When you think about your dreams, can you see them clearly? If your goal is a house on a lake, can you close your eyes and walk around that house in your mind? If your magic wand life is running your own million dollar business, can you really imagine the details of a day in that life?
I’ve been thinking a lot about visualization lately as I help clients articulate their goals. It’s not so simple as, “Well, what do you want?”
“What do you want?” is a crappy question.
The answer is almost always, “I don’t know. Not this.” How do you build a happy life chock full of “not this”? That’s certainly how it was for me. I was desperately unhappy in my corporate life. I fantasized daily about dancing in the fountain after quitting loudly and colorfully. (In reality, I left very quietly and in January, but still.) I dreamed of “not this” for YEARS before I actually left. But I could never really picture what I would do after I got out of that fountain.
I knew what I didn’t want, but I didn’t know what I did want.
So I was stuck. For a really long time. Long story short, it took me until the age of 39 to pick a major. I couldn’t build a better life because I couldn’t see it yet. When I left my job, it was because I was running away from something, I wasn’t running towards anything (yet). Painful and terrifying.
If I could step back in time and coach my 30’s self, I would talk about visualization. I would advise myself to let go of anger & resentment long enough to dream about the future I wanted. I’m grateful for my journey and its many lessons. But if I had known then what I know now…
Achieving your goals, whatever they are, requires action and hard work. But it also takes a clear vision and a balanced, positive mindset.
How can you create the outcome you want if you don’t know what it looks like? How can you get there if you don’t know where you’re going?
Do you know what your dreams are? Can you really see it in your mind? These dreams can be anything: building an empire; having a peaceful home; taking a dream trip; having a baby. Your heart and spirit know what’s right for you. If you’re having a hard time defining your dream, you’re not alone. Here’s an exercise I like to use:
In the top corner of a piece of paper, draw a magic wand. On this paper, there are no limitations. You have as much time, energy and money as you want. Split the paper into two columns. One column is what you want to welcome into your life. Money, confidence, animals, love, a car - anything tangible or intangible that you want.
The other column is everything you want to release from your life. These are the things you’re living with that no longer serve your highest good. For example, fear, judgment, a bad relationship, debt, or clutter.
Spend some time with this exercise. Once you have your lists, are there themes? If you were to use that magic wand and *poof* have that magic wand life, can you close your eyes and see it? Imagine that those things are true - that you have what you want and you no longer have what you released. Take a deep breath and imagine that. How does it feel? What does it look like? Who’s there with you? Can you feel the truth of it?
If you’re like me, you’ll want to start planning and doing, but really pause to visualize. The clearer your vision, the easier it will be to manifest. That’s not to say it will be easy. You will just have a clearer path. Live in your happy place in your mind for awhile.
Then, once you have a clear vision, then you can start applying real-world concerns and making real-world plans. But that planning process will be so much smoother now. You can achieve anything. You are a professional get-shit-done-er.
I challenge all of you “doers” out there to just be for a bit. Go inside yourself and explore your magic want life. You’ll get to the tangible steps and commitments to yourself.
But first, imagine it. Write it down. Journal about it. Make a vision board. Make it real before you make it real.