5. Vision Boards and Marriage with Debbi Sluys

July 21, 2021

In This Episode
A vision board is not just a visual representation of your goals and manifesting what you want, but can be a tool for you to share your gifts with others, and for communication between husband and wife. Declare your dreams with intention through a vision board with these tips from personal development and empowerment coach, Debbi Sluys.

Highlights
02:14 Debbi Sluys has a unique way of coaching as a personal development and empowerment coach because she has an expertise on visioning with vision boards that give a sense of order.
05:12 In creating a vision board, Debbi shares three important parts to it.
06:41 Rebbetzin Bat-Chen shares that some of the women she helps feel as though they hold themselves back because dreams between husband and wife are not always the same. A vision board is a tool that is all about communication, even between a husband and a wife.
09:17 The activities on the first day of the Marriage Breakthrough Retreat are all about getting in touch with yourself. Knowing what you want is very important, and creating a vision board for yourself and for you and your husband can help you know yourself more.
09:48 Being self-full is the most powerful thing you can do because it allows you to overflow, share your vision with others, and create visions with others, such as your husband and family.
13:11 Doing things in your marriage and in life with intention allows you to be more grateful for the gift of every day.
16:47 Whether they are baby steps or leaps, you are moving on the path toward your vision. Set goals that will help you reach your vision.
18:16 Writing your goals and declaring your goals to someone you trust builds your chances of manifesting what you want. Debbi backs this with evidence-based research.
19:38 It is inspiring how God provides, especially when you are specific about what you want.
24:48 The Marriage Breakthrough Retreat is one tool that we can bring God’s presence into our marriage.
26:15 Debbi uses Rebbetzin Bat-Chen’s mission from God to create the Marriage Breakthrough Retreat and share her knowledge on marriage as an example of the three parts of the vision board: ask, believe, and receive, and commends her for her work.
30:06 God’s vision for you is much bigger than you can imagine. Practicing gratitude and writing it down allow you to see with a visionary lens.
37:35 The more we declare with intention, the louder our voices become.
44:22 The vision board experience is very intimate and private, according to Debbi. There is power to declaring it but only to those who are supportive of it.
53:49 When making a vision board, advertisements give some of the best images.

Links
Marriage Breakthrough Retreat
Dare 2 Declare

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REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Welcome to the Connected For Real Podcast! I’m Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman, a marriage coach for women in business, and my mission is to bring God’s presence into your life, into your marriage, and into your business. Let’s get started. The following is one of the many conversations I had with experts and professionals about real life and how it affects marriage. Let me know your takeaways on Instagram or Facebook, @connectedforreal. Enjoy. And we are live. Welcome everyone. Today, I have Debbi. To those of you who don’t know, I am Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman and I am the founder of connectedforreal.com. I’m a marriage coach for women in business who want to align their marriage with their success and purpose. We’re going to talk a lot about that today because this is a perfect topic for that. Debbi, please introduce yourself so everyone knows how awesome you are.

DEBBI SLUYS
Thank you. My name is Debbi Sluys. I live in Ontario, Canada and for the past 30 years, I’ve been in child care. So in early years, director, specifically, I led a team of about 75, and then I started my company about three years ago. Last year, I stepped full time into coaching as a personal development and empowerment coach with an expertise on visioning, specifically vision boards. I’m just really honored to be here. We had an instant connection when we had our first conversation so I’m just so glad, and thank you for inviting me to be here.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
When we started talking and I found out a little bit about what you do–so at first you hear “vision boards” and everybody’s doing them. It’s all this really new–it’s not new but everybody is talking about them and they’re gaining a lot of excitement around them, but the way you do them is different and that’s what made me so excited. First of all, the size of what you do, how you do with the canvas, and also the process that you have–it’s not just, “Let’s gather pictures and put them all together,” but I really like the process that you have. So do you want to tell us a little bit about that before we get into the actual topic of how it affects our marriage?

DEBBI SLUYS
Sure. So I guess one of the things that’s distinguishable from a completed board would just be the sense of order, and this is something that you and I connect on in terms of spirituality. The way God created the world was with seasons, with weeks, with days. There’s a sense of beautiful order within the world. Order gives us a sense of safety, so I love to promote that, and for the vision board to emulate that there’s a sense of order–if you look at the popular way of doing them, it’s very much like a collage and it’s just chaotic. The whole point of a vision board is for focus. Just like when we’re in our workspace, if we’ve got clutter up around our ears, it’s very difficult to concentrate. The whole point of a vision board is to create a sense of clarity and focus, so that’s why I promote a sense of order but lots of creativity, adventure, dreaming, and really leaning into the right brain of that creativity and intuition with creating your vision boards. The one other distinction would be that I promote a vision versus a goal board. A goal board would be where you already know the how or what it feels like. It’s a to-do list, it’s responsibility, or “ I should.” Ego tends to want to go to goals because it’s like, “Okay, well I put it out here. I’m pretty sure it’s gonna happen.” A vision board is much–it’s a real brave endeavor, where you’re going to put something out there that you don’t know how–you have no idea of the how and if that’s the criteria–is, “I don’t know the how” then it goes on your vision board.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
That’s exactly what the difference is between the male brain and the female brain. It’s like the male is very linear. He needs to know how he’s gonna get there, and the female is just like, “This is what I desire. Let’s see how it’s gonna come. Let’s just sort of watch it happen,” and that’s really fun. It adds a little bit more of that playful, fun, and discovery element when you don’t know how it’s gonna be. We almost don’t let ourselves play and like you say “dare to even dream” because we’re like, “Yeah, but that would never happen. Yeah, but who does that? Who gets to that? I don’t know anyone who has that,” we just limit ourselves, and one of the things that we talked a lot about a lot in the retreat–we talked a lot about getting out of your own way and I think that here, it’s the same. It’s like, “Just get out of your own way, stop trying to figure out how, and stop trying to figure out what needs to happen just let it be.” I love that. I’m very old-fashioned, and I like cutting, pasting, and touching the stuff. I love that you said that too.

