Visualising the future you want
2 short exercises to make your dreams come true
Step 2 of 6 in finding a career that makes you happy
When finding a career that makes you happy, visualising the future that you want is critical. Creating a vision of your future lifestyle will set you on the right path to make the right decisions.
What is visualisation?
Visualisation means creating a mental image of a goal you would like to achieve in the future. You use your thoughts to imagine a certain outcome, and what you will do to get it.
Visualisation is an important element of the Law of Attraction, which states that you will attract into your life whatever you focus on. Visualising your dream life will help you achieve it.
A bit of science
Several studies show that the brain doesn’t know the difference between imagining something and doing it. So by ‘tricking’ the brain, you condition your mind and your body to reach the outcome you want.
When you have a thought, it triggers the same cascade of neurochemicals, regardless of whether you are thinking about the past, present, or future. Your brain is stimulated the same way whether you’re physically performing an action or simply visualising it happen in your mind’s eye. The neurochemicals stimulated go on to affect your motor control, attention, and planning, which spur you into action.
Because neurons that fire together wire together, this process of imagining future outcomes creates new neural networks in your brain that help you form new beliefs, take new actions, and adopt new perspectives. You start to view the world differently, and thus, act in new ways to achieve your big goals.
In particular, visualisation stimulates an area of the brain called the Reticular Activating System, which scans your environment looking for new opportunities. That’s why when you start thinking about getting a new job, suddenly new opportunities come your way: your brain is scanning for them. Then, you take action on the newly available options and creative solutions you’re able to see.
How does it work?
Visualisation requires you to create a very specific and detailed picture, based on previous knowledge and wisdom. It's not that same than imagination, which is about setting your mind free, with no barriers or rules, and thinking about situations that may be hypothetical. For example, visualisation is thinking about being hugged by someone, imagination is thinking about being hugged by a snowman.
Athletes use it to visualise themselves scoring a goal, going down a slope, running a marathon. They rehearse their moves, from start to finish. Sports psychologists say that visualisation is effective for improving athletic performance, creative thinking and strength.
Guided visualisations are powerful because they are written and narrated in a way that helps you relax and create your own mental image. There are visualisations for a lot of different topics: from making decisions and speaking in public to tackling the fear of flying or overcoming shyness.
If you’re interested in guided visualisations, get in touch and we can have a chat about which visualisation would work well for you.
Here are two simple exercises you can do at home to start visualising your future:
Create a holistic vision
For visualisation to work, you first need to outline the content of the future lifestyle that you want. I’ve created this handy worksheet to download to help you structure your thoughts.
Start by answering these three important questions:
What does your ideal day or week look like?
What impact do you want to have?
How do you want to feel?
Then, you need to cover all the different areas of your life - health, family & friends, money, career, etc. - and ask yourself:
What do you want to start doing?
What do you want to stop doing?
Put together a vision board
Another key component of visualisation is the mental image you’re creating. Vision boards are a great way to make your vision become more tangible.
A vision board is a collage of images and words that represent your goals and aspirations. It will keep your inspiration and motivation alive throughout your change journey.
Some people like picture boards, other like word clouds or mind maps. Some use paper-scissors-glue, others do it on Pinterest. Those gifted with drawing talents might even draw their vision board!
If you’d like to give it go, I wrote an article outlining the 5 steps to create a powerful vision board.
OVER TO YOU!
Download the worksheet, grab a pen and free-up at least one hour to think about your future. Then book some time to work on your vision board.
Once you’re finished, discuss your ideas and thoughts with a supportive friend or family member. Find someone that will fully listen to you, challenge you and add value to your thinking.
You could also start the conversation with a career coach. A coach will ask you the right questions to make you think about what you truly want to do, and help figure out the next steps in your career change journey.
If you’re ready to invest in your career change, I've designed a 6-step online programme combining insightful workbooks and powerful coaching conversations. You do it from the comfort of your home, at your own pace, and I'm here to support you throughout your journey.
In next week’s blog, we will explore what drives you, and why it’s important to know your values.
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"The Complete Guide to Visualization for Logical and Rational People" by Melody Wilding