Happy Valentine’s Day! I know it’s a Hallmark holiday, but it’s also a good opportunity to show people you care, which is why I decided to make you an “Empowerment Board”. Let me explain:
You may have heard of a vision board at some point in your life. Whether related to work, relationships or personal growth, vision boards are collages of images or words that represent the intentions and aspirations you have for your life.
Vision Boards and the Law of Attraction
The theory behind vision boards is Michael Losier’s “Law of Attraction”, which basically says if you focus on what you want to feel and experience, it will come to life. Did you ever notice that once you learn a new vocabulary word, you start hearing it all the time? That’s the idea. By paying attention to what you want in life, you can attract it.
Whether you believe that a vision board can manifest your dreams or not, just looking at images that inspire you can be powerful. You can make a vision board by hand, using magazine cutouts and a glue stick, or create one digitally on a website like Pinterest. For some, the process of creating is half the pleasure. Deciding what matters most to you and making that tangible is pretty cool. If you have a chance, I encourage you to try it.
An Empowerment Board Instead
If you’re thinking “that’s great, but I don’t have time to be crafts-y” I get it! Since vision boards are personal, I couldn’t make one for you. But I realized I could make you something similar, and this is it. I’m calling it an “Empowerment Board”.
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are capable. All of the images on this board have been helpful for me. I hope they give you a sense of calm, strength and empowerment, too. Try using it as your screen saver.
The Story Behind the Images
You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup – This is a reminder that everyone benefits when you take care of yourself. Grant yourself permission.
Wonder Woman – Try her Power Pose any time you need an in-the-moment boost of confidence (I’ve done this in a school bathroom stall before an IEP meeting!). Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy found striking this pose (wide stance, hands on hips, or in the air like Super Man) for 2 minutes will boost your testosterone by 25% and lower your cortisol by 20%, priming you to feel more confident and less anxious, so you can perform at your best. Even if you don’t feel powerful, assuming powerful body language (making yourself bigger, taking up more space, uncrossing your arms) will help. As Cuddy says, if you don’t feel strong, “fake it till you become it!” * (Image: DC Comics)
“I got this.” – This is one of my favorite affirmations. It can help you develop self-confidence, which is a building block for resilience. One mom told me when things get tough, she holds her own hand and says “we got this”. The “we” refers to all her selves: the vulnerable and worried, as well as the confident and brave.
What I Know Today – Sometimes we second-guess decisions we made regarding how to help our kids. Instead of berating yourself with regrets, such as: “Why didn’t we have her tested sooner?” “Why didn’t we switch to a new specialist a year ago?”, this mantra is a way to practice self-compassion by reminding yourself that you made the best decision you could with the information you had at the time. Nobody can do better than that.
Take a Break and Look at the Sky – Taking a break can often be more productive than doing more. When you look at something vast, like the sky or the stars, it can provoke a feeling of awe. Researchers are finding that awe helps promote clear thinking, better health and closer relationships. (Art by Susa Talan)
“Dreaming Birds” – This beautiful painting by Natasha Newton brings the calming effect of nature right to you (although you should also get outside!).
I hope you enjoy your Empowerment Board. Let me know how it works.
And if you decide to make your own, please share.
*Note: further studies have disputed these results, but Power Posing can’t hurt!