DEBBI SLUYS
For sure, and so there’s that aspect of it that feels playful and I love that you talked about play. Again, that leads to my early years being an educator and working with children. What we know with children is that once it’s in the hand, it’s in the mind, and in the heart. So then touching it just makes it that much more real. When I talk to most people, I say, “How do you learn best?” and most people will say, “I’m a hands-on learner,” or, “I’m a visual learner.” Sometimes people will say auditory but that whole lecture style–most people learn best with having it be relatable, or being able to figure it out, and so by having the paper The other piece of it is people will say to me, “Oh,” use the pandemic as an excuse, “I don’t have magazines so I’m just going to look online for my images.” One of the aspects of a vision board is trust–is believing. So there are three parts to it: ask for what you want, believe that it’s possible, and the last part is being open to receive. So even in the process of believing that the images that need to be there, that will be there, will arrive to you exactly, what you need is part of that process already in the construction of it. So it’s not like, “Okay, I’m gonna make this perfect board. I’m going to orchestrate it by Googling exactly what I want.” So you’re already directing it instead of–you talked about that flow, where allowing those images to manifest even through the process is a beautiful aspect.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
I love that and relating it into marriage, how do we deal with the fact that sometimes we don’t have the same dreams, or we don’t dare to dream because we’re gonna step on his toes, and get in the way of our marriage or something? There’s so much that I deal with as a marriage coach that comes up for women in business like, “I can’t get too big. I can’t surpass a certain limit because then I’ll overgrow my marriage, and I’ll lose my high priority, which is staying together,” so they hold themselves back so that they don’t lose it and that’s where I come in. I help them sort of align everything so that we’re all working together, and everybody benefits from you growing because keeping yourself small and holding back on your dreams is actually not serving your marriage. It’s making it worse so it’s really important to change that, and shift that mindset around. What would you say about that?

DEBBI SLUYS
I like what you said earlier about getting out of your own way because that’s fear, right? So when you want to know the how, that’s just disguised as fear, and what I’m hearing whether the spouse, male or female, is standing in the way, so to speak of another person’s growth, that’s again manifesting fear. There’s some fear that’s showing up that really isn’t about the person isn’t about the situation but it’s fear for themselves. “What does that mean about me if you grow to this? Are you still gonna have space for me? Are you still gonna be able to be here? Am I still gonna feel loved?” All those kinds of things. So what I would say is that a vision board is a beautiful tool and it’s all about communication and I’m sure that this is what, where you focus as well, it’s having these brave respectful conversations that you’re listening, you’re asking open-ended questions that you’re doing so without judgment that, you’re demonstrating respect that you set the boundaries. This vision board tool can be a beautiful expression of that. So I actually lead a workshop where a couple can make one board together. Now, I think there’s definitely a benefit to each making their own, and having that because again, I’m just going to speak from the female perspective because most of my clients are women, most often as women that–most clients I’ve worked with have never even considered what they want. They can tell me what their husband wants, what their children’s children want, what their employer wants, what the community wants, what the church wants–they know everybody else’s wants, and I say, “Well what do you want?” They don’t even know.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
That’s day one of my retreat is getting in touch with yourself because on the basic level we don’t give ourselves the things that fill us up, and we think it’s because, “Oh I don’t want to be too selfish,” this and that but really, everyone loses when you don’t know what you want. It’s such a such a loss because then you can’t give because you’re not overflowing. So it’s really important to get to know what you want and I love that you brought that up. That’s really important.

