Walk to the edge of the river. Look out over the water. Relax. Gently place your hands over your heart.
Now, take a deep breath and close your eyes. With your hands on your heart, breathe deeply into your heart. Focus on your breath.
Imagine your life 12 months from now. 12 months after making this decision. 12 months after all the work you’ve poured into creating the future you deserve and desire. Where are you? Who is with you? How are you living? How are you working? See the details. Create a clear vision of your life 12 months from today. Get specific. Put color and energy into this vision as if it’s already been realized. Breathe the energy of that vision deeply into your heart.
Open your eyes. Take the walk home and reflect on the vision. Write down with as much detail and clarity as you can recall the vision for your life 12 months from today. Conclude with writing about how living in that future state made you feel.
My friend picked up the bill for brunch. As we walked out of the restaurant, he headed toward the Mississippi River while I cut across Washington Ave. to walk home. My friend had arrived at a clear inflection point in his life. The brunch invitation was an opportunity for him to air it out and ask for my opinion. While his best option was abundantly clear to me, we considered how fear and more specifically, fear of failure, was factoring into his thinking.
Fear is a powerful force of nature that can produce limiting beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that inhibit our potential, relationships, happiness and fulfillment. Fear holds us back. We talked about how to dance with that fear.
The Power of Visualization
Beyond confronting his fear, I also wanted my friend to create a compelling vision of his future. The simple visualization exercise I shared with him can serve as a catalyst — to summon the courage we need to move past the fear, decide and commit to a clear path forward.
Fresh off my own technology-free vision quest in the mountains of Colorado, I was coming into this conversation with recent experience using powerful visualization techniques to clarify my own commitment to the future. Vision and mental rehearsal are battle-tested, time-honored traditions of peak performers like Lebron James and Michael Phelps. However, you don’t have to be on the cusp of an NBA championship or Olympic gold to cultivate the same level of impact. To the contrary, visualization can serve to support us mere mortals in creating the life we deserve and desire.
If you are feeling stuck in any area of your life or simply want more of something (abundance, growth, health, intimacy, love, connection…there are no limits and you get to decide!), try this simple life-visioning exercise I completed last weekend during my retreat with the Hoffman Institute:
This technique works. I’ve experienced it in my own life and I’ve also helped others turn a compelling vision into their reality. Ironically, this week I heard from someone who did just that: Matthew Menard.
I don’t know Matthew. We’ve never met. But he attended a seminar I delivered in Mexico two years ago. I walked his team through a visualization exercise and for Matthew, it set his course for a different future. Two years later, he shared this update with me on LinkedIn.
“I wanted to take a moment out of my day to do something I have been meaning to do for sometime, to thank you. Whether you have the time to read this or not doesn’t change the fact that YOU and YOUR story inspired me and refocused my energy and passion. You spoke nearly 2 years ago at our corporate recognition event for Top Performers (Mexico, April 2015 just as a reminder). You spoke about being a champion and being successful in the new economy; suffice to say your dialogue was compelling and insightful.
The exercise you ran us through of closing my eyes, thinking of what I wanted and where I want to be was the catalyst for me to push myself forward in my life and career and make incredible changes for my family. Since that time I’ve started a family and have a 19mth old beautiful baby girl, I worked my ass off, broadened my skill set, picked up a coaching designation and pushed for the role I knew I was suited for to be successful. I was able to lead my team to a record year in our Enterprise Business Organization!
So in short, THANK YOU! Thank you for sharing all that you did. For making the impact you did. For the words and insight I continue to leverage through your videos and notes. And thank you for inspiring me to keep pushing to be a champion every day. You will never truly know the impact you had.”
Thank you for sharing your story, Matthew. You are a true champion, in every sense of the word. It was always inside you.
It’s also inside YOU.
Vision. Be specific. Set your intention. Say it out loud. Speak from the heart.
The universe is listening and will bring you the support you need when you decide, commit and GO! Step forward. Act boldly. Forgive your own mistakes and missteps. Keep going!
You can reclaim what you were made for at any time.
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.