In 2009 I changed my life through life coaching. I trained to be a coach myself because I had lost who I was, was broken and I wanted to put the pieces back together in the jigsaw of the authentic me, rather than tossing the bits back in the box and knowing that they did make a picture but it was not the real me. I then used my knowledge of coaching when working in my job with children, but also to change my own life and work towards retiring early. I can remember feeling blank and not knowing what I wanted out of life when I started the course. I knew from two sessions of life coaching that I wanted to retire but that seemed an impossible dream as I was in a lot of debt and had no savings. I could see the ‘crossroads’ but could not see any clear roads ahead. I just knew that I did not want to carry on in the same job that I was in, and that I was not living the life that I should have been living. I did not even recognise myself any more. I was really unhappy at the time, had burned out and could only see my life becoming the failure that my parents and teachers had always told me it would be.
This is a picture of my vision board that I made on the first week of my course. It is a great tool for helping you identify what you want from your life. A lot of retreats do this exercise to inspire and help you identify what it is that is missing from your life and how you want to move forward.
To make a vision board all you need is a big piece of paper or card, some old magazines, newspapers or travel brochures, some scissors and glue. You could also do this electronically and there is soft ware to help you, but I like to do it the old fashioned way as the words and pictures seem to jump out at you. Some people print pictures off the internet that jump out at them and then stick them on to the paper. To start, find a quiet space and try to visualise and think about what you want your life to look like, what it would feel like, what you aspire to have and be, and what would make your life worth living. Examples might be hobbies you want to learn, values, relationships, dream jobs, health, holidays or lifestyle.
Thumb through your magazines and cut out images or words that inspire you and reflect your goals or your dream life. Place them in a design on the card or paper and then stick them down. Some people put a picture of themselves in the middle. This might seem like a childish exercise but it really does help you visualise, focus and clarify what you want. It taps into your unconscious thoughts.
Once made, place your picture some where that you will see it regularly and try to create a weekly habit of sitting with your board for 10 minutes and imagining how it would feel to have that life. Use your vision board as a motivator, as a reminder and to help you focus on your goals. The last vision board I made was before we all got locked down and many of the things that I wanted to achieve have not happened due to restrictions of travel, or have taken the last 3 years to come to fruition. It is time to make another and move forward again. To be honest I do not know what is going to be on it as I feel I have achieved a lot of what I wanted to achieve but there are still some things I could do better and I definitely want to try to get to Scandinavia this next year as I have had it booked and cancelled twice. Are any of you going to give it a go? Why not give it a try? What else have you got to do in this wet, cold weather?