DEBBI SLUYS
Just to tag on to that around not being selfish, one of the other things that I’ve adopted is self-full. I got that actually from Oprah but I love that idea of interchanging that word, and because most women too–they don’t know what else to call it, they’re like, “Well, that just feels selfish.” I’m like, “It’s self-full,” and that is what you get to do–is that we get to be full of self because then what spills over is for everyone else. Doing that individually but as a couple also, having these brave conversations about what do we want, and looking at it on various areas so not just work and family, which may be our go-to, but also what is it in terms of intimacy, what does that look like. I know on my previous board, I had a photo of my husband. It was a couple dancing–was my husband and I but it was like this embrace. I know what that feels like and I know what that means. What do we want to do with our money? What does that look like? Is there an aspect of volunteering that we want to do as a couple? Where do we want a vacation and spend our pause? So I go through seven areas that can be put on the board, and I’ve had this–is I’ve had a couple that was about to be married. They did it. They displayed their vision board actually at their wedding. I know and in the middle of their board they had a red front door because they wanted and they painted their door red. They had it because they wanted to welcome people into their home. Beautiful, I know. Then I had another couple that was actually my daughter, just two years into their marriage, and then I had another couple that was 20 years so this really can work at every stage and I would suggest that you do that on a regular basis. You just check back in with one another so that it’s a beautiful way to be aligned with what’s your vision together and continue to grow together.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
When I was dating, one of the things that I won’t ever forget that she said was, “What’s more important than looking at each other’s eyes is both looking at the same goals at the same point because then that for the rest of your life you’re both walking towards the same direction,” and I thought that was that was really brilliant because in the moment when you’re young, in love, and excited, there’s so much in that infatuation and lovey-dovey stage that you sometimes forget to discuss where are we going, where is our vision for our family, for our future for ourselves. That’s one of the reasons that you turn around and you’re like, “I’ve been married 15 years. What am I doing here?” That’s when a lot of the couples–a lot of the women who come are in that stage of 10, 15, 20 years like, “What’s going on? I was sort of selfless. I let myself be a complete nothing so that everyone else has space, and it’s not working. What do I do? What am I doing wrong? What can I fix?” The first thing is be self-full. I really love that word. Just fill yourself, dream, and want, and that will fill up everyone around you. It is just the most powerful thing that you can do.

DEBBI SLUYS
I love the idea that you said about intention as well. I think that was really my disposition in my 30s–was that I was not intentional. I had three children under–my twins were born when my son was three. I mean, I’m speaking here to a fam, a mom who’s got lots of little ones, but in my 30s, I was on autopilot. It wasn’t until I sort of woke up, and even now I’m just in my 50s, I’m thinking I’m still waking up. I wish that I would have had someone take me by the shoulders, look me in the eyes, and give me this sense of intention to say, “Have this brave conversation with your husband,” and like you said, “Focus on the future together,” and because we were sort of living, like cohabitating just–and going doing our jobs–yeah, we took vacations but really having this sense of purpose together–I think again from a spiritual aspect, that’s our responsibility–is that every day is a gift, that this life is not to be taken for granted, and every time we get to open our eyes to a new day, it’s like a deposit. We have this beautiful gift that we get to unwrap and so by being intentional versus just sort of being careless with it is really, I think, a state of worship and gratitude for the gift of that day.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Wow, it really is. When you’re talking about being a mom of young kids, the first thing that comes to mind is just survival mode. You get through the day. You just need to get through the day, and then you feel like you’re going in circles because that’s exactly what you’re doing–is you’re taking a step every single day towards the next day but in reality, you’re not going anywhere because you’re not intentional about your direction. I always tell people, “You’re going in circles. If you’re gonna take the step anyway–the day has to pass. Just start moving in this right direction, and you’ll be moving in baby steps. That’s okay.” Thank God you’re saying I have a lot of kids, and they’re all young. It’s like I want to be there already, and I know that that’s one of the things that is hard for me as I don’t have that much patience. I just want to be there so I’m pushing, pushing, pushing but on the other hand, I’m just trying to really be present, enjoy the moment, and know that whatever it is that I end up doing is in that direction. I’m eventually gonna get there, and I’m sure that it’s all part of the journey that I’m supposed to go through but it feels so much more. You’re using the word intentional. It’s so beautiful because it really is in alignment. Once you’re going in the right direction then the days don’t feel like you’re going in circles even though you’re doing the same things. When you’re thriving, you’re still surviving. You still are getting through the day but in a different level, and that’s really where I wish I could–I can help everyone get there because, don’t get me wrong I have my days and definitely not perfect but even if I do one thing every day, I feel like at least I moved forward. I’m not in the same place I was yesterday and I think I’m very practical. So here’s my practical tip for y’all. Don’t try to take on everything. Do one thing and stick to it because it really will change your life.

DEBBI SLUYS
I recently heard this expression that small hinges swing big doors, and it makes me think about what you said. With baby steps, where even though we might think, “Oh, this is just one little thing” but it’s the repetition–it’s the habit of that one thing that you’re going to accelerate and create momentum towards your big vision, and so I want to just distinguish again around vision and goals so the vision is creating and not having the how, but that is the feeling which then creates the emotion, which is your leverage for you to come back to the present–to say, “Okay, so what’s my manageable goal?” Creating a goal based on the big vision–so which one lights you up the most, whether it’s a business one, perhaps it’s a vacation or holds a new home–what does that look like? Creating the goal and then small action steps every single day will move you towards that goal and as you accomplish those goals then you’re going to be stepping into the reality of your vision. That’s how that works so I love that idea of those baby steps and you get the analogy then with the small hinges.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Yeah. Talking about the dare to declare–that’s the next level of vision boards. You can make a vision board and leave it, and you can really push that to the next level by declaring it and by speaking it out.

