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Envisioning Freedom

I am a major proponent of vision boards and the clarity they bring when one is searching for their life’s purpose. Jack Caufield, author of The Success Principles describes a vision board as “a visualization tool which refers to a board of any sort used to build a collage of words and pictures that represent your goals and dreams.”

Vision boards are powerful tools. My strategic boards are roadmaps that provide guidance on turning dreams into reality and bringing clarity to confusion.

Earlier this year, one of my 2019 strategic vision board goals came to fruition. I was selected as one of the keynote speakers at the Kata Summit (also known as KataCon6) held in Austin, TX. My conference experience was surreal. I was elated and overjoyed to be among my colleagues and fellow Kata geeks. I was re-energized by every keynote address, breakout session, networking opportunity, and meaningful chat. Typically, these interactions began with the question “Wouldn’t it be great if…?” They eventually ended with amazing statements that challenged each person on ways in which to change the world. I felt so inspired!

Once the conference concluded, the question “Wouldn’t it be great if…?” continued to linger in my mind.

Wouldn’t it be great if I could do what I love in a full-time capacity?

Wouldn’t it be great if I could help others accomplish their goals and dreams?

Wouldn’t it be great to live in freedom and help others do the same?

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” - Nelson Mandela

After my conference experience, I decided to build a themed strategic vision board. I labeled it “FREEDOM.” The process I followed to build this strategic vision board differed from any other board that I’d ever built or taught others to build. In constructing this

one, I was much more intentional. I selected specific photos and images, while limiting the words and quotes. Every square inch of the board, including how each image was placed, screams freedom.

Following the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, my vision board morphed into a vocal board. The images began to call out to me in my dreams. I had a strong desire to elevate the importance of respect and freedom for all people. I would stare at the images of powerful Black women prominently displayed on my board. Influential women like Ethel Hedgeman Lyle, Lisa Nichols, Oprah Winfrey and my mom, Delores Wardelle. I’d think about how their vision and voices changed the world. If they could do it, so could I.

This epiphany led to my acceptance of Mark Graban's gracious offer to share his blog at I wanted to collaborate with my friends and colleagues to heighten awareness about the chains of systemic racism. How it limits the freedom for Black people around the globe. Together we shared our visions and voices to #RootCauseRacism. We offered countless ways for people to develop and implement activities that would dismantle structural racism - one small action at a time.

At the conclusion of the blog series, #RootCauseRacism had turned into a movement and my vison board had turned into a calling. While working on the blog project, I truly felt free. Free to speak, free to create, free to challenge the status quo, free to ask for help, free to help others, free to be 100% Deondra Rhoda Wardelle. I knew the time had come to bring to fruition the freedom that was represented on my strategic vision board. I was ready to fully invest my time, talent, and treasures to lead others in finding their voice and freedom. It was time for me to leave my “daytime job,” step out on faith, and turn my own dream into reality. Some people questioned my leaving a “good job” to venture out on my own. Especially amid multiple obstacles like a global pandemic, a troubled economy, and growing racial tensions.

As I began to execute my decision of moving “on to the next one,” I found comfort and encouragement in Hellen Keller’s reminder. She famously said, “you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles.”

To me, that’s one of the key parts of pursuing freedom and visualizing what could be. What may be viewed as an impediment can actually become a source of inspiration. Every day is an adventure and an opportunity to learn something new. I have the pleasure of running experiments to get closer and closer to achieving the big bold goals that are proudly on my strategic vision boards.

There is no such thing as failure.

Every experience and every experiment bring me closer and closer to fulfilling my purpose. I not only get to become a better person, but I get to spend valuable time helping others discover their passion. I’m honored to assist people with casting their vision and developing plans that turn their dreams into reality.

2020 has no doubt been a year of challenges and obstacles. But like I always express in my strategic vision board workshops - problems and challenges are simply opportunities for learning and growth.

As we enter the last quarter of 2020, let’s open our eyes and see the possibilities that lie ahead. Then let’s get busy releasing and overcoming whatever may be holding us back from envisioning freedom.

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