Creating a vision board for success

12 min read
Ashley Grant

I will be the first to admit, when I heard of creating a vision board, I thought the whole thing seemed a little woo-woo.

I just cut pictures up and paste them to a piece of poster board and I’m supposed to achieve whatever I post on there? The idea felt a little far fetched.

Then again, what’s wrong with throwing everything at your dreams in an effort to make them your reality?

Keep an open mind with me for a few moments, and just take in the thoughts I’m going to present below. Who knows? Maybe you will enjoy yourself. And, if nothing else, consider this your permission slip to daydream a little more. Certainly couldn’t hurt!

What is a vision board?

A vision board is a collage of pictures, or sometimes words of affirmation, that represent your goals and dreams. They can be on poster boards, a piece of paper, canvas, a mini scrapbook, or even a digital app like Canva or Pinterest.

I’ve even seen people use an entire wall of their home to create a vision board filled with images and clippings of words that represent everything they desire. Personally, I’ve used all of the above!

There’s no wrong choice for how you go about creating your vision board.

Tips for creating a vision board to live a life of your dreams

Headshot of Mike Dooley
Photo courtesy of Mike Dooley

One of the top gurus for creating a vision board is Mike Dooley of Notes from the Universe fame. He’s also known as the “Thoughts Become Things” guy, and was featured in both the movie and the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

I of course went straight to him to get all his insider secrets on creating a vision board for success. After all, he’s done things many of us dream of — built an amazing business, traveled the world, written several books, and has a wife and child he adores.

Mike says he has spent his entire life entranced and enthralled with the nature of reality and by the power of our minds.

To him, making a vision board is one of the best things you can do to achieve your dreams. He says, “There could be no more powerful tool than to craft and shape your reality than working with a vision board.”

In his vision board class on, Mike walks his students through 21 tips to create a vision board. I promised Mike’s team I wouldn’t share all of them in this post out of respect for the course.

However, I can share a few of his tips that are key to creating a vision board for success.

1. Go all in mentally

The trick is to move past the cut-and-paste aspects of a vision board. It’s not enough to merely slap images onto a board with your scissors and glue or to paste a bunch of images into a digital board using an app like Canva.

The real trick, what will actually move you towards a better likelihood of success, Mike says, is to bring your mind into the mix. You must put pictures on your board of your dreamed destination.

So for example, if you want to find your soulmate, you won’t add images of you at a single’s bar or dating apps — instead, you will put an image on it that represents the end goal. So maybe it’s a picture of you wearing wedding attire or an image that you can see yourself in of a proposal.

If you want your dream job, you don’t add images of your job hunt. You add images that represent what it feels like to have that dream job.

He says, “Your thoughts become things. Your words give you wings…By properly using a vision board, filled with pictures of your desired end results, you raise the bar and create clarity on who you are [and what you want].”

2. Be okay with faking it at first

Mike fully admits that when he first started working with a vision board it felt like he was faking it. It’s normal to feel like it’s not real. But when the things you want come to pass, then it all makes sense and you can get a clear picture of how what you said you desired came to be.

“You think these great thoughts and you look out the window and nothing has changed. Sometimes it seems like weeks, maybe even years, or in some cases decades go by and nothing changes until it does. Then, you’re like ‘that was fast!’ Even though it felt like a flipping eternity. So patience IS a part of this.”

Does this feel too woo-woo to you? That’s okay!

Mike says, “You don’t have to have a vision board. And I really mean that. There are untold wild successes in the millions of people who never had a vision board. But, when you know what we know — that we are divine creators pushed onto greatness with positive thoughts ten thousand times more powerful than negative thoughts — with a vision board you create a vibration.

“You create a window to look at and through that window you see who you really are, where you are going, and how much you have to be excited about.”

It might feel some days like nothing you want is coming to pass and that what you’re doing is silly and feels like it will never work. Mike says to stay the course because when you stay focused on the things you say you desire, and you look at the vision board and get into the energy of feeling that you have it, you practically draw it to yourself like magic.

3. Enjoy your life — NOW

Another trick to success? Enjoying the things you have and where you are in the moment. Now, that might feel impossible to do, but keeping yourself in a positive state continuing to move towards your goal is critical to actually getting the success part of creating a vision board for success.

That’s not to say you can just put it on your board and it will arrive.

“You’re entitled to pity parties. You can [be in] a bad mood [occasionally]. You can take a week off of your vision board. But, if you just muster a little bit of faith, even if it’s infested with fear and self-doubt - a little bit of faith, a little bit of pretending, and a little bit of make believe…you’re pegged to succeed!”

4. Your dreams might not come true the way you expect

The funny thing about vision boards, Mike says, is that what you have on your board might not come to you in the way you want it, or the way you expect it to.