DEBBI SLUYS
For sure. So I do love the name declare and the power, really that I’ve stepped into that name. Research shows that if you have a dream, a vision, a goal, and it stays in your head, it might it might come to fruition. However, if you write it down–simply write it down, it’s 42% more likely to manifest. Now if you take that written goal and you share it with someone else, so declare it especially–I would say again be discreet who that is going to be. You want to have someone that is going to be as excited about it as you are. It goes up to 78% more likely to manifest so declaring it the way that I do a vision board as well is in my whole process with the client. Even your choices of images are a declaration so the size of them for example I say, “Let’s not have wee little images on your board. Declare it. This is what I want and I’m going to put it out there,” and you’re also putting it out there as though it’s already happening within your life. I teach also affirmations–that they’re about your vision about the future tense but you’re saying it to your mind and there’s again, there’s neuroscience around all of that but that is already occurring within your within your life. Does that answer your question?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
When you learn something, then it’s different than when you actually go and teach it or when you actually go and tell it over to someone. That’s how I learned the best–is by teaching and by passing it on. Even as a high schooler, I remember teaching my friends because that’s the best way to learn for me. It was just really hammering it in. I was in a class with–there was a couple Chana Mason and Dave Mason, and they did this amazing something about dreams. I don’t remember the actual name of the book, but they wrote a book and then they did a course about it, and it was so amazing and powerful because you actually had to write it in a card and read the card every day. It was very honestly, it was scary to write the card. It was even scarier to read the card. It just takes so much courage to be able to say the words of what you actually want. I just remember that feeling of like, “Oh my gosh, am I really putting it down on paper? Am I really gonna do this? Ah!” Another thing that came up for me is that recently, the whole reason why I started doing the retreat was because I stood in prayer and I asked God, I said, “I think I haven’t been fair. I’ve been asking for abundance and asking You to show me the way, and asking You to guide me. I know I’m going in the right direction but I haven’t been specific.” I started getting really specific about the things I wanted to accomplish, the things that I wanted to impact, and all the nitty gritties. I actually started being honest with God about what it is that I am expecting, trying to get to, or the things I know in my head, but I just wasn’t able to say them. It was maybe four days later–it was so clear to me that this is what I had to do from one day to the next things–just started. It was almost like God was throwing it in my face like, “Okay this is what you do now, and this is what you do now. “Okay and you’re starting a retreat and this is how you’re gonna do it,” and then the next thing I know–and now I feel like I’m living a dream saying I already did the retreat because I worked so hard on planning it and putting it all together but it was just incredible. While I was doing the retreat, I was–every single day I finished teaching and I was like, “Oh my gosh. That was epic. It was way better than I thought it was going to come out. The feedback was coming in, and people were like, “This is changing my life,” and I’m like, “We’re only on day two.” So one of the stories I had to share with you guys is that one of the women in the retreat–so day one was getting in touch with yourself, there’s a workbook, and everything we had so much fun. Day two was getting and like asking God like getting in touch with God and we wrote a prayer and this woman wrote a prayer and the next day she wrote me an email that she is actually going to do your program and it all like sort of like coordinated itself out without her having any idea of how that was going to happen and that was just absolutely mind-blowing she wasn’t the only one like, “Oh my gosh, for the first time I actually asked for something specific and it happened on its own.” I didn’t even know like people were coming out and telling me these things I was like, “Wow,” because you know the power of prayer and the power of speaking out–the things that you want, getting in touch, and really being intentional but you actually see it in action and it blows your mind.

DEBBI SLUYS
I still get goosebumps. I was on the other side of that. I didn’t just discover that until just before this interview that that was you and I got the email from her saying that she had been at this marriage retreat for women, loved it, and she shared the prayer that she had written. It was very specific. It was around her business and getting clarity. It was just so moving but very specific. Within hours she said she had a break, and then she was on social media and saw that I had been on her LinkedIn and so she–and again red flags show up, right? There’s another indicator. We right away worry, we go to the worst case scenario instead of what’s the best thing that can happen. What’s the worst thing that can happen, right? That’s just how our brain works, and really working on that. “What’s the best thing that can happen?” but she was like, “Oh, what’s Deb Sluys doing on my LinkedIn? Why?” and then she saw that what I was offering her was my program that someone had gifted to her. So someone else, again, felt this impulsive desire to gift to your client my program. I was just the vessel so I was talking between those two women because the other the donor wanted to remain anonymous and so I said, “I’m giving–” and then she was like telling me about this prayer and sent it back. Oh it was just beautiful and now it’s you. It’s good to see you. God is good. God is so good.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
It’s incredibly amazing. Crazy how things work out. I’m still in that high of the after-effects of the retreat. I just haven’t been able to come down and out of that cloud because people are still telling me, “I went downstairs, I spoke to my husband. I apologized for being so hard on him, and he told me he loves me for the first time in years. Then we had a really nice conversation for a year.” They hadn’t had a conversation because of Covid, and everything that’s been happening. They’ve been stuck alone, and it’s been so hard. They’re just in survival mode. They haven’t sat down to talk, and she’s like, “Thanks to your retreat, I actually had a nice conversation with my husband, and he told me he loves me.” It was wow, and it feels so–it’s exactly what I prayed for. It was like, “Help me help women. Help me bring Your presence into people’s homes,” and all the feedback is coming in and just blowing my mind. I got closer to God. I figured out that when I bring Him into my life, things actually start happening. I don’t have to be in control of everything. These are things that we know in our head but are not really easy to push down and feel because we’re just so used to taking control and being in charge and trying to figure out how. Oh, it’s just amazing.

