Monday, January 19, 2009

Yes you can! Visioning® Renewal

The New Year - 2009 - is a great time to start Visioning®. We have a new President and are beginning a new era in our country. Sure, we have lots of challenges, but in America you can feel change in the air. And apparently this has spread around the globe. At my website, I've received lots of good wishes from readers in different countries representing many nationalities, races and religions. They are excited and hopeful about America turning over a new leaf. But hope is not enough. Bringing about renewal is something each individual must do. That's where the Visioning® process of life design comes in.

As Walt Disney said: If you can dream it, you can do it! So let's start with you. And let's start now!

What you will need:

Visioning® begins with finding your true heart's desire and creating a photo collage to illustrate your dream. You'll need art paper or poster board (18 x 24 inches or larger), scissors, glue, magazines (and other sources of photo images and words). You will also need a bound blank book (unlined pages) for keeping a Creative Journal (preferably 9 x12 inches). I recommend a set of felt pens in 8 or more colors for writing. If you are serious about making your dreams come true, get a copy of my book Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams (Tarcher/ Putnam). It describes the process in detail, complete with photo illustrations. Set the mood for each step in the process with the musical CD, Visioning (music by recording artist, Jessie Allen Cooper (available only at and

You might be wondering: What's unique about Visioning®? What sets it apart from from all that other stuff like The Secret, visualization, life planning, affirmations, treasure maps, and so on? First, the 10 steps of Visioning® follow the stages that all designers, inventors, architects pass through when they create in the material world. These are the folks who designed the computer you are using, the chair you are sitting in, the desk, the floor, the room, etc., that surrounds you. Why not learn from them? These creative people are trained, skilled and experienced at taking thoughts and turning them into things? That's exactly what you do in Visioning®.You apply tried and true design principles to your life and work. Believe me, they work!

When a designer gets an idea she puts that inspiration, idea or mental picture into physical form immediately (sketches, blueprints, renderings, etc.) In Visioning® we do this by fashioning a collage - a sort of storyboard - similar to the ones filmmakers use in mapping out their story. We don't use the cartoon strip format of linear pictures, rather it's an all-at-once impression, a collage that conveys our dream. It might have words in it, too. The goal is to illustrate the heart's desire, what it would look like and feel like. It's a preview of coming attractions, how we want to feel once the dream is realized. That all shows in the Visioning® collage board. This is not about accuuilating things. It's about how we want to grow and who we want to become.

Visioning® can be done by individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, work teams, and companies. We've used it in public schools systems (team teaching groups), corporations, hospitals, non-profit organizations, church groups, and more. Collages can be done as individual boards or posters or in group applications as a combined mural. They can also be created as individual boards all fitting together to create a shared Vision. Shared Visioning® boards are photographed and each member of the group gets a picture of the whole while keeping their own collage. Sometimes shared collage murals are displayed, as in the case of one elementary school in Texas. The teachers doing team teaching posted their group collage of the "goals for the year" on the walls outside their classrooms for themselves and their students to see. The school had high scores and great morale.

Secondly, Visioning® provides psychological tools for clearing obstacles. Creating the Visioning® board is only the beginning. Big dreams always bring out big inner blocks. It's part of the game. Inevitably, when we start reaching for new goals, the Inner Critic or Judge jumps out and chatters away in our brains. "This is stupid. How ugly. What a waste of time. You'll only be disappointed. This is a pipe dream and will never happen. Who do you think you are with these grandiose ideas? And anyway, you have more important things to do right now, like paying bills or laundry or mowing the lawn or doing your taxes or......."(you fill in the blanks)

One of the keys to success with Visioning® is the time tested technique for dealing with this universal voice of self-criticism and self doubt within. I've written whole books about this, most notably, The Power of Your Other Hand (Career Press). The Visioning® process provides journal activities for writing your way through these internal blocks of self-judgment and skepticism about the Visioning® process. If I hadn't developed this technique I would never have written 13 books. Here's how I did it.

While attempting to start my first book, The Creative Journal (Career Press/New Page), I was plagued with a crippling writer's block. I spent two to three days a week staring at white paper in the typewriter. Finally I practiced what I was teaching in my Creative Journal classes (which was the topic of the book, ironically enough). In one journal session, I cleared the block in two pages of writing. I wrote what the Inner Critic said with my dominant hand (the one I normally write with), and answered back with my non-dominant hand (the one I don't usually write with). Within two pages I was done, felt utterly liberated and energized. I rose from my journal, went to my studio and completed the book within three months by writing two or three days a week. I had a "real job" as a college instructor and art therapist while becoming an author on my own so that's all the time I could afford.

But wait, that's not all. Breaking through my block also gave me the courage to put the word out to friends (step 9 of Visioning®), get a support system around me, and find a mentor who referred me to his publisher. They said yes right away. Better yet, the book needed no editing. In spite of what my Inner Critic had said, I'd written a perfectly acceptable manuscript! Over the years, The Creative Journal has become a best seller, been published in three different editions and formed the basis of an entire method of journal therapy being used all over the world.(

Dream it and do it. I've done it, and I know you can, too. See more on


  1. I'm so excited about this website. Visioning is great!! It is the extra necessary step in goal setting. In fact it is the essential step!
    I'm going to be helping a group of women create vision board for better health. That is a great topic to vision about!!


  2. I'm so excited about this website!! Visioning is the most important part of goal setting. In fact it is the essential part. I'm going to help a group of women create vision boards for better health this year. Health is a great topic for which to use this method!!