Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

See It. Believe It. Soar!
How to Make a Vision Board

The first vision board I ever made
Photo by Jenee Darden

When I ask successful people what has been key in making their dreams come true, often they tell me they constantly envisioned themselves reaching their goals and/or they kept telling themselves they were going to make it. “Success” is not limited to fame and fortune. I’ve heard this from people who kicked addictions, lost weight, started small businesses, got their home and family in order, bounced back from mental health and emotional challenges, are excelling in their careers, etc.

I believe that seeing an image of what you want to achieve can encourage you to make that reality come true. Which is why I love vision boards. Vision boards are displays that reflect and represent your dreams and goals. For example, if learning how to fly is one of your goals, you may have a picture or drawing of an airplane on your board. I’ve gone to vision board parties, facilitated vision board workshops and created some of my own. Some people make digital vision boards. I prefer the arts and crafts route. 

I began making vision boards about 10 years ago. I don’t make them every year, but just when I feel like my journey needs to take new direction. Seeing these posters with collages of what I hope for myself inspire me to work harder. When I’m down, my boards remind me of my purpose and that my dreams are bigger than anything or anyone trying to hold me back.  They empower me.  Some things on my vision board have come true. You can make vision boards for any area in your life that needs change and growth. It can be for personal and/or professional reasons. Some people make vision boards with their families and partners.

Vision boards are a spiritual process for me. I really check in with myself to see what I need and want out of life. I get a glass of wine, put on some India Arie, gospel, jazz and get to it!

Making vision boards are fun and easy. All you need are:

--Poster Board (The size you want is up to you. I’ve made very big boards and smaller ones)

--Old magazines

--Art materials if you want to be extra creative (i.e. paint, stickers, markers, crayons, fabric, buttons, etc.)

--A photo of yourself (optional)

--Music to play during creation (optional)



Step 1: Meditate on Your Vision
I center myself before I make a vision board.  It allows me to clear any negative thoughts and give myself undivided, loving attention. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and think about what you envision for yourself. What do you want out of life? How do you see yourself in the near future?
You can also write down what comes to mind.

Step 2: Start Clipping and Designing
Now that you have some idea of your vision, start flipping through magazines for images and words that reflect your dreams and goals. Or draw and paint whatever you want to reflect your vision.

 I always include a photo of myself on my vision board. I like seeing my own image among my vision. I have a photo of myself giving a speech because I want to be a professional public speaker. Many people don’t do this, but I do. Again, your picture is optional.

A vision board I made last year. Notice I have a few photos
of myself included--a fake photo with Oprah, real photo with Ava DuVernay and me speaking 

Step 3: Don’t Hold Back! 
There’s no rule to how to design and organize your vision board. Have fun, paste the images to your heart’s desire.  Don’t resist pasting a goal because you think it’s unattainable. If your dream is to travel overseas, paste a picture of that trip to Belize. Cut out that picture of a woman on a college campus if getting your degree is your dream. A dream come true starts with believing in yourself.

Step 4: Be Mindful During the Process
Notice what you’re posting or drawing onto your board. Are other goals arising for you’re pasting clips and flipping through magazines? What’s coming to you that’s inspiring the image you’re drawing? I’ve made vision boards that started off with professional goals, then noticed I started being drawn to images and words that reflect spiritual and personal goals.

Step 5: Hang or Place Your Vision Board Where You Can See It
Your completed vision board should be somewhere that you can see it often and is easily accessible. I have one above my desk where I do much of my writing. I keep another in my living room above my television. It’s one of the last things I see before heading out of the door for the day.  One of mine is framed as well.

Or take a photo of it and keep it on your phone and computer. 

Step 6: Add more images if needed
Sometimes things happen in my life that inspire me to add a few more dreams to vision board. I have added words and pictures to image boards that were completed. 

Vision Boards are a great activity you can do with kids and teens. You don’t have to do them in the beginning of the year. Make a vision board whenever you’re in the mood. Good luck and I hope your dreams become reality.