'Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.' Napoleon Hill
Our unconscious mind is designed to serve us. It will do whatever it believes we want and can be a tool or a weapon depending on what and how we program it. More often than not we run unconscious programs that have been created from our life experiences and the filters we encounter in family, friends, media and other stimuli giving us inconsistent or unwanted results in our life. Visualisation is but one tool we can engage to deliberately program our unconscious mind and harness its power to serve us with purpose and direction.Whether it is a goal, a dream, or an aspiration; programing our whole being to experience a new reality is key to achieving what we want in life. Focusing our mind is like turning on the internal guidance system. The more complete an outcome one can give their mind, the more likely it can work consciously and unconsciously on attaining it. Visualisation is one of many tools to help focus and future the mind to attain a desired outcome.
Visualising though can take many different guises depending on what works best for you. I have a simple 5 step process for success of which vsiualisation is Step 1.
Step 1 – A Holistic Visualisation
What I mean by a holistic visualisation is where we engage our senses to create an experience that best represents the outcome we desire. This is as much about engaging our physiology as it is about engaging our imagination. Some of us find it very difficult to visualise. I have often heard participants in a guided meditation say, ‘I just couldn’t visualise what was being said’. Simply not all of us have this as our primary acuity or awareness. Some of us may be more auditory (hearing) or kinaesthetic (feeling) and even gustatory (taste) or olfactory (smell). I find that if we can create a multi-sensory experience then we are more likely to be able to access this state when we are engaging Step 2 and 3 of this success strategy. How do we then create a holistic experience?
1. Dare to Dream – this is an opportunity to go out into the future and just write down all the qualities of who you want to become, what you will be doing and what you will have in this ideal outcome. Imagine you have no restraints of time, money or skill, it’s an opportunity to let your brain hang out! Once these are all written down…for some of us it will be a list, some of us it will look like a mind map, some of us it may be sorted into categories – whatever works for you. No judgement, no assessment…and forget trying to work out how it
2. Now let’s draw these qualities together – identify which if not all of the following would support you creating a very compelling future:
i. Create a collage on a board, sometime known as a vision board – collect pictures, words and any other items, even the lists themselves, that would represent your future either literally eg. the car you want or symbolically. Organise the collage however it suits you – some of us will split it up into categories, some of us will make it very organic. Do what works for you.
ii. Compose and record yourself an affirmation (just means everything is stated in the positive) made up of all the most important qualities you have identified. Make it as long or short as you wish. Listen to this each day, perhaps whilst you are reviewing your collage/vision board. Or find a quiet and private space and sit or stand comfortably and listen to your words. Over time they will become part of your memory and you may no longer need the recording and may instead recite it aloud to yourself. You may also want to find a song that supports your outcome. This is something you can play throughout the day; underscoring your voice recording; or at the end when you are just in this adventure.
iii. In the beginning, when you have done steps 1 and 2 together, take time at the end to start noticing how you feel. What stance has your body taken, how are you breathing, what and where are you feeling in your body? As you are starting to become more familiar with your ideal outcome, make your state of being even more powerful by imagining you have this outcome; notice how it refines your posture, your breathing, and your mindset. How has certainty and determination grown and taken shape in your state of being? As you find that most resourceful way of feeling and holding yourself, you could consciously engage it as you start the visualisation and affirmation processes rather than at the end. This is all part of what we call getting into state or into the zone to power up your visualisation. Over time you may find that just by holding yourself a certain way, you slip straight into your zone and are in tune with your outcome.
3. Once you have been practicing this process for a little while, notice if a moment in time emerges that lets you know that you have attained this outcome. This may or may not present itself depending on how you recognise information, but it is worth asking your unconscious mind to find it if it is there. I tend to have an image or body posture that eventually emerges and represents the culmination of this whole journey and it supports my certainty. For you it could be the same or be words, a sound, a smell, a taste a feeling or a combination. If and when it does present, remember to consciously capture it and note it into your process. Then you can access it at any time and you will immediately be transported to your outcome and reinforce your efforts towards its attainment.
Step 2 – Create a Practice or Routine
This is about programing our whole being; therefore it will take discipline and practice. What more can I say other than as it takes 14-21 days to create a new habit, so too does it take time and consistent effort to create a new mindset and focus for life. Find a time of day and method that best suits you and visit your visualisation, your affirmation and your resourceful state.
