Jack Nicklaus – One of the most successful golfers who won 18 major golf championships and has produced 19 second place and 9 third places over a span of 25 years. He cites visualization as the secret to his success. ‘I never hit a shot even in practice, without having a very sharp, in focus picture in my mind. I first see the ball where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes and I see the ball going there: it’s path, trajectory and shape, even the behavior and landing. Then there is a sort of fade-out and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.’
Michael Phelps – The most decorated Olympian swimmer of all time with a total of 22 medals, including 18 Golds. His coach Bob Bowman said ‘His mental self-reliance, preparation and visualization has been his greatest strength. He visualizes both good and bad outcomes. He visualizes each race before it has happened. He visualizes the perfect race. He sees like he is sitting in the stands and like he is swimming in the water’
Jim Carrey – Is another person who swears by visualization and talks openly about it. He used to visualize things coming to him. He used to be a stand-up comic who visualized himself becoming a big movie star. He wrote himself a USD 10 million cheque for acting services rendered and kept in his wallet. He gave himself three to five years to get the USD 10 million. Three years later, he was signed up for the blockbuster movie Dumb and Dumber for USD 10 million. He talks about letting the universe know what you want and working towards it, while letting go of how it comes to pass.
Tony Robbins – talks about being in the peak state of physiology and being centered through visualization. He says that when two people meet, the person who is most certain (visualizes the outcome of the meeting) always influences the other person. ‘Talk to your sub-conscious mind with emotion and the universe will give you exactly what you want. Whatever you focus on in life and visualize will most certainly happen. Life will pay you whatever price you ask. But ask intelligently. Don’t whine and ask. Don’t bitch and ask’
Will Smith – ‘Being realistic is the most common way to mediocrity. Imagine and visualize anything, however unreal, but with real emotion and feeling and focus and it will happen. Our thoughts and dreams are actually physical in this universe.
Michael Jordan – If you listen to his speech when he was inducted into the basketball hall of fame, he says that he visualized his slam dunks and winning all the time. He had over 9,000 shots during his career. When asked – which contributed more to his success: his athletic skills or his mental skills, he responded it was his mental visualization and skills that gave him an edge over his competitors. It was the mental skills that separated the good players from the great.
Tiger Woods – Started using visualization while playing golf since the age of 13. He visualizes exactly how he swings his clubs and where he wants the ball to land and stop.
Bradford Mcintyre – Another amazing story worth researching. He was told by his Doctors to arrange his finances and funeral and that he had only six more months to live. He was diagnosed with HIV AIDS. He lived in absolute fear of dying for four years. Funeral and finances arranged and then he took control of his own life. Amazingly, he began healing through the power and belief of visualization. Sixteen years later he is still alive through the techniques and daily practice of visualization and imagery.
Cynthia Stafford – Another story worth further reading. Just another ordinary person: A single mother struggling to make ends meet. She bought the California ball lottery and with total obsession of winning focused and visualized herself winning the lottery for four months. She obsessed with the visualization of winning every waking and sleeping moment and kept the ticket under her pillow every night and carried the ticket and mental imagery in her mind 24 by 7 …and she did win the jackpot of USD 112 million in 2007.
As you can see, Visualization can be used to achieve anything one wants. The above stories of some famous people who have used visualization to great effect validates and reinforces the power of visualization.
Personally, I have used visualization to great effect. I use this as the platform for mindfulness and centering myself on an everyday basis. It has helped me to improve the quality of my life. I have used the power of visualization in a variety of everyday situations like:
- Visualizing my presentation prior to a board meeting
- Visualizing the outcome to a difficult meeting
- Visualizing improving my difficult relationships
- Visualizing achieving my stated personal and corporate goals Visualization Page 11
- Overcoming that feeling of nervousness and fear before addressing a large audience
- Visualizing better health in specific areas
- Visualizing my golf game just prior to the game when I have not had the time to go to the driving range
- Visualizing the achievement and realization of stated goals on a daily basis and seeing them come to fruition.
- I also made a list of 20 things I didn’t have and would like physical things, honors, desires, wishes etc. I then translated them into a strong visual image for each of them suggesting that they have already happened. For example, I have a bad knee. I visualized myself playing tennis and running. Something I could only do if my knee was completely healed. I created a powerful visual and image for each of the 20 things and visualized the end-state of them as already achieved. I close my eyes and in a deep state of relaxation, I do this every day as a way of centering and grounding myself and surprisingly these 20 things start to happen anecdotally at varying times. People start connecting with me to make them happen and things start to happen and just start to fall into place and then I start to tick them off my list and add new items to my list. Those who are keen to learn more about this technique should read the book by William Bengston called ‘Energy Cure’ where he has extended visualization to healing. It is a life changing experience.
The potential is infinitely creative as ones imagination.
Relevance to coaching and helping clients – Coaching Application
The visualization technique is a powerful tool in my tool box for coaching. It is an integral part of the coaching process. Once the client has determined the goals that he wants to achieve over a certain period of time and has clarity on what he wants, I use the tool of visualization to help the client think of the end result by creating a strong visual and image of the goal already being achieved. The visual created is so compelling using all the five senses, that the client has already Visualization Page 12 achieved it in his mind. Once the client has seen it achieved in his mind and believes that he/she can do it, then it’s only a matter of making the effort and going through the motions.
One of the keys to unlocking delay is to understand the causes for delay and can be overcome through visualization based on a compelling vision that the coach helps the client with. Visualization on a daily basis helps create a renewal practice that energizes the client to achieve their goals and take action.
Visualization has a powerful role in helping clients maintain their hope of achieving their goals. It is a process where we help the client use all his five senses to see the end point, to smell it, to taste it, to hear it and to feel it. Through visualization the impossible can seem possible and compelling.