Does visualizing success increase the chances of success? The answer to that question is a source of debate for some. There are those who feel the idea is more of a new age, ‘woowoo’ theory, but there are also many who believe in its merits. Professional athletes would be a great example of the believers.
The idea is that you clearly and intentionally focus on the goals you want to achieve and what you want in your life or business. You use mental (or physical) imagery that keeps your goals top of mind and “trains” your brain for achieving that goal. It also involves reframing your thinking to seeing it is possible, believing it is possible and imagining your success in detailed, sensory terms.
Wherever you stand on the spectrum between thinking it’s all foolishness or believing in the benefits of visualizing success in life and business, it’s worth exploring… and considering.
Does Visualizing Success Work?
Much has been written about the subject of visualizing success over the years. The resources I found point to actual benefits rather than a waste of time.
Visualizing success in the form of goals or optimum performance has been used by phenomenally successful athletes and entrepreneurs alike. It would be hard to argue that it didn’t work out well for them. And studies have been done, which give a scientific basis to the practice.
In a Psychology Today piece titled Seeing is Believing: The Power of Visualization, AJ Adams, a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP), refers to a study which looked at the brain patterns of weightlifters. The study found that “mental practices are almost as effective as true physical practice.” The study also found “that doing both is more effective than either alone.” Our brains can “train” for actual performance during visualization.
Adams went on to write that mental imagery impacts the cognitive processes of motor control, perception, planning, attention, and memory. And Adams claims these mental practices also help to enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, prime your brain for success, and increase states of flow.
Similarly, Marla Tabaka, in her article Visualize Your Way to Success (Really!), writes that “as we routinely and intentionally visualize a desired outcome, and step into the belief that it is possible, our brains increase the motivation to make it happen. We become more and more determined to do whatever it takes to achieve our goals.”
And Tabaka’s statement was supported by the findings of a survