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Call the Midwife’s Victoria Yeates just went on record to credit her casting as Sister Winifred in the hit BBC drama to… Talent? Dedication? Timing? Connections? Sheer luck? No. To a vision board. The 32-year-old actress says she received the fateful call from her agent shortly after creating a vision board which incorporated the BBC logo with images representing the kind of ‘spiritual’, ‘warm’ character she hoped to play next.
She’s not the only high profile fan. Ellen DeGeneres regularly shares her personal vision boards (which bagged her the cover of Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, O!) with viewers of The Ellen Show, whilst Oprah has credited her own board with playing a role in the election of Barack Obama.
What is a vision board?
It’s a collection of inspirational images, words and/or objects relating to your goals. The aim is to bring everything on the board into your life.
How does it work?
The law of attraction, popularised by The Secret’s John Assaraf, may sound like mumbo jumbo, but could simply thinking about something really help to ‘attract’ it into your life? Science says it might. When you create a vision board, and place it somewhere prominent, “you essentially end up doing short visualisation exercises throughout the day,” wellness coach Elizabeth Rider explains. And, as brain imaging research has shown, the patterns of brain activation associated with visualising yourself performing a certain action tend to match the patterns of brain activation associated with performing the action in real life. The more frequently a specific pattern of brain activity occurs, the stronger the brain cell-to-brain cell pathway it forges becomes, enhancing your focus, motivation and self-belief. Behind the scenes, meanwhile, your unconscious brain will – hopefully – be sparking off these new connections, quietly working on new ways to bring those dreams to life. So it’s not so much a case of asking the universe to hand your hopes and dreams over on a silver platter, but of empowering yourself to make them a reality.
How do I make one?
You’ll probably want to use a large cork or pinboard, but a foam board or piece of A3 card will do just as well.
Before you begin, spend some time thinking about, and writing out (by hand), the goals you would like to achieve in each area of your life. Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, credits her success to visualisation and written goal setting. Twenty years after graduating from Harvard, she tells us, the 5% of the class who had written their goals down on graduating were worth more than the other 95% put together.
Once you’ve spent some time meditating on what you want to achieve, it’s time to gather inspiration. You can include anything that motivates and inspires you, from an old postcard to a favourite quote. Whilst some advocate a more analytical approach, others advise going on instinct. Buy a pile of magazines you wouldn’t typically look twice at and rip out the images you find instinctually appealing, without pausing to consider the reasons. You may find that what you want and what you think you want are quite different…
Spend a little time considering how to arrange your chosen objects before fixing them in place – the process should be peaceful and relaxed. If you opt for removable pins, feel free to rearrange and make additions whenever the urge takes you.
Most people begin with one ‘central’ vision board but, in time, you might like to create subsidiary boards – for specific occasions, or to place in certain locations, perhaps. The most important rule? There are no rules!