The Power of Visualization

Most of us know the importance of visualizing a goal or life-long vision to bring it into reality. But what about using visualization on a more regular basis?

For a long time now, I have used visualization as a form of “mental rehearsal” in every single situation requiring planning. When I ran a large convention for nearly ten years, it involved a lot of planning, scheduling and fine-tuning of details. I would use my early morning hours, or exercise time, or even drive time, to mentally rehearse different aspects of the plan. I would “play the reel” in my head. Doing so often helped identify a glitch in the plan, allowing me to rework a particular aspect. By the time the actual event arrived, things would run like clockwork, because of the months of mental dress rehearsals.

Another example: I can remember lying on a decompression machine one day, re-designing an inventory pick-pack system and work flow in my head. My daughter’s wedding, multiple house moves, including a “split” move across two states. In every situation, I run the reels, check the fine-tuning. Bringing the application into even smaller details, I rehearse or think through a string of tasks, errands, or my day’s schedule. Not just intellectually, or by reviewing the calendar. I see it, feel it, practice it in full color detail in my brain. That’s when I will determine the best clothes to wear, or the best route to take. It’s when I figure out how to group events together to make maximum use of my time.

My best time to visualize is in the early morning (or middle of the night if I’m awake) because my brain is rested and free-wheeling. Not fully awake and engaged yet, my mind is free to play in living color.

Visualization also helps me remember things. Today, the reason I wrote this, I had a great example. During a sleepless hour last night, I had thought through a task that I wanted to do in my office today, in preparation for some offsite meetings tomorrow. That task, in turn, had occurred to me as I rehearsed meeting two potential client contacts tomorrow. I was rehearsing the conversation, and visualization the experience. I went back to sleep and didn’t write it down, or even think about it this morning. But the visualization of actually doing that task, resulted in the memory being triggered when I was in that place in my office today. The thought had tried to push its way into my consciousness several times in the morning, when I had a vague sense that there was something to be done, but I didn’t know what. I now know, too, to trust my brain. If whatever was niggling at me was important, it would soon push through. At nearly lunch time, I stood up to stretch between client calls, walked over to the window, and my brain brought the “reel” into consciousness. What I needed to do was right there on the shelf under the window. Yes! Task complete, reel deleted. Thank you, brain.

What parts of your life are you visualizing in technicolor? Do you actually see what you are doing, what you are wearing, how you are driving, what the restaurant looks like, what the other person is saying to you, where you will park, how you will present that new idea to a client? Do you see yourself finishing a project around the house? Do you mentally rehearse the order of chores you want to do tomorrow? Do you rehearse the logistics of a social event you are hosting?

If you don’t, try it. Your brain is one of the most powerful app’s you have available; use it to your best advantage. Once committed to the sub-conscious, a “rehearsal reel” visualization stays there until you actually complete the real event. Powerful. And extremely rewarding. This is not about the myth of, “if you think it, it will be.” Your rehearsal reels must always be an objective, realistic expectation of an action or task. If its not linked to an entirely possible reality, then you’re dreaming, not visualizing!

Have fun! Share your stories of how visualization has changed your life.