How To Visualize The Right Way

How To Visualize The Right Way

Written by glenn

Topics: Planning, Successful Entrepreneurs


This is my second post about a skill and practice you must have and use to create the success you want and achieve your dreams. The first was on Brainstorming For Solo Entrepreneurs. This post is about how to visualize the right way. It is about the right kind of Visualizing or as I say its called…

Visualizing The Right Stuff The Right Way

I felt strong enough about this piece of input I wanted to actually provide a link and summary to a scientific study done about visualization.  Drs. Pham and Taylor identified in their study what kind of visualization is the best“From Thought To Action: Effects of Process-Based Versus Outcome-Based Mental Simulations on Performance”

Their study showed that the test group that focused on the process to achieve a goal consistently outperformed the group that only visualized the outcome. The group that focused on the process (plans) in their visualization combined with the work were more successful at achieving their goal than the group that visualized the outcome and did the work. The visualization on the process (the plan) improved the planning, the performance and reduced anxiety as well.

How Does The Right Visualization Make A Difference

Does Well Intentioned Advice and Coaching Hurt?

How do we apply this. This is one of those critical adjustments you must make in your how in order to get what you want. There are lots of mentors, experts and gurus who tell you: as a leader that you set the goal (The What) for your team and then let them figure out the way to accomplish/achieve the goal. (The How) These experts say the more you dictate the how the less chance the what will be achieved.  For over 3 decades I have seen people express the critical importance of visualization in achieving your goals. Getting the right picture of your goal in your mind. Posting on a visualization board. Meditating on it – Seeing your self have possession of what you dream about… I do not need to list all the various methods gurus use to “inspire” their followers, students and team members. “You want that new car in 6 months – pick the color, select the exact model, identify and see all the color and option choices you want, go take it for a test drive to feel what it will be like when you have achieved that goal.”  These all sound really good – can they hurt you? Probably not hurt – but are they truly the keys to achieving your success? NO – Just because one person did this – had success and now wants to “help others”  they say it worked for them it can work for you. But guess what – unless the practice and process is repeatable by anyone – replicateable by anyone who follows the methods – it is not anything other than opinion based upon personal experience.

Who am I to refute George Patton!  He is attributed with this quote: “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” I am going to go against that kind of genius today and talk at length about the HOW of Visualization.  Doing it is important – Doing it Right is URGENT and Important!

Let me use a sports metaphor to drive home this point on visualizing the right stuff…

Visualizing Success In Sports

I am going to use a sports metaphor to explain the recommendation I am making – based upon scientific evidence and testing!  Let’s look at an Olympic class pole vaulter. The traditional success guru would recommend that this pole vaulter visualizes seeing themselves leaning over on the award ceremony podium with the gold medal being placed around their neck. They will go on to further recommend that the athlete see hear and feel all parts of receiving the ward in visualizing and meditating.  Hear the crowd around them in the stadium, hear the music of their national anthem playing. Sense now the emotions of success in their body and fully experience the physical mental and emotional state as they bend over to receive that gold medal award and achieve their goal. That is pretty much a universal practice of visualization that most of the gurus recommend and train. My personal coaches and mentors talk about seeing yourself achieving; hearing the sounds;  feel the sensations;  what are you thinking! You must bring all that desired future into the present tense and experience it now.

The scientific study that I referenced above tells us to visualize a little differently. Focus on the plans, the work and the achievement! The Visualization Trifecta!

Let’s look at the pole vaulter a little differently – In their Right Stuff Visualization

  • They see themselves standing at the end of the runway on the day of competition.
  • They see themselves rehearsing the entire vault in their minds eye.
  • They feel the weight of their pole in their hands.
  • They see themselves accelerating down the runway running their best ever smoothly following their training.
  • They see them extending the pole into the ground
  • they feel the tension increased as the pole catches.
  • They practice going completely through a successful vault in their visualization
  • They feel the pole in their hands they feel the tension of the pole they feel the changes in their body as they extend up towards the crossbeam.
  • Leaning in and then pushing – they feel their body arching – their feet extending over the pole. They see themselves looking back having gone over the bar and seeing the bar wiggling but staying on and not falling.
  • They feel the exhilaration in their body as they jump to their feet and they scream the victory of making their desired vault.
  • They turn and look at the score on the scoreboard and read the height of their vault and they see that they accomplished the target vault that they set knowing deep down that height will win them gold….

That is the Right Stuff of Visualization, The plan, the work and the achieved goal…

That is the practice of visualization that will get you the better success and achievement of your goals.  It is the reason that I’ve laid out my planning process here: To turn your dreams into goals and your goals into plans and your plans into actions So that you are able to visualize the process of you achieving your goal. When I started this series of articles remember go back and read the first one when I talked about the millions of Google responses for planning and yet the majority of the ones that I looked through the hundreds that I looked through were really about setting the goal and not a simple process of planning. We shared some tools along the way that will help you build a practice of visualizing your process.   The timeline – using a draft timeline putting your milestones, all your critical milestones that added up get you to your ultimate goal.  The process of reverse engineering and backwards planning and adding that to a timeline. These are the pieces that you can use to help you visualize along the way of achieving your goal

A simple visualization practice you can do this week

Right now – take out a piece paper and if you’ve been following along our Simple Planning For Us Dummies process and you have a goal you’re working toward. Right it down and pull off your action list items that you are going to work on and complete each day for the next week.  If you don’t have it yet do it now. Identify for yourself over the next 5 to 7 days what are your daily objectives that contribute to your ultimate success. Identify them now – the key things you want to accomplish over the next five to seven days.

Create a timeline for the week with those key items as milestones and the supporting tasks to each. Now tonight before you call it a day or before you go put your head down this evening you’re going to go through and list the things that you’re going to accomplish tomorrow and the things you’re going to work on tomorrow.

After you’ve completed that list now is you’re time to visualize yourself doing the work tomorrow and completing the work!

End Result Visualization: yes spend some time seeing yourself achieving your end result your big goal along with the work you’re doing this week.

Visualize Each Days Work This Week: ( What does your day look like? What does your week look like?) Now see your self doing the work and accomplishing the things that you’ve set out for this week. Maybe it’s that blog post you want to write and post tomorrow! See yourself doing the research see yourself sitting at your desk – see yourself completing it – see yourself checking it, editing it.  See yourself making sure that you have  proper keyword formatting.  See yourself completing the right headline that will draw traffic and the people that you want to talk to. Visualize yourself doing that work and completing that work See yourself posting the blog article — pushing publish — going back to your homepage and seeing the post there! See yourself doing that tomorrow and feel the success of that. If your goal involves building your business through blogging and you set a goal of blogging three times a week in certain areas you will need to see yourself doing that three times over the next seven days see it now at the beginning of the week. See it each day the day before you have set down to accomplish that objective. That visualization is going to help you divert and avoid distractions and stay focused on the things that you know you must do. Each of your goals that you have set that are important for you to accomplish this week — visualize what you need to do to make them happen!

I know you can do this. I’m sure you’ve gotten advice about visualizing. Maybe read books. But this is about doing today what will impact your next day! Visualizing doing things today that are going to drive you achieving your big goal 30 days from now 60 days from now 90 days from now.



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