How Keeping a Vision Journal Can Change Your Career

Love Vision Boards? Try These Vision Journals to Plan Your Ideal Career
by Simran Takhar
Photos Stephanie Yang | November 18, 2016
It's good to get to know yourself better. It may sound a little new-agey to the cynics out there, but trust us: a vision journal can help you a whole lot in life and in choosing a career. Think of it as a creative hobby that, over time, is going to slowly reveal your goals and aspirations–conscious or not.
As a savvy career woman, you already know that a work journal can be a great way to help you get ahead in the office. It’s an effective practice to track your accomplishments at work and regularly reflect on your career, keeping an eye on the bigger picture.  When it’s so easy for us to get caught up in our everyday routines, it’s also all too easy to lose sight of where we are in our careers, and perhaps more importantly, where we want to be.

That’s why we want to tell you about vision journalling. It has all the benefits of a work journal, but also helps you get in touch with what your future goals look like, in a way that is creative and honest.

What is a Vision Journal?

You might already be familiar with a vision board. Grace Bonney of DesignSponge describes a vision board as one valuable way to make some big steps and small changes into turning your work and life goals into reality. The idea of a vision board is gain clarity on what your future goals actually look like, by collecting magazine clippings of words and pictures that appeal to you.

A vision journal uses this same practice. You can think of it as a diary and vision board project rolled into one. In addition to keeping a daily or weekly work journal, you simply fill some blank pages with a few clippings that you have collected. It doesn't have to be limited to magazine clippings; if there is something you want to add to your journal that isn't in your magazines, you can represent this in another way like sketches or photographs. You could also include excerpts of articles that you find interesting and want to learn more about.

The journal is a creative way for you to keep track of your current job as well as explore your future aspirations all in one place.

how can it help in choosing a career?

Vision journals allow you to have a space to dream big. A space to unlock your brain from what you think you should be doing, to discovering what you actually want to do. Over time, you'll see that the images you've collected are an honest representation of the kind of life you want to live, and the career that fits into this.
Over time, you'll see that the images you have collected are an honest representation of the kind of life you want to live, and the career that fits into this.
Our jobs and industries can sometimes shape our aspirations to fit into a certain mold. When you might think your goal is to be promoted to manager, you could discover that your true aspiration is to work in a different part of your company or change industries altogether.

The benefit of keeping your vision elements and work journal in one place is that it allows you to focus on your future goals as well as review your current situation, helping you bridge the gap between where you are to where you want to be. It’s only once we are clear with what our true goals are that we can start to take action toward them.

It’s also a flexible way to indulge in something creative, which has its own benefits when you're back in the office. Being creative in our spare time helps us recover from the daily stresses at work, increases our sense of control, and can even challenge us to learn a new skill we can then use in the office. The pursuit of creative activities also has a direct effect on factors such as problem-solving and helping others while on the job.

Okay, we know that having any spare time to be creative and start a vision journal is a task in itself, but once you start, it only takes as little or as much time as you can commit to it.

To help you get started, we’ve broken down the process for you:
  • Spend a few minutes journaling about your day or week at work, noting any accomplishments, new skills gained, or lessons learned.
  • Pick a magazine of your choice and flick through the pages, stopping at any words or pictures that speak to you. It doesn't have to have a lot of images, you can build this up slowly over time.
  • Try not to think too much about what you're picking out and don't judge your choices, the aim is to choose things that truly reflect your aspirations so you don't want to self-edit them.
  •  Collect the magazine clippings and find some blank pages in your journal to arrange them and stick them in.
  • You can get extra creative: use photographs, or even sketch or paint anything else you think you'd like to see along with your clippings. 
  • Continue this every week or month, and over time try to see if there are any trends in what images and concepts you're choosing.
You'll notice that what you want your career and life to look like is becoming more clear through the images and clippings you choose. Pay attention to what you think the images mean and compare this to what you are currently doing from your diary entries. This is just for you, so dream big!
Sticking to this practice will help you reflect on your current career but also think about things you actually want in your future that you might not have been familiar with.
Give it a try and tell us if what ended up in your journal surprised you. 
Do you keep a journal and, if so, how has it helped you? Tell us in the comments!