Feng shui tips for working at home during the Covid-19 pandemic

Feng shui reminds us to find balance in our work, in our lives and in our spaces to help us stay healthy – physically, mentally and emotionally. Today, during the Covid-19 pandemic upheaval, this is crucial. You can work from home productively, find time to enjoy yourself and get much needed rest to reset by following these feng shui tips. They work for those of you with dedicated home offices and those with temporary workspaces (like the dining table or the couch.)

Tip #1 Start the day with gratitude. 

Fresh flowers and an updated calendar keep the feng shui new year energy fresh in your office.
Write out what you’re grateful for. Gratitude kick starts prosperity!

Writing down what you’re grateful for and affirming what you want in life (in the present tense) is a powerful positive energy boost. Keep your list in notes on your phone, start a gratitude journal, or turn to someone in your home every day and say, “thank you.” In feng shui, gratitude kick starts prosperity.

Tip # 2 Identify your goals for working from home and set up your office to reach them.

  • Decide what you need to accomplish your goals – computer, pad, pencil, workspace, chair, light — and set your tools up in the place you designate as your office.  Or, place all items in a basket or tray that you can carry with you if you need to work from the dining room table or another sitting area. If working in a dining area, clear off items that are normally there for mealtime. Let this be a clear space for your work, or shared space for office and schoolwork. Energy flows where the eye goes: help your eyes to focus on your work wherever you set up.
  • Set your “office” hours and post them where you’ll see them (the refrigerator is perfect). These will probably have to be flexible and may be in set periods throughout the day. Don’t set yourself up for failure by thinking you’ll get 8 hours of work in. You probably won’t – but you don’t need to. Many studies have been done suggesting that 5 hours of work at home is the same as 8 hours of work at an office.

    Setting a schedule helps you feel in control.
  • De-clutter the area where you’ll be working. In feng shui, clutter equals stuck energy which is the opposite of what you need: flowing, positive energy moving in and around you while working. Put stuff in a laundry basket to clear off your space, then, at the end of the day, go through and clear out that basket. (After hours of not looking at it you’ll be able to tell what needs to be filed/put away, used or tossed.)

Tip # 3 Move or rearrange something in your dedicated home office.

This action signifies that your work life has changed, and your office will now reflect that. Moving furniture, art or accessories invites you to literally “see” things differently.

  • Place your desk in the “power” position, where you can see the door. If your desk has to be facing a wall, due to space constraints, place a small mirror next to your computer or in your workspace so you can see behind you without turning around. This command position helps you feel confident and powerful in your work.
  • Erase your white board or take everything off your bulletin board and start fresh – maybe with work goals, funny memes or inspirational quotes.
  • Change out lamps and/or artwork. Go “shopping” in your home for other art and accessories to switch out with.
  • If your home office is also the guest room, make it less guest-ready (no one is coming to visit right now). For example, if there is a Murphy Bed, fold it up. With a dedicated guest bed, you can change to a plain bedcover to lessen its visual impact on the space. If you need more space, push the bed against a wall. This is Your Office now.
  • Spray an essential oil mist or light a scented candle in your space to signify that it’s work time. Select something energizing, like citrus. The sense of smell is an energy trigger; put it to work for you.

Tip #4 Build a “work fort.”

For those of you with children at home and no dedicated workspace, this is an option to separate out your space with a physical barrier. You could also have “school forts” for your children while they’re doing their schoolwork if they need separation.

  • Use a cardboard trifold display board to create your “fort.”(These are often used for science fair projects and easy to purchase online.) It can be decorated on the outside by your kids, if you wish, while the inside is a place for you to post your work goals, affirmations or office hours. When the trifold is open and placed on your workspace (dining table or couch) you are in the “office” and at “work.” Conversely, when it’s folded and put away, work is done.

Tip #5  Drown out distractions with white noise.  

Even for those of us with dedicated offices, white noise can be essential. Use your phone and headphones and plug in to a Spotify white noise selection.

Tip #6  Clean off your desk, put your work supplies on your tray or in your basket and STOP working at the time you specify in your “office hours.” 

Breathe some fresh air every day!

Now it’s time to exercise, go outside, play with your kids, read a book, watch Netflix and relax.

Tip #7 Give yourself permission, and a schedule, to go online. 

 Use discretion with your news diet.

Tip #8 Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning.

This will help you get enough sleep and give you some structure. Whether you work Monday – Friday or some other schedule, take some days off every week. Structure helps us during this unsettling time by giving us some control over our lives.

Remember that this time of sheltering, and working, at home will end and a new normal is around the bend. Being flexible with work, rest and play now will help you to balance your life in the future.

Stay sane and safe!

What I learned from Oprah’s Vision 2020 tour stop in Denver.

I went to see Oprah in Denver this month largely because I had noticed that so many attendees at my vision board workshops had selected her image for placement on their vision boards. [She was an inspiration for many 2020 visions.] The event, labeled Oprah’s Vision 2020: Your Life in Focus, was held at the Pepsi Center on March 7 (before it closed on March 16 due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus) with her tour partner Weight Watchers. Denver was one of nine cities selected for the tour, and this was her last stop. I’m an Oprah fan (isn’t everyone?), but I might not have gone to this event if it hadn’t been such a hot topic of conversation at every workshop I led this year. Everyone was so into Oprah at one of my privately hosted workshops that I impulsively asked the hostess if she wanted to go. She whooped YES and we bought our tickets that day.

Oprah is an inspiration for many 2020 visions!

Hosting these workshops over the years, I’ve seen Oprah’s image placed in almost every area of the Bagua grid we use to organize our vision boards. (Read more about why and how we use the Bagua to organize our vision boards.) Here are areas on the grid where an image of Oprah (to evoke what she represents) might be placed:

  • Wealth & Prosperity (upper left corner) or Career & Journey (lower center): Oprah is a mega-success in business.
  • Fame & Reputation (upper center): Oprah represents authenticity in who she is and how she works.
  • Career & Journey (lower middle center) and/or Creativity (middle right): Oprah is an incredible writer, interviewer, actor, speaker, producer, and TV personality who embodies a powerful career path and mind-boggling creativity.
  • Health & Family (middle left): Oprah has shared her fluctuating weight woes with us like we’re family, and she shares tips with us on how we can stay healthy.

    A graphic of the 8 feng shui bagua areas with symbolic images representing their meanings, for example, a pair of birds to represent the Love & Marriage area.
    Using the feng shui bagua helps to make your vision board work for you.
  • Helpful People & Travel (lower right corner): Oprah makes us feel like she could be our best friend, and she has surrounded herself with people who help her deliver her message. Plus, she travels the world!
  • Knowledge & Self-Cultivation (lower left corner): Oprah is a spiritual seeker and proud believer and reciter of scripture.
  • Center of the Bagua, which holds the central or foundational image for your vision board: Oprah inspires us to live our best life.

It felt like a rock concert, with adoring and well-behaved fans.

Along with 15,000 other adoring fans, my friend René and I felt like we were part of a group of very well-behaved, well-dressed, adoring rock-star fans. Here’s what we did that day:  We waited in lines to have our pictures taken with Oprah. (Well, with a giant image of her.)

My friend and I "with" Oprah on her Denver tour stop.
My friend, Rene, and I “with” Oprah on her Denver tour stop.

We texted said photo to our friends and families. We danced in the aisles to the upbeat music of her opening band, DayBreaker; we made friends with our row seat mates; we stood and waved our arms; and we sat and meditated together. We listened to what her 2020 vision of wellness was for herself and then in our workbooks we wrote what our 2020 visions of wellness were for ourselves. We watched as she interviewed (really just chatted with) her best friend, Gayle King, on stage, inspiring us to reach out to our best friends. We cried when she spoke about her connection to Spirit in a moving story about saying good-bye to her dying mother. We cried again when she thanked her sister in the audience. We danced some more. We left inspired and energized (I say this with confidence since I heard so many express how inspired and energized they were as we streamed out).


Here’s my big take-away from my day with Oprah:

She is gloriously human.  Unabashedly herself.  And she celebrates both.  She has mastered being Oprah.

Her message is not: Be like me. Her message is:  Be Like You. Be your best you.

Her books, programs, magazine, even this national tour, are all about helping others to figure out how to master becoming their best self and to live their best life. Which is what a vision board helps you  do.

Oprah’s message inspired me to post my photo with her on my vision board this year, too. Not because I want to be Oprah. But because she has inspired me to master becoming the best me I can be.  I placed the photo in the Center of my board because a central part of my life and work is to continue hosting vision board workshops to help others do the same.

Can’t make it to a live vision board workshop? Create your own vision board at home with my online course.

Title of my online vision board workshop

Doing a vision board is about generosity of spirit and time. Yours.

I get it:  you thought about doing vision boards in the past, but you weren’t sure what exactly you were supposed to do.  Or, you get started, but then don’t finish.  Or, you scheduled a time to go to a workshop and then something came up. Or, maybe you just don’t like live workshops!  There are lots of reasons we don’t get things done. This is not about admonishing ourselves. Doing a vision board is about generosity of spirit and time; be kind to yourself and give yourself the gift of communicating with your heart and mind to envision your future year. I invite you to do just that, at home with my online course. Title of my online vision board workshop

There are a lot of online choices.

I will be the first to tell you there are a LOT of vision board YouTubes, blog posts and even some other courses out there.  Have at ‘em! Whatever motivates you to create a vision board, I applaud. I’d be honored if you took my course.  I created my online course to follow what I do in my live workshops – with a meditation, an explanation about why I recommend using feng shui principles to organize your board, a video of me putting my own vision board together so you can see how I use those feng shui principles, and why communing with your board makes all the difference.  I have a different spin on making vision boards and it’s helped many workshops attendees over the years manifest their visions. That’s why I put this workshop online.

Create your board in and on your own time.

It takes about the same amount of time to complete the workshop – approximately three hours – whether you take it live or online.  The difference, I’ve learned from my online course attendees, is that they have done the lessons over several days or even weeks, instead of all in one sitting, like a live workshop. This gives you the opportunity to spread out the learning and make your vision board over time.

I love this course!  Great content!  It ended up being an amazing exercise that everybody should do.  Before going through the course and having to work on my board, I thought it would be just a fun activity.  What I realized is that this is a powerful and eye-opening exercise as you face different areas of your life and hard questions to answer.  Do it!  You’ll learn important things!                   Andi, online workshop registrant.

Learn more about my course and watch a short invitation video here.


I’ll know when you register and will be there with you – via email – whenever you need me.

I can’t wait to help you create and manifest your visions!

Host a private vision board workshop for your group!

Host a private vision board workshop for your group – employees, clients, book group, volunteers, board members, friends, family, or any group you think would benefit.

Have you considered a private vision board workshop in your home, community center or conference room?  This can be a great bonding, fun, craft-y, connecting, and appreciation activity for your group. I have worked with Realtors and retailers to share this workshop as a thank you to their clients.  I have led this workshop as a holiday party activity for groups of friends, for networking groups and board members.  It’s fun and meaningful, a great way for people to connect with themselves and others, whether everyone knows each other or not.

A happy client after her private vision board workshop was a success!
I love getting a hug from a happy client after her successful private vision board workshop.

One of the other nice aspects of a private group is that you can bring in food and drink and set the tone for the time together. You play host/hostess in your space – whether it’s a business conference room, a community room or your basement family room.  As host/hostess you invite your guests and can use your own logo and brand.  Or, I can put the invitation together for you.  It’s all customizable!

The price is the same for all workshop attendees whether it is a public or private. The workshop includes all materials and there are no hidden fees for a private group. I like to do private workshops for groups of 10 or more. If you are hosting and want each guest to pay their own registration fee, I set up a custom online registration and payment link for your event.  If you are gifting this workshop to your guests, we will work out a payment option for you to cover all the registrations.

