Do you have the vision?

Recently, I sat next to a very successful business and life coach at a meeting. What an “eye-opening” conversation we had! She showed me a picture of her “Vision Board,” on which she posts pictures and meaningful pieces to remind her of her goals, both business and personal. She has this in a prominent area of her home office so she can see it at all times, and she carries the picture in her purse. This goal stimulus helps her to keep on track, to shoot for the moon for the things she wants, and to keep all her dreams at the top of her mind.

I now have a Vision Board of my own. The very first piece I put on it is a picture of the latest iPad. Another friend of mine just got one of these miracle machines, which can do everything but make coffee. Being a voracious reader, she has now downloaded all the books she’s been wanting to read and spends her evenings enjoying the stories by the light of her iPad. I can envision how I’ll be using this wonderful tool everywhere I go. Maybe, since it’s now on my board, I’ll get it soon. That is the purpose of the board, they say.

While I’m at it, I think I’ll clip and add something like the banner headline from Selling Power Magazine … just the “Selling Power” part will do. This will surely lead me to a huge increase in my 2012 sales goals. In fact, it could put me in a whole different league.

Just so you know, I am not at all making fun of this Vision Board stuff. I’m taking it seriously. Every expert I’ve ever talked to, read about, or listened to has declared that goals have to be written down – visible – for them to be taken seriously … and followed. Goals not written down are just dreams without a road map. Jack Canfield, in his book The Success Principles, writes, “One of the best ways to get clarity and specificity on your goals is to write them out in detail – as if you were writing specifications for a work order.” He suggests writing down every single detail. He goes on to say, “When you write it all down, your subconscious mind will know what to work on. It will know which opportunities to hone in on to help you reach your goal.” I’m pretty sure a Vision Board is another form of goal setting, only with visuals instead of sentences.

Coaching experts suggest that goal setting is a part of writing, or rewriting, a business plan, and in some cases, it’s an aid for reinventing a company. Here are a few of the experts’ suggestions for getting started:


  • To work, goals should be specific. As Jack Canfield says, totally outline what to accomplish and all the steps to getting there. Goals must be quantitative. Add timelines.
  • To be successful, goals should be challenging but achievable. No one wants to tackle things that are outrageously difficult. Working toward success is fun when one knows one can succeed, so there’s really no point to setting goals that are unreasonably hard to get done.
  • Everyone’s personal goals should be blended into group goals, which then get linked to organizational goals. This can be both fun, and funny, but when everyone plans for the company’s success, the company will achieve success.
  • In a small business, every team member/associate/whatever they are called can have a part in setting the goals, since they have to see them through to the finish line.
  • Goals should not only focus on the end result but on the means to getting to the end result. Creating a roadmap, with some leeway for “detours,” makes sense, since even the best-laid plans can have glitches, but for the most part, there should be no “scenic routes.”
  • To feel good, goals should have some “success factors” built in.
  • Goals always should be written down.

One of my own personal goals (which also has an impact on my business goals) is to work on decluttering – for my office, my home, my life. Karen Kingston, author of Creating Sacred Space With Feng Shui, said, “Never underestimate the effect of clutter on your life.” I can’t stand clutter, and yet clutter seems to want to cling to me. My inbox is always full, my files are bulging – even my hard drive is too full to go fast.

Even though I’m inundated with email, my daily snail mail seems to increase by the delivery. Thank goodness I’m not a pack rat, but getting to all this, to declutter, requires time, and time, and time. Time to organize what should be done with each thing, whether to act on it, send it on to someone else, keep it in a “safe place,” or throw it into the “circular file.” I think I’ll add a picture of an electronic assistant to my Vision Board so all my “save-ables” can be scanned into a file that I can keep on the cloud. That ought to make my hard drive happier.

Henry David Thoreau said, “Simplicity! Simplicity! Simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million, count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.” I wonder if Henry meant for us to keep our information on a “thumb drive.”

I think I’ll add a picture of Fort Knox to my Vision Board. In our industry, we are asked, on average three to four times a week, to contribute to a good cause. There are so many good causes out there, and so many ways to give. Besides donating trophies through our Recycled Trophy Program to 501(c)3 nonprofits all over the country, our company gives a plaque every weekday (have done this for over 25 years) to the Volunteer of the Day, in partnership with Dane County United Way’s Voluntary Action Center and WIBA-AM, to honor both the volunteers and the agency of the week. (You can nominate your favorite nonprofit through United Way.) This kind of giving is a win-win-win, because so many, who give so much, deserve the recognition. We wish we could do more – thus the Fort Knox on the board.

I’m not poking fun at the Vision Board theory – it just might replace the written goals sheet – and when I add the picture of the wheelbarrow, to take the picture of money to the picture of the bank, it should all come together. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.

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