I spoke with a client recently about visualizing. I asked how she pictured seeing her business in 12 months time. “Gosh, I don’t have time for daydreaming,” was her response, fixing me with a confused look.
This made me slightly concerned considering her desire to develop and grow her business. However, after I carefully outlined this process of enormous potential, she admitted she did often conjure up ideas of her ideal business, but tended to go off course and get distracted, and preferred to keep plodding on with the day’s tasks.
I believe that visualizing is a hugely beneficial and crucial exercise to crystallize future plans in one’s mind’s eye. If we cannot envision the desired outcomes of our future, how can we create a roadmap of concrete goals and objectives to arrive there? Simply put, how do you go to a place that you haven’t yet defined?
So, far from casual daydreaming, I prefer to consider myself constructively ‘visualizing’ when I take time out to clearly ponder on my future business directions. It’s a more controlled form of contemplation, although to be fair every plan evolves from intangible dreams initially—business plans included.
But visualizing involves far more than just imaginative short-bursts of wishes and hopes – to successfully visualize, consider the following steps and fully engage with the process.
Techniques for Successfully Visualizing
- Use mental imagery to create a picture of how your ideal business scenario looks at some point in the near future – make it as clear as possible.
- Step into the picture, and focus on how you see yourself fitting into the scene—both from a business and personal nature. What do you see yourself doing? What are the practicalities? What are others doing?
- Consider what success looks and feels like – Looking at the picture, what scene conveys to you that your business is a success?
- Focus back on the present time, evaluate the gap between now and that future picture—how can that gap be plugged? What changes need to be made?
- Practice this exercise frequently to refine the imagery and your required outcomes. The more familiar you are with the picture, the more confident you will become in your efforts to achieve it.
Over time, practicing this internal creative process with clarity can develop actual visualizations that can be efficiently transferred to paper or screen. The beauty of these visualizations is that they are tangible and can be measured:
- A mind-map of ideas
- A new mission statement
- A renewed business plan
- A robust action plan
- A schedule of goals and objectives
- A wall-chart of progress reports
- An evaluation report
So the next time you catch yourself away from the madding crowd, indulgently dreaming of the most wonderfully innovative business solution, working from a fantastic office, wearing beautiful clothes—pause and introduce the techniques for successful visualization. Who knows, you might actually create your own gorgeous future!