I recently had a call from a client to say she had been offered the job she really wanted. It is always so rewarding to see this result from a Career Reboot client.
One of the final stages of her Reboot Program was to visualise herself in that job. Being an artist, this method worked well for her. We went even further and suggested she sketch herself sitting at the desk in her new job. She added the touches of a window open in front of her looking out to nature, and a cup of tea on her desk. For her, it worked, brilliantly!
Visualisation works. I’ve used it many times myself for both career and personal goals. It wasn’t only her success that prompted me to write about visualisation this week. It is also the March topic of “Declutter the Mind”. By shifting our focus to something positive that we really, and even passionately desire, it can push out any negative thoughts and patterns that continue to bug us. Things like our critical voice!
Here’s another example of a more personal nature. Three months ago my Partner was in an organised quad bike cross country ride. A dreadful crash left him with multiple fractures, a serious concussion they are now calling a brain injury long term rehabilitation requirements that mean he cannot perform his normal job for some time yet. Not only does he battle with his own frustrations and critical voice, he has multiple rehab specialists focused on what is wrong with him, frequently. To overcome this he has been practicing visualisation. For him, he visualises being in his race car, focused on the track, maintaining speed and winning.
What is visualisation?
Visualisation is personal. It can help transform your day, your week, your life and your career. It is the art of creating a clear picture in your mind of the exact circumstance you want to create.
Visualisation is seeing, feeling and completely embodying a future outcome, be that sitting in your new office after your promotion, turning the key to the lock of your dream home or winning the race.
By creating and then seeing your desired future outcome in your mind in as much detail as possible, you can then transform that into reality.
Where do I start?
The key to visualisation is being as specific as you can. Picture what’s going to happen as clearly as you can in your mind. See the detail. The example I gave of the Racing Car Driver, he could see the track, smell the fuel and feel vibration of the car. He pictured himself dressed in the racing overalls, gloved hands clasped around the steering wheel and he could see the chequered flag beckoning him to the finish line! It’s all in the detail.
You might be visualising yourself being offered a job from the interview you went to where you saw yourself receiving an enthusiastic reaction form the interviewer who intently listened to your answers. You could visualise the contract arriving via email and then yourself walking in on your first day filled with a sense of both excitement and pride.
If you want to become a better public speaker, spend time visualizing yourself speaking to a large audience who are encouraging and receptive. If you want to increase the number of potential clients you engage with each day, picture yourself calling and connecting with many prospects each day who are delighted to receive your call. The point is, the more you practice the skill by visualising yourself doing it, the better you’ll be at that particular skill in reality.
The more realistic you can make your visualisation, the more effective it’ll be.
You can really have fun with visualisation which is a key point. It is something positive you can do when you might otherwise be experiencing self-doubt, confusion or apprehension.
What if I can’t see anything?
Within my own work, I have some clients who struggle with visualisation. It’s just no their “thing”. Another effective method is to write down what you want to achieve, or should I say what you are going to achieve. Again be as detailed as you can. Write a story around the few moments where you see your goals reached or dream come true.
We are more likely to learn by using all our senses. By writing the exercise you are using your thoughts, blended with the physical activity of writing. This is giving even more energy to the idea. Reading it again and again, making additions, alterations and improvements will cement the likelihood of a positive outcome even more.
Remember the power of thought
Let’s look at it from another angle. Scientists say we have 50-70,000 thoughts per day, common knowledge I’m sure you’d agree. But did you know that 90% of them are supposedly the same thoughts as you had yesterday. The same thoughts create the same emotion, which then creates the same action, which gets the same results and then you get the same thoughts. And so the cycle of creation continues. You can really use this to your advantage by choosing thoughts aligned with your visualisation of what you want to achieve.
Of course, wrapped around all of this needs to be purposeful action.
Just imagine the results!
A little Science
When you continually visualize yourself reaching a specific goal or milestone, your brain interprets that vision as reality. Over time, this creates new neural pathways to support that reality.
It’s like an analogy I often refer to about walking through tall grass. When we first start walking through the tall grass we leave footprints, eventually, after walking the path time and time again, the grass is flattened and the pathway is clear.
Visualisation is effective at boosting performance because it activates the same regions of the brain that are activated when actually performing a task. It can actually change the pattern of our electrochemical brain waves.
In essence, visualising is like tricking your brain into acting as if that thing you want is already a reality; be it winning the race, getting your dream job, buying your home, nailing a presentation, landing a big promotion or launching your own successful business. Because your brain thinks your desired outcome has already happened, you’re more likely to take the actions necessary to align with your brain’s perceived reality.
On that note, while visualisation is a highly effective tool, you need to pair it with tangible actions to see real results. You can see yourself first to reach the chequered flag, but it won’t ever happen if you don’t first get into the race car. The same goes for successful sales calls, if you don’t pick up the phone, do the doing and make the calls, you’re not going to get the results you are looking for.
When you combine visualisation with action, opportunities start to present themselves. You will be energised to take purposeful action and subsequently attract people and circumstances that will help you get the result you are visualising.
Visualisation is like a roadmap for the saying “if you can dream it, you can achieve it” frequently used by Zig Ziglar and like “if you can dream it, you can do it” made famous by Walt Disney.
Pick a dream and get started today!