I remember a class I took in college, learning about visualization. Our professor shared this technique was used by many successful people, the most common of whom were Olympic athletes. In visualization, all five senses are engaged in the process.
For example, a downhill skier would “see” themselves at the starting gate. The would feel their googles on the eyes, poles in their hands, skies on their feet, snow under the skies, the crisp air on any exposed skin. They would smell the clean air, hear the three short and one long beep to tell them to start, they would hear the swoosh of snow under the skis. They may taste the dryness or sourness of nervousness in their mouth. They’d see every single move necessarily to win, including their time at the finish, and standing on the podium receiving the gold medal.
This is a very effective method for helping to mentally prepare to achieve a goal. I have used it many different times in my life and often in my business. Many leaders use this technique. What makes visualization so effective is the use of sensuality to self-actualize, or fully realize one’s potential.
Engaging the five senses- sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing- allows the brain to ignite both hemispheres of the brain more fully. In other words, it balances the brain. Utilizing the senses in visualization awakes creativity. The brain has to figure out how to make those details happen.
Imagine being on a team with an project. You know the desired outcome. What is everyone were guided through a visualization to see the successful completion of the project. During the visualization, each person was asked to imagine how it sounded finding the solutions to the problems, what it looked like as the project started to come together with ease, what it smelled like at the celebration after the project was complete, what they tasted regularly that energized them while working on the project, and how it felt working together, watching everyone engage their own highest potential.
If each person wrote down what they saw, felt, heard, tasted, and smelled then used that daily as a guide post, imagine how much richer the experience would be. Engaging the senses activates creativity which taps into self-realization. Good leaders can guide a team to success. Great leaders help their teams tap into their own inner greatness. Using visualization as a tool both guides success and self-realization.
Follow these simple steps for guiding yourself and your team through a sensual visualization.
1. Identify the end goal.
2. As you hear the questions, it’s okay if you have no idea how, just allow yourself to imagine the best case scenario and be willing to be surprised by what you discover.
3. Imagine the celebration after having achieved the goal. Who is there? What are you doing? What is being said? What sounds are in the background? What does it smell like? What does this success taste like? How does it feel?
4. As you’re all reflecting on the journey to get to that celebration, what did you listen to while you were working on the project? What did you eat to fuel yourself? Was there a scent that inspired you? What did the project look like? How did it feel to work on the project?
5. Is there anything that surprised you such as how easy it was to achieve? How well you worked with someone? What was present that normally isn’t or vice versa?
6. Write down what you saw.
7. What steps do you need to take to make this happen? Write that down and be open to adding to it.
8. Take five minutes at the start, after lunch, and before leaving to visualize the celebration.
9. If you find yourself getting stuck, remember your five senses. Engage them immediately.
As you practice visualization, the process becomes easier and second nature. With any new skill, practice is necessary. Be sure to schedule in 5 minutes three times a day to practice.