How to visually reinforce your growth and success

inspiring words

A few years ago I had the good fortune to interview Howard Behar (former President at Starbuck’s) at his home office. Hanging on his wall were several framed quotes.

He kept the quotes there to reinforce their importance and to give him a reminder of the insights they contained as he went about his work. Framed quotes on his wall had played an important role in his career for decades.

collageThat idea stuck in my head. I liked the idea of framing them, rather than just taping quotes to the wall. It made them more aesthetically pleasing and gave them more substance.

Along the way, it cross-pollinated with the idea of making collages. Quotes are great, but as simple text on white paper, they can be flat and one-dimensional. What if I combined them with images in a collage?

That idea evolved, as ideas tend to do, away from the original idea of using quotes and toward using words and concepts. I finally created one last week.

This particular collage is aimed at bringing a greater action orientation and focus to my natural tendencies to dream, visionize, and explore (tendencies which are simultaneously some of my greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses).

Knowing how things like this tend to fade into the background after they’ve been around a while, my plan is to make a whole series of them that I can swap out regularly. I have a collection of 8×10 frames I bought at Goodwill, and will keep the collages I’m not currently using in a three-ring binder in plastic sheathes.

What I love about small, framed collages is that they make it easy to both create visual reinforcement of specific ideas and keep it fresh enough (by swapping the collages out intermittently) to keep having an impact in your mind.

What to collage about?

The potential subject matter of your collages is pretty much limitless. You could collage about, for example:

  • Goals
  • Aspirations of how you want to show up (e.g., love, patience, determination, etc.)
  • Changes you want to make
  • New patterns and habits
  • Quotes that speak to you


There really is no “right way” to do it. These are just some broad ideas.

The collage I made isn’t particularly creative, but it contains some key ideas I want to reinforce. You might want to go more deeply into the creative aspect of it. Play with what works best for you. Is it primarily images? Words? A combination of the two?

How I make them

The easiest way to make your collages is with a simple glue stick. I decided I wanted to make something more long-lasting that wouldn’t fade, so I used acrylic medium both as an adhesive and to coat the whole thing once it was done.

In addition to the frames, I buy the magazines I cut up at Goodwill or other thrift stores (they cost 50 cents apiece at Goodwill). Over the last few months I have gone through a bazillion magazines or so, and keep the images and words in file folders and envelopes in and expanding file.

Having a large store of words and images to draw from allows me to look through them and see what wants to emerge.

So how about it? Up for some collage making?

Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

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