Ten years after starting his business, my husband found a vision board he’d made when he launched it.
On it was a photo of a car, a house, and a tropical beach holiday.
The car - was the car he now had.
The house - was very similar to the house he was now living in.
And the holiday - was like one he’d just come home from…
There is a raft of scientific and anecdotal evidence about the power of visualisation.
It’s been used by sports people for years:
And Jim Carrey (the actor) famously wrote himself a $10 million cheque dated ten years in the future and carried it everywhere in his wallet.
Ten years later, he was paid $10 million for the film Dumb and Dumber.
You can also use this tool to help you progress in your career.
But visualisation doesn’t always have to mean a vision board.
Not everyone is strongly visually-driven - some people are more auditory, or kinaesthetic (feeling), or even olfactory (smell) or gustatory (taste).
For example, do you say, “that looks good/ sounds good/ feels good to me”?
You can use your new understanding of your “language” to visualise most effectively for you.
So here are four steps to create a powerful visualisation of your goals.
Step 1 - Define what you want
You have to start here! Your goal has to be clear for you to be able to create a compelling visualisation around it. So take some time to clarify your goal. What is it you really want?
Step 2 - How would that sound/ look/ feel?
It’s not enough just to say “I want to be Partner”. You have to flesh out the details of what that would actually mean, and you need all five senses to do that, whatever your language.
Take yourself forward into the future to the time where you have achieved your goal. What does the world look like/ feel like/ smell like? What can you touch or hear? How is your life different? Project yourself really deeply into that moment in the future and really live that moment when you have achieved your goals.
(If you'd like some help with defining your future successful career and what it would look/sound/feel like (Steps 1 and 2 above), I have recorded a ten minute guided visualisation - you can download it here)
Step 3 - Record this in the best way for you
Visualisation is most powerful when it is repeated. So you need a method to record your visualisation so you can refer to it again.
This is where you can adapt according to your preferred “language”:
Visual people: the most well-known method is to create a vision board. You can either do this in real life by cutting out pictures from magazines and sticking them to something; or virtually in Pinterest. Find pictures of the details that you imagined, and arrange them so they will remind you of your goal when you look at them.
Auditory people: record yourself describing your day once you’ve achieved your goals, focussing on what you hear: “when I wake up, I hear a calm house as we all get ready for the day ahead. As I walk/ drive to work I notice the sounds around me of the busy streets. And as I get into work and walk into my corner office, I hear my assistant saying “good morning” and reminding me about my presentation to the Board later that day [or whatever the details of your goal day look like].” Make sure it's in the present tense, and between 5-10 minutes so it’s easy to play it back.
Kinaesthetic people: as a “feeling” language person, you need to focus on how you feel. So you could do a vision board that include words to describe your feelings; or images that remind you of moments when you had similar feelings. (An image of a car is unlikely to motivate you, but seeing the words “I feel fulfilled”, would.) Or you could do a recording focussing on how you feel at those moments during the day. Or you could find an object that represents those feelings that you could hold to remind you of your goal - like Jim Carrey’s cheque.
Olfactory/ gustatory people: identify a particular smell or taste that you associate with you having achieved your goal. Carry it with you, smell/ taste it regularly, or write it down so you can see the word often.
Step 4 - Repeat!
As stated above, visualisation is most effective when it is repeated.
So create a habit of visualising your goal regularly:
listen to your recording on your commute;
put your vision board somewhere obvious, like your computer screensaver;
have your object on your desk.
And that’s it - four steps to visualisation, depending on your preferred “language”.
One caveat: obviously, it’s not enough simply to visualise - otherwise the world would be full of millionaires. You also need to take action to help you achieve your goals.
So use your visualisation as a motivating force; and an inspiration to drive you forward.