Preparing for my Vision Board…

By Ellesse

When I first posted my intention to kickstart a Vision Board Experiment 2 weeks ago, a few readers wrote in and encouraged me in this endeavour. If you’re one of them, I sincerely thank you for the great support! Amongst the emails, the one from Cornelis Boertjens particularly touched my heart. Interestingly, Cornelis happen to be the CEO of one of the world’s online Vision Board Companies and his company has worked with renowned US motivational speakers like TSTN show host Vic Johnson and 3 time Olympian Ruben Gonzalez. Not only did he shower kind words on the articles that I’ve written, he has graciously sponsored me with a free copy of his Vision Board software for the purpose of this experiment. Cornelis, if you’re reading this, thank you so much!

Cornelis’ support has slightly changed the format of this trial. Instead of creating a hard copy poster board, plastered with magazine, newspaper cuttings and inspirational sayings, I’ll make use of the Vision Board software and demonstrate how it’s possible to do the same tapping on the power of technology. I’m pretty comfortable with this idea as it complements my lifestyle very well, especially since I work on the computer for at least 16 hours a day! Having an electronic version of the Vision Board also means, I’ll be able to whip it out on my laptop for a quick boost in the office, the library or at home. Cool! If you’re someone who prefers to work with the traditional poster board, no worries as I’ll cover that as well!

Now, before I start, here a promised preview of 5 main aspects of my life to set the stage for this exercise. As mentioned, this preview will be important in helping me gauge the results of my trial and I’ll suggest that you’d do the same if you’re going to follow through this experiment and take it as tutorial for creating your own Vision Board. Not only will it provide good comparison later in assessing your own Vision Board experience, personally, I think it’s a great way to get more in tune with yourself. I remembered when I first completed this exercise, which was included in Anthony Robbin’s paperback, Awaken the Giant Within, I was totally amazed about how various parts of my life was stagnating. I didn’t know that all those late nights watching silly drama serials would cause so much damage to my health. I wouldn’t have realized that I was spending so little quality time with my parents. Most interestingly, I wouldn’t have taken a more active role in kick starting own personal development revolution (since reading Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad!) and sharing with others through Goal Setting College! You can get a copy of this preview checklist in my Goal Setting Tutorial. Here’s my preview.

Health & Fitness

When I was younger, a close classmate’s elder sister used to give me a nickname “skinny”. I wasn’t impressed with that then but the thought of it now brings fond memories. Ha ha. Perhaps, it was my figure giving the subconscious (and my friends too!) the false belief but you’re right to assume that I had never really considered myself unfit and had sort of taken that for granted. Until the strain and stress of work life started taking its toll on me, of course.

As a financial systems implementation consultant with a multinational corporation, I’m often required to travel across Asia implementing accounting software for the subsidiary companies and training the users on its usage. The frequent traveling on the job, tight schedules on projects exposed me to a lot professionally but at the same time introduced a series of work related ailments such as severe migraines and fatigue. And it certainly doesn’t help that sometimes, I’ll catch drama serials on DVDs into the wee hours of the night. I recalled once during a 2-day personal extension on a business trip to Cambodia, my migraine acted up and it was so bad that I was cooped up the whole day in my room. Luckily, I managed to recover the next day and visited Angkor Wat. Otherwise, it would have been a holiday all spent sleeping in a Siem Reap’s backpacker’s hostel room!

That incident was like an awakening call. Since the past year, I have started to make modifications to my lifestyle. I’ve followed a more regular sleep routine, waking up at about 7am and going off to bed at about 12pm as well. I’ve been popping by the gym occasionally for a short run on the treadmill and I’ll also play an hour or two’s squash with some of my friends when I yearn for some competitive sport. Squash is a great game and trust me, it really stretches every single strand of your muscle as I’ll usually end up with sore muscles. Darn!

With the lifestyle changes, indeed, I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my health. At least the occurrence of such migraines has reduced! And it has also increased my concentration level allowing me to focus better at work and increasing my productivity. Now, with so many benefits of a consistent exercise regime and a better sleeping routine, it definitely makes it important to continue with them, isn’t it? Now, that’s where the challenge comes in. Due to work commitments, I often work late in the office and by the time I finish, I’m usually so exhausted to go to the gym or participate in the weekly squash sessions with my friends. And the ironic thing is, it’s a vicious cycle. I realize that the less exercise I do, the more tired I feel and the later I work due to reduced productivity!

I know I had to do something to break this cycle.

Living Environment

Since young, I’ve been living in a flat with my parents and siblings in one of the older residential districts in Singapore. It’s relatively common here for singles to stay with their families before marriage, so frankly speaking, it has never occurred to me that I’ll consider moving out one day. But with my niece’s birth, the impending arrival of another baby nephew and a dream for me to setup a SOHO office for my new business venture, everything seems to point towards that direction. My current abode may seem a bit small for such a growing extended family and I do foresee facing a lot of distractions if I do work from home in the same flat in the future.

I’m pretty easy when it comes to accommodation, so long as it’s comfortable and clean. It doesn’t even have to be in a premier location but it helps if it is conveniently located to some of the MRT (a.k.a subway) stations and near my current place so that I’ll continue to visit my parents regularly.

