Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the University of Leeds & Institute of Coding's online course, Essential Skills for Your Career Development. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Jennifer Rosen: Many people with successful careers talk about the power of visualising the future. You may not know exactly where you want to be in 5 or 10 years, but you can start with creating a vision board. This is a great exercise that can help you on your journey to developing your career. When we’re thinking in the limited frame of mind of a CV, job searches, matching of skill set, we really narrow our lens towards the immediate moment. The vision board enables us to broaden our horizons, to create a life and a career that reflects what is driving us in that moment, and knowing it will evolve.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds I met with an anthropology student, Benjamin Busenze to work through a vision board for the next steps in his career.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds So today, we’re talking about your future - your career, your vocation, where we spend a lot of our time. OK. And this is the vision board, and the vision board should be an exploration of your curiosity. So the vision board is divided into four quadrants, with intention. So the first quadrant is jobs, so anything that comes to mind as actual professions, like engineering or medicine or terms that are related to profession, like IoT, Internet of Things, or the tech industry or entrepreneurism. Then, we go into ideas and thoughts, and that quadrant is about exploring what are you thinking about, because that bears a lot of information. What are you habitually thinking about? Then, we go onto hobbies.

Skip to 1 minute and 41 seconds So that’s either hobbies you currently have or things you want to do, like learn guitar. OK. And then the final is creativity, so anything that you do, or want to do, that sparks creativity, for instance cooking. So that’s what we’re going to do, and this is going to be your vision board that you’re going to put all the ideas down and be able to step back and see where there’s some connection. So we’re going to start with quadrant one which is jobs. So what are some jobs that you’re curious about?

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 seconds Benjamin Busenze: Definitely research jobs, doing research for different companies, like customer-based research or field work or even just doing research with history in general. Agriculture as well, getting into farming, things like that, back in Uganda. The hospitality sector, bartending or managing bars and definitely having like music-based bars with venues. That would definitely be a thing I’d be interested in.

Skip to 2 minutes and 32 seconds Jennifer: OK. So now, we’re moving onto quadrant two which is ideas and thoughts. What are you regularly thinking about?

Skip to 2 minutes and 38 seconds Benjamin: Regularly, I’m probably thinking about just generally like self-improvement, so my diet and gym and things like that, but also I like to read a lot. So I think a lot about what I’ve just read, like the poems or like the facts I’ve just read about. I tend to visualise my dream house a lot as well, so where I’d like to live in the future with my kids, back in Uganda, definitely, somewhere tropical, Colombia, Cuba. Yeah, things like that, mainly, that’s what I think about.

Skip to 3 minutes and 7 seconds Jennifer: So quadrant three, hobbies, now you’re going to write down hobbies that you’re currently doing or ones that you want to pursue.

Skip to 3 minutes and 14 seconds Benjamin: OK. Well, currently, I do enjoy playing sport a lot, not really competitively as much. I play American football. I play basketball quite a lot in the park with my friends. I like reading a lot is a big hobby of mine. Especially, I think, I’d like to get into kickboxing or like martial arts, especially, as a new hobby in the future.

Skip to 3 minutes and 32 seconds Jennifer: So Benjamin, now we’re moving onto quadrant four which is creativity, and creativity is anything that sparks your creativity. So anything that you’re currently doing or that you’re curious about exploring, where you just feel like, I feel extremely creative when I’m doing this.

Skip to 3 minutes and 47 seconds Benjamin: Oh, definitely the page I’ve got, my Legacy UG page on Instagram, where it’s mainly focused on like Ugandan history and ancestral achievements. So I definitely do take a lot pride in that, making it aesthetically pleasing at the same time as making it informative for people as well. I do like writing poetry. I haven’t written as much anymore, but I do definitely like doing that. Cooking as well, I enjoy.

Skip to 4 minutes and 20 seconds Jennifer: Wonderful. OK. So now, we have all of our ideas down on this tableau of curiosity, and we’re just going to step back and see, what are the two things that are most curious to us right now? OK. So starting with jobs, then moving onto ideas and thoughts, then hobbies, and then creativity.

Skip to 4 minutes and 38 seconds Benjamin: So bars and hospitality, yeah, so I aim to, hopefully, own a bar one day or like create a music venue, bar venue, since I’ve been working in quite a lot of bars currently. For the research, I enjoy researching a lot of things. I enjoy reading and writing things. So I can definitely see myself doing some type of like fieldwork research or customer research for different types of companies. So I’d definitely do something like that in the future.

Skip to 5 minutes and 4 seconds Jennifer: Excellent. So then, moving onto quadrant two, ideas and thoughts, what are the top two there?

Skip to 5 minutes and 9 seconds Benjamin: Well, first would probably be self-improvement, being that I’ve recently definitely taken a big focus, a big emphasis, on self-improvement, as in mentally, spiritually, physically, everything. So in general, I feel now it would just improve my lifestyle. My dream house is probably part of - probably put down to self-improvement as well. It’s just nice having something in my mind to aim for, and it’s going to be hot. So it’s a good motivation.

Skip to 5 minutes and 39 seconds Jennifer: Yeah. Absolutely.

Skip to 5 minutes and 40 seconds Benjamin: Yeah, somewhere tropical.

Skip to 5 minutes and 41 seconds Jennifer: OK. Now, moving onto quadrant three, hobbies. Yeah. What are the top two there for you?

