Research Paper By Amitabh Das Gupta
(Transformational Coach, AUSTRALIA)
It has been said that man can create anything which he can imagine. Former NBA great Jerry West is a great example of how this works. Known for hitting shots at the buzzer, he acquired the nickname “Mr. Clutch.” When asked what accounted for his ability to make the big shots, West explained that he had rehearsed making those same shots countless times in his mind. Other sports legends like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Tiger Woods and pitcher Roy Halladay have also used visualization to improve their performance and achieve their personal best.
What is Visualization?
Visualization is using the power of your own imagination to see, feel, and experience in your mind your desired new reality in the present. When we visualize our desired outcome, we begin to “see” the possibility of achieving it. Through visualization, we catch a glimpse of what is our preferred future. When this happens, we are motivated and prepared to pursue our goal. Output of visualization is a road map of change.
Why is this Important?
A picture can fill your heart with a deep desire to do something. The challenge with bigger goals and dreams is that they are part of the unknown. We have never lived them so they don’t sit naturally with us. When we start in the present we often get stuck, because all we see are obstacles, like time and money. Going to the future and and working directly with the dream takes us out of the trap. As everything happens out of present, your future goal will also happen in the present. It thus helps to accelerate learning, improves athletic performance and promotes successful career and Life achievement.
Does Visualization Really Work?
The power of visualization was illustrated in a famous experiment performed by Australian Psychologist Alan Richardson. Students, all with about the same ability in basketball, were divided into three groups and asked to shoot foul shots. The percentage of baskets each team made were recorded. The first group was then told not to practice or play basketball for thirty days. The second group was told to practice shooting foul shots every day for one hour for thirty days. And, the third group was told not to go on a basketball courts al all for thirty days, but to practice shooting foul shots in their mind for an hour each day. At the end of thirty days, there were some fascinating results. As you would expect, Group 1, who had not practiced at all, had made no improvement over their original percentage of baskets made. Group 2, the group that had actually practiced, had improved their performance by 24%. Group 3, who had not set foot on a basketball court, who had only imagined shooting baskets in their mind, had improved their performance by a phenomenal 23%, almost the same improvement as the group who had actually played basketball.
Jack Nicklaus, in “Golf My Way” (1974) stated that he believes golf is 90% mental preparation and 10% skill. His preparation for matches has consisted of visualizing drives and problem putts and mentally rehearsing the successful execution of each one. “I never hit a shot, even in practice, without having a very sharp picture of it in my head. First I see the ball where I want it to finish . . . then see the ball going there. I watch its path, shape and even its behavior on landing, then a sort of fade out, and the next scene is of the swing that will turn the previous image into reality.
The subconscious doesn’t distinguish between an actual event and a vividly imagined one. It is medically and scientifically recognized that visualized images actually bring about psychological and physiological changes to virtually the same degree as direct experience. This principle is now being used in numerous medical applications as well as to accelerate learning, to improve athletic performance to promote successful career achievement.
Process of Visualization in Coaching
Tim was playing small. He came into the coaching session wanting to have a website for his health product marketing and finance coaching business. Following Transcript was taken from from a coaching conversation with one of my clients using the visualization process. Names have been changed to protect privacy.
Step 1 : Identify dreams (I)
Coach : Can I have your permission to do a visualization exercise. ?
Tim : Yes
Coach : Where do you see yourself in three years. Would you like to explore this dream and see if this is a reality?
Tim : Sure. I see myself earning $3 -$4K a month from my coaching and Network marketing business. I am anxious about leaving my job. I also see myself travelling to South America and enjoying myself learning and speaking Spanish.
Step 2 : Visualize dreams (V)
Coach : Close you eyes, take three deep breadth and imagine in 3 years, you are playing a big game. Say playing 10X of what you are
doing now, making 10 times the impact of what you thought of. Tell me what does it look like?
Tim : Hmm… , (Closes his eyes and takes three deep breaths) .. I am now earning $50K a month. I have resigned from my job. I am financially free without any job anxiety. I get up by 5.30 am, go to the best Gym in town, have a sauna, swim, enjoy my Jacuzzi. and have a wholesome breakfast. I start coaching by 10 am, drive to lunch in my BMW convertible. We meet in this luxurious, fascinating restaurant by the beach with my close friends at 1pm. I am back at my Home cum office and do coaching calls that change their lives. I finish off by 5 pm and spend rest of the day with my family.
Coach : How does it feel.?
Tim : It feels amazing, I feel free. I don’t have to depend on anyone anymore. I feel joyful and passionate about what I am doing –Changing lives. I am living an amazing purposeful life.
Coach : What difference is this making to your family?
Tim : They are very happy to have my time. I can take my son now to his Tennis lessons, Piano lessons. I am now having another baby girl, she is adorable and I don’t have to bother about finances anymore. I can now take them to the best of vacations, travel Business class, stay in the best hotels. Be with Parents who are overseas anytime when needed without thinking about finances.
Step 3 : Work Backward ( B)
Coach : Now come back to today. Tell me, What is the limiting belief you have overcome to achieve this goal?
Tim : The limiting belief is I don’t deserve this much wealth. I never had such wealth all my life. While growing up, money was hard to come by,
Coach : Who is the “I” you just mentioned that does not deserve this much wealth.
Tim : That’s me, Tim
Coach : That’s your name. Who are you?
Tim : Ohh.. I work for ABC Matrix
Coach : That’s what you do ? But Who are you?
Tim : Ohh, I am this body, hands, legs and rest
Coach : But that’s your body, but who are you?
Tim : Okay. I am my mind
Coach : What is mind ?
Tim ….. A bundle of thoughts. I am my thoughts. I can be what ever thoughts I am. Wayne Dyer tells that
Coach : But your thoughts can be limited. What’s between one thought and another. Are you there between the thoughts?
Tim : Oh, okay I am then not my thoughts. I think I am I am passionate, I am committed, strong willed and determined
Coach : Those are your characteristics,/ your qualities , who are you
Tim : Oh that’s deep, (Takes a deep breadth,, there is silence for a minute ) Okay.. I am Divine Being .
Coach : What can this Divine being do?
Tim : Anything
Coach : What are its limits.
Tim : No Limits.
Coach : Then what makes you believe that you the Divine being don’t deserve this.
Tim : The Divine being deserves this . I deserve it. I believe that I deserve it.
Coach : What do you need to do for any fear creeping in?
Tim : I need to be constantly aware of who I am.
Coach : What do you need to do to be more aware?
Tim : Visualize every morning before I start my day on who I am and visualize my goals. May be have a vision board.
Coach : What else?
Tim : Do the same thing every night before sleeping
Coach : Anything else?
Tim : Maybe write down my vision once a day
Coach : What one step could you take now to start moving towards this goal?
Tim : I will come up with an action plan as to how I will reach the goal. …………
Coach : Great … What’s one insight you have got form our conversation.
Tim : That I believe I am a Divine being who is limitless and can achieve anything I want to.
In essence, visualization is setting a goal, imagining it, believing in it and acting on it. Its not just visualizing it but acting on it which needs to follow this up. Like an Olympic athlete, if he just visualizes without practicing, he will not go anywhere. If he practices without visualizing, he may not win the gold. Its only when he has both, visualization and practice (action) will he get success. In summary Success = GOAL (CLEAR) + VISUALISE + BELIEF + ACTION
Stolzfus ,Tony , Coaching Questions : A Coach’s guide to Powerful asking Skills
Boc Victor, How to solve all your money problems for ever
Richardson, Alan, Mental Imagery, New York: Springer Publishing Company, Inc.
Nicklaus, Jack , Golf my Way