How to create a business that leaves you feeling lighter and more fulfilled
How to create a business that leaves you feeling lighter and more fulfilled
If you told me five years ago I’d be where I am today, living in the mountains, running my own business, completing four marathons...well, I’d think you were off your rocker.
At the time I was living in New York City in my shoebox size apartment, working a 9–6 with a long commute on either end, making it work in a long-distance relationship, and squeezing in a workout when I could find the time.
But yet, looking back, it’s easy to connect the dots and see that this is where I was meant to be all along.
Sure, that vision wasn’t as concrete as it feels now, living it. But even way back then, I knew the importance of having a bigger vision and I can see how:
My own search for fulfillment in work and life → led to starting my own business
My own journey in entrepreneurship → led to helping others find fulfillment in work and life
My hunt for a hobby or “my thing” → led to completing four marathons and building more confidence than I ever knew possible
Pinning images of interiors on the daily → led to the beautiful fixer-upper home that I live in now
My desire for a secondary form of income → led to running the cutest Airbnb in our home
...That list goes on.
But the truth is, your vision may look nothing like mine, and I think that’s equally important to realize.
Because the sooner you can hone in on what your own version of success and fulfillment is, the less likely you are to find yourself chasing someone else’s dream and start working toward your own—which, in case you haven't noticed, can be very easy to do in any industry, but especially the online world.
Here’s how my bigger vision, my very own definition of success, has helped me to create a business that leaves me feeling lighter and more fulfilled and how you can do the same to create the exact life and business you want too:
Vision boards aren’t as woo-woo as you think
Sometimes people think that vision boards are a little “out there” or “woo-woo.” But I think they’re actually far more grounded in reality than you might realize.
I often find that people aren’t getting what they want in life because they don’t even KNOW what they want. And they certainly aren’t thinking about that vision daily and making small, consistent efforts toward it now.
Seriously, think about it. When you've been super clear and took action on something, doesn't it almost always come to life?
Which is why, when I design vision boards for clients, I start with a kickoff questionnaire that asks what your future life and business actually looks like. Who is that woman? What is she wearing? What does she eat? How does she spend her time? In other words, “What does she want?”
And friends, knowing what you want is actually a very GROUNDED concept, not to mention, it’s the first step to GETTING what you want. Visualization is just another tool to help you get there.
Visualization will help you get what you want
Before we get into my updated vision board, I thought it’d be fun to share what a previous vision board looked like, because this stuff seriously WORKS.
I had created this vision board a few years ago when I was starting to feel a bit like an umpa lumpa. The grind of running my own design business was starting to get to me and I was feeling the effects of no longer having to walk around the streets of New York to get EVERYWHERE I wanted to go. I DEFINITELY wasn’t getting my 10,000 steps in each day. In fact, if I’m being honest, it looked more like wake up --> and go straight to my computer. The way I was working didn’t feel sustainable.
What’s the point of running a successful business, if I couldn’t ENJOY the effects of that? I had moved to Colorado and started my own business for the LIFE I would be able to have there, the outdoor activities I’d be able to enjoy, and I definitely wasn’t embracing it.
So I created a vision board that looked like this:
It painted the picture of the lifestyle I would create for myself—more time outdoors, huddled around the campfire with friends, and waking up in a tent to that fresh mountain air. It included travel and no longer feeling tied to my desk by my business. It included more IN-PERSON connections with other creatives rather than just email. And perhaps the biggest lifestyle change—it included getting a dog, a companion to get me OUTSIDE more often for walks and keep me company during the day.
I’m being honest when I tell you that EVERYTHING on this board has come to life. But what was the biggest shift that made this happen? My mindset.
I began to see how my life and business weren’t as separate as I had been making them. In fact, I FELT better both in and outside of my business when I started making my own personal development a priority again—something that had slipped when I was so deep in “business mode.”
Vision boards really ask you to look at the bigger picture. It becomes more than just money and business (even though, those are important too!) and more about how your life and business are working together to create your OWN version of success.
As you get what you want, that vision shifts (and that’s the whole point!)
