Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Vision of Success

This week’s guest blogger is Emily Sandberg: an actress, businesswoman, blogger and genuine supermodel, having graced the covers of fashion magazines all over the world, including Vogue.

She is the founder and CEO of Super Model Central (, contributes to The Huffington Post and a radio host for a show called,' Matters of Today", which airs on Blogtalk Radio every Wednesday at 1 PM EST.

You can follow Emily's adventures on Twitter at @Emmalish

Now Here's A Super Fun Tool To Make 2013 Your Best Year

By Emily Sandberg

2012 knocked the crap out of a lot of us. It's time for a fresh start and a new perspective towards reaching our goals. We all deserve a little spiritual magic this year. Who doesn't like a little magic? The very root of creation is spiritual in nature.  It begins with an intention and an image.

I wanted to write an article about one of my favourite tools I use for creating events and things I'd like to see happen in my life. I started at a very young age and trust me, I wouldn't continue doing it if it didn't work.

Anything that has materialized in my life has begun with a vision. Some people call it a dream. Others call it goals. I put them all into the same category – “Things I'd like to see happen”. The next step is to put these visions and goals on paper. Take them from the inside to the outside.

You can use pictures, magazines, glitter, objects or a simple pen and paper. The point it to get your ideas out of your head and onto something that feels similar to how you feel when you envision this particular thing or life or situation.

My first vision boards I drew myself. They were words and pictures.

How I saw myself: EMILY: Entertaining, Magnificent, Intelligent, Lively, Yellow Skippy (I liked to skip)

6 days later I created my first logo to represent me. Here I am as a clown.  Today I know that this represents me in so many ways I didn't even realize as an 8 year old.  You see, I've always been fun loving and entertaining and I have a very sensitive emotional pain detector, which I believe is why I am attracted to clowns. I also drew no hands and no feet.  That's another part of me that I instinctively knew but couldn't articulate. I'm trapped in a clown suit. And the clown is trapped in a world of straight brown lines.  A searing red streak goes right across my emotional centre. The red is encased in darkness.  However if I filter this red through the darkness and wash it out with my beautifully ruffled voice it appears on my face as a smile.  One year later I became a mime.  Ten years following that I became a model. Three years into modelling I began finding my voice. And twenty years after I drew this logo, I began to write. I think I may have been onto something as an eight-year-old.  I don't know how this logo will be materialized in another ten years, but I do know that it continues to resonate with me today.  It is basic and elementary, but I see parts of myself when I look at it.  I've been able to work through this puzzle of the clown slowly by the expression of my inner self.

It's become my first stamp of self-approval.

Another way to create a new reality is to use the tool of goal setting. I like to envision a life beyond my wildest dreams and then I work backwards.  Right before I left for New York, I wrote down 5 wildest dream goals for myself as a model. If I remember them correctly they were:

1. Walk on a runway.

2. Be on David Letterman.

3. Be in a fashion magazine.

4. Be in an advertisement.

5. Make enough money for college.

I then took each goal and broke it down into more manageable steps.  For instance, I wrote:

1. Work out 5 days/week (I joined a gym and started jogging or walking every day)

2. Find out what size I need to be (I used the internet at my college to find out)

3. Buy a fashion magazine to study (I chose Vogue.  It was a big thrilling deal carrying it home. A whole new world to explore!)

4. Study models in magazines once a week (I cut out the photos of ones I liked and made collages)

5. Eat less food every day (I wrote down everything I ate and tried to make healthy choices)

6. Pray and meditate to make sure I'm doing the right thing every day (this one always ends up on my goal lists)

A few years later I had accomplished all of these goals.  Not only had I been in a magazine, I'd been on the cover of numerous magazines.  I'd been to David Letterman with a musician I'd been dating who performed on the show. I had enough money in my bank account to pay for college (I ended up not going).  I'd walked not on one runway but every major runway in the world. And not only was I in one advertisement, my face was plastered on bill boards, bus stops, phone booths, busses, on top of cabs and in store windows. I could literally not escape myself.  The entire time I modelled I did my best to stay in conscience contact with a higher power. About five years in I got the message clearly that it was time to back away from working full time and start developing new skills.

