‘Pinning’ Your Way to a Vision

At first Pinterest was about the eye candy. Ooooooh. Ahhhhhh. What will I see next?

French toast cupcakes with maple buttercream frosting, you say? Impossibly chic-looking pewter fingernails? An intricate-seeming yet simply constructed canopy for a bed?

Scroll down. There’s more.

Hmmmm, I must try wearing my scarf that way. Or pairing my dark-wash jeans with that shade of turquoise. Or exploring the island where that beach would be sprawling before me.

Delight. More delight. The eyes are just going, “What have I done to deserve this delicious stimulation?”

That was at first. Before I’d ever created a board. It was like finding a great magazine in the dentist’s office and flipping through ever so happily.

So as I endeavor to explain how a life coach might use Pinterest as a tool for clients, let’s freeze it right here for a moment. It can just be about diversion. A tightly-wound client who can’t pull herself off the ‘frazzled’ treadmill would benefit tremendously from 10 or 15 minutes of browsing this site and unwinding, say, on her lunch hour. That dentist’s office experience I describe above, or something like it, can be a nice little de-stressor. (And, hey, full disclosure, this column could have been done an hour ago, but I went to the site to do some “research” and came across some fabulous hot pink nightstands …).

For those not up to speed, Pinterest  is a web destination -- a self-described “online pinboard” -- that has been growing like crazy the last few months. It allows users to “organize” and “share” the things they love, according to its home page. That, of course, is where we get to the active part of the site – organizing and sharing require creating an account and “pinning” clothes, food, destinations or anything else you desire on boards you set up.

But in the context of coaching, I would add “visioning” to the list of what is wonderful about this site. I must confess to not yet fully understanding all of its nuance and my attempts to contact Pinterest as a user and as a journalist went unanswered, but what is clear is how beautifully it can crystallize a vision or be the place where a vision can emerge or evolve.

In almost all coaching situations, we create goals and then set out to get the client envisioning life with them accomplished. Whether the goal is to de-clutter a room or to explore new career options, a vision board or collage or some combination of the two can be an invaluable exercise for gaining clarity and aha moments. Pinterest gives me another option to suggest.

Let’s say Jane starts out at my urging simply creating a board called “Things I Like” and she pins random items to it ranging from a shot of a pretty blue sky to a quote from Virginia Woolf to a Shabby Chic bedspread. Maybe she gets into it and realizes that the board is getting cluttered, so she creates a few more boards so she can categorize the picturesque photos from the wisdom and the home décor.

At the very least, we find something she can reward herself with as she de-clutters the room, perhaps creating a system where her ultimate prize is that gorgeous bedspread. But even more telling might be that everything she is pinning on her home décor board is in shades of blue or green and in reality she’s staring at a black and white room that doesn’t inspire her to relax or feel joy. We’ve now discovered it’s time to make a change.

I recall once facilitating a collage workshop where attendees were asked – a la Julia Cameron’s exercise in The Artist’s Way – to spend 20 minutes tearing appealing images out of magazines and then affixing them to a board. One gentleman who lived in New York City had created a collage filled with anything but urban scenes. In fact, we determined his longing to go to Africa was palpable and he wound up paying more attention to that dream and taking an extensive trip there a few years later.

Pinterest can be just another way to see that kind of desire. What are you pinning? Lush colors? French countryside? Classic literature that you never got to read?

While many an article has been written on how you might reach clients or customers via Pinterest, it’s also a place to take yourself through a process when figuring out the branding on your new venture. Let’s say you’re starting a business but aren’t sure what you want the logo to look like. Collect some images, quotes, looks that evoke how you feel about your business and pin them. By looking at them grouped together on a Pinterest board, a logo idea might very well emerge. At the very least, you’ll have something to show a graphic designer that gives a jumping off point for the mood or vibe you’re seeking.

Who knows where it can take you? Endless possibilities.

As for me, at the very least there’s a pewter pedicure in my near future.

Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.