Back in May on the day of the full moon I made a huge decision to take down my vision board. I had meticulously worked on creating this vision board at the start of the year. I even went out and bought a new pin board I could hang on the wall next to my deck for me to make the board on. I spent about a week journaling and meditating to get clear on my intentions. I got everything written down and clear as crystal. Then I spent a weekend going through magazines and printing things off the computer to the create my board.
It hung there on my wall for several months, a foot from my desk, meant to inspire me through my work days. I had pictures of people who I admire, pictures of people I wanted to connect with, blogs and podcasts I wanted to be featured on, and physical things I wanted to manifest from living on the beach to literal stacks of cash.
Then one day, after once again seeing my bank account was overdrawn, seeing my attempts to connect with the people on my board go ignored, and feeling like I would never be good enough to work with any of the publishers or outlets I had on my board, I realized something.
Looking at that board didn’t make me feel inspired. It made me feel like absolute shit. It made me feel utterly less than.
Instead of inspiring me to live up to or achieve the success my board was presenting I often found myself wondering what I was doing wrong. Why wasn’t I getting closer to those things? Why wasn’t I manifesting more money and more success? Then I would often look at notes for something I was creating or a blog post I was half way through writing and just stop. Most of the time I didn’t revisit it for days if at all. I just felt like whatever it was I was doing wasn’t good enough and wouldn’t align with the energy on my board. So why bother?
That’s when I decided to take the board down.
I realized that I never felt truly inspired by what was there. If there was any inspiration culled from that board it came out of jealously from comparison or career FOMO, not because it was actually inspiring. Unfortunately the things created from this kind of energy is always “less than” because it’s usually a shitty copy of something someone else is doing or already has done.
I also realized that I was largely trying to “manifest” things that I simply wanted or in some cases things I thought I was supposed to want. Whether it was physical things or a certain level of success, everything that was there was ultimately there because it was something I thought I was supposed to have or be striving for at this stage in my life, both personally and professionally.
Would I like to have those stacks of cash and a book contract with sold out coaching for year while living in a house on the beach? Sure! But do I really want those things?
In part, yes, but in part…maybe not.
I came to this place of realizing that one of the reasons I wasn’t manifesting these things was that I might not be fully down for all the work or responsibility that those things entail. I’m not manifesting these things, results, or relationships into my life because I’m not really meant to. At least not now.
This got me thinking about this vision board and all the vision boards I’ve had in the past. As I thought about them and tried to recall how many times they actually helped me manifest things, I realized they almost never have.
I decided it was time to let go. Let go of this board and all the other boards I’d ever made. To let go of some of the things I clearly wasn’t actually manifesting because on some level I either didn’t want it, didn’t believe it was something I could have or it just wasn’t in alignment with my path.
While this is certainly a sign of some other issues that could be tackled, the board itself is also a problem.
The boards become things we look at as reminders and tools to do little check-ins along our journey. If we keep feeling like we’re never getting close to those things and it makes us feel shitty, it’s certainly not a positive tool!
When I shared my thoughts on Instagram I was relieved to find I wasn’t the only one that had this kind of experience and felt this way about vision boards. Sometimes I do worry that I’m just having an Ego-hissy-fit with these kinds of things. Hearing others say they’d had similar things happen for them, and that they also decided to stop using the boards, made me feel a little less conflicted about all of this.
I think the bigger problem with visions boards has to do with want vs need and inspiration vs aspiration.
We put things on our board that we want, but sometimes focusing on what we want or how we want to feel takes us to a place where we’re actually focusing on lack. But that makes sense right; you want something because you lack it. Those feelings of lack are still there until we actually get something we’ve put on the board.
Whether or not that works for you depends on how you work. Some people thrive through lack and comparison while others, like myself, get crushed under it. Regardless of how it affects you, you’re focused on things you hope for in the future rather than meeting things were they are in the present.
When I took the board down and thought about the idea of what the board is supposed to do, I wondered if there was a way for me to use the general concept in a way that was a bit more present and inspirational. That’s where the difference between inspiration and aspiration comes into play.
Inspiration – the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
Aspiration – a hope or ambition of achieving something.
I think a lot of the time we’re actually in the realm of aspiration with vision boards. We’re hoping, wishing, and dreaming for the future but not always focusing on what can stimulate us into doing something creative in the here and how.
Your vision board should truly generate one thing and one thing only:
My plan is not to create a vision board in the sense that most of us know them. I plan to fill my pin board with things that inspire me right now to take action. This is vastly different than putting things up that I would essentially be hoping to have achieved in the future.
My other plan is to focus on specific goals and specific time frames. I know with vision boards we do a lot of “leave room for the Universe to work” and “don’t put an expiration date on your dreams,” but I think that’s part of the problem. If you don’t feel like you need to get something done within six months or a year and it’s just “when it comes it comes” you don’t feel that fire to take action. This might be part of why we sometimes look at those boards and wonder why the hell nothing is happening and then feel more frustration than inspiration.
This is, of course, just my experience. Your experience with vision boards could be totally and completely different. They may be the most amazing tool for you, and if they are, awesome. But if you find that you’re not getting what you want out of using vision boards this might be part of the reason. Shifting some of your approach and being more clear about being inspired rather than aspiring to something could be a game changed for you. I’m hoping it will be for me.