“Picture yourself in a boat on a river …” The Beatles
Let’s talk about Visualization: The ability to mentally rehearse successful outcomes in a relaxed state before they actually happen. All great athletes, from golfers to hoopsters to Olympians, practice visualization as part of their training regimen as well as when competing. For example, have you ever watched an NBA game on TV when one of the players is shooting a free throw? You’ll notice on a close up shot that most every player has a little ritual he performs before tossing the ball up — he bounces the ball a certain number of times, takes a deep breath and then looks up at the basket in a trance-like state. You may even see him move his lips as if to mumble some words to himself just before shooting. Then, hopefully, a swish. He is coached on this technique to improve his performance at the free throw stripe. And this same technique can work for you in your business or career.
But before I get going, let me address a possible concern you might have — a reluctance to embrace becoming “a legend in your own mind.” I’m not suggesting you become egotistical, self-absorbed or narcissistic — I like to believe I’m none of these. I consider myself just another kid from the neighborhood: I graduated from a Chicago Public High School with a 1.74 GPA — I was definitely not knocking the ball out of the park academically. What I do believe about myself is that I am actually “nobody special” doing something very special with each of my clients. And I visualize this every single morning.
You may have experimented with some form of mental rehearsal in the past, perhaps with mixed results, so you might be feeling some resistance. Perhaps you doubt that you can even do it — “I can’t ever seem to SEE anything when I try visualizing.” If this is the case, let me gently correct your thinking — you’re ALREADY using visualization — you’re visualizing “FOOD” daily, right? That’d be breakfast, lunch and dinner — tell me you never dream of that juicy steak you’re gonna have for dinner that has your mouth watering at 2 pm. The truth is, most people put more effort into picturing what they’re having for these three daily meals than they ever put into picturing success.
Also, you may have a concern that going into a relaxed state might be a black-magic meditation for some wacky new age religion or brain-washing cult. No — you don’t have to shave your head, chant a mantra all day long or send me all of your money (although my bank account would love it …).
Let share with you my simple way of visualizing that I lay out for all of my clients. Follow along with the process below — it should take you no longer than 10 minutes. ( I recommend you keep it short and sweet in the beginning so you don’t feel the burden of yet another task on your “to do” list):
A. Put yourself in a relaxed seated position. Sit upright in a comfortable chair, on a sofa or on the floor. (I do not recommend you lie down, as the desired state is conscious relaxation, not sleep.)
B. Close your eyes and take several steady slow deep breaths. Three or four should do it — perhaps count to seven for each inhale and exhale. Then just relax and breathe normally through your nostrils.
C. Notice any distracting thoughts or sounds, but let them pass by. Since the desired mental state is focused concentration, you’ll need to ignore distractions. This may be the hardest part at first, which you’ll overcome with practice.
D. Bring to mind an important goal and picture yourself going through the process of perfectly achieving it. This is where the rubber meets the road in visualization — you want to create a mental experience of having already “been there, done that.” Some examples:
• If you’re in sales, envision a picture of you and your prospects agreeing to do business together, that they’re eager to get started with your product or service and are handing you a large check. Make sure you see the amount on their check written clearly, whether it’s $1,000, $10,000, $100,000 or more.
• If you’re a business leader, see your people excited about your new marketing proposal you’ve presented at a company meeting and eager to carry it out.
• In your personal life, picture your relationship with your spouse as happier, more fulfilling, more fun. See the two of you enjoying yourselves at play, having deeper conversations, laughing together, etc.
• Likewise, see your body in the best shape ever – being at your ideal weight, trim and fit. Draw forth images of bulging muscles, toned abs or holding that challenging yoga pose.
E. Close with a statement of declaration. End each daily session with a simple affirmation of intention, something like, “I now accept and approve of these mental images for myself!” Or even, “So be it, so it is!” (Yes — you can even end with, “Amen!”)
When you make visualization a daily habit you’ll stay mentally on track to achieve any goal you’d like. This habit will then help you to follow through on your goals, as you’ll have already “experienced” the results and the feelings associated with making these things happen.
You’ll validate the words of Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich — “Anything the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” And you’ll start to have the feeling like you’ve been there before, as in the words of that great yogi, Yogi Berra: “It’s like deja vu all over again.” You’ll become a legend in your own mind, on your way to becoming a legend in your own time.
Success Skills Coach Jim Rohrbach, “The Personal Fitness Trainer for Your Business,” coaches Financial Advisors around the US by phone to help them grow their clientele. To set up a Free Consultation with Jim, go to www.SuccessSkills.com.