The “Ump” of Focus

I recently read a meme that said “The only difference between try and triumph is UMPH!” But what gives us that needed UMPH that can change hopes to realized success?


FOCUS is generally the answer to most questions in life – one way or another. And vision-boarding has proven extremely helpful in my personal quest to FOCUS better.


My experience with vision-boarding began five years ago when I had lunch with a friend whom I had not seen for three years. She regaled me with stories of accomplishments in her professional and personal life–some obviously noteworthy and others small but meaningful to her. I was pleased for her and also curious, since the last time I had seen her, she had been unhappy, feeling stuck and rudderless in various ways, and prone to statements of disappointment that bordered on cynicism. She explained to me that she had been utilizing vision-boarding, having been introduced to the concept by a neighbor. From there, I became intrigued and hosted a couple such events for professional organizations of which I was a leader. Over time, I incorporated vision-boarding into strategic planning retreats for organizations as well as one-on-one and small group coaching and teambuilding sessions.


Vision-boarding is wonderful because it forces you to crystallize your swirling and competing thoughts. Pictures appeal to us on a basic, metaphysical level. The process is inherently focus-oriented, forcing you to make reasoned and deliberate choices – setting aside “good” things for what you have deemed, after a thorough analysis of your own values and perspectives, the “better” things. I love to use the ten-dimensions work-life balance wheel to get a quick read on what parts of my life are out of balance. Having done these vision boards for several years, it is wonderfully freeing, too, to realize that priorities and attitudes can and should change. We go through different phases of life and circumstances and are free to change, to evolve, to try something new! How glorious is that?


Once the board is completed, I always feel a rush of anticipation and excitement. The beauty is that the vision board is then a pretty and uplifting reminder – for me, at least, much more inspiring than a page full of typed objectives.


Vision-boarding is also helpful for those of us who either are procrastinators by nature or whose obliga-ions regarding others constantly compete with our intentions for ourselves. Two prominent examples for me came from different years. One year, I placed a picture of a woman in a sparkling dress standing speaking to a cheering audience in the center of my board. I put gold letters CSP over her. Not everything else got accomplished that year, but I did become a CSP!


Over the years, I have published several business-related books, but had never published a non-fiction book although I have written poems and stories my entire life. On my 2018 vision board, I pasted a picture of a romantic heroine with the ad from an NSA magazine “Get your book published.” It was late in the year and there were hold-ups in editing due to a desire to have everything “perfect.” I remember vividly one morning looking at the vision board and saying out loud, “It says ‘get your book published.’ It doesn’t say ‘get it published without mistakes.’ That’s what second printings are for.” That vision board gave me UMPH I needed, and on December 18 of that year, we had a book signing party for my first FICTION book.


Like journaling (which I unfortunately can never find time to do), a vision board is also a concise yet telling way to critique the year just past. I often write an analysis of the year on the back of my vision board at the turn of the new year. Recently, I looked at my 2020 vision board, and I was shocked (and pleased) that although the methods of achieving some of my goals were vastly different from what I had anticipated, many of the goals were met through different routes. Also, where I did not meet the goals, I have learned important lessons about myself and others.


As you can see, I am a great believer in vision-boarding. It is fun to me and mind-clearing. If you are looking for new way to get the UMPH we all need to turn “try” into “triumph,” give vision-boarding a “try” and see it change into “triumph!”

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