been reached.

    Thank you for the great post today!

    • Christopher says:

      P.S. I didn’t follow the instructions completely. 🙂

      Here are a few things I will put on my vision board:

      * healing in my relationship with my father
      * deepening and strengthening of my primary relationship
      * an abundance of scholarship money and resources for graduate school
      * meaningful work in my chosen field
      * ideal health
      * getting my book published and having it become wildly successful
      * becoming fluent in Spanish

  27. please enter me in your give-away. I have been making treasure maps for years!!! I would love to win your book!!

  28. Laverne Simoneaux says:

    Submit my name to the drawing

  29. Heather says:

    Hopefully, you can have more than one picture on your vision board. I would have a photo of a white sand beach in Hawaii, a beautifully landscaped front yard and a clean house with Molly Maid showing it off.

    The book sounds very intriguing.

    • You can have more than one picture on your vision board, you just shouldn’t have it cluttered. All of the pictures need to be arranged so you can see them all each day.
      Can I sit on that beach with you!? 🙂

  30. Alexandra says:

    Fascinating post!

    When we remodeled our kitchen, I could not afford the small Miele oven I wanted or even the custom cabinet to hold that oven, so we go without. I have a photo posted on my fridge of what I want the finished cabinet to look like. Hopefully the oven will still exist by the time I can afford the double purchase!

    I was wondering whether this concept works with people, say if you want to improve a relationship with an adult child? Can you visualize your way to a better relationship using a vision board?

    • It certainly does, Alexandra! Marcia has a whole chapter on relationships. I find these a bit more difficult as you can’t control other people. What you can control is YOUR behavior and reactions, so it takes work in looking closely at ourselves and seeing where we might be part of the issue.

  31. Mo says:

    Thank you for this excellent post. Inspiring.

  32. Kathleen Winn says:

    My vision board would include a photo of the type of country home that my husband I would like to build on our land. It would also include a photo of me on my horse- riding around on that land! I love this idea and have a friend who created a vision board, then posted photos on facebook. I like the practical, physiological explanation for how the vision board helps provide incentive for achieving goals. I am not much on belief in a supernatural force helping me towards my goals, but I can certainly understand how the brain processes and stores visual information. It makes sense that having a visual reminder of where you want to go, keeps you focused on the prize!

    • Your vision sounds great, Kathy. I have you in the drawing. I would encourage you to look into the science behind The Law of Attraction, it really doesn’t have anything to do with the supernatural.

      • Kathleen Winn says:

        I’ll have to check into it Kerri. I got a little annoyed with all the buzz around the “Secret” because it didn’t seem like much of a secret at all to me, just the basic philosophy that if you put energy and work behind goals and dreams, good things happen! And of course, it’s important to recognize when people or situations present themselves, and can help move you forward in your quest. I do love the idea of a vision board and plan to construct one for my office! Great blog as usual!

  33. Excellent, Mary! I’ve got you in the drawing.

  34. Mary P says:

    I am disabled and need to find work I can do at home on my computer to supplement my pension. My vision board would contain pictures of someone working at a desk with a computer, phone, printer and other office supplies (indicating me working at home). There would probably also a picture of newer, more powerful computer model to indicate the growth of my work.