Visioning creates passion. The more clear and compelling the vision, the stronger the passion. And the more likely we are to hang in there during the inevitable downs and defeats as we reach for our dreams. Visioning or picturing my preferred future has been my greatest source of energy and focus:
When I began to give paid keynote speeches and presentations, I would review a list I kept of past speeches and presentations where I especially connected and was “in flow with the audience.” I would relive and recapture the feeling of mastery and emotional electricity I felt in those rooms. I would then carry these feelings into meditation on my goals for this group and see myself delivering a highly successful “in flow” presentation to them.
After a few unsuccessful tries, I used visualization to give up smoking for good in 1979. I made up a list of every benefit I could possibly think of for not smoking. I developed a few short scenes in my head of situations where I was offered a cigarette or friends asked me about my smoking. Rather than saying: “I am trying to quit,” I practiced out loud and then drilled into each scene the words: “No thanks. I am a non-smoker,” or “I don’t smoke.”
Since I was an internal sales and management trainer at the time, I used what I was doing as an example of visualization and self-discipline to every group and person I worked with. Had I gone back to smoking, I would have had to find a new job since my credibility would have been shot.
Sometimes I picture that special day when the manuscript is sent off to the publisher. Or I see that magic moment when I hold the finished book in my hands, smell the fresh paper and ink, and see my hard crafted work in print. Sometimes I have imaginary conversations with readers who will tell me how much this book has helped them. Or I reflect on the impact of past books and then project forward to the organizations and leaders who will buy hundreds of copies of the book and successfully use it as a blueprint for their transformation and improvement.
About 12 years ago my wife, Heather, and I were drifting apart and heading down separate paths. That’s when we began visioning together. It’s become an important yearly activity. Using a five-year time horizon, we describe our ideal life in seven areas: family, home, careers, financial assets and income, community involvement, spiritual and social life.
It’s eerie (and now inspiring) to look back at all these notes. Their accuracy in “foretelling the future” is about 90 percent. Never mind all the research, studies, and expert opinion on imagery, visualization, and visioning. Here’s all the proof I need that regularly and continually picturing our preferred future works.