How I Became a Vision Journaler

Pen hand journalIn a former life I had a really cool job that included this line in the description:

100% travel

When I first accepted the position I wanted the experience. I wanted to both work for this company and to see what it was like to travel as part of my job.

And since changing everything in my life at once is a pattern that’s worked for me so many other times (sense the intense sarcasm here) I decided to move to a new city too.

Guess how many people I knew in that city? One. A woman I was friends with in middle school and thankfully felt comfortable enough to contact. She might not realize it, but the few times I was able to see her on weekends were times that I actually felt relaxed and at home.

Have I painted a picture for you? New job, travel all the time, new city, not easy to meet people because I traveled for work…you see where I’m going with this, right?

I did many things during that time to meet my need to always be learning. I studied coaching. I read a lot. I worked out at hotel gyms during the week and ran on a fabulous trail not far from my new house on the weekends. I practiced journal writing a great deal, often more than once a day.

One big piece that was difficult was the continual packing up of my belongings and staying in rooms that weren’t my own. Other consultants I worked with experienced funny feelings about this too. I knew one guy who requested the same hotel room every week. Sometimes I would meet people who were long-term and had rented an apartment, which helped if they ever wanted or needed to stay for a weekend.

My personal favorite was the colleague who not only requested the same room, but would hide something in the room to see if it was still in the same place when she returned. A hotel shampoo in the armoire behind the TV, toothpaste in the bed rails. She was fantastic and gave us something to laugh about every Tuesday morning.

For me it was hard to be away from the things in my house that helped me feel connected to the people I love and my vision board.

One Sunday while I was procrastinating packing I printed out a bunch of pictures that made me happy and tucked them in my journal. The next day, when I checked into my hotel room, I unpacked my suitcase and put my photos out.

It was so simple. One easy move and my spirits were raised!

A couple of weeks later I was getting ready for work in the morning and realized that I could take a photo or two with me to the office. My journal was always in my bag, so tucking them safely in the pages and carrying them to work was a natural transition.

Finally, one Thursday on the plane I pulled my journal out and started writing about the images I had placed between the pages.

At first I was writing about the people in my life. Eventually I moved onto images of things I wanted to experience or have.

I wrote about my Jeep too! (If you knew me between 2003 and 2010 you likely saw on more than one occasion an example of my obsessive behavior with my Jeep. I sold it when Ayla was two months old to help support our “Sara work part-time from home with the new baby” fund. Sigh….it’s been a rough few years without it, but alas, I have a plan to fix that problem! Someday….)

At some point it dawned on me that I was combining two different tools to create a new one. I was keeping vision journal.

I was getting the benefits of journaling: processing, decision-making, clarity, prioritization, capturing a record of my thoughts and feelings, etc.

And I was getting the benefits of vision boarding: using images to convey my intentions and motivate me into action.

By making my tool portable in my journal I was getting the benefits of both. In 2007 I started drafting The Joyful Vision Journal knowing that vision journaling could help other people too.

It has taken a long time, but literally just yesterday I picked up the first batch of printed copies of The Joyful Vision Journal! I am so excited I can hardly stand it!

We are going to use them in the Indulgent Summer group coaching program that is scheduled to start tonight. (There is room left if you’re interested!)

I will be giving the rest of this beta set of journals out to a few more people to collect feedback.


  1. Donna K | 11th Jun 13

    Congrats! I love the idea. Can’t wait to get one.

  2. Four Ways to Keep a Journal (that maybe you hadn’t thought of) | Sara Marchessault | 17th Jun 13

    […] doing the same thing with the benefit of creating something we can look at over and over again. In The Joyful Vision Journal I call this create a space for capturing both images and words for a powerful tool for clarity and […]

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