Visualization and vision boards are definitely a major thing in the personal development world right now. Of course there are many benefits to doing it, which I'll get into shortly (hence the title of this post), but I'd also love to clear up some common misconceptions about visualization and its role in you actually reaching your goals.
Part 1: What do you mean when you say "visualize"?
Yeah, ok, fair point. Let's back up a second. Visualization in the personal development world means using the imaginative, creative part of your brain as a tool to create an idea of what you'd like your life to be like in the future. There isn't a right way to visualize. It's whatever works for you. That might be...a written list of stuff you want in your future life, or a vision board you create by cutting up magazines and gluing pictures onto a literal board. Maybe it's a story you write about your perfect day. Maybe it's a Pinterest board or PowerPoint document. The list goes on. The point is to be creative and think about your future.
Part 2: Why should I do this?
Well, a few reasons. The most straightforward one is that it's easier to get where you want to go if you know where you're going. You can start to break down what you want into smaller steps and make steady progress toward those goals. Which is a solid thing to do. Strong recommend.
Another more "woo" reason to visualize comes from metaphysics. There's a growing understanding that physical matter (the physical world and reality you live in right now) is actually influenced by our thoughts and feelings. Meaning, you attract more of what you think about. So if you get clear on what you want, you think about it, then you'll start to energetically drawing it toward your life experience. Hit me up if you have questions on this one...it's a lot. We can get coffee for sure. Or listen to Jess Lively, Season 4. Or read some stuff by Joe Dispenza. It's fun, weird, wacky stuff.
Finally, a little more practical: if you're working with a coach or a therapist, it's easier for us to help you if we know what you want. Plain and simple. A coach's job is to support you in your own, customized journey toward happiness and fulfillment, and that looks different for everyone. I can't help you find your path toward happiness if I don't know what happiness means to you.
Part 3: What are some of the down sides of visualization?
I personally think there are some things about visualization that aren't perfect. It's not that you have to be wary. More to just be aware. First and foremost, it's ok to not know what you want. Sometimes we get into this business of visualization and if you're not 100% clear on where you're going, it's easy to just shut down. As a finer point, some visualization techniques can help you move past this, but overall, you don't have to have a totally clear picture of what you want in your future. That's completely normal and completely ok. If you're feeling like you need some more direction and aren't sure, that's also a great time to call in a coach (shameless plug), because we're trained to help you figure it out without bringing in our own agenda. Unlike your mother, who believes she's ALWAYS known what's best for you. Or your BFF. Or your BF. Or your boss...you get the idea.
Another maybe I'll call it "risk" of visualization is that people can get overly attached to the end goal. The reality is, a visualization should just be a loose guide to steer you toward what you want. Maybe you'll end up working in your most perfect dream job at your most perfect dream company....but maybe you'll find another job along the way that you actually enjoy way more. It's ok to pivot, my friend! Or to realize that the goal you've been chasing doesn't actually make you as happy as you thought it would! Again, totally normal and totally ok.
Visualization is an amazing tool that can help you bring more happiness, fulfillment and direction into your life. It is not a requirement or a roadmap.