As you GET the things that you’ve been visualizing, you gain more clarity and you make refinements. You shift that vision to be more in line with where you are NOW. (In other words, you want new things for yourself!)
Here’s what my current vision board looks like:
When I started this vision board, I asked the same question that I ask my clients: “What does Future You look, feel, and act like?” And here’s what I found:
She’s hired a team to support her and her business is running like a well-oiled machine
Her podcast has hit the “new and noteworthy” section of iTunes
She’s writing a book to help other creatives and entrepreneurs find fulfillment in work and life
She prioritizes genuine connection through coffee chats with other like-minded creatives
She spends quality time with her partner, enjoying coffee and pancakes out on the patio
She continues to enjoy runs with her puppy through the beautiful mountains of Colorado
She’s picked up swimming again, once a week because it both relaxes her and brings her joy
She makes family a priority, going out to visit their beautiful home in San Diego regularly
She keeps fresh flowers in her home as an act of self-care
She makes laughter, joy, lightness, and fun a priority
She guards her energy and says no to things that aren’t the right fit
Her home feels light, bright, and airy and she’s cleared the space of things that no longer bring her joy
She eats fresh, nourishing, delicious food (picture a tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil and balsamic glaze)
It’s closer than you think
I’ll let you in on a little secret… The bigger vision you have for your life and business is actually a whole lot CLOSER than you might think.
I’ve seen it over and over again, not only in working with clients, but in my own life too. The idea of a bigger vision can be intimidating, but when you actually break it down and refocus on what it is that you want for yourself, things become clearer.
Here’s what I mean:
When I was updating my vision board, I was writing out the thoughts I had for my future self. One of the things I wrote down was, “She eats fresh, nourishing, delicious food (picture a tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil and balsamic glaze).”
Now, I’ll be the first to point out that this is completely, totally, 100% AVAILABLE to me at this very moment. I am perfectly capable of driving to the store, buying tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil and making this salad.
So what was stopping me from eating this way?
I hadn’t really thought about it in this way before. I hadn’t considered that fresh and nourishing actually felt pretty darn luxurious to me. And once I did, it was a whole lot easier to solve for than never having thought about it at all.
And your vision is likely the same. If you’re wanting a beautiful, balanced life and a thriving, successful business, I’d be willing to bet the action steps to get you there are a whole lot closer than you might think.
You’ll be surprised by how quickly your vision comes to life
One of the first images that I pulled for my vision board was a picture of a black house with white trim—one just like my own. On the patio sat a cute little dining table and chairs for two, complete with a french press and two mugs.
Brian and I have talked about getting a table like this one for the front porch for ages, but it hadn’t happened yet because it hadn’t been a priority.
And if I’m being honest, it wasn’t just about the table and chairs. It was about what that would create for us—more time outdoors enjoying the landscape, quality time together chatting in the morning, a new little cozy corner of our home.
So when I pulled that image, I knew that was what I was envisioning. But I also knew that I didn’t want to spend a lot of time looking for the *perfect* dining set at the perfect pricepoint right now. I decided that I’d find it when the time was right—a bit of detachment, if you will.
Well, that VERY SAME DAY, I happened upon the outdoor dining set of my dreams. On sale, down from $400 to a rather affordable $120 and I just KNEW it was coming home with me.
What played to my advantage here?
Knowing what I wanted
Being open to the opportunity when it arose
Detaching from the when and how
My point is that this visioning stuff REALLY works. And we’ve had blueberry pancakes and coffee on the patio to prove it. But it wasn’t only about the patio set—with that came the opportunity to spend quality time with each other in the morning (ticking yet another box on my vision board!).
The bottom line
Vision boards aren’t as woo-woo as you think because knowing what you want is actually a very GROUNDED concept, not to mention the first step to GETTING what you want. Your vision for a beautiful, balanced life and thriving, successful business may look nothing like mine and that’s important to realize. The sooner you can hone in on what your own version of success and fulfillment is, the less likely you are to find yourself chasing someone else’s dream and start working toward your own.