Crafting success: How to create a vision board in four steps, according to the people behind Hat of Cain, Deutsche Bank Wealth Management, The Change School and more

By Allyson Tutay 20 January, 2021

We speak with a few Robb Report Singapore Thought Leaders on a step-by-step guide to crafting your very own vision board

Happy 2021. Your social media feeds have probably been flooded with cheesy, passé captions (that we believe in anyway; cynicism dies at midnight). The age-old favourite is ‘new year, new me’ and while it’s no longer the first day of the year, the truth is that self-improvement has no expiration date. It’s just that the new year is a pretty good excuse to actually start.

And start I have. Because, what better way to aspire for success than to pin up inspiring pictures and quotes onto a board? If it’s on a board, it must materialise, right? But don’t just take it from me. To create my very own vision board, I spoke to Robb Report Singapore’s Thought Leaders. In other words, individuals who have already seen their aspirations take flight and who continually aspire toward self-improvement.

So, here’s what we know you all need: a step-by-step guide to crafting your very own vision board, complete with four of our Thought Leaders’ tips for success. Take out your scissors, everyone. It’s time to get crafty.

Pen down your goals and aspirations

Step one: Write down your goals

If ‘new year, new me’ isn’t cliché enough advice for you, then maybe ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ is. But don’t scoff at these platitudes, for many of them are grounded in truth.

In fact, this is the advice from both Serene Chua, private banker and co-founder of Wolf Burgers and Carvers & co., and Elaine Lim-Chan, managing director at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management. Goals and plans are the roadmaps to success for these two successful women, because it allows you to truly visualise your aspirations and dreams.

So, close your eyes and imagine what you want 2021 to look like: think as big or as small as you want. Chua’s personal and professional goals this year range from “exercising three times a week” to “focus[ing] on the goals and ensuring the team has the same vision”. From the measurable to the intangible, write it all down. Even if it’s just making sure you clear your inbox this year.

Grace Clapham Vision Board
Grace Clapham shares with us her vision board for the year 2020

Step two: Scour the Internet for images and quotes that make you feel happy and inspired

Pinterest addicts, this one’s for you. A vision board is essentially a Pinterest board comprising all your hopes and dreams for the year. So, here’s the perfect excuse to scroll through Pinterest for things that make you feel good.

Maybe it’s the layout of your dream office, a picture of your family or an outfit that makes you feel empowered. Focus on how these images make you feel. If you feel a pump of adrenaline and motivation from looking at them, print them out. Those are the pictures you’d want on your board.

Remember to also ask yourself: what are your priorities for the year? These pictures should be reminders of that. For Lim-Chan, these reminders come in quotes, with her vision board featuring sayings from Colin Powell and Benjamin Franklin. For Grace Clapham, co-founder of The Change School and Head of Community Partnerships APAC at Facebook, it’s a combination of quotes and images. Frida Kahlo stands right in the middle of the board, surrounded by other images – some of which are presumably related to relaxation. Clapham suggests, “I take a while to gather images that speak to me, then I reflect again before I lay them out on my board.”

Position your board at a place you’ll see everyday

Step three: Find a home for your board

Once you’re done gluing your photos onto a corkboard and channeling your inner 13-year-old artist, find a spot for your board. Take it from Bill Cain, CEO of Hat of Cain (or as he prefers, Mr HOC). Though his company’s vision board isn’t “overly creative”, it is very visible. Hat of Cain’s vision board is pragmatically pasted on their wall, visible to all employees.

You’d want it to be placed at a location that you see every day and not a dingy corner of your room. Treat it as a physical manifestation of your dreams. No one wants their dreams dusty.

Actualise your vision

Step four: Make it happen

At the end of the day, a board is a board by any other name. These dreams won’t actualise if you don’t let them. The stock image of that man in a bespoke suit leaving work early to spend time with his children won’t be you unless he becomes you. Neither is that Pinterest photo of the woman with a clean desk and a fully accomplished to-do list.

Vision board or not, what matters is that you know your goals and work toward them. Patrick Furlong, founder and director of Colts Polo & Riding as well as CFO in Ligera Research, has never made a vision board. Instead, he simply knew his goals and professional direction from “day 1”.

The vision board is a pretty good start to attaining your goals and driving your self-improvement, but it’s not the be all and end all. The crucial ingredient to a successful vision board is belief. Furlong told me: “If you truly believe in your abilities to achieve, it is very likely that you will.”

And if you’re feeling a little intimidated to take that leap of faith, Taha Bouqdib (CEO and Co-Founder of TWG Tea) has some wisdom for you. He encourages you not to take 2020’s challenges bring you down, and that 2021 has much more in store. “I would advise any new entrepreneurs that 2021 is going to be the best year to negotiate good deals […] It’s the link between 2019 and the future and great growth!” So perhaps this is the sign to make 2021 your year.