DEBBI SLUYS
I want to just notice that what you’re saying is the three parts of a vision board, which is ask believe and receive is exactly what you did. So you asked for the guidance that you would need, and you created a vision for what you wanted your retreat to look like but yet you were open to what God would send. You believed that the women that were supposed to come would, and that every day you even told me you took a break in the weekend and there was some doubt about if you took a break would people come back and they did. You just believed in your process, in what you had to offer, that you were aligned with your purpose, and then you were open to receive. That’s the part you’re doing right now, which is you’re continuing to be open to receive and then respond, which is setting the next date so it’s beautiful just beautifully aligned. I just want to recognize that and honor that.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Thank you so much. That was amazing. I didn’t even think I was going to do it so soon but people were saying, “I have to invite all my friends. This is crazy. Oh my gosh, it actually changed my life,” and I was like, “Oh, maybe they’re right. Maybe I do need to do one right away soon–sooner than I thought. I didn’t think I was gonna do one so soon again but wow, yeah let’s do it,” and I set a date. I set it all up and I was like, “Great, we’re doing it,” and it just it feels like when you were saying the ask, believe, and receive, when you’re open to letting God show you the way and really send you the crumbs, then you’re really attentive to the crumbs because you have no idea. So they come and you take them, then the next crumb comes and you take it. So you’re a lot more able to flow with whatever is happening, and then things will go faster than you think. If you were the one who had to plan it all out you would make it a certain timeline because that makes sense to you as a human with our limited understanding, but when you let go then anything is possible. God is limitless. He can do things faster, smoother, cleaner, and more in flow than we could ever imagine. You just let it be. I feel like the more I’m in line with that and I’m, as all my people are, we’re all in this together. We’re all working hard to try to realign all the time, and I think that’s one of the things that people were giving me feedback about is like, “You’re so human. It’s such a breath of fresh air.” I’m sharing with them my the things I’m going through, and the things that we’re all going through. So it’s just really trying to regroup, trying to become more present, trying to realign, reattach, and re-rely because we get off track and that’s okay. The muscle is really learning to get back on track and you get off track and you get back on track again. That’s the exercise. That’s what makes us strong. If you were completely going straight the whole time, it wouldn’t be the same. It’s been such a learning experience of how the more you rely and the more you let go, the more God shows you what to do next. The faster things go and the bigger things become–like you were saying before, “I don’t know if I believe this is possible. This is too scary to declare or to even dream,” and it’s like, “Just dream it. Just want it. Who cares?” I also believe that God put those wants in you. Everybody has their things that they feel pulled to and that’s also part of that godliness. It’s not a separation. It’s all one.

DEBBI SLUYS
Back to what you were saying about our vision and that I’m very conscious of the fact that again, I have a human existence human mind. My thoughts are based on experiences based on knowledge. It’s so limited, whereas God is limitless and so He knew that you would be born before the world was created, before time, and end of time. So His vision for you is so much bigger than what we can even imagine. I love the idea of looking for the crumbs. Also, I think a beautiful way to practice that and again, maybe this is your one action every day, is to be in gratitude, to be in thanksgiving, to notice. Just one thing per day that you’re grateful for, something unique, and write it down. So create a journal for yourself of what are you grateful for, and as you begin to have a lens of gratitude for the little things, your world will also transform and change and you’ll be able to see with this visionary lens.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
I love that. Totally changes your level of consciousness when you’re able to be in gratitude. It is so true. I once had a friend who was–we were walking and taking a walk. Three friends, me and two other girls, and one of them said, “I think I’m falling into depression. I’m really feeling down all the time,” and the other one’s like, “Yeah, I’m really not doing well,” so I said, “Okay, that’s it people. We’re opening up a WhatsApp group–three of us and we’re writing down five things every day.” We started doing it, and one of the most amazing things started happening is that the gratefuls started getting more and more interesting. It wasn’t just, “Oh, I’m grateful I have a house and I have running water,” and blah blah blah. We get through those, and then suddenly you get to like the deeper stuff. One day one of the girls said, “I’m grateful that the way my skirt ripped from the stroller was–it ripped in a modest way so I didn’t have to be embarrassed walking home,” and I’m thinking okay just think of this scenario, she’s walking with a double stroller, and two kids walking with her. She’s overwhelmed and completely all over the place, her skirt’s too long, it catches on to the thing and it starts ripping. All she can think about is, “Oh, I’m so happy it was in a modest way and I didn’t have to walk home feeling embarrassed.” Oh my gos,h she actually trained her brain to see one good thing this whole thing. If she didn’t, a person who was on her way to falling into depression–imagine what that could have done to her like that could have been the thing that broke the camel’s back–overwhelmed with kids and now my skirt rips. I can’t deal with this anymore, forget it, throw everything out the window, and just start crying then all the street. I could just imagine it. That was so powerful for me, just seeing that transition of what happens to your brain when you start practicing gratitude, and not just doing it but like really getting intentional about doing it every single day.