The plan to move out is probably not something I’ve set to achieve in the immediate future since I probably can’t afford to purchase a property now, but it’s definitely part of a long term 5 to 10 year arrangement to be independent.

Social Activeness

That day, I received an mobile text message from a friend, “Hey, It’s been a long time since all of us met up with you! Let’s catch up someday?” When I read this, I can’t help feeling guilty again. Alright, I admit. I’ve indeed been rejecting so many social gathering requests that I’ve lost count. Family, work and my recent motivation to contribute via Goal Setting College has set me in a schedule that I’ve less time for friends and social gatherings. Friendships, like other forms of relationships have to be nurtured. So, one of the areas that I’ll like to improve is to manage my time effectively so that I’ll get to spend more time with my friends. Be it just a short catch up over coffee or a heart warming mobile text message, I’m sure such small efforts will slowly build up.

On a side note, I guess being more active socially also helps me to find that “someone” in my life too. Seriously, whenever friends ask me questions like “What do you look for in your future husband?” or “What are your expectations?”, it never fail to get me stumped. The truth is, I may be pretty clear of the things that I want to achieve many years down the road, but I don’t have the slightest clue on the attributes of the person that I want to attract into my life. And the irony is, I know what kind of guys I don’t want (usually after dating them :) ). Perhaps that’s why I keep attracting the wrong guys. Ha ha. The paradox of life!

But I believe this is one area where the Vision Board can work well in. Unlike Goal Setting, you don’t have to know exactly what you want. You just need to have a notion of the things you are thinking of attracting. So, I guess I’ll keep the “affairs of the heart” department relatively simple, direct but fun. Want to know what it is? Stay tuned.

Career Development

After graduation, I worked in a local audit firm for about 9 months before making a career switch to join a Global Distributions Systems provider in the Travel Industry as a IT business analyst, writing specifications, conducting implementations and managing projects for a financial application. Friends and acquaintances marveled at my courage to make such a bold career move. Some were skeptical that I was ditching a potentially lucrative accounting career for a position in a domain where I would professionally disadvantaged (because I do not have technical skills). But I’ve never regretted it. During the course of the job, I’ve traveled much of Asia and one part of the US, exposing myself to various cultures and experiences that in my own account are more precious than what the monetary rewards of an accounting career can buy. I continued this “jet-setter” working style for about 4 years before joining the multinational cooperation that I’m with now, in a similar capacity.

I guess life has been pretty fair to me when it comes to my career, even though I’ve taken it slightly off tangent. But as my values and beliefs changed, my job, though financially rewarding is no longer in alignment with my values. My urge to spend more time at home chatting with my parents, playing with my niece is often robbed by overseas traveling schedules that cross over the weekends. My plan to take up more ownership in my financial independence is often disrupted by the many tasks that I’ve to complete even after office hours. The career I’ve chosen takes up too much of my time such that I’ve little to do things that I yearn to, that may have an ever more lasting impact on my life ahead. That’s when the thought of quitting my job surface and idea of starting my own business blossom. At the back of my mind, I want to create a business which can still carry on with minimal involvement from my end. I want to create a business that allows myself freedom to do what I want to achieve in life. Most importantly, I want to create a business that allows me to contribute back to society.

Is this possible? Yes. And I seriously think so.

Financial Wealth

I believe most of you are aware that my personal development revolution was kick started because of 1 book I’ve read in 2002. And that’s none other than Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. Because of the very nature of this book, I’ve also taken a keen interest in enhancing my own financial literacy. Luckily, I’m a pretty thrifty person so saving up for rainy days and paying my credit card bills promptly come quite naturally to me. Since my financial committment as a single is minimal, the main challenge is learning how to invest my money smartly so that I’ll have enough to for an early retirement. To help me with this, I’ve previously sat down with my financial planner to review my insurance plans 2 years ago. The result? A replacement of my then investment linked insurance policy with a term insurance plan and a complete re-look into my retirement planning needs.

Personally, I’ve read up more about investments and dabbled in unit trusts or mutual funds with limited success. It definitely helps that I’m an accountant by training! Strategically however, I’m actually looking forward to construct my own stocks portfolio investing in good companies with strong fundamentals and have tried digesting such knowledge by reading Value Investing philosophies and learning from investment mentors or gurus such as Warren Buffet through their books.

Going forward, I’m looking into redefining this strategy and step up on the efforts to setup a trial portfolio.

Update : For your convenience, here are all the links to the Vision Board Experiment logs :


4 Responses to “Preparing for my Vision Board…”

  1. Paula at 1:51 pm

    I havent kickstarted my VisionBoard yet…

    but I definitely have digested the idea as I set a special account for my mom…these are both financial health and social activities, I think….

  2. Ellesse at 2:17 am

    Paula, that’s a very good prelude. I’m sure when you really commence on it, you’ll have even greater results…

  3. James at 6:06 pm

    Do you know of any good online vision board resources?

  4. Ellesse at 1:30 am

    Hey James, thanks for your comment. I do know of a few & have elaborated here. Feel free to add in any other resources which you’ve come across too!


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