Athletes do it. Public speakers do it. Kids do it. They all pretend.
There was a time in our life when we visualized our goals. We were Mia Hamm or Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods…in our minds. We pretended that we were our favorite heroes hitting the ball or scoring a goal to win the game. We imagined ourselves rounding the bases, standing on the Olympics platform accepting our gold medal. So when was the last time that you saw yourself submitting that component design to the board at your company? Oh, that long? Never?
One gift we often lose to childhood is our ability and desire to imagine ourselves as our own heroes. We compared ourselves to them in the hopes that we too would achieve greatness and glory. So what’s stopping you now? At some point, we choose our career path and put aside our childish things. Why? I would suggest that we stop for a moment and reconsider. Visualization is not mere child’s play.
Scientists, studying the brain, have conducted experiments comparing the brain activity of athletes performing or a musician playing and subjects merely visualizing the activity in their minds. The more vivid the imagination, the more successful the result.
So how can you employ this in your work? Consider the sounds, sights and smells of the moment of success in your mind. The more brain activity we can create, the more effective we become at mustering the physical and mental energies necessary to complete the task.
You are the Michael Jordan of your design group, quality circle or project team. Imagine the result of your success with the project. Does a customer benefit in product safety? Does the machine layout create a smooth workflow? Do the floor people clap you on the back after buying into your quality proposal? Instead of imagining the dire result if the deadline passes without the result you seek, see yourself handing in the project to management on time and under budget. See yourself watching your customer enjoying the fruits of your labor. Vividly imagine yourself achieving success in your company.
Managers can help by creating opportunities for visualization. Define your objectives clearly and create the picture of success. Develop and review your vision statement. Live the vision and refer to it often. Start today. Experience “the smell of the greasepaint and roar of the crowd.” Get up on the stage and take a bow. Just close your eyes and go. I double dog dare you.
E-mail me at email@example.com with your thoughts.