Visualisation, whilst not a new concept it often derided or at the very least met with skepticism. My husband gently teases me about the ‘parking fairies’ I employ. Nine times out of ten the parking space I’ve ‘visualised’ right outside my destination is there, my husband doesn’t always land the space. It is well documented that Jim Carrey, Tiger Woods and Muhammad Ali all famously ‘saw’ their success before it arrived.
The famous basketball study by Australian Psychologist Alan Richardson where the three teams in the study are assigned different practice regimes; one group stay fit, one group play basketball and practice, and the third group stay fit and visualise success on the field. The success rates between the team that actually play and the team that visualise success are barely discernable.
The theory is that being able to visualise a precise picture of what success looks like for you will make it less abstract and potentially more possible. If you visualise this picture of success daily, you are much more likely to focus on the things that you really wish to achieve. And of course when we know what we’re looking for, it so much easier to find.
There are many ways to start visualising, try these. They may feel a little awkward at first, go with it and see what happens.
1. Take some time and really visualise how you are defining success. What does it look like for you? We are sensory beings, so also consider what does it sound like, what does it feel like, what does it taste like, what does it smell like. I once worked with a tech entrepreneur who had a particularly well developed olfactory system, when we were discussing success he regularly ‘visualised’ the smell of the carpet in his new offices, we were in a small room with the three other people in the company. He now employs thousands of people across the globe.
2. Now take those images, smells, sounds, tastes and textures and add as much minute detail as you possibly can. Really engage your emotions. It makes the visualisation richer and as an added bonus may spark questions around what you are planning to achieve.
3. There is an old adage, ‘fake it ‘til you make it’. However in her latest research, Amy Cuddy says ‘fake it until you become it’ truly bringing together the power of that mind/ body connection. Really think about your body language, your posture, your voice and what you are wearing. Does it convey confidence in what you are hoping to achieve. Will it draw people to you or away from you?
4. Many clients that I work with put together a dream-board. Which may be all about the pipeline for the forthcoming months and quarters or may be the wider annual strategic and tactical plans. As inherently visual beings, it serves to help maintain focus and clarity. It doesn’t have to be public. One of my clients, VP, Sales of a Fortune 100 company uses her fridge at home and an app on her iPad.
5. Take a different perspective. Visualise your success from your perspective and also that of others. How will others view you, what will they see. It will deepen the experience but also likely provide angles that you hadn’t perhaps considered.
And finally repeat often and practice. It may initially make you feel slightly uncomfortable, but getting comfortable with discomfort is just what the brain needs to grow and help you achieve your potential.
And as for the parking fairies, try it and see for yourself…
By Kate Tojeiro, Executive Coach, facilitator to senior executives and author of new book: The Art of Possible, new habits, neuroscience and the power of deliberate action. She is also the founder of leadership development firm, X fusion and has built an impressive list of FTSE 100 and Fortune 100 clients over the last 15 years. She has formed a reputation for developing some of the world’s most successful leaders, as well as the next generation of rising stars. She is a regular fixture on BBC radio and a voice in the media. She is also the author of The Art of Possible, new habits, neuroscience and the power of deliberate action.