How to visualize — and achieve! — success

By Selena Rezvani

For this month’s blog post we are featuring one of our fabulous clients, Selena Rezvani. Selena is a Women’s Leadership Speaker, 2x Author + LinkedIn Learning Instructor that’s been featured in Philadelphia Magazine, Forbes, NPR, The Washington Post, TEDx and more. Her insights propel early and mid-career women into top echelons of leadership and help organizations retain and engage their female workforce.

 

Writing a book for the first time was an intimidating proposition. Obviously, there was the fact that I had never done it before. But there was also this issue: I couldn’t even picture this dream I had coming true!


That is, until one day when I decided I needed to “see it to believe it.” I set out to make a fake book cover. I added the cover image I imagined on the front of the book – showing a powerful woman leader. I included “By Selena Rezvani” in prominent letters, and I even added a few accolades on the front cover from newspapers. Then I wrapped my aspirational cover around an old manual so it looked like the real thing.

This “picture” is what helped me finish that book!

For most people, it helps to visualize yourself attaining your goals before you realize them. The practice of visualization means simply forming a mental image in your mind. It can be as simple as a single mental picture or it can play in your mind like a scene from a movie.

It’s a strategy many top professional athletes rely on. In fact, Simone Biles, one of the most decorated American gymnasts alive, credits visualizing goals — like making the national team — and building her self-belief as keys to her success.

You know what? It’s no different for you.

Visualization helps us to stay motivated. When you picture a goal in advance of actually doing it, the same regions of your brain are stimulated as when you perform the goal in real life. So imagine preparing to deliver a critical presentation. As you prepare your remarks, you visualize yourself standing in front of a screen, speaking knowledgeably, being engaged but relaxed.

Visualizing this way convinces your brain you've already done something similar and succeeded, which boosts your confidence and performance.

The best thing is that you can construct a positive, personalized visualization of every part of your life. Not just for a current project, but repeatedly, any time!

Let’s walk through three simple steps to do just that.

Quick Confidence Tips to Visualize Success:


  1. Mindset: See success. Choose an area in your life where you really want to see an excellent result — maybe an area where you’re struggling right now. Okay, great. Now get into a comfortable position where you feel at ease and can focus. I want you to imagine an outstanding result, however that looks for you. Really see, in your mind, the best possible outcome. What does it look like? What specifically are you doing? And what’s happening around you? How are people reacting to you? Try to ignore roadblocks or negative thoughts and focus on the *best outcome*.

  2. Embodied: Activate your senses. Now I want you to go a little deeper. Try to make this picture even more vivid and detailed by using your senses. What does your voice sound like? What are your hands touching or holding? What’s the taste in your mouth? How does your confidence in your body feel? What are you looking at it and seeing? Make sure this image feels gratifying and positive. Now mentally take a snapshot of this image. Freeze this image in your head so you can easily recall it. Then picture shrinking it down to the size of a coin. Imagine putting it in your pocket, where you can grab it and *become it* any time.

  3. Interpersonal: Put your problem in the past. I want you to close your eyes again and conjure up one more picture. To really cement the idea that you can grow and overcome struggles, think of someone you trust. I want you to visualize having a conversation with them where you talk about your struggle or growth in the past tense. The “you” in this visualization might look like the present-day you or it could look like an older, wiser you. Talk about your learning and the confidence you gained as something that you already worked through and achieved. This builds your sense of optimism that you can advance yourself and will help you detach, in a healthy way, from problems that have dogged you in the past.

Great job – you did it! Whenever you need to motivate yourself and sharpen your focus, repeat this visualization process.

When you rehearse your future success, your visualizations become so familiar that taking actions is much less intimidating. Don’t forget to add detail and imagery to your mental pictures to really bring them to life! Then share your learning with someone you trust.

Remember, “You’ve got to see it to be it.” So create a compelling picture – one that Future You can’t wait to live up to.

 

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