I pulled out my pens and markers and magazines and started cutting pasting and writing. I had no idea what I wanted to do next but I knew that if I could capture the feeling visually, it would help me get focused on the next chapter of my life.  Indeed, it did work.  I've used vision boards to create a marriage, a family, a baby, a home, new mentors, new friends, freedom in my body... the list goes on and on.  The point is, whatever you want in your life, you have the ability to create it. It starts with you.  And you can start just like my 8 year old did by writing down your name and make an anagram of yourself describing your most magnificent qualities. Try it! It's super fun!

The point of a vision board is to give yourself a visual reminder and focus of what it is you'd like to create. Vision boards help give us an image to manifest. Much like dreams at night, vision boards don't have to be literal. For instance, planes and watches and jewellery tend to end up on every board I create. I don't know what exactly they're meant to represent but they feel right so I include them.  One day, it'll make sense.

The past 5-6 years my goals have been mainly internally focused on emotional clarity and spiritual growth.  But this year my goals have gone from internal growth to external growth so I thought it'd be fun to share with you my goals and then revisit them in a year to see how far I've come.

Here's the vision boards I'm working on for 2013 (click to enlarge):

Here's one I did with my girlfriends. There are some images that mean literal goals for myself and others that are more symbolic and I included them because they "felt right".

My friend Dean came over to visit one afternoon.  We hadn't seen each other in quite some time so I thought it'd be fun to create vision boards while we sat in my office and caught up with each other.  After we were both finished, we shared our visions with each other.  I told him what I saw in his board and he told me what he saw in mine.  That really opened my perspective and shed light on things I hadn't seen but he saw in me. Super fun.

I'll be adding to both of these boards throughout the year and next January I'll take a look at how my life has evolved to mirror my vision.

So, today, I challenge you to go out and create a vision for yourself. Here's an easy way to get started: 

1. Start by keeping a journal on your desk. 

2. Every day write down one thing that happened that was unexpected but for which you are grateful.

3. Begin to create images that represent a feeling or an event or change you'd like to see in your life.

4. Put it in a place that you can see it.

5. Watch you world change and keep track of it in your gratitude journal!

Have fun!

By Emily Sandberg

Twitter: @Emmalish


  1. What a powerful post! Thank you, Emily, and thank you Les for sharing.

    I have worked with a medicine woman in Mexico, Abuela Margarita (you can find her on YouTube), and she suggests putting three wishes or goals at the head and foot of your bed. When one goal materializes (it always does!), put up another one. Appreciating what you have + envisioning how you want to feel works wonders!

    Thanks again,


  2. Emily/Les - thank you for this post & for having the courage to share your dreams, thoughts & wisdom with the world. This post touched me deeply this morning as it's taken me 39 years to realize that most of what I visualized in the first 32 years of my life actually came to fruition. I was just too busy 'sleepwalking' through it all to realize it. Then at the age of 32 I had my heart completely crushed & stopped visualizing, dreaming & aspiring for anything. The pain was too great so I shut down & went into survival mode (aka autopilot). I’ve always been a vivid dreamer and often saw myself as an orange colored animal in my dreams but after my heartbreak, I had a dream of a little orange bird being crushed by a man and when he moved all that was left was a little brown bird. It was a very accurate depiction of how I felt, as I felt like I had nothing left to offer or to build & just wanted to disappear into obscurity. It's taken me 6 years to slowly crawl out of my despair and start opening up to life again but I wouldn’t trade those 6 years for anything (now). This past year I finally had the courage to look at my life again and realize that I am unfulfilled and that I have absolutely no idea what I want next. Why? Because I stopped visualizing what I want, I stopped dreaming about what could be and because I was too scared of being crushed by life again. Emily, your writing served as a powerful reminder to me that I know myself best, no matter how old or young I am, and that in order for my life to be fulfilling & purposeful, I need to have the courage to hope, dream & visualize in every moment. And when I start to doubt myself or fall back into a place of fear…all I need to do is look back at the first 32 years of my life & remember all that I did accomplish when I took the time to visualize & dream, and that ‘I can do this’! Thanks again for the reminder!


  3. A few years ago I decided to change and become a more positive person. I won't lie, its been hard beacause I was born into a world/family of negative people. But the vision board is the one really easy and fun thing that I can always look forward to. I also have a box where I wrote things down on paper and placed them inside. Almost a year later I opened that box and was shocked to see that 3/4s of those things had come true! You're right, if you believe and try they really do work.

  4. A most interesting essay. I love the "vision board" which is both a literal and a metaphoric way of naming the future you want. Thanks for sharing your story!