DEBBI SLUYS
For sure, and think about building up resilience, right? That’s where you’re doing it in times when it’s not stressful, and you’re just creating that habit of gratitude, then in those kind of times, when you need it, you can call on it because it becomes your default. You think we teach children about self-regulation, right? Then we’re able to self-regulate during those stressful times because we’re not just in this state of high crisis. That’s the other piece with the vision boards as well is that it’s not mystic. So I do talk about the law of attraction, but I haven’t watched the movie secret or read the book. I really stay away from that because it’s actually science. So what we focus on, we actually create more of because we create new pathways within our brain so there’s a whole–there’s so much more research around neuroscience, and so by being focused on what we want, which on our vision board this neurocircuitry is created, and I again I’m really curious about this interested about it because of my experience with early years where when children don’t get the attention love that they deserve especially the first five years, the brain actually shrinks. It’s very sad but what I thought and what the research showed 30 years ago, was that it stayed that way. That’s what we thought, but what we know now is with focused attention, the brain can actually grow leafy type branches. That’s the same thing that applies with adults is that like you if you talk about left brain-right brain. If our brain is sort of stagnant, and if we’re in that autopilot mom kind of not providing any additional thoughts to it we just kind of stay in that way but when we begin to put in things like, “Hmm what do I want to learn about? What if I never I’ve always wanted to learn to play the guitar?” Then you’re firing up these new ways of being in your brain, or I’m going to change a habit and that I want to take a walk every day of the forest or whatever that might be, and that again, it just gives you these new ways of thinking and creates these neural circuitry within your brain.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Yeah, I love it. I love it because it’s just such a miracle. we don’t even understand what it –when you say like mind blown that’s exactly it. It just blows your mind to try to think of all the little things, and intricacies that happen within your brain when you’re doing this. There’s a researcher, her name is Miriam Adahan. I think she’s a PHD and her whole research was figuring out how do you get happy from the inside out and not from the outside in. Her final thing, her big findings and she wrote tons of books and I actually heard her speak in person here she came locally. She said it’s two sides of the same coin. So gratitude is one side of the coin, so whatever you do have you’re grateful for, and when something is hard or there’s a challenge, the other side of that is overcoming the challenge. Noticing that, “Oh I actually overcame that. I didn’t want to go to the post office and I went anyway. Woohoo! Go me,” but what do we do is we sort of turn on the lights on our own party because everybody goes when they need to go or–personally I don’t like doing dishes so I actually did dishes. I mean, meanwhile four million women are doing dishes every day like they don’t sit around celebrating the fact that they did dishes but that doesn’t matter. If it was hard for you and you overcame something or–I really wanted to eat the cake and I didn’t I walked away from the fridge. I closed the door and I decided that I’m actually going to go take a handful of nuts or whatever. That’s a huge win for you. Go celebrate it. Go be happy. Write it down. She really has you writing down your celebrations, your victories, and also your gratitude. She says those two sides of the page are actually what creates happiness because it turns on the brain in a physical way exactly how you would want happiness to be like that that is happiness so it just it just lines up with what you’re saying. It’s just so amazing.

DEBBI SLUYS
I love that. I love your “woohoo”, by the way. So that’s like declaring and I think the more that we can declare our successes or overcoming our gratitude, it’s about being intentional and saying it out loud because when we use our voice, we’re speaking into others so they’re hearing. You leave space for them to do the same, and also but then our subconscious brain is hearing that too. So when the little gremlins that show up and want to put us down or say, “Who do you think you are? You’re too this, you’re too that,” your voice is louder than that committee that’s in the back of your head–those limiting beliefs that show up. So by using the power of your voice, it’s just incredible what you do for yourself and for others.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Yeah, it’s really powerful okay. Tell me about this thing that you have on Monday. I just found out about it and I’m super excited to sign up.

DEBBI SLUYS
Oh, cool. I’m offering a free workshop. So last year right before Covid hit, I was invited to speak in a corporate–actually a setting for international women’s day, and I remembered about that I thought, “Oh I know it’s an annual event. Let me check.” Sure enough, so March 8th is International Women’s Day, and so you can check it online. It’s a hashtag, it’s #choosetochallenge so if you do participate use the hashtag. You’re connecting with women all over the world or it’s IWD, so International Women’s Day, #IWD2021–that’s the other hashtag and so I’m offering a free workshop on Monday, 12 Eastern Standard Time. So if you go to my website, and it’s dare2declare.com. If you go to the bottom of my home page you’ll see it’s there. Click on that. You do need to register just because I’m doing it through the Zoom and then I will add you into the zoom link and you can you can join us and so it’ll be about an hour at the longest. We’ll just get to celebrate and understand what this movement’s about. Just thinking–I was reading through some of the material on there and how Covid has impacted women and where it–we were talking earlier about the autopilot thing or just women working from home or being at home with children, and just how much more there has been if you are a mom that’s home with your kids, but they’re not off to school now so they’re home all the time and you don’t sign up for homeschooling. Also, now you’re homeschooling and if you’ve got extra needs tied to that, and the children can’t get out and do things they would, maybe normally done with organized sports or music lessons, so there isn’t any respite at all for families at this time. Just thinking about the illness factor so if you do have school you have child care even a clear runny nose like they can’t come so you’ve got unexpected child care issues and there’s just a lot that has gone and fallen on the shoulders of both parents but I would say probably more so moms again just that responsibility of the children in the family during this time. I think this is a good time to remember and to talk about equality and diversity within workplaces, but just overall society, about women, and the issues and then just to celebrate those that have made some beautiful contributions in the world and to celebrate them. So that’s what it’s about and it’s free so you’re welcome to join.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Sounds amazing. It’s still on my vision board, my imaginary vision board that hasn’t happened yet but I am going to declare it. I really want to come to your physical place and do a physical board with you. I don’t want to do the virtual thing even though I know it’s going to be awesome if I do but I really want to travel all the way there, do it with you, or I am willing to be flexible and bring you here and do it here in Israel, which would be completely epic. I think that would be super, super duper awesome. We can definitely do both. If you guys want to join us, we are totally happy to make it a group thing because it would just be–oh my gosh that would be so cool to have both of us in one room.