This workshop can be hosted any day of the week or a weekday evening.  I schedule three hours so there is plenty of time for networking and noshing along with creating our boards. You can choose the time you’d like for your workshop and if you want to include extra time for other activities before or after; it’s up to you!

Private vision board workshop
Hosting a private vision board workshop allows you to invite your clients and friends to your space.

I lead the workshop and make sure everyone knows how to proceed. I spend individual time with all your guests.  I bring all the materials and extra magazines for people to peruse so they can have additional images to use for their boards.  Everyone leaves with their own, unique vision board.

I’d be honored to help you plan your group’s vision board workshop.  Contact me if you have any additional questions.

Here’s to envisioning and manifesting a fabulous 2020!





Communicate and Co-Create: Register for your 2020 Vision Board workshop today.

Imagination is everything.

While you’re prepping for the holidays stop a moment and give yourself the gift of envisioning your year ahead.  Sign up for a vision board workshop to help you envision, then manifest a fabulous 2020.

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.
Preview your 2020 “attractions” by creating a vision board — at a workshop or on your own with my online course.

You can:

  • Sign up today for your 2020 Vision Board workshop (see dates, times and locations below) by emailing me: lwgrillo@thrivingspaces.com.
  • Host your own vision board workshop for employees, clients, friends and/or family. Contact me for more information or read more here.
  • Take the workshop on your own this year, by registering for my online version of this workshop called Create A Vision Board That Works Using Feng Shui.  Learn more here.  Register here.

Two workshops to choose from in Denver:

Sunday, 1/5/20 Schlessman Family Library, 1st & Quebec St., Denver, CO, 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Sunday, 1/19/20 Lowry Print & Ship, Lowry Town Center, Denver, CO, 1 – 4 PM

The title of this year’s workshop is Communicate and Co-Create because a vision board is about transformation. It’s about listening to a calling deep inside to transform yourself and your year.  Who makes a Vision Board? Anyone who wants to envision their future, seeks clarity, and is brave enough to ask for what they want.

A Vision Board is a collection of images that represents the hopes, goals, and dreams you have for your future, often created around the New Year. The images are mounted on a poster board and hung in a place that you can see every day. Vision Boards are proactive, intentional, and fun. And, best of all, they work!

We will use Feng Shui organizing principles — the Bagua, Five Elements and Yin/Yang balance — to design and make our boards. With Feng Shui guiding us, we will make sure to balance our visions with work, rest, and play.

The workshop includes materials (including your board, scissors, tape, glue and extra magazines) but attendees are encouraged to bring their own folder of images.  Upon registering, each attendee will receive a how-to-get-started list, an FAQ and payment instructions.  You must register in advance for this workshop.  Registration is $30 through 12/31/19, $35 after 1/1/20. Contact Lorrie Webb Grillo, Thriving Spaces Feng Shui @ lwgrillo@thrivingspaces.com.

Here’s what a Vision Board workshop participant said about the workshop:

I just wanted to drop you a note and thank you so much for the opportunity to attend your Vision Board workshop!  I have not been so excited or inspired about co-creating the life I want for myself in such a long time.  I have not used my imagination in that way in a long time and came home and finished my Board.  You were absolutely wonderful in leading the workshop and I so much appreciated the context and background you shared on creating a vision board. 

Sue, Workshop Attendee

Register for the workshop of your choice by emailing lwgrillo@thrivingspaces.com — be sure and specify which workshop you’d like to attend.

Host your own private vision board workshop

Private vision board workshop
Hosting a private vision board workshop allows you to invite your clients and friends to your space.

If you are interested in hosting a private Vision Board workshop for your employees, clients, friends, book group, work colleagues or fellow board members, just contact me.  I like to have a minimum of 10 participants.  You choose the place and I come to you!

