How to visualise your dream

[or...You can with a plan]

I'm often asked how I ended up doing such a strange job. Drawing conversations and ideas, helping people make connections and identify themes in their conversations...helping people vision...plan...all with pictures. 

I've always been a visual worker, even way back in the day (more years ago than I care to remember) when I had a regular job, I managed to squeeze in a lot of visual techniques. I managed teams, individuals and projects. I trained and presented, I wrote reports...all of the stuff that you'll no doubt be doing all the time in your business...but, where I could, I planned visually, I presented visually...I saw the difference it made to communicate visually and I had a dream.

Don't we all...


Now I believe that visioning, the act of imagining and drawing the future, of sticking a pin in life's map where you want to be in a year, or five years, can help bring clarity to your ambition. It is this clarity that can help you realise your dreams more quickly. In fact the very act of making the marks that represent your dream on paper, rather than making a digital note on your laptop for example, has been shown to embed the message deeper and help you retain it more clearly for longer. 

So, one day while having a coffee with a good friend of mine I did just that. I drew, on the back of a napkin, my dream. I wanted to quit managing in other people's businesses and start managing my own. I wanted to earn my living drawing, earning enough to replace my current salary. I wanted to work with interesting people, be a part of varied projects and get to be creative in a way that was functional. 

I'd been fantasising about having my own business for a while, but this was the first time I'd actually sat down and put some energy into visualising my dream. Within 1 year of visualising my dream I'd set up my business and now in its 11th year it's still going from strength to strength.

Now I'm not saying that visualising your dreams is a magic wand, you still have to put in the same amount of hard work to make it all happen, but I do think that articulating WHAT your dream is and capturing it visually, makes the next steps of looking at HOW to make it happen much more likely. In fact, you've gone and got yourself the makings of a PLAN... and more importantly you've pulled your dreams one step closer to reality. It might seem too simple to be serious, but using visual tools is powerful stuff.

So how can you go about visualising your own dream?

When I work with businesses to help them articulate their vision, I typically have half a day and a huge visual template that I create and complete together with everyone involved. I've pulled out and adapted a couple of sections from that template, to give you...

One super easy method for you to try:

Step 1


Grab a pen and a sheet of paper (or a napkin...)

Step 2

In the centre of the paper draw yourself. Now it doesn't need to be fit for the National Portrait Gallery...just a face or a person that represents you to YOU 

Step 3

On the top right hand position of the page draw a star, or another positive image that resonates with you and write the word DREAM


Step 4

Now you need to think. Really think. Take as long as you need, grab a cuppa, put your feet up...whatever helps you relax your mind and imagine... What is your dream? What does it look like? Try and identify all the different elements of it. Give it some solidity, imagine you are doing it already. Imagine it being real, right there in front of you.

Step 5

Now draw or write something that represents each element of your dream in the space underneath the star. For my dream I drew:

  1. Earn my living drawing, earning enough to replace my current salary = Money
  2. I wanted to work with interesting people = 3 different smiley heads  
  3. be a part of varied projects = a group of different shapes to represent projects, a circle, a triangle and a square with the word projects  
  4. get to be creative in a way that was functional = a paint brush, a lightbulb and a tick.

I edited my list down to 4 for this blog, but in reality, there were lots more elements to my dream, so don't be surprised if you end up with a lot more than 4 points. What you draw doesn't need to make sense to anyone else. This is your dream and it only matters that the images and words you pick remind you of that specific element of your dream. 

Step 6

Over in the space on the left hand side draw some steps and a frame...something like this one I've drawn here...


Step 7

The final task is to write a list of steps or actions. This is the start of figuring out HOW you're going to make it happen. Don't make them unachievable, no one wants to set themselves up to fail. Don't make a next step "hand in my notice at work", instead perhaps, make it "write a list of my outgoings so I know what £ to aim for" OR "identify who is out there doing this already?" or "start to share my work on Instagram".

Once you have your list you can start to work your way through it over the coming weeks. Take a snap on your phone so you can look at it again when you're waiting for the bus or queuing for a coffee...Print it out and stick it up on your fridge or your computer so you can see it every day. Find ways to keep your dream in the front of your mind to remind you exactly what you're working towards.

Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to make our dreams real, and even if it's a really long journey to get there, taking those first steps are what makes it possible.

You got this!


Cara works with individuals and businesses helping them to get the benefits of working visually. If you want to find out more about working visually and how it can strengthen your business get in touch.