I didn't feel like I had much control of my life growing up. I'm sure most kids don't. The only plan I had after graduation was talking about going to Tennessee with my best friend. I had vague dreams of wanting to be a famous country music singer. I also talked about joining the Air Force or going to college.
Those plans changed quickly. I graduated high school, got married, and had a baby all in the same month! I pushed my dreams aside to be the best wife and mother I could be.
I went to work part-time at the local YMCA to help make ends meet. The part-time job eventually became a full-time management job. The pay wasn't great, and the hours were long, but the education available through the YMCA of the USA for leaders in training was invaluable. They taught us about personal and professional development. I learned how to be a servant leader and how to communicate.
The early-career education in personal and professional development was the start of what would become lifelong learning for me. I started attending all the personal growth seminars I heard about in the area. I learned from the great Zig Ziglar, John C. Maxwell, and many others.
But something happened over the years. Even though I paid hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to learn personal development, my growth started to stagnate. Analysis paralysis and shiny object syndrome kept my dreams grounded. I started many small businesses to give up too soon. I job-hopped in between ventures. Before I realized it, a decade passed, and I had fallen into the comfort zone of mediocrity.
Then The Secret by Rhonda Byrne came out, which lit that spark for something more back in me. I read books and took courses from several people featured in the movie, including Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, Joe Vitale, John Assaraf, Lisa Nichols, and Mike Dooley. The things I learned from them expanded on my early leadership training from the Y and were life-changing.
The main thing I learned was the power of visualization. My favorite example is from Jack Canfield. When he and Mark Victor Hansen were working on the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, they cut out the New York Times Best Sellers Book List and put the title of their book in the number one spot. Then they posted the list where they would see it every day. Their visual aide helped see them through 144 rejections of the book to it becoming a number one NYT bestseller for four years!
I started to follow these successful leaders' advice, visualize my goals, write them down, and create a vision board every New Year's Day. I envisioned a bookstore, got it. A trip to Hawaii got it. A new car got it. A new home got it. The new house wasn't how I expected - we lost everything in a fire. I learned to be very specific about what you ask. Dr. Joe Vitale suggests saying, "This or something better" at the end of your vision quests. I like that approach.
This year, my nine-year-old granddaughter gave me a cutout she made with a picture of a dolphin, waves, and the word Florida on it. I was thrilled that she created this visual for me and told her I would be proud to add it to my vision board. I put it on my board, posted the board on the wall by my desk where everyone that came into my office would see it. I didn't say anything about it to anyone. Then, a month later on my birthday, my husband announced that we would travel the coast of FLORIDA looking for lighthouses for our 40th anniversary. It was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that started with the power of visualization.
Not everything on my vision board materializes. Still, many more dreams come true than when I wasn't picturing anything or making my wishes known to the Universe and my subconscious.
I believe in the power of vision boards so much that I became certified to teach how to do them. There are powerful steps one can take beyond cutting pictures out of magazines. There are also many tools available that can help bring your vision board to life.
I offer a vision board class to the community in January every year since opening my bookstore a decade ago. Unfortunately, my bookstore closed after the fire, but the lessons and dreams live on!
Some people say vision boards are as foolish as running with scissors. I say why not do everything within our power to live our best life. If vision boards can help make some of my dreams a reality, bring me the scissors!