The Benefit to Saying It Out Loud


A friend had a little bit of a health concern recently and opted to keep it to herself until she had a positive outcome.

“Sharing it would have made it too real,” she said.

I get that. Sometimes giving voice to something is too darned scary. It brings it to life. No need to give it energy, right? Makes sense.


Now that we’re clear on the concept, I want to flip it around a bit. Because here’s the thing: If indeed voicing something gives it power and makes it real, what might the difference be in our lives if we actually made our goals and desires more concrete by expressing them?

If keeping fears to ourselves understandably helps us move through a situation because we’re containing the ‘realness,’ then doesn’t it also make sense that keeping mum on the positive fails to make it real?

This is something I talk about with clients all the time, usually in the first session. Hammering out the verbiage on goals – which, OK, the writer in me loves – is essential to laying a foundation for then setting out to accomplish them. If the client doesn’t feel comfortable saying what she wants out loud and then has a problem committing it to paper, my first job is to get her there. Without that tangible, stated goal, where are we?

This brings me to one of my favorite ways of cajoling that information out – the vision board.

The other evening I was watching Castle and Beckett make goo-goo eyes at each other and I had a mad urge to overhaul my vision board. I don’t think the two are connected; this is just my way of saying I don’t know where the impulse came from. I knew enough to trust it, though, and so I removed my vision board from the wall and placed it on the coffee table.

Mine is one of those French memo boards with the ribbons intersecting across, so images and words I find can be added and moved around easily. I also like that it’s always a little haphazard looking.

Perhaps it was an image I was drawn to recently in a magazine that prompted the exercise. I kept staring at it, wondering why I liked it, and decided to just rip it out, add it and not over think it. But once the board was in front of me it wasn’t as easy as addition. It needed subtraction, plus a lot of rearranging. Placement is key, as I like to have something in the center that feels like it can give a pulse to the whole board. For example, what’s currently anchoring mine is the word “BOLD” in big block letters. In a supporting role around it are these phrases:

~ Every Day Amazing ~ Making choices for a better world ~ Living your creative passion

Each of those was carefully selected the last few years, not to inspire me or be aspirational but to reflect how I already live and to remind me when I get off track. On a day when I’m not feeling particularly courageous in my decision making, “BOLD” can often stand like a question before me. Was that a bold choice? Uh, no. It was a comfortable choice. So maybe let’s rethink it.

The quote etched on the back of my iPad reinforces that courtesy of Virgil: Fortune favors the bold.

When I wrote a status update on Facebook saying I’d overhauled my vision board, it piqued the curiosity of a few friends. One asked, “What’s new?” And while I preferred not to get into deep specifics, I replied that I wanted to de-clutter and get some focus moving forward. Now there’s space on the board. It breathes.

The result? With more space, I feel more open to receive. I breathe.

Ask any professional organizer about the concept of physical clutter being linked to mental clutter and they’ll be nodding for an hour. It’s what their business is built on.

Sometimes people balk when I suggest vision boards or some other form of expressing goals and desires out loud. They find it a little “woo woo” or New Age-y.

This isn’t magic, people. It’s not about waving a magic wand and presto, your book is published or that trip to Paris is suddenly happening because you pasted a picture of the Eiffel Tower on a board. But it will bring it into your consciousness almost every day, even several times a day, and that can work wonders.

It can escalate your desire and strengthen your resolve to put it on your financial priority list no matter how long it takes to save the money. It can make you realize you’re not lining up actions to support your goal, heck, any of your goals. You may even get so annoyed with yourself as you look at it day after day that you realize, wow, I can sit down and spend 30 minutes writing today. I don’t need to set aside three-hour chunks of time that never seem possible. I can do something instead of nothing that contributes to what I really want.

I can make it real.

Real, in this case, is good.

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