How tearing pictures out of VOGUE can change your life

On a Tuesday afternoon about four years ago, I was sitting in a windowless meeting room in trendy, warehouse-style offices, trying to not show my scepticism at the task I’d just been given.

The ‘Executive Coach’ who’d been assigned to me by Human Resources had just asked me to spend some time over the next week tearing out photos from magazines and newspapers to make my own Vision Board – a montage of images that, together, would represent my ideal life.

But I didn’t need an overpaid suit to help me figure out what my ideal life looked like, because I already knew: it was at home, caring for my 18-month-old baby.”

At that stage in my life, however, that simply wasn’t an option. Instead, I was working long hours in the marketing department of a fizzy drinks company.

So over a glass or two of wine that weekend, I dutifully started searching through my back-copies of Vogue and Maire Claire, cutting out images that ‘spoke’ to me. And it was actually a lot of fun. Getting caught up in the possibilities, I went to town, tearing out all kinds of pics: couples strolling the streets of Paris, besties sharing a cheeky giggle, intimate moments between a parent and a child. I also clipped images that in some way represented a kind of undefined, dream job: where I’d get to create something that made  bucketloads of fun out of the day-to-day; where I’d be free to be silly while making people smile; where I’d start each day with a big grin on my face; and where I’d be near my family. I cut out words and pictures that made me close my eyes, lean back, exhale, and that inspired me to dream.

After grouping the clippings and sticking them onto my Vision Board, I dutifully carried my fumbled-together fantasy to the next meeting with my ‘Coach’. I was genuinely excited to show her the images of my dream future – it all looked pretty fab. But in my heart I really didn’t believe that a change in career, let alone a trip to Paris, were likely parts of my future.

After that hopeful meeting, I slid my Vision Board into a gap between the wall and my desk, where it stayed for the next 5 months. But happily, I didn’t forget to take it home with me when I was packing to go on maternity leave once more.

Then just the other day, while I was doing yet another room re-arrangement, I found that Vision Board again. It was tucked away in the room that passes for my home office. Somehow over the last four years, it’s survived two household moves. It’s curled at the edges, and bits of the paper are hanging off. The images are slightly faded, and it’s already yellow with age.

Yet, as I run my hand over the collection of clippings, I marvel at how many of these ‘fantasy’ images actually represent my life today.”

Because I never did return to that windowless meeting room. I am spending my days with my children. And I have had a complete change of career.

And the job I’m doing now, for me, is epitomised by this particular part of that Vision Board:

These were some of the images I used to paint the picture of my ‘ideal’ career.

Fox in Flats, to me, is a job. I sit at my little desk tap tap tapping away while the kids are playing/napping/squabbling, or when they’re fast asleep at night, to produce content every week. Since Fox in Flats went live 18 months ago, it’s largely been a labour of love – one where I’ve been paid richly with lovely emails, tweets, letters, cards, and friendship. And shoes. Yup, sometimes, people give me shoes 😉

To me, this new job is filled with happiness, silliness, positivity and fun – a layer of thick pink icing with rainbow sprinkles over a period of life where the day-to-day can sometimes be pretty mundane. In so many ways, Fox in Flats is exactly the kind of job I’d pieced together all those years before using torn-out pictures from magazines and a glue stick.

With this job I’m less likely to be heading back to a windowless meeting room any time soon.

So with that, I’m off to the supermarket in my favourite jeans, some comfy flats, and my brightest, reddest lipstick, ready to do some kooky stuff with a shopping basket – like the girl in my Vision Board above. It may not be everyone’s version of ‘living the dream’, but it’s definitely part of mine.

Given the chance to dream, what would YOUR ideal life look like?

And have you ever done a Vision Board like mine, or do you have other ways of expressing your hopes, dreams and aspirations? 


baby hanger
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  • You know I’m a huge fan of the vision board. This is a beautiful post and I’m so excited about this ‘remarkable’ journey we’re on x

    • FoxInFlats

      I’ll always remember that day in the hairdressers when we chatted about our Vision Board, and hair. Always the hair 😉 Thrilled to be doing this with you x

  • Maxabella

    Enjoy the journey, Andrea! You are in terrific company. x

    • FoxInFlats

      Thankyou Maxabella! The group is pretty incredible – pinching myself! x

  • Congratulations, Andrea!!