Take my online vision board course

Can’t make the above dates?  Take my online course on your own time schedule.  Here’s what one online workshop registrant said about the course:

I love this course!  Great content!  It ended up being an amazing exercise that everybody should do.  Before going through the course and having to work on my board, I thought it would be just a fun activity.  What I realized is that this is a powerful and eye-opening exercise as you face different areas of your life and hard questions to answer.  Do it! You’ll learn important things!

Andi, online workshop registrant.

Learn more about my online course here.

I can’t wait to help you create and manifest a magical, magnificent year ahead!  If you have any questions, just email me:  lwgrillo@thrivingspaces.com.



Save the Date for your 2020 vision board workshop! Two workshops to choose from.

feng shui events

Communicate and Co-Create: Your 2020 Vision Board workshop will help you envision, create and manifest a fabulous year, in all aspects of your life.  Save 1/5/20 or 1/19/20 for your workshop, or host your own!

A Vision board is a collection of images that represents the hopes, goals, and dreams you have for your future, often created around the New Year.  The images are mounted on a poster board and hung in a place that you can see every day.  Vision Boards are proactive, intentional and fun.  And they work!

We will use Feng Shui organizing principles – the Bagua, Five Elements and Yin/Yang balance – to design and make our boards.  With Feng Shui guiding us, we will make sure to communicate with our deepest selves, balance our vision with work, rest, and play and incorporate our careers and journeys, health, wealth, family and love lives!

The workshop includes materials (including your board, scissors, tape, glue and extra magazines) but attendees are encouraged to bring their own folder of images.  Upon registering, each attendee will receive a how-to-get-started list, an FAQ and payment instructions.  You must register in advance for this workshop.  Registration is $30 through 12/31/19, $35 after 1/1/20. Contact Lorrie Webb Grillo, Thriving Spaces Feng Shui @ lwgrillo@thrivingspaces.com.

Start collecting your images now!  Each attendee will leave with their own personal 2020 Vision board at the end of the workshop.

Host your own vision board workshop in your space!  Contact me for more information.  This is a wonderful workshop for your employees, clients, friends and family.  Let’s get this set up @ lwgrillo@thrivingspaces.com.

Two workshops to choose from (more may be added):

Sunday 1/5/20 in Lowry at the Schlessman Family Library, 1:30 – 4:30 PM

Sunday 1/19/20 in Lowry at the Lowry Print Shop 1 – 4 PM

Save your spot now!

Are you my perfect feng shui client? Read on to find out if we are the right fit!

My perfect feng shui client and I shaking hands.

I love my clients! They are a perfect fit for me, and I for them. It is such a pleasure and a privilege to work with them and I am grateful for them everyday. Just who, you may be wondering, are they? And, what makes them so perfect? 

I believe we attract the people we want in our lives by being very clear about who they are and what we have in common. If we want to intentionally draw to us what we need and want, we have to be able to articulate what that is. I have been drawing my perfect customers into my life and business in the past few years. It’s not magic, even though it sometimes feels like it, but it does take intention and practice.

I learned how to do this with help from the book Attracting Perfect Customers, by Jan Hall and Stacey Brogniez. It’s a good and interesting read, but an even greater handbook on how to actually attract your perfect customer or client. The caveat? You have to do the work in the tasks outlined at the end of each chapter. If that sounds like “homework,” you’re right. In fact, I read this book through a couple of times thinking how brilliant it was but I didn’t do the exercises. Those perfect clients did not show up. No surprise. But then I did my “homework,” which BTW is really fun to do, and the clients started emailing and calling me.

I’m not going to tell you everything in the book (that’s for you to find out!) but I will share with you one of the assignments, that has become part of my morning ritual of intentionally “calling” my perfect clients into my life everyday. This exercise asks you to write out all the things that you have in common with your perfect clients. Because I don’t know you – yet – I have to describe you! And, because we humans like to work with people who share common beliefs and values a lot of those descriptors are about the values we share. This is the shorthand to find people who are comfortable with each other, and speak the same language. I am not talking about surface things – where you went to school, where you grew up, what you drive. That doesn’t matter at all in this relationship. I’m speaking about motivation and inspiration. Please understand that there is no judgment involved in creating your list. We are all unique souls looking for connections – one common value is no better than another.

