There are so many people who do vision boards.

They collect photos on Pinterest and buy magazines merely to cut out the images of the bright shiny life they one day hope to have.

Now I am a girl who loves a pretty picture as well as the next; however, there is something insidious about relying vision boards that I think is important to address.

The point of me doing this is not for you to give up your vision boards, but to do them with more awareness and to check thoroughly and honestly with yourself when you are looking at your board throughout the year.

Vision, dreams and goals are an essential part of our nature.They are extremely powerful- for them to be so, they needed to be treated carefully.

1.The picture is perfect. Life is not.

We all know that life isn’t perfect. It’s messy, things go wrong, we make mistakes and we go off track – even with our most heartfelt desires and with people that we love.

By cutting out a series of photo-shopped pictures of perfect beaches, perfect cars, perfect homes, we create a vision that cannot actually be attained as it’s pictured.

We run the risk of not recognizing the real thing when it comes along — because it doesn’t match the pictures.

I had a wonderful session with a new client and she spoke about her vision board that she had created and looked at every day.

“When I earn seven figures, I will be able to walk on the beach. “

“When I earn seven figures I will have people I can serve and I will earn money easily and be of service”.

From living in the NorthWest, she had recently moved to Florida and is now living near a beautiful beach.

When I pointed that out she said, “But it would be a different beach!”

After we spoke about the fact that most certainly people who are earning seven figures and higher walk on that beach, I asked her if that could be the beach in her vision board. She thought that it could.

Until that moment, she had not even considered this, because it wasn’t the beach in the picture.

The Pitfalls of Vision Boards

She was there already and she couldn’t recognize it.

At present, she has an extremely large and active Facebook Group of her own that she is not serving. Seriously large.

She felt the need to try to build another group. She didn’t feel they were the “right” people.


Because they did not match her vision.

She thought she had to find people that were more “special” or different than what she already had following her. But they were there and willing to listen to her and follow her.

Her tribe was waiting and she wasn’t talking to them.

She has all the components to build a very meaningful business, serve a lot of people, reach her monetary goals and walk on a beautiful beach.

Now she is galvanized and working on embracing her group and walking on her beach. If we had not done this work she risked never even noticing that what she said she wanted she already had.

It just didn’t match the pictures.

She is already there.

The Pitfalls of Vision Boards

2. The pictures on the board are static. Life is an ebb and flow.

This ties in with the first point but is worth examining in more detail. The pictures that get used for vision boards are amazingly beautiful, and almost certainly retouched.

Life is so much messier and alive than any picture.

It has ebbs and flows.

Not every day will be perfect in that magic moment when you attain your goals.

When my daughter was very small, she drew a picture of a woman with long blonde hair, a strapless red dress, elbow-length gloves and high heels.

It was a picture of herself, “on the first day she will be grown up.”

Her comment was that on the first day she will be grown up, she will obviously have none of those items in her closet and she will have to dress herself in jeans and other boring kids clothes.

We would then go out and purchase her grown-up outfit.

It was a specific moment in time. Easy to pin-point and therefore act upon.

In the same way, a vision board can keep you imagining something that happens “one day” and that is simply not the case.

We smile at the ingenuity of my daughter’s comments yet we buy in completely to our own grown-up versions of the same thing.

When I make seven figures..

When I lose 20 pounds..

When I quit smoking…

When I learn to speak in public…

What is your “when I” that is holding you back from being fulfilled now?

The Pitfalls of Vision Boards

3. Maintaining a fixed distance between you and your vision

This is something insidious and you may not even notice you are doing it.

Because we are extremely good at fooling ourselves, an amazingly-perfect-far-away goal can be so unreachable that we are actually self-sabotaging ourselves.

It has nothing to do with our lives now and the gap seems as easy to fill as going to the moon.

By looking at that vision, we can also get caught up in a look where you are instead of where you would like to be.

This can reinforce a sense of failure or lack rather than inspiring you to move forward.

This is not a given, but a hazard, especially for those who have a low sense of worth.

A vision can be absolutely out-there huge, just make sure you are not intimidating or judging yourself for your progress or lack thereof.

4. The images are of mostly of stuff

If stuff could give lasting happiness, then we would most surely already all be happy. Most of us have received or achieved something at one point of our lives that we really wanted. Yet we keep searching for more.

As long as the images are of products and things that can be bought with money, there is very little attention being paid to our innermost feelings and being and our own vision of a perfect life will inevitably be a disappointment.

As long as we search for happiness outside ourselves we have little or no control over how long it can last.

A brand new car will get old, it will need repairs, it will get dirty. That exhilaration when you finally buy the car of your dreams gives way to thoughts about where to park it without it getting stolen or being scratched. One day, that brand new car will have lost its shine and its allure, and you will need to buy another one to get the same thrill.

The Pitfalls of Vision Boards

5. By focusing on the end, you miss the journey. And that’s the best part.

By focusing on a vision board, we can end up thinking of now and “one day.”

Our validation comes from achieving what is on the board — one day.

THEN things will be worthwhile, I will be happy, wealthy, famous or healthy. Only then.

Life is a journey and by putting all your hopes for happiness on something that you will have one day, you can miss out on the beauty of now.

Most of the beauty is in the journey, in the defeats, the struggles and the big and small wins along the way.

By looking with an eye too fixed on a future image, we run the risk of never really living our lives, of experiencing everything that goes on whilst we are following that dream.

Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian astronaut to be the commander of the International Space Station says that he knew he had very little chance of becoming an astronaut — especially because when he knew that is what he wanted, Canada did not even have a space program.

He says he made his choices along the way to be happy and satisfied in the moment, so that if he were never able to become an astronaut, he would have been happy anyway.

He did not lose sight of his vision, but he made sure to live his life to the fullest along the way.

All is not lost! The joy is in being, not having.

Take your vision boards and even using the same pictures, write how you want to feel, who you want to be to achieve what you have depicted.

Those are your real goals.

From being comes action.

From being aligned with your values and talents comes success and flow in everything you do.

This does not mean that you will never have any obstacles, but it will mean that you are clear on the Why of your goals.

Steve Hardison, considered by many to be the ultimate coach, has a wonderful exercise he puts to clients and to those who ask him for advice.

Who are you?

I am.

I am love.

I am a writer.

I am a healer.

I am compassion.

I am joy.

I am a leader.

When you do your next vision board, ask yourself who you are, who you are meant to be in this lifetime and commit to that.

The beach and palm trees are included.


Donna Brown has experience in fields that range from lifesyle expert, TV and editorial projects and writing, to interior decoration, garden and food design as well as having a strong background in corporate-based mindfulness, Transformational Mindfulness Methods and biosystemic counseling. Bursting with vision, creativity and sensitivity, yet incredibly practical and down-to-earth, Donna offers clients a profound transformational experience that aligns them with their values and actualizes their potential. Discover more at