During your drive to and from the office, as you go through your morning routine or even when you are in a boring meeting, your mind drifts off all throughout the day. This natural pattern of thinking, usually undirected, can lead to reviewing old memories, dreading something in the future or thinking about a new creative idea for your business. Most of the time though, the untamed mind will go to worry and playing out the worst-case scenario. To use this faculty of the mind in a powerful way, you can use what is called “directed daydreaming” where you can control where your mind goes and what it imagines.
The use of guided imagery is supported by research as a useful technique in a variety of interventions from stress relief to sports performance. Tiger Woods used visualization to help his golf game, Michael Jordan visualized every shot he took prior to his NBA games and even Albert Einstein used visualization to develop his theories including the famous theory of relativity and he famously once said “imagination is everything.”
At Inc. Magazine’s Women’s Summit in New York City, Spanx Founder Sara Blakely told the audience that she uses visualization daily to help her grow her business.
Before you think of this as magical thinking, there has been extensive research done on guided imagery for sports performance, cancer recovery, pain management and more. According to the research of Krista J. Monroe-Chandler and Michelle D. Guerrero, April 2017, called “Psychological Imagery in Sport and Performance,” they examined dozens of studies on guided imagery from sports performance to the performance enhancements of musicians, physicians and artists. They conclude that it is undeniable that imagery is a powerful psychological technique and their research analysis revealed that athletes who used imagery had greater goal achievement and confidence than those who did not.
As a coach, I have produced hundreds of visualizations for thousands of clients over the years. What is remarkable is that clients report that the exact scenes they visualized actually playing out in the future. It has helped some people overcome fears of public speaking by simply allowing them to have a practice performance in their minds so when they get up on stage, their mind does not fear a new situation.
If you want to be effective in learning how to make your “directed daydreaming” effective, follow these five tips:
1. Be clear on what you want to create.
Visualize your ideal outcome and make sure you include all five sense: sound, touch, sight, smell and feeling. Play out the entire scenario including all the details as if you were recalling a memory.
2. Believe more than you doubt — 51 percent.
It is natural to still have doubt that you can create big leaps and see success when all around you reflecting back are setbacks. Don’t fight the doubt but increase your faith. You only have to believe in your vision and the possibility at least 51% ( believe more than you doubt) to attain your vision.
3. Connect your vision to a purpose.
Have a powerful passion toward your vision instead of a passive one. There needs to be an intensity of emotion when visualizing getting what you want. The goal you want has to have a strong sense of meaning and purpose.
4. Be consistent and practice daily.
You have to be consistent, not only in the vision of what you want, but you also need to be consistent in the visualization practice. For best results, time-spaced repetition works. the more skilled you become at visualization, the more effective it is. Commit to five minutes a day on a daily basis for your practice, twice a day is even better. If you meditate, it is a great extra add-on when your mind is relaxed. The best thing about visualization is that you can do it anywhere at any time you have a few moments to yourself.
5. Take action toward your vision.
While visualizing success feels so good, success comes to you by taking action toward the vision. This is where most entrepreneurs fail, they feel comfortable visualizing but then freeze when it comes to taking action.
Be mindful of how your mind wanders in between your visualization practice. Your attention is like a flashlight and will magnify whatever you focus on. You cannot be successful if you are constantly daydreaming on failure and setbacks. To create dramatic changes in your business, focus on what you want and your imagination will do all the rest.