For example, your dream job might not even be in the United States. It could land you in another country entirely. In fact, it might not exist at all — but you can start a business that gives you all of the responsibilities and activities the dream job you envisioned entails.

Your mantra, according to Mike, should be, “You will get what you want, or you will get better.”

This is exactly what transpired early on for Mike when he worked a job right out of college: he wanted a job, and to travel. He used scrapbooks as his vision boards and he would close his eyes and visualize all the things he placed in his scrapbooks as though they had already come to pass in his life.

Within three months, he got a job with Price WaterHouse Cooper and was transferred to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia a year later. It wasn’t what he expected, but he said the adventures he enjoyed were better than he could have ever dreamed.

While living in the Middle East he used his work benefits to travel everywhere he had dreamed of going in his life — Africa on safari, the south seas, Hong Kong Island, everywhere — his life felt like an unbelievable dream.

At one point he was drinking coffee in a hotel and looked up only to realize he was gazing at a view in Hong Kong that matched the image he had pasted into his scrapbook.

He was sitting in that exact location, taking in the exact view from his own vision board, and his first thought was “This stuff works!” He went from unemployed to living a dream life in less than two years, and was hooked on vision boards ever since!

A Vision Board of Magazine Clippings

5. Don’t forget to include images of yourself

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to not include images of themselves in their vision boards. How can we imagine ourselves achieving our dreams when we’re looking at other people in the images?

Mike says that the pictures you add of yourself should be from the happiest times in your life, so you can remember what it felt like to be happy and to be happy again as you go. The age you are in the images aren’t relevant — just focus on those happy and good feelings.

This will help you associate your smiling face with the things you desire. You can get a lot more into the feeling of having those things now when you see yourself adjacent to the destinations you want to visit, the home you want to live in, the type of wedding you want to have, etc…

What should you include when creating a vision board?

Headshot of LaTisha Styles
Image Courtesy of LaTisha Styles

To get an answer to this question, I reached out to LaTisha Styles who is the founder and CEO of You’ve Got Clients® and the author of the upcoming book Assume the Throne - 4 Steps to Unlock Your True Identity and Power as a Leader. Latisha has used vision boards to manifest her dream life, and has created her own video tutorial on how to do it for yourself as well. You can access it for free on Youtube.

Latisha said, in terms of what to include on your vision board, you should “choose pictures that represent exactly what you want. Include images that represent the person you want to be, then include things and items you'd like to have, and finally places you'd like to visit or things you'd like to do.”

It doesn’t have to be just images either. She says, “I [also] clipped words that represented the person I wanted to be which allowed me to be more specific and intentional with relationships.”

Is there anything you should or should NOT do when creating a vision board?

Latisha says, “Make your vision board reflect your personality. Some people only use words and others clip pictures or images.”

Don’t include things that other people want for you, and don’t include images or words that don’t resonate with you.

It’s important not to judge yourself for what you want. She explained that it’s your vision, and that alone is all that matters. She also said, “And if you believe a friend or family member will judge you, then it's ok not to share your vision board with them.

Creating a vision board for success that will get results

To close things out, I thought I’d wrap this post up with a few ideas for actually getting results from your vision board. After all, there’s nothing worse than putting effort into a project like creating a vision board only to have it sit there collecting dust and never yielding the desired outcome.

Mike says the key to achieving your dreams starts with the state you’re in when you create your vision board. 

He says you should get really comfortable and into a relaxed state before you begin creating it. Think candles burning and soft music or comfy pajamas and fuzzy slippers. Whatever makes you feel relaxed will help you open your mind up to what you really want.

Allow yourself to fully dream and open up to all of the creative possibilities. Don’t make it a rigid experience either. The whole goal of your vision board is to make it a fun and playful experience. Focus on gratitude for the things you do have and keep the faith that your dreams or better can come to pass.

Latisha says to look at your board regularly and pay attention to your feelings.

She says if you want to actually succeed you need to regularly be looking at your board and paying attention to the feelings that come up when you see your desires. You have to be patient with the process and keep a high vibe throughout the entire experience.

Latisha breaks hers up into three sections:

  1. What she wants to do
  2. Who she wants to be
  3. The things she wants to have

Then, she keeps looking at her board and checking in with her feelings to make sure she’s being intentional with her attitude and the actions she’s taking to achieve her desires.

Yep, there’s the rub. You can’t just cut and paste these things on your board. The number one secret to achieving everything on your vision board is action. Keep taking the next small step towards what you want. Your vision board is your north star, but you have to keep moving towards it or you will never get there.

I challenge you to take these ideas, and create a vision board for yourself. Play with it and have fun. Open up your mind to all the possibilities for your life. If you could do or achieve anything, what would it be? Add it to your board, and my deepest hope is that everything you add to your board manifests into your reality.