Don’t cancel 2020! Part 1 — Visualising your ideal life.
“2020 is cancelled.”
You have likely heard this phrase of recent and if you haven’t, it is an emergent popular culture reference to “cancel culture”, where the people “decide” who and what gets to be relevant based on a set of collective behavioural, social and cultural norms. Ironically we don’t get to decide on 2020 being cancelled, time and a pandemic don't care about our feelings.
If you are anything like me, you have been asking yourself some big questions this year, like, what the hell is going on in 2020 and what am I really in control of right now?
This article is the first part of what I call the Antidote For Uncertainty series: Ideas around staying on our true north when we lose sight of where we are supposed to be on our personal map. Now, maybe you have all of your shit together and I commend you for your steadfastness. However, if you are anything like me, it’s good to have constant reminders and things to get you back on track to find your true north to stay the course. Let’s dive in the first exercise.
Creating your vision board
Find the space:
Firstly, find a space that is conducive to being productive, reflective and distraction-free. These are important principles you will need to complete this exercise with grace. Find a space, whether it’s in your house, flat, or outside in a park so that you won’t have anyone distract you. Also, think about turning your phone off or at least putting on an aeroplane mode for a period of time.
You’re going to need at least one-to-two hours to go through this exercise. If you don’t have that kind of time you can always break it up, but really what you want is a minimum of one-hour chunks to do this exercise. This exercise is valuable, but only if you have the time to spend investing in yourself.
You’re going to need some working materials so I suggest:
- A draft notepad: This notepad is used to record down your ideas in the initial stages of the process. Think of this as a training ground for your creative mind before you go to the main event.
- A “good copy” notepad in A4 size, this is where you put your thoughts, ideas and dreams in to in their final form. This notepad is the one that you use as a central reference point.
- You will want to get some colourful pens/pencils/markers so that you can draw different ideas, pictures and visualisations down on paper for a colourful visual representation.
- Finally, you want to be able to get some flipchart/butcher paper, (they call it different things in different countries) it’s that big paper that you can put up on the wall and you can draw on. If you don’t have that don’t worry about it, you can just use a large pad or a scribble pad to do these exercises.
Materials for adding magazine and newspaper cutouts:
- Magazines & Newspapers
For the digital nomad: If you prefer, you can open up an Evernote or Google doc for typing copy and storing your drawing/painting/clippings and complete the task digitally to bypass using a book and writing materials.
The first exercise is a visualisation of where you want to be in your life. I would suggest that you focus on 12 to 18 months. Why is that the case? You could try for 5 to 10 years but if this is the first time you’ve done this exercise, start with something that is much more within your reach. If you are confident on a longer timeframe, then go for it!
Here are 3 simple steps to complete this exercise:
- Set an intention on visualising yourself in your chosen period of time through meditation and meditate on it for 15 to 30 minutes. Following this, move to step 2. If meditation and spirituality is not your bag, that’s fine, you can jump straight into the next part of the process.
- Start filling your draft notebook with ideas, words and drawings (instructions for this in step 3) that will eventually transfer to your large piece of paper. Once you have done your brainstorming session it is time for the main event.
- Putting your large piece of paper on a table, the floor or wall, use your coloured pens and/or clippings from newspaper and magazines if you wish and start to create the mood for your vision board. All the while, ask yourself where you want your life to be in that time frame. You also want to write very descriptively down; what kind of clothes you’re wearing, what you’re saying, who you’re around and what that life looks like. Remember, that this is a snapshot of your future life, so you want to describe and draw in very accurate detail that ideal situation. I want you to really focus on what the feeling is when you’re at that point what does it feel like to be at that endpoint.
Here is a basic version of the exercise:
As you can see, for a small amount of effort, materials and time, you can add huge value to the quality of your outlook on life. This exercise can be repeated annually, folded and glued into the A4 exercise book. It is a great visual tool to look over on at least a monthly basis to not only remind yourself of where you are headed, but where you have come to.
Now go forth and be great!