The end of the year is a great time to reflect on how your year has gone and how you plan to make it even better. 2020 in particular is an odd year with the whole Covid-19 crisis. You’ve probably left a lot of your goals behind, but indeed, you’ve accomplished others that you hadn’t considered. This is a great starting point for thinking about a long term goal that makes you happy, seeing yourself as a whole person, not just a parent or executive, and making it flexible enough to allow for change.
The dashboard is the easiest way to capture your vision and strategy at a glance. Some people use it for personal gain, others just for business strategy and product development. I would suggest that you have your personal vision board including any areas of your life that you want to prioritize next year.
How to start?
Look for a giant board, white or black, whichever works best for you. You can also use a flip chart, or if you want to share it with someone else, you can also use online brainstorming tools, such as Mural.co. You can even use a wall or window and post-its, you don’t need to spend any money up front. I would not recommend using a Word document or A4 sheet only. Take this time to expand your mind using a format that doesn’t limit your thoughts, something big.
Some things to consider:
– Handwrite your goals instead of typing them, it helps you adopt them. Computers can dominate our lives, but research suggests that handwriting gives us important cognitive benefits, such as improved learning and retention.
– Keep the board handy. Visualization is a powerful mental exercise. From the popular book The secret, “The law of attraction is that you become what you think about.” He recommends keeping images of whatever you want in your mind, helps you improve your focus and attention, thus increasing the chances of achieving it. You can include pictures, colors, or whatever you want to feel happy when you see it. Feel like you’ve achieved it before you’ve actually done it. What you focus on expands. Olympic medalist Michael Phelps imagined in his mind âa tapeâ of him swimming every day and night.
– Try to do this activity in about an hour without stopping. Let your mind be your guide, and plan to avoid interruptions by blocking or silencing your phone, or doing it at a time of day when you’re alone and feeling energetic. A Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon might work, to make you feel like you’re not working, it’s part of planning your life.
How to make your vision board
Your vision board should focus on the things you want.
1) Note the scope of your vision board. Remember, this should be a long term exercise, like 2021-2025. So you’re going to write down the things you want to work on and improve on over the next five years.
2) Write down your goal. For whom you want to become or be known / recognized. Example: I want to be a coach who empowers people to take action and cultivate their authentic selves.
3) Think about the main categories you want to work on, this is how the objective statement will be achieved. Ideally, no more than five. Write them on your board. Categories can be personal development, self-care, writing, leading a team, developing a business or business unit, or creating a new product. Basically think about how you want your week to be. Your week should be filled with these five categories of activities. You can even assign them a priority number and a day of the week to reach them.
4) Then continue write down what you need to do to reach that specific category. Examples are creating a weekly newsletter, keeping a diary at night, taking classes or making contact with new customers. There is no specific order or way to do it. It depends on how your creative mind works. I prefer to use a tree diagram to break down each main title into small boxes or tasks, similar to a flowchart. You can also use mind mapping, a tool widely used in design thinking: write the title of the topic or project you are exploring in the center of a page and draw a circle around it. Then draw lines from that circle to connect to the subtitle or sub-circles, and so on. Other ways to do this are by using post-it notes, stickers, drawings, or pictures. But don’t forget to connect them. It should look like a net. If the ideas are not related to the main objective and to each other, you will have a hard time making them work for you. It’ll be like multitasking, and you want to avoid that. Focusing on a single goal is essential. Don’t go any further than three levels of detail on your board, otherwise there will be too much information to visualize.
5) You can include potential obstacles or blocked roads you may need to tackle one side of the board.
6) You can also do an exercise by trying to remember what went well last year, what went wrong and what to continue, and examine your vision board to make sure you don’t stumble with the same stone.
7) Do you feel like you’ve finished? Review it again and make sure that each activity included will make you happy. If not, try to see how you can eliminate it, reduce it, or delegate it. Take a photo and print it so that you can keep it safe. You can change it later at any time.
Convert the vision board into actionable items
You have a vision board ready. Now what? Is that all? To make this work for you and avoid becoming a simple worship figure that is more like a daydream, set actionable items and reserve calendar entries. That is to say, really make it part of your daily life. Define the tasks you can accomplish this week, next month, and next year, and start assigning a specific date and time for each task. Recurring ones, like your employee’s writing, exercising, or developing, should have a weekly schedule. Block your calendar with these tasks.
Last but not least, be very specific about quantifying what you want to accomplish. For example, how many clients do you want to get per month? How much money do you want to earn? How many stories do you want to write? Use these metrics to verify your success.
Adjust the vision board, tasks and metrics as needed; they are all yours. The vision board is a tool to empower you, not to scare you or paralyze you with fear. Get a coach or mentor to help you, your future is worth it. The reason you do this for the long term is to think of the big picture, to keep it in your mind, and to view obstacles as opportunities to reconnect your business network with new avenues towards the same goal. .