When I hit midlife – even though I’ve always embraced my age – I hit something of a mental block. Despite knowing that I wasn’t ready to give up on life (the opposite entirely!) I realised that a lot of what I’d been doing wasn’t working any more, both personally and in my career. I’d had some life coaching with the incredible Katy Hill, but even knowing that I had full ‘permission’ to focus on my own needs wasn’t enough to make me actually do it. Then I did a vision board workshop, and everything started to change.
Vision board workshops for women
Manifest Your Dreams is a vision board workshop designed by business mentor Anna Wilk for women who want to see a shift in their career, business or personal life. I was lucky enough to be invited to Anna’s beautiful St Albans home in Hertfordshire in 2020 as one of the first to benefit from what she describes as a retreat for women to connect with their personal values and goals. Looking back now I can clearly see the changes I’ve gradually put in place since that day, and what they’ve done not only for my business, but for my general outlook on life.
Advertorial content: this post contains an affiliate link to Anna’s workshop, which I did free of charge in return for this review. If you buy a ticket using my personalised link I may receive a small commission. There is no extra cost to you.
What is Manifest Your Dreams?
If you don’t know how to vision board, Anna’s workshop will talk you through the whole process. But it’s more than just an exercise in how to create your own vision board. Manifest Your Dreams is an inspiring event during which you will create a visual space for what you would like to bring into your life. It starts with a guided meditation, then takes you through the process of creating a visual representation of what you want more of in your near future. It’s more than just pretty magazine pictures and a set of instructions, too. It’s a whole experience that leaves you focused on what really matters to you, and gives you a practical plan on how to get there.
Start with a vision board manifestation
The key to creating a successful vision board that gets real life results, says Anna, is meditation. Meditation connects you with who you truly are, and gives you clarity on what you want in life. That’s why the session begins with a vision board manifestation – a guided visualisation that gets participants in the right headspace for personal creativity. If that sounds a bit woo-woo to you, don’t worry, it’s not at all! It’s a very practical time to simply rid your mind of all its baggage (did your daughter remember her sports kit, have you paid the credit card bill, and what are you going to cook for dinner?) and be in the best mindset to focus on yourself for once! All you need is a willingness to close your eyes and listen to Anna’s words.
I would say I’m the least spiritual person I know apart from my husband! If I can’t see the science in black and white then I’m a sceptic. But I definitely felt a shift in my headspace after Anna’s guided visualisation. As Anna says, “this workshop is not only for creative and visual types but also for analytical, fact-loving ones!”
Once you’re in the right headspace the cutting and sticking begins! I’ve never been a creative person, in a physical sense; I told my kids when they were little that Mummy was allergic to crafting, and I’ve always had myself down as someone who likes colouring inside the metaphorical lines – some would say I’m a control freak! So I was ready for this part to be a bit daunting, if I’m honest. But something about Anna’s meditation had clearly clicked, because within minutes I was spotting things as I flicked through magazines that for no apparent reason really appealed to me, and suddenly I was on a roll.
Anna supplies all the vision board materials needed for every participant. She even brings her own magazines, to make sure not only that there’s plenty of variety, but that participants have access to images they might not usually see in the magazines they prefer to buy. She also provides the board itself, alongside a workbook for vision board goal setting, and the steps you need to take to make them a reality. There are sections which will prompt you to consider what your obstacles might be, what steps you need to take to overcome them, and even a space to record the tangible rewards you will gift yourself once you’ve ticked something off your list.
When should you make a vision board?
If you’re wondering when you might benefit from creating a vision board, here are some telltale signs that it might work for you:
- You feel stuck
- You don’t know what next steps you should take in your life or business
- You have been going round and round in circles
- You can’t figure out your purpose
- You feel a bit blah and uninspired
- You feel like your life is going past you
- You need some inspiration and a kick in the butt!
I don’t know if it’s middle-age, or simply a symptom of our kids growing up and becoming more independent, but a lot of women I know are feeling several of the above. I’ve managed to work out that for me it’s probably the fact that my old life revolved around my kids, and my work fitted in with my family priorities. Now that dynamic has shifted (and is set to change even more dramatically as my teenagers begin to move away from home – *cries*) I needed to decide what the hell I was going to do with my life going forward. And that was causing me all kinds of panic. I needed to do some goal setting.
Are vision boards effective?
If you’re still not convinced about the benefits of a vision board, you don’t need to look very far for advocates. Megastar Oprah Winfrey was introduced to vision boards by Michelle Obama, who asked her contacts to visualise her husband Barack becoming president of the USA. Oprah’s first board included an image of the dress she would wear to his inauguration, but she continues to use vision boards in her life, and has since taught a masterclass of her own in how to create a successful vision board.
And when TV comedian Ellen de Generes decided she wanted to be on the cover of Oprah’s magazine O she started to create mock-ups of herself on the cover. Sure enough, Ellen was the first cover star of O magazine who wasn’t Oprah herself!
Vision board success stories
Anna has her own share of vision board success stories too; one client had long harboured a dream to move to the countryside, and build a business community for women surrounded by nature. She completed Anna’s retreat, and 3 weeks later had sold her house and moved! She’s now living in Norfolk and working towards her next business venture. Anna has been running Manifest Your Dreams for the last three years, and all her participants report positive and exciting changes in their lives. Here are some of her most recent testimonials:
“I’d heard that people who attended the workshop had things they’d visioned there come true. It sounded lovely but I wasn’t banking on this, so I turned up as an exercise of focus and clarity. However over the last 6 months all these things I placed on my board have either become our are becoming a reality. It’s been extraordinary! So I very much recommend anyone who needs to create the life they want for themselves to attend as a useful starting point.”Naava Carman
“I have done vision boarding before, but Anna’s approach was much more in-depth. The meditation was a truly magical, amazing way to kick-off 2020. I feel I will leave today with a much clearer vision for my future. Thank you, Anna!”Hayley Southwood
“Anna is a wonderful facilitator: gentle but firm – yes, it’s possible! She knows how to nurture and help you get s*** done! A true gem!.”Ruth, Mindful Pathways