    • FoxInFlats

      Thanks Eden. Am so excited about what the future may hold. Might have to start another Vision Board 😉 x

  • I have just read my dream in your words, and I’m living it. I’m making it happen. And each day I am a little closer to achieving it in full!

    • FoxInFlats

      Louisa that’s so awesome! Life is too short not to give it a go! x

  • Congratulations Andrea!! You are soooo deserving!

    • FoxInFlats

      Thankyou Alyce, I really, really appreciate it x

  • How exciting! Congratulations! I bet you can’t wait to focus more on what you love best.

    Your dream life sounds awfully similar to mine, perhaps I should make myself a vision board.

    • FoxInFlats

      Thanks Tamsin, and yes, it’s a bit of a dream.
      You should do a vision board for sure – nothing to lose, everything to gain. I’ll loan you a few copies of VOGUE to get you started 😉

  • I’ve never done an inspiration board ever but this post is enough to compel me to et a cork board at my local bargain store 🙂 You are remarkable indeed.

    • FoxInFlats

      Do it! If anything, its fun to dream. And everyone needs to dream! x

  • I just finished reading this post and I have the biggest smile plastered across my face. You have built the most fabulous community with Fox In Flats and for you to be recognised for that makes me so happy – because it means that good things really do happen to good people. xx

    • FoxInFlats

      You know when you think this kind of stuff happens to “other people”? Nup. And it makes me believe, in a way, that anything is possible.
      Thankyou for all your support and friendship during this ride. You are one of the people I thought of when writing this post. xA

  • Yay I love this post so much! So excited to see this next phase for you 🙂

    • FoxInFlats

      Yay back! Thanks for being such a lovely online buddy and ripper graphic designer. x A

  • Congratulations Andrea – an exciting step for you 🙂

    • FoxInFlats

      Thankyou Laney. I’ll take the step with my feet firmly shod in flats 😉 xxxA

  • You are an absolute inspiration to us all! Congratulations and well done on daring to dream. A xx

    • FoxInFlats

      Aw Amy! Thankyou for all your support on the site. You are a gorgeous Twitter buddy of mine, and I appreciate it x A

  • kelly

    Love this post in all kinds of ways, foxy lady. So happy that you have found something that has given you your groove back – and the cool thing is that you’ve created something that has give a whole bunch of other people a groove too. Big congrats and high fives!

    • FoxInFlats

      …and the funniest thing is, you knew me back in those “office days” – we did have a good time though I think…
      But if someone had said to me back then that I’d be gadding about the internet in rollers and talking fashion I would have laughed into my ‘lightly carbonated beverage’.
      Thanks for being such a support and sharing your tips with me on the site too. High Fives back! xA

  • I love, love this post. So full of heart and passion, as is Fox In Flats. I love that you are so happy following your dream. It can happen, just taking the leap is the hardest part. My dream life? I’m making it happen. It would involve writing from home and getting paid for it. Freelancing. I’m getting there. Building my portfolio, building my skills and building my confidence. Lots of construction. I don’t like setting goals as such, but I am giving myself the next 12 months to continue the build phase and then when Miss now 4 starts school in 2014, then I hope to be living the dream.
    I am going to bookmark this post so that if I ever start doubting myself or think its too hard, I can come back and be inspired. xx

    • FoxInFlats

      Yes – taking the leap IS so hard. I remember standing in a playground with my friend Lisa, tossing this idea around, but saying I’d never have time to try. She looked me in the eye and said “How much do you want it?”. That stuck with me, and I made time.
      Good on you doing your construction – and as am I. And no need to worry about ‘hat head’ from that hard hat. Often the most fun happens when you’re wearing a stack hat 😉 xxx A

  • Katrina

    Congrats and well done to you! X

    • FoxInFlats

      Thankyou so much Katrina. And congrats to YOU – this year has been such a big one. x A

  • mandy

    I am doing a vision board tonight!! or this week. I am in the EXACT same position but with a different kind of job. Thank thank thank you for posting this right now!

    • FoxInFlats

      Yes!!! And my pleasure. xA

  • Visions Boards are fabulous and one of the keys is to add a picture of yourself in the middle and also focus on the feelings of what you are looking for, relating to certain points. For business owners – you may be interested in The Right Brain Business Plan – by Jennifer Lee – fabulous stuff – releases you from the A4 document that never gets used!!