DEBBI SLUYS
Absolutely. Yeah, I would love to host you. So I have a gorgeous studio I don’t know if that’s the video you’re watching when I came on but I have a little promo video. It’s on my website and it’s showcased in my studio. So I have a physical studio where I can house about 12, 14 people and it’s completely designed for vision boards. It’s like an adult playroom so to speak, where the tables are specifically designed for the boards. I have magazines–I have thousands of magazines, and all kinds of stickers and markers. It’s just super fun. It’s my happy place. I haven’t been there in a little bit but I would love to host you there. I do do it on location and once Covid’s done, I plan to travel and offer retreats because my clients are now international due to Covid, so there’s definitely been Covid blessings as well. I don’t think that I would have pivoted in the way that I have. Now, I’m offering exclusively online and like I said most of my clients are European, some North American, but I would say predominantly European.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
That blew me away because we had people from everywhere and I was like, “Wow, this is actually international.” You don’t think you know so many people, and you don’t because half those people I didn’t know, but it was like, “Wow, this is so cool.” It’s actually like you’re saying, some Covid blessings, definitely. The things that I did this year I probably would not have had the courage to do without being pushed to do them so I think that goes on our grateful list. Gratitude–oh my goodness. Okay, so let’s just like wrap it up with a little bit of the marriage thing again because I want to just like sort of tie it up in a knot, in a bow. When one spouse is not into doing these types of things what do you think that is really important? I personally think that if your husband is not into it, do it anyway for yourself because it’s part of your creating your reality but I want to hear what you think about it.

DEBBI SLUYS
I do have a percentage of women that come, especially in person to my studio, who have had resistance before they even came. So again there’s fear showing up, right? So recognizing what that is and they’ve just been questioned like, “Why do you need to do that? Why are you going to do that? What’s that going to help?” and just lots of resistance. The other piece is I invite women to–for every participant to put a photo of themselves in a happy time or both, those just singly of you and in a happy time predominantly on your board. To my surprise, when I first started this process, that was a very difficult thing for many women. One, they didn’t have a photo of just themselves. They were normally with children, with their spouse, with friends, or they were the ones behind the camera. So thinking about what you were talking about self-full, take a photo of yourself and if I’ll say go one better: book a photo shoot. It’ll change your life. It’s actually how I started my business, with my photo shoot. It was so powerful. The image–so talking about the power of images, on vision board, my own image is what gave me the first vision of what was possible so I would love to promote that. I agree when the women come, so they’ve made the decision to come, I don’t ever talk anyone into coming, but I do talk about the vision board being a very intimate experience. It’s like basically taking your brain and going, “So if you don’t believe that your partner your spouse is going to be as excited about it as you are, and you feel there’s going to be any type of criticism, they don’t deserve to see it.” It’s your own private, intimate–and again, you have to negotiate that within your own marriage but I talk about where are you going to put this so that you get to see it every day but it doesn’t have to be shared. There’s power in declaring it but the power of declaring it is to those that are within your cloud, within your rainbow of support. Having a really–your sister or a girlfriend. I actually have a girlfriend, and she’s a big supporter. She’s gone–she’s traveled to me to go see speakers, but her husband–he’s like my number one fan. He’s always asking me about it and so I don’t want to just say it’s females. I’ve got some men that also really understand the process and the power of it. He sends me devotionals that have biblical references to vision, and he just he’s so fun. I just appreciate him. You can do it anyways, and also know that it’s about you. As you grow, you benefit your family so by being self-full, going back to that again, and so it’s not your children’s board. I had one woman she’s like, “I really want my daughter to be a nurse. I’m going to put that on my board.” Well, then she gets to do her own board. This is about you, about what you want for your life, and getting really clear on that. If that vision includes your husband, and you having this beautiful, respectful, open conversation then that gets to be part of your vision on your board. What does that look like? Even going past that, that’s really the how like what are you doing together? Are you taking trips together? Are you walking hand in hand on the beach? What does that look and feel like? I’ve had women tell me that there was resistance at first and then when they brought the board home, and again didn’t put it in his face, didn’t like just–it took a little bit of time but as the noticing and as the curiosity came to look at the board, it was again a tool for some of those discussions that opened up the dialogue around what it is that she wanted in her life. So if you think about it in that way as well, that it could be that–just that link, that bridge to having some of that beautiful conversation and love.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
When you get in touch with what you want, then it’s much easier for you to go and approach your husband about the things that you want because one of the things that we do naturally, because we’re women and we’re so cool like that, is we expect our husbands to do the wanting for us, to figure out what makes us happy, to just read our minds, or to decode our mind because we can’t decode it ourselves. So it ends up being this really frustrated conversation where like, “Don’t you get it?” and he’s like, “No, I don’t get it,” and you’re trying to explain something that you yourself don’t even get. Then it gets this really “ah, mush,” messed up, fuzzy and it’s like, “No. Stop. Go figure yourself out.” Do your own work. Do your own getting in touch with what do I want, what do I desire, what makes me happy, what fills me up, what grounds me, what makes me feel like, “Okay, I got this clarity thing. I’m sure I know what I need. I’m sure I know what I want now. I’m gonna go and talk to him now.” It sounds like such a nice, comfortable conversation. “This is what would make me happy, and this is what I found that really helps me and this is how I need your support right now. This is how–” whatever. He’s like, “Yes, sir, whatever you need,” because his goal is just to make you happy. He just doesn’t want to figure it out because he doesn’t know how but if you come prepared then he’s all in. So like you were saying, sometimes after you come with the vision board then it suddenly sort of clarifies all that mud and it becomes see-through. You can actually have a conversation without making it about reading your mind, figuring it out, giving hints, trying whatever. I was in a physical retreat about two years ago, and one of the art projects that we did–there was a night activity. It was a three-day, two-night retreat. Each night had an art activity at the end, towards the end of the day when everybody was already too tired to learn anything so it was absolutely amazing. The last day, right before we went home, we did a vision board where we had to cut up all these things and put them all together on a board. It was right at the beginning of my process. After I had the baby, I left the nursing baby home, and I was pumping. It was crazy but I really felt like I needed these three days for myself to regroup and really get my act together. I had these like big epiphanies those days. I come down the stairs, and I’m like, “Guys, I’m gonna be famous. I don’t know what I’m gonna do with that.” That was really scary for me. Funny enough, we were at a wedding, a Covid wedding, where like there was only 30 people there. Suddenly, from far away, some lady is like, “Oh my gosh, are you Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman?” She turns to my husband, and says, “Do know your wife is famous?” I don’t know who she is but she follows me. That was just really crazy to see that in real life, but there you go. I declared it anyway so we made a vision board and it was just a little piece of paper that we made–put together all these little things and I put it inside my closet because I didn’t really want it to be too visual, like too in front of anyone but I wanted to see it every time I open my closet. Within four months, everything on that board was done. Every time I did something, and I actually achieved whatever, I wrote down the date of when it happened and it was like, “What do I do now?” It was just like, “Oh, that was crazy.” All these things I didn’t even think were possible but I put them on anyway, because who cares, and it was like, “Wow,” so that was my first ever encounter with an actual vision board. That’s why I get so excited about the work that you do–is because it takes it to the next level really going through the process of knowing, getting to know yourself and really finding that clarity so I think.