I like it to be mornings because I am fresh and it helps to ground and focus me for the coming day. I find a quiet space in my home that is sunny and looks outside and I undertake my visualisation and affirmation processes. Some people may find it effective to do it whilst exercising, walking the dog or as part of their meditative practice – find what works for you.
Consider it as part of your regime for wellbeing because when we are on purpose we are likely to experience a positive form of stress that invigorates and enlivens us. I love it because it makes me feel alive, excited and happy!
Step 3 – Create and Protect Your Resourceful Environment
Stepping out of our comfort zone will pose its own challenges from within and without. This step is to ensure you stay on purpose, to cultivate your certainty and resilience by creating and protecting a positive environment internally and externally.
Some people say we should share our goals to motivate us. I say do what suits you most and what you are comfortable with. Personally I am private when it comes to my aspirations because that way I can tweak them to suit how they evolve and I don’t want others criticising or putting pressure on me. I prefer to surprise others with what I achieve. However, you may want to share yours and if you do, be very diligent on protecting your environment because you may find yourself exposed to other people’s expectations and opinions as a result. I would say choose carefully those you wish to share with, ensure they have your best interest at heart and have demonstrated this in the past with you.
Notice when your mindset or thoughts are less than positive and supportive, stop and ask yourself where these thoughts have come from and what its purposes are. If it is a justifiable concern then listen and use it to take positive action, thank it and let it go. If it is simply a fear from the past with no action needed, then thank it for drawing your attention and then let it go. Similarly with people who feel they need to give you their opinion or advice on your new direction and action. Use a similar practice and decide who you want to keep in your immediate circle and who may need to be repositioned or removed from your environment.
The purpose of this step is to stay on track. You only have so many hours in a day and so much energy to expend. If you use these resources without careful judgement then you can either prolong your journey to your destination or become side tracked or even lost. Stay on purpose and stay on track.
When you start your journey to fulfilling your outcome, it is useful to use it as a sonar – like how a dolphin judges distance or detects something in its surroundings. That is, a dolphin will send out a sound wave and wait for it to bounce back to confirm the location and distance of prey . So, when you are considering an opportunity, a course of action or decision bounce it against your well-formed outcome and ask if it is congruent, will it support and enrich the path towards or acquisition of this outcome – notice what bounces back to you? Does it ‘feel right’, is it a logical fit, can you visualise how it fits…you will have your own unique way of knowing the answer.
Step 5 – Review, Refine and Reward
I have a saying that I learnt from a former Mentor and that is ‘forever for now’. It is important to set up reviews not only of your progress towards your outcome, but also your outcome itself. This step is designed to answer: does the outcome or action still fit for you, has it evolved or changed?
Sometimes when we start with a visualisation process, we don’t know what we don’t know and we can’t always imagine or forecast all the effects our action with have in our life. Therefore it is critical that we consciously and formally review our progress at least on a monthly basis and tweak or change it where necessary. You may want to refine your outcome. You may have identified a new set of skills or mindset that you need to learn so that you can move forward.
These insights may impact on your own expectations so it is important to acknowledge and accept these effects so that you can continue with a modified course of action or timeline. This is all part of managing our expectations, our mindset and our resourceful state of being. These are all living and organic energies that if consciously managed will work hard to serve us – conversely if they are left unattended they may create their own diversions to capture our attention and these may act to undermine our confidence, certainty or resourcefulness.
Therefore, put attention and energy into your activities, recognise your milestones and most importantly reward yourself along the way. I like to say as I am moving along that when I reach such and such I will reward myself with X, Y or Z. Remember we are living a life and it should be enriching and fun along the way. This will keep you motivated and it will also serve to show you how much you have achieved inside your journey of being on purpose.
I have naturally found myself in around a 3 year cycle using this process. Usually by the end of the cycle I have already started to move on and then realise I need to formally reset my outcome so that I can focus my mind and my energy. The process to me is like having an inbuilt guidance system, a compass to my life. Remember we are all unique, perhaps this is starting point for you and remember to tweak it so that it works for you.
By Erzsi Suranyi