    • FoxInFlats

      Marina, I LOVE these tips – thankyou for sharing them. I think I’m due to start a new one myself, and will use them. xA

  • Ai Sakura

    Congrat! It’s amazing what you’ve achieved so far!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    • FoxInFlats

      Thankyou Ai! x A

  • I just love watching your star rise and rise… so, so proud… You are an inspiration to all. xx

    • FoxInFlats

      Aw thanks Paul! Everyone has been so helpful & supportive – yourself included. Thank YOU! x

  • Holli

    So proud of you & love the fact you are literally living your dream! What’d I tell you?….you are destined to be famous! The fact that you are gorgeous, inspirational, intelligent and funny is just icing on the cupcake! H xx

    • FoxInFlats

      LOL I don’t know about famous, but I DO like icing on cupcakes! Thanks for all your support Holli. You knew me back in those office days so know how much of a change this has been for me. See you soon xA

  • Farmers Wifey

    Andrea I’m so super happy for you…….and so proud xxxxxxMichelle

    • FoxInFlats

      Thankyou Michelle! It’s so lovely to know such kind people like you through this ride xA

  • Emma Salkild

    Keep up the good work Andrea. We’re lucky to have you – you’re such a positive and warn influence. If anyone deserves success it’s you.

    • FoxInFlats

      Emma, thankyou!!! That’s so kind x A

  • Katie

    Congrats Andrea! I’m one of your “silent observers”. I check in with FIF most days and adore what you do. I’m a working mum, on a budget, trying to keep it all in balance. Your positivity is contagious- well done you! Oh and if you get free shoes- THAT’S living the dream!

    • FoxInFlats

      Oh Katie, lovely to hear from you!
      It’s so hard to keep it all in balance, huh?!
      Thankyou for the kind words. And yes…FREE SHOES!!!!

  • Emma Thatcher

    What a great story! Very inspiring. I have taken so many of your posts to heart ( including how to search for red jeans in pintetest and the fact I just bought a cute waistcoat on eBay for $6 this week) and I think this will be another. Look out kids, the glue stick is mine!

    • FoxInFlats

      Emma, Thankyou for this comment. Honestly, I’m often tap. tap tapping away in our spare room, wondering if anyone really reads this stuff. I’m stoked to hear this has made a difference to you.
      Total score on the waistcoat – I’ll bet that’ll be the best $6 you’ve ever spent!
      Love to hear how you go with your vision board.

  • AJ Howard

    You are such an inspiration…. Since going back to work I really miss being able to check in with FIF as often as I used to – but it’s the only Blog I actually do make time to read when I can. Just love it – it’s for all women and spreads a fantastic message…. You rock Mrs Fox. It was FIF that kept my sanity and sense if self these last couple of years xxx

    • FoxInFlats

      Aw AJ, thankYOU! You have been a huge support to me over the last year and half, and your unwavering belief in my crazy project is the sign of true friendship. I’m really glad this has bought us closer together. x A

  • I have a vision board, but I think it is time for a refresh, seems like a fun thing to do this weekend. Thanks 🙂

    • FoxInFlats

      I’m going to refresh mine too! It’s a “nothing to lose” proposition, huh?! x A

  • Hi Andrea – what a lovely post! Your words reminded of some career advice I received from a wise friend (and now colleague) of mine a few years back: ‘do your best and the rest will follow’… This post is such a wonderful example of this idea in practice. Success doesn’t come easy and with a genuine heart, I am very excited for you and your new business 🙂 Now, I am off to create a vision board!

    • FoxInFlats

      Your friend is wise indeed! Thankyou for the kind words. You are right, the short road I’ve traveled so far has definitely not been easy, but it feels so right. Thanks for your support. And good luck with your own vision board! xA

  • Carly Findlay

    You are fantastic and I love the new path you’ve created for yourself. Youve made it happen!
    I too feel I’m living my ideal life too.

    • FoxInFlats

      High Fives to you Carly! xxx

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  • Johanna

    Congratulations Andrea, you are indeed remarkable, and I loved this story as the lead in to your bright new future in blogging 🙂