DEBBI SLUYS
It works. So to answer your question, what’s next? Do you have your next vision board?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Sort of. So I have been saying I want to make a vision board for a long time, and it’s a little difficult because I don’t give myself the time to actually do it. I also don’t like you’re saying, I don’t actually have any of the magazines or things that I could cut up but I went to a little workshop. They had make your own vision board on Canva and that was really funny because exactly what you were saying was happening to me. I was going through the images on Google, searching for specific things, and I couldn’t–I didn’t like any of it. It just felt so—so I decided I’m not going through Google I’m just going to do whatever canvas shows up. So I searched for the words that I had planned out like she did first. We had to first write down words and then the words had to become pictures, and I just went with it. It became a really cool vision board that’s still digital because I didn’t even print it out. It’s in my–I see it every so often because I open it, I make sure that it’s somewhere where I will see it. So it definitely–I have it. My sister says, “I recently got 30 magazines from a friend, and I got all excited but alas they’re all food magazines.”

DEBBI SLUYS
That’s okay. What I want to tell you is that sometimes we think like, “Oh, I need an Oprah magazine, or I need this kind of really personal development type of magazine,” but actually some of the best images are advertisements. So even though it’s a food magazine you might have advertising–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Because advertisements talk to your wants.

DEBBI SLUYS
They embody your best life, right? So it’s like even with feminine products. They’re talking about tampons or whatever ,and the girls are in the in the convertible going, “Woo!” right? That has nothing to do with the feminine products but they’re just living this extraordinary life. So I would challenge you to even say–if you look with the lens of vision and look past what the advertisement is–even like I said, Europeans, because they’ve been a real strict lockdown, and again I don’t know where you are, but they didn’t have access to foam core board and magazines but everybody was able to secure what they needed so it’s pretty exciting.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Yeah. I go up to my sister. We both live in Israel but we’re two hours away from each other, so if you have 30 magazines maybe we should make this a date.

DEBBI SLUYS
Let me know and I can help you out. Here, I’ll show you. I’ll just turn my computer. There’s my vision board, and I’m going to be creating a new one sitting on top of my couch. You see it? It’s about 20×30 inches so again, they’re large but I love what you said too. I do encourage people to take a photo of it to put it on their electronic devices to make it your screen saver. The more often you can see it, the more powerful it is in terms of it landing into your brain. Amazing.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Okay, so you guys, let’s all gather ourselves because it’s been an hour and I don’t want to take your time. She is amazing—Deb. dare2declare.com, go check it out. That’s the first thing I wanted to tell you. Second thing is, if you want to sign up for my retreat, go to connectedforreal.com/retreat. You don’t want to miss it. That is going to be absolutely awesome. That’s it. I’m very excited so please join us again next week with another guest and it is super fun because we talk about everything that has to do with life and how it affects marriage so thank you. Thank you for coming.

DEBBI SLUYS
Thanks for having me it was a lot of fun.

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