Skip to 5 minutes and 46 seconds Benjamin: Top two is probably reading, again, being that I enjoy reading. I enjoy learning things a lot. Definitely teaching, telling other people about it, and sport as well. Though I don’t play competitively anymore, I definitely do enjoy playing in the parks. I meet my friends a lot. We meet up in leisure centres and stuff, basketball, whatever.

Skip to 6 minutes and 4 seconds Jennifer: Wonderful.

Skip to 6 minutes and 5 seconds Benjamin: Yeah.

Skip to 6 minutes and 6 seconds Jennifer: And then the final quadrant, creativity.

Skip to 6 minutes and 8 seconds Benjamin: Yeah, creativity with my poetry, definitely, that’s something I’ve slacked on recently as well, but it’s something I really do enjoy. Especially, I enjoy listening to it and reading it. I think I would focus on that a little more, on developing that, and my Instagram page as well. I think I’ll focus on developing that and reaching a lot more people who are a wider Ugandan community, maybe not just the UK, and finding a lot more resources for it.

Skip to 6 minutes and 42 seconds Jennifer: So now, we’re going to make the connections between the words by drawing a line, and then we are going to channel that through a funnel and come up with a statement of “I am curious about… “

Skip to 6 minutes and 53 seconds Benjamin: I think with the bars and hospitality, it could connect with the dream house, being that I’m guessing, when I own my bar, when I own my venue, it will be somewhere nice, somewhere tropical. Where I want to live anyway, and where my dream house is going to be. And it would definitely link with my poetry as well, because I would like to have that as a quiet, open venue for poetry, music, anything creative really, exhibitions. So I think that will be quite a cool space. Yeah. I’d say that I am curious about pursuing, opening, a bar space for creatives, I guess. Yeah.

Skip to 7 minutes and 32 seconds Jennifer: So based on bar hospitality, dream house, and poetry, you came up with the statement - I want to open a bar space for creatives. Yeah. Or I’m curious about opening up a bar space for creatives. So this statement to me would be fantastic, if you’re pursuing something entrepreneurial. So you need to be able to get investment or start the first steps towards achieving this dream that you have.

Skip to 7 minutes and 54 seconds Benjamin: Research would have connection to my legacy page, being as I have to research a lot. I’ve put a lot of research into it, into the little summaries underneath. And I understand not everyone wants to open books and read long books, but I put a little source underneath. So I summarise it and put a little source underneath, and you can go on and read it for yourself, if you want to.

Skip to 8 minutes and 15 seconds Jennifer: Fantastic.

Skip to 8 minutes and 16 seconds Benjamin: Yeah. So that legacy will definitely link to the reading as well.

Skip to 8 minutes and 23 seconds Jennifer: OK. So now, looking at these three words in that connection, make a statement of - “I am curious about…” and let’s end it with “pursuing”. So “I’m curious about pursuing…”

Skip to 8 minutes and 34 seconds Benjamin: I guess, I’m curious about pursuing African-centred research.

Skip to 8 minutes and 40 seconds Jennifer: You came up with the statement, I am curious about pursuing African-centred research.

Skip to 8 minutes and 43 seconds Benjamin: Yeah.

Skip to 8 minutes and 44 seconds Jennifer: Which is a fantastic statement to then go before employers, potential mentors, people that you want to take for coffee, to find out how you can carve this path in research or academia. How do you feel about that?

Skip to 8 minutes and 57 seconds Benjamin: Yeah. It’s definitely something I would aim to look into. I don’t really know much else about it, about much Afro-centred research, in terms of actual careers. I don’t really know much or where to go for it, but it’s definitely something I’m interested in doing.

Skip to 9 minutes and 12 seconds Jennifer: Fantastic, because the whole point of this is that you don’t have all these disparate ideas that you feel are at conflict with each other. That one day you’re thinking this, and the next you’re thinking that. But instead, that you’ve pulled these ideas together and seen where there’s synergy. So that you can then make a statement to someone to start the step towards pursuing an interest of yours that you can create a vocation and a life. So thank you so much.

Skip to 9 minutes and 35 seconds Benjamin: All right. Thank you.

Skip to 9 minutes and 37 seconds Jennifer: The statement you curate from your vision board is an intention to help guide you through the process of distilling your thoughts, versus chaotic thinking. For instance, one day, you may want to be a nurse and the next day a lab technician. It will help you to realise your interests are not necessarily competing but, in fact, can be compatible to create a fulfilling career that reflects your full potential.

How to create a vision board

You’ve explored some examples of individuals thinking about their passions and career aspirations.

You have also seen how they might decide what approach to take to put this into practice.

Creating a vision board can help you to begin opening up your viewpoint about your life and career development. It is a great exercise that can help you on your journey to achieving your ideal career.

In this video, Jennifer helps you to explore your curiosity and to use it in a visual tool. She talks you through the steps for creating your vision board, noticing trends and connections. You will also hear from learner Benjamin Buzense, who will share his vision board and explain the words and visuals that stood out for him.

In the next step, you’ll have a go at creating your own vision board. The statement you’ll select from your vision board is intended to help guide you through the process of making your vision clearer. It will help you to avoid battling thoughts which are at odds with one another, and to start thinking about how you can bring these ideas together.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Essential Skills for Your Career Development

University of Leeds