Here is what my perfect clients and me share:

We know and believe that change is possible through learning something new and applying it to your life. We create our lives through our visions, thoughts and actions.

Are you my perfect client? Here’s how I would describe you:

Greet the rising sun with a positive attitude.
Greet the rising sun with a positive attitude.

Why do you get up in the morning? Because

  • you have a passion and purpose for your life
  • you are a seeker
  • you believe that your thoughts and actions make a difference
  • you are grateful for another day

Who is the most important person/s in your world?

  • family
  • friends
  • your own client or customer base

What is most important to you?

  • kindness in your family, your work and in the world
  • creating value with your life – either raising your families and/or through your work
  • seeking a higher path – harmony and balance over strife and “being right”
  • creating your own happiness and “luck”
  • achieving your goals with integrity

What do you want to achieve before you leave this world?

  • raising good people (if you have children)
  • being responsible for your thoughts and actions
  • teaching others by example
  • providing valuable service through your work and receiving abundant compensation for it
  • kindness to others and yourself

What do you really love about your life?

Our precious world!
  • having an opportunity to be here, now and make a difference
  • your family
  • our beautiful planet
  • giving and receiving positivity and hope
  • creating peace and prosperity for anyone who seeks it

Do you see yourself in this list? If so, please call, email or FB message me and introduce yourself! I want to know you. And, if the time is right for you, it would be my privilege to share feng shui with you and help you experience whatever shifts in your life that new, positive energy could bring. In the meantime, join my mailing list here so that you are aware of classes (live and online) or speaking engagements and other treats that I have coming up.

Let’s connect and find out if we are a fit.

How to make a vision board that works!

A graphic of the 8 feng shui bagua areas with symbolic images representing their meanings, for example, a pair of birds to represent the Love & Marriage area.

There are many ways to create a vision board. Find one that inspires you.

There are many ways to make a vision board. You can tag and curate photos from Pinterest and create one on their app. There are software programs now that will help you create one on any of your devices. I’ve seen examples of people who have created multi-media vision boards with photos and video and scrolling text that they can pull up and play whenever. There is a way out there for you to create a vision board in any medium and form you like!

The key is to find one that will work for you. And, by “work for you” I mean it helps you to successfully manifest your visions!

Feng shui principles can power up your vision board.

The key that has worked for me, and my clients, is using feng shui principles to organize their vision boards.

As a feng shui practitioner, I use the principles and practices of this ancient Chinese design and placement philosophy and program – the Bagua, the 5 Elements, and yin/yang balance — to help my clients reach their goals by arranging their environments to support them. I use those same principles and practices to help my vision board workshop attendees arrange their vision boards to help them manifest their dreams.

We start our organization with the Bagua, which identifies areas of our lives and locates them in space. The Bagua areas for each of us are:

  • the journey (can be a career, life’s work or current activity)
  • self-knowledge and learning
  • health and family connections
  • wealth and prosperity
  • fame and reputation
  • love and marriage
  • creativity and children
  • connecting with others (helpful people) and travel

And they are organized in space like this:

A graphic of the 8 feng shui bagua areas with symbolic images representing their meanings, for example, a pair of birds to represent the Love & Marriage area.
Using the feng shui bagua helps to make your vision board work for you.

Your life is a multi-faceted jewel! Honor and balance it.

The Bagua helps us to place images that represent our life areas in the correct placement on the board. This helps us to intentionally honor and balance our dreams and create vision boards that are not just focused on one area of life, like a job or a romance. The board literally shows you that your life is multi-faceted, like the beautiful jewel that it is. And when we balance and harmonize all areas of our lives, we often find that the goals we hope to achieve in one area begin to manifest. This makes sense. If we get too focused on one aspect of life, a job, for instance, doesn’t something often fall through the cracks?

