Over the last week, I stumbled across a series of videos on Youtube regarding achieving goals and vision boards. I have never made a vision board or really knew much about it, so lets discuss it today. Maybe I’m behind the trend on this, but hey, oh well!
Many folks on the Youtubes are currently professing that vision boards have helped them in manifesting their goals, in either their job, material possessions, home, experiences, relationships, or whatever goals for their life they may have at that moment. Many of them also include meditation and the Law Of Attraction in their explanations, but due to much controversy (and the fact that I haven’t read the book) we will be skipping that part and focusing on whether or not a vision board might help or hinder in the achievement of those goals in life, in your career or business. Do they actually work?
I thought this topic was so very compelling that I actually started to put together my own vision board, for research purposes only of course ;), though I haven’t finished yet. Maybe I’ll post a photo when I’m all done so I can update you all on how many (if any…) goals I achieved.
Anyway, you may be asking, what is a vision board and what is usually included on it and how can it help my business? And, for the skeptics out there, do they really work?
Vision boards consist of a series of images or words that describe either a goal someone wants to achieve or a particular thing, or change they may want in their lives. The steps to make a vision board are very nicely described here on HowToMakeAVisionBoard.Com. These boards may help to better identify what a person want someone desires and what goals one may have (either short term, long term, big or small), and it can help to create mental images that can be used to focus mental energy into productivity. https://www.positivechanges.com/blog/5-vision-board-benefits
Now, mental visualization: it has been found to have mixed results in science research. Some psychologists believe that it can be helpful in achieving goals, others say otherwise. Maybe it depends on the TYPE of goal that someone it attempting to achieve.
Dr. Baumgartner on Psychologytoday.com discusses how visualizations can help people heal faster, relieve anxiety, increase performance, and everyday life (2011). This is very interesting research! I actually had a professor in grad school who wrote his dissertation on soccer players and athletes who were able to increase their performance by using visualizations of themselves playing their sport (making the successful assist, making the goal, running fastest, etc) (I wish I had a link to his dissertation, but I don’t, apologies). Also, it’s been found that mental visualization can be used as a coping strategy for adjustment to various new situations and to gather understanding to one that may be otherwise unknown in order to lessen anxiety (Adams, 2009).
On the flip side, there have been findings from research studies that come to show that imagining oneself with goals already achieved actually end up as less successful as those who do not ([Farber, 2012] and [DiSalvo, 2011]). In his article, Throw Away Your Vision Board Part I, Farber (2012) lists a few studies conducted by other researchers and their results are mixed: those who imagined themselves as more prepared for an exam than the control group actually did worse on the exam. Those who imagined themselves staying away from cake imaginary luncheon lost more weight than those who imagined they would not stay away from cake, and a list of more mixed results. Farber has an interesting take on this whole idea - that vision boards/visualizations are really not helpful because they make the visualizer believe the goals are already met, thus reducing the need to keep pursuing the goal. He is asserting that one should make wants, goals, and desires in less of an achieved dream and to bring them into a“real world” tangible place as a motivator and an actuator to lay the foundation for actually achieving goals. If you want your goals to work - YOU must do the work.
In terms of business, how does this relate? For entrepreneurs, maybe vision boards would be helpful for reaching their specific business goals, but I am not sure if any research has yet been done on this group. Whatever stage a business-professional is starting in, goals should begin with where a love, a passion, and a dream overlap and then one must develop the framework for how to achieve them. That whole “SMART” goal achievement thing actually works, so involve that in the vision/goal setting process.
Jim Taylor Ph.D. wrote a very interesting article about Business and Vision Goal setting. In it he explains that vision goal setting can help those succeed in their career goals based upon the SMART goal-writing method, as well as others, like focusing on the degree to which a goal was achieved (it really isn’t all-or-nothing!).
He goes on to explain that larger business-perspective goals need to be a cohesive overarching vision but they must be gelled together with smaller, annual, departmental, team, unit specific goals, and a meaningful mission statement carrying the values of how goals are to be reached. Things that he mentions as tools for engaging goal accountability is writing goal-oriented contracts, creating specific timelines, and creating cycles of ongoing feedback should all be included in order to make REAL positive changes from company top to bottom.
Having a “vision board” or, an outlined company-specific graphic along with the associated figures (specific measurement criteria and timeline) is probably going to be very helpful to uphold and support that unified company goal and so while the team is seeing the images on the board, they can also simultaneously see the timeline and criteria to achieve those goals in black and white.
If you need more information on goal setting, read this amazing article from Ronan Leonard, Mastermind Facilitator at eccountability.io, Vision and Goal Setting. There are some amazing FREE templates and resources there as well to get your business goals all set.
Thanks for reading!
Adams, A.J. MAPP. (2009) Seeing is Believing: The Power of Visualization. Psychologytoday.com https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/flourish/200912/seeing-is-believing-the-power-visualization Accessed February 21, 2019.
Baumgartner, Jennifer (2011). Visualize It. Psychologytoday.com https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-psychology-dress/201111/visualize-it Accessed February 21, 2019.
DiSalvo, David (2011) Visualize Success if You Want to Fail. Forbes.com https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2011/06/08/visualize-success-if-you-want-to-fail/ Accessed February 22, 2019.
Farber, Neil. M.D, Ph.D., CLC, CPT (2012) Throw Away Your Vision Board. Psychologytoday.com https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-blame-game/201205/throw-away-your-vision-board-0 Accessed February 21, 2019.
Taylor, Jim Ph.D. (2010). Business: Vision Goal Setting. Can goal setting really make a difference at work? Psychologytoday.com https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/201007/business-vision-goal-setting Accessed February 22, 2019.
Leonard, Ronan. (n.d.) Vision and Goal Setting. https://www.eccountability.io/vision-and-goal-setting/ Accessed February 21, 2019.