How to Create an Effective Vision Board

February 26, 2020

An interview by Sue Stoney of Gary C. Smith, Director of Training, Geomic Code Research Institute

In a year whose very numbers associate with perfect vision, it seems natural that we at the Geomic Code Research Institute focus on spiritual vision. The Institute is in the business of helping all of us improve our spiritual sight by uncovering our dynamic-natural-abilities (D-N-A). An excellent way to do that is to create a vision board.

I interviewed Gary C. Smith, our Director of Training at the Institute, about what constitutes an effective vision board. He sees a vision board as a combination of a mind map and a treasure map, depicting both the present and the future, connected by the pathway of insight into how to move forward while staying grounded in who he is right now.

What do you see is the definition of a vision board?

A vision board is a visual image (s) of what I wish to create. It helps me understand a concept, put together a program, and / or answer a question with pictures. Whimsical and fun, it can make a dream real and aid me in experiencing the magic still present in my life. It can also act as a laser that lets me focus on what I really want.

What you focus on becomes real. Apparently, the mind does not know the difference between real and imaginary. My vision board, then, allows me to zero in on what I want (the treasure) as I use my mind to spatially sort the elements of my treasure (s) (my vision).

I can expand on the original idea that inspired my board and see that idea from different viewpoints. My vision board inspires me all through the process. It manifests beauty as I manipulate the specifics of my vision.

What makes an effective vision board?

Use imagination, persistence, patience, and lots of pictures for inspiration. Trust your process; be free-wheeling in your choices.

You are the creator; there is no right or wrong way to form a vision board. It is a learning experience that begins with having an idea and then finding pictures that fit your vision of how that idea can come into being. As you position and glue the visuals, look at the shape the whole creation is taking.

Believe in your vision and your ability to create what you want in your life. A vision board is effective to the degree that you believe in it and commit to the creative process.

What difference, if any, is there between a collage and a vision board?

The intent behind the creation may be the most significant difference between a collage and a vision board. Asking this question is a little like asking the difference between art and advertising. Artists and advertisers use visual stimuli to create an emotion, which, in turn, creates an action.

A vision board aims to reveal a personal goal to an individual. It allows the person to ask questions of him or herself, such as “Where am I now in my life?” “Where do I want to go from here?” “How can I get to where I want to go?”

The purpose of a collage is to provide an experience of art for the artist and others who view it; it is a collective experience that asks similar questions of the human community.

A vision board can serve both purposes. It can define an individual’s vision more acutely when the vision is shared with others whose feedback can broaden the vision of the board’s creator. It then becomes a catalyst for change in the individual and others.

What interests you the most about creating a vision board?

I am interested in using images that move me and arranging them to give meaning to the goals I want to achieve and the desires I have. A vision board can be a discovery tool for uncovering the specifics about what I want.

Like any life-long learner, I have questions about life, God, and why I’m here. I love when the vision board speaks to me, asking, “Did you know you could do that?” I am often surprised to find myself saying, “I didn’t know this connected to that!” Creating a vision board helps me see how Creation (with a big “C”) works.

How do you go about creating a vision board?

As I collect pictures from magazines and gather my tools – my imagination, as well as scissors, paper and glue – I set a theme or specific goal for the vision board.

I use three methods in the creative process:

Mandala – With this method, I paste the graphical elements in association with the shape of a geometric figure called a mandala. Mandala shapes are of Hindu and Buddhist origins and act as symbols of specific ideas I build into my board.
Framing – Using framing as a technique, I create the outlining areas first (the frame) and then gradually move to the center as I add graphical elements. The center is the core of the idea informing the board.
Thought → Emotion – This is a fun method that connects your feelings with their mental counterparts. If I want a car that makes me feel sleek, fast, and smooth, I look for pictures that associate the mental process of choosing the vehicle I need with the one that helps me feel good. In this way, I get the goal to sync up with my emotions.

Of the vision boards you have created, which one is your favorite and why?

I began my first vision board with trial runs. I practiced without expectations to see if my lack of art training made a difference. It didn’t; all I needed was the belief that I could create a board and get to work. I played with ideas and visuals, focusing on what I wanted.


Defining what we really want is one of the most powerful tools we humans have. Lack of desire and too little desire are poisonous: Knowing what you want is an antidote to the dreaded and popular “Whatever!” The taste of fun and clarity of my practice boards led me to ask myself what I really wanted.

It turned out that what I really wanted was to tap into and integrate into my own life the wisdom of the ancient philosophers and the artists and leaders who have inspired me. I wanted to see them clearly, focused and centered, so I began collecting faces from old dictionaries and encyclopedias I found at Goodwill. I wanted to feel that Shakespeare could help my writing, that Ben Franklin could be my own personal Poor Richard’s Guide, that Mark Twain could teach me about humor…and more.

Eventually, I added 244 faces, famous and infamous, to my collection, which eventually began telling a story and formulating a question directed at me (“Who Are You?”). That question became the title of the piece. It was synchronicity that an article in a beauty magazine had that same question as its title. I sent the author Steve Stefano a copy of my “Who Are You?” vision board, and it became the centerfold of his book, Beyond Potential. Now, the question was being asked of a much broader audience.

Vision boards I have created and how they helped me:


Clarified my understanding of my personal library when I presented to my networking group, Successful Thinkers, about my love of books


Created with images of people I admire and thoughts that inspire me. Helped me understand that the more I surround myself with my personal wants and values, the more I appreciate myself.


Inspired by Phil Canville’s book, Geomic Code: Unlocking the Mystery of Unconscious Choice. Helped me see the multiple points of view and research paths I can follow.