Struggling with options to switch-up your career progression? Visualisation is a simple technique of seeing the future for effective motivation.
What is the Visualisation technique?
Used successfully by athletes and business moguls, the visualisation technique helps you see where you want to be before it happens. It is a form of visual thinking using guided imagery. This sounds just like the basic method of ‘planning ahead’. However, visualisation is a powerful tool that can make a significant difference to how you perceive your life goals and anticipate obstacles.
It is about fully seeing, feeling and experiencing the mental image of your desired future and using that emotion to act on it. Paul McCartney once said his trick to success was to picture exactly what you want to achieve (in case how he wants his song to sound) and then just do it. Easier said than done! Visualisation is no easy feat and requires some grafting.
How does it work?
Visualisation unlocks a part of the brain’s neural pathways associated when you experience happiness from success. It essentially tricks the brain by making it think it has achieved a goal, and therefore makes it understand it as a reality. This sounds close to the meaning of delusion. However, your mind is not completely blocked or foggy with pretence.
It just needs extra stimulation to help it believe in certain feats you can be capable of. By making the brain ‘think’ an outcome has already happened, such as a presentation, job interview or assignment, it is more likely to deal with all the actions required to make it happen.
Not convinced? Have you ever had a project that barely took off because you were too scared or demotivated? Ever shrugged away from motivational speeches which claimed that to make your dreams real is to just ‘do it’? Visualisation is an effective technique for dealing with fear of failure. When the brain has not been allowed to envision your success, it is unwilling to make the first step. It doesn’t see it as a reality and finds it harder to get the wheels in motion.
Need more proof? Visualising your work-outs can increase muscle mass by 13.5% over 12 weeks without even setting foot in a gym!
How to put the visualisation technique into practise
Start with the basics by allocating time each day for some motivational meditation. Find a calm moment to sit down and think about what you want to achieve. This can range from small daily tasks, to career prospects, and even existential questions about life and what kind of person you want to be. It can be useful to write, draw these down or make a vision board.
Here is the trick to turning these lists of possibilities into a visualisation technique. Instead of just writing down wishes and dreams which could make some feel overwhelmed, actually state that you have achieved them in real life.
It is crucial to be as specific as possible. By getting down every single detail of the mental image, such as setting, colours, and senses, you will be able to experience the success to its full extent. It is best advised to start with a small set such as three and make them as vivid and realistic as possible. Your brain will be ignited with a rush of motivation and will be ready to go.
One important aspect of visualisation is to anticipate, anticipate, anticipate. By picturing all the setbacks and challenges your brain will be less phased when they arrive. You will be able to plan ahead in a way you have never done before. Again, the trick is to be as graphic as possible when imagining all the problems, so you can throw a curveball before it happens. Having a game plan, especially a visual game plan, helps eliminate fear which is usually the main factor that hinders success.
Keep practicing. The visualisation technique only gets better through practice. The good thing is when you get better at visualisation the actual skill with improving alongside it. By spending a couple of minutes each day envisioning your future self, whether that is nailing a job pitch or passing an exam, you are one step closer to achieving it.
Visualisation is only working if your brain and body start responding to it. Everything needs to be backed up with concrete results, even small steps. If you are endlessly thinking but not doing, then your visualisation technique is not strong enough for you to react to it. This means you may need to be more detailed in your mental imagery. Your brain needs to really believe that you have reached your goal in real life for it to begin acting. Want to be a manager? When you visualise the mental image well, you will start to act like one and thus proving your capabilities; working harder, taking on more responsibility and being a reliable name in the office.