When we remember to be ourselves and balance our lives with work, rest and play, usually things work out. Countless books and movies express my point here. Working Girl is one of my favorites. Shy but brilliant assistant, Tess (played by Melanie Griffith) doesn’t get the big job until she starts being herself. She allows herself to enjoy the process and fall in love with Jack, (Harrison Ford) who’s already fallen in love with her. OK, you get this.

In addition to the organization of the vision board around the Bagua, I also recommend balancing the board with a variety of color, in both light and dark, and different shapes. Some folks love a vision board that has picture overlapping picture and others like space between their images.This is a personal choice. I like a board that is big enough to capture all your dreams.  I recommend a 20” x 30” (at least) vision board on a rigid poster board that you can place around your home or office to find just the right space to put it so you’ll engage with it every day. (See an example here.)

This one action is crucial.

The last and arguably most important key for how to make a vision board that works is actually looking at every day. Yep, soak up those selected images that represent your dreams, revel in them and enjoy your creation. This act alone is important because you are changing the neural pathways in your mind while you’re looking at your board. You are feeding those dreams directly into your brain, whose job is it to figure out how to make them come to life.*

Now that your board is finished, place it in an area where you’ll see it and engage with it every day. I like to stand in front of mine in what author Amy Cuddy (Presence, Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges) calls the Power Position. You may know this stance from yoga as Star pose: arms raised and reaching up and out, feet apart for support, head held high and straight ahead, focused on your masterpiece. Now that’s engagement with your board!

One of my dreams every year is to share the powerful organizing principles of feng shui and help my workshop attendees to use them to create and complete their vision boards for the year.

*For a wonderful explanation about how the brain works to do this read John Assarof and Murray Smith’s excellent book The Answer, Chapter 4, The Universe inside Your Brain. Yep, this is the same John Assarof you may have met when reading The Secret (or watching the film) who tells the story about manifesting his beautiful new home from his vision board.

A vision board is different than making resolutions or setting goals.

A completed vision board with cut out images from magazines, photos, postcards and maps placed on a white poster board organized by the 8 feng shui bagua areas.

Looking for a different way to plan and manifest a great future? Read on.

Are you a planner extraordinaire, or a goal setter and realizer, or maybe even a resolution-maker and keeper? Good for you! Have you ever done a vision board? A vision board is different than making resolutions or setting goals. Most of us have planned, set goals and made resolutions before. We have the lists to prove it! And, even if we plan, set goals and make resolutions, sometimes plans fall apart, our goals are not realistic, and our resolutions just peter out. (Witness the echo in a fitness club in February.) If our plan, goal or resolution doesn’t look like the end we had in mind, we feel bad or defeated. Worse, we compare ourselves to others and the whole process can make us feel hopeless. And we start again the next year, sometimes even by writing out the very same plans, goals and resolutions on our lists! Ouch.

Looking for a different way to plan and manifest a great future? Read on.

A vision board is a powerful picture of the year ahead.

Scheduling plans, setting goals and making resolutions are all great strategies for organizing your life and making things happen. I know that they are crucial in business and life. I encourage you to do what works for you – any or all of them! But they aren’t the only way to envision and experience the future, particularly your best future. A vision board is another way of looking at your year and it doesn’t include making to-do lists or creating Excel files or calendars that need to be updated. A vision board is visual, not verbal; artistic, not data-driven; hopeful, not admonishing — and once completed is so unique it cannot be compared to anyone else’s life!.

If I ask you which comes first, the vision board or the plan, goal or resolution, the answer is hands down: the vision board. It is your over-arching picture of your year that inspires you to take action. And that action might be to make plans, set goals and even, if you must, make resolutions.

A completed vision board with cut out images from magazines, photos, postcards and maps placed on a white poster board organized by the 8 feng shui bagua areas.
An example of a completed vision The board.

The difference is in the definition, and your brain.

These different tools that help you think about your future work with different areas of your brain (and one works with your heart). Let’s look at their differences by starting with their definitions:

Definition of a New Year’s Resolution (from Cambridge Dictionary.org): a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year.

Definition of a plan (from Oxford Living Dictionary): a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something.

