“The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.”

—Sir Winston Churchill

What the mind can imagine, you can make happen.

Your Powerful Imagination

During a tour of duty in Vietnam, Major James Nesmeth was captured and held prisoner in a tiny cell for seven years. To keep sane, he mentally practiced his golf game.

Every day he would imagine being at the first tee at his country club. He would imagine the weather, the feel of the club and the grass at his feet. He would look at the ball and imagine the perfect swing.

Soon after he was freed and returned to the United States, he went to his country club and played a round of golf. He knocked 20 strokes off his game the first time out! Without touching his clubs for seven years, he practiced every day and improved his game while a prisoner of war.

Many athletes, Olympic divers, figure skaters use their imagination to practice their form perfectly so that when they are actually performing their minds send the body the practiced signals for a perfect performance.

The same principle applies to your success. Your ability to imagine is directly related to your ability to be successful.

You can use your imagination in many ways.

Goal Achievement

When you imagine successfully achieving your goals, your chances of reaching those goals are greater.

Let’s say you have a goal of being promoted to the next level in your job. Think through who will have a say in who will get promoted and consider all the prerequisites needed for that job. Plan out a strategy for how you will prove to those stakeholders that you’re the right person.

When you take these steps you show that you’ve thought through the issues, you’ll exude confidence and you increase the likelihood that you will be considered for the next opening.

Problem Solving

When faced with a difficult situation on your road to success, you can take one of two mental paths:

1. Fill your mind with bad scenarios, anxiety or excuses.

2. Think of a good scenario, work out solutions and mentally rehearse a plan.

For example, you have a critical presentation to make to a new prospect, the XYZ Inc. This presentation will be the deal maker or deal breaker. There will be 6 people from the company a couple of whom you know are vested in staying with their current supplier.

That night, you can’t sleep. You worry about how to win over this prospect. You’re concerned that they might not like you or they’ll bring up the disaster install you’re still working on at ABC Inc. While thinking up how you can explain why that install is going badly, you change your mind and decide to face the problem head on. You imagine bringing up the issue first.

You mentally review the presentation and how you can weave in the story of ABC Inc. and lessons learned. You list everything you fear the prospect may say or do and work out your best responses to each. You create a plan. You relax and fall asleep.

When you then meet with XYZ Inc., you are prepared. The prospects feel your confidence; calmly listen to your presentation and come away appreciating your integrity in not hiding the ABC situation.

Self Discipline

You are never on time for meetings. People bring reading material to your meetings as they know a 2:00 P.M. meeting will actually start at 2:15 P.M.

To change this, you imagine yourself running ahead of schedule. You notice how you are better focused. You see yourself scheduling meetings based on reality. You even plan responses to everyone’s surprised looks when you show up on time.

Other Uses

Imagine your next vacation. Where will you go? What will the weather be like? How will you feel afterwards?

Imagine bigger goals for yourself. What would you want to accomplish if you could accomplish anything at all? What are you really capable of doing? What would be a fantastic, gigantic goal that you can possibly achieve?

Imagine accomplishing each and every goal you have.

You can probably imagine many other uses. Simply using your imagination lowers your stress and makes your life more positive.

Imagine yourself using this technique and then do it!

Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.

—J.M Barrie

image courtesy of Juliana Coutinho