We've all heard about the benefits of manifesting your dreams by mere thought or creating vision boards to illustrate, in plain sight, what you want out of life. Many of us might even have the same cliche perception of what vision boarding actually entails--- something as simple as cutting out photos and words from magazines and pasting them on posters like an elementary school project.
I must admit, as a professional in my 20s, I'd never really believed in vision boards. I'd always been raised to believe that faith and action were enough, and I strategized my plan for success accordingly. (And I'm sure I wasn't alone. According to research, apparently "fantasizing" about an "idealized future" can actually be counter-productive and "sap energy" needed to actually achieve goals.)
By 30, I'd reached management status, had my own blogs and columns, hired teams, and led successful campaigns. I'd felt like I'd somewhat made it in my industry, quite early actually. Along with the accomplishments came the career rut and utter burnout, so I found creating a vision board to be yet another task to add more pressure and anxiety to my life. The vision board would only serve as a reminder that I hadn't become "like Oprah," made a million with a best-selling book, or landed a prime placement on somebody's news show.
There was one major key I'd been missing: While it's awesome to have goals and make them plain in writing or illustrations, one also must pair belief with strategic planning in consideration of one's true purpose and talents that aligns with the vision board. A vision board is not the end-all-be-all to mapping out success. It is simply a complementary tool part of that process. And many successful people, in this way, swear by them, including Steve Harvey, Cardi B, and Tamera Mowry.
Another such leader who has elevated the conversation around vision boarding is Mariko Bennett, founder of COCO B. Productions, and author of The Blueprint: to Manifest Your Dreams. She and her team offer leadership development workshops and strategy sessions and offer tailored solutions for government agencies, corporations, professionals, associations, nonprofits, and other organizations.
Here's more from her on elevating your approach to vision boarding and taking action on your wildest career dreams:
xoNecole: You've written a book that describes a 'blueprint' for planning career advancement and success. What should readers expect?
Mariko Bennett: The Blueprint: to Manifest Your Dreams is my purpose project. I am a master manifester and did not realize [it] until friends of mine told me. We would sit down, at that point, we'd called them 'vision boards' but now call them 'blueprinting boards' and I would manifest everything on my board. They would say 'You did that?! You did that?!' Absolutely. What I found out was that 92 percent of people never really reach to achieve their dreams and goals.
I set out, when I wrote this book, to help the 92 percent of people to become master manifesters. In the book, I talk about seven life-focus areas, I talk about SMART goal-setting, I talk about being intentional, and about understanding what the obstacles are so that you can make plans to get around those obstacles.
I talk about my 4-C's of manifesting, which is really my secret weapon as to how I've been able to be successful. I talk about the power of belief and affirming yourself. It's literally a blueprint to manifesting your dreams---personal and professional.
xoN: What would you say to someone who might be skeptical when it comes to the power of manifesting or vision boards?
MB: We approach our blueprinting boards in a different way. Why are boards important? Why is putting your vision down important? It's a strategic plan. If people don't understand vision boards, they do understand a strategic plan. That's the first thing I'd say to anyone who's hesitant. You have a vision in the words of quotes, photos, and images that remind you of what your vision is, in life form. We take it a step further. That's where the SMART goals come in.
It's important to have a vision---which is where that first C comes in, crystalize---and you've gotta go an extra step, where you customize the plan and you're doing SMART goal-setting. Then you go to the third C, which is cultivate, where you have to do the work. Manifesting doesn't work just because you look at a board. You have to cultivate it. You do the work. The fourth C is when you curate, and that's when you're measuring success and fine-tuning your approach as you are manifesting.
xoN: What does 'putting the work in' look like after creating this vision board, or 'blueprinting'?
MB: In customizing, you're looking at what you have and what you need to reach that vision. What works for your life? [For example], if you want to finish school in 4 years, how many credits do you need to take? How much will it cost you? Where do you want to live? And with cultivating, it's where a lot of people begin to fail or quit. It gets difficult. You actually have to show up at that job all the time to get that money. You actually have to save those dollars, right?
Whatever you're working on, you actually have to put the work in to get it done. And then, life can happen, which may throw people off. And so, it's important that you have your blueprint and your vision to remind you what you promised [yourself] and you've got your plan so that you can work to get back to it once life happens.
xoN: What's a recent example of how you've used this process, for yourself, in any current career transitions, for spaces you're in now?
MB: Absolutely. We did a blueprint for Coco B Productions, at the beginning of the year, and one of the goals was to get minority certifications as a firm. I customized a plan. And sometimes your plan is beyond you. I am not the person to sit there and do all the applications. That's where the accountability partners come in that are cheering you on and reminding you of what you promised yourself.
Sometimes they're helpers. They do the work for you. I hired a firm to help me get my certifications. Yes, I had to give them a lot of paperwork and I had to do the work to get us there, but they actually did the filing for me and really just helped me to get across the finish line.
For more of Mariko, follow her on Instagram @mariko_bennett1.
Featured image courtesy of Mariko Bennett