Definition of goal setting (from Your Dictionary.com): the process of identifying something that you want to accomplish and establishing measureable goals and timeframes. Goal setting is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it.

Definition of a vision board (from English Oxford Living Dictionaries.com): a collage of images and words representing a person’s wishes or goals, intended to serve as inspiration or motivation. (Read my definition here.)

Here’s the thing: humans are predominately visual creatures. More than one third of our brain is devoted to processing visual information. This is far more than that devoted to understanding sound, smell, language and movement!* Vision boards use pictures; plans, goals and resolutions use words and data and much too often, pounds (as in desired weight lost).

If you want to create something new in your life,  get creative, and put those dreams on a vision board so you can actually SEE them. That’s what vision boards do differently than planning, setting goals or making resolutions.

* Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep, Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams


Why do a vision board?

Make a vision board that works.

What do you want to be when you “grow up”?

Remember when you were a little kid and knew exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up? You could always answer this question with confidence whenever asked. I’m going to be a doctor, a teacher, a veterinarian, you might have said. Then as you got older, the question got harder to answer because the world had opened up possibilities you hadn’t considered. Now maybe when asked, you just didn’t know the answer or hedged your bets. This happened to me. I changed my major three times in college. Just sayin’.

Making a vision board is one way of being able to answer that question today because hey, aren’t we all – at whatever age — still trying to figure out what we want to be when we “grow up?”  The question sounds different when asked in adult-speak and usually goes like this: What are your goals and plans for next year? Where are you going and what are you going to do? Making a vision board is a way of answering those questions for the upcoming year.

Before I tell you why I do a vision board every year, let’s start with a definition:

A vision board is a poster board or other visual tableau (bulletin board, canvas, website, photo gallery) where you place images that represent something you want to accomplish, experience, have, attain and/or places you want to visit, move to, live in and/or people you want to meet, emulate, inspire and love. The images can be literal or symbolic. You are the artist of your vision board and your life, and you create the symbolism.

Sound fun? It is. It’s all about what you want, your vision for yourself – not anybody else’s vision of you or for you.

Vision boards are about expressing your dreams in images, feeling good, being hopeful and experiencing more than you thought possible. The process of creating the board is as intentional and fun as having the finished product on your wall, your phone, or your computer screen for you to soak in all year by looking at it lovingly, joyfully, gratefully and daily. It’s a daily reminder of your life’s direction.

materials such as cut-out magazine photos on a table during a vision board workshop
Vision Board workshop attendees creating their boards.

Why do a vision board?

Why do a vision board? Because it is an act of self discovery. I create a vision board every year because:

*          I want to know myself better.

*          I want to be surprised and delighted by my own life.

*          As much as I think I know what I want in my head, my heart actually knows me best and creating a vision board is way to discover what I really want.

I create a vision board every year to discover my dreams and my heart’s desires. Our desires and our dreams speak to us in images. (Think of your actual dreams upon waking. Do you remember them in words or pictures?) Pictures express a feeling to us immediately and often instill action. The process of selecting and placing images on a poster board is a way for me to discover what is going to make me happy. When I finish my board I’m looking at a new version of myself. It is a “getting to know me” experience that I enjoy every year and look forward to the surprises awaiting me.

Find images that inspire and thrill you, or make you curious.

Certainly every year I have plans and I place those intentional plans on my board – for example, images that represent visits to my son who lives in a different city, work events that are scheduled, a continued commitment to healthy living, or a vacation. But often there are images I find in magazines or on a photo site that inspire, thrill me, make me smile or wonder; they call out to me so I put them on the board even though I’m not sure what they represent. I know I’ll find out why they are there at some point. This process of creation reminds me that while there are many things out of my control, I am in control of my thoughts and can express my feelings, beliefs, attitudes, dreams and desires by placing images that represent them on my vision board.

I can answer the “what do you want to be when you grow up” question by pointing to my completed vision board and saying, “Next year, I’m going to be her.”

So the question for anyone wondering “why do a vision board” is better asked like this: “why not create the life you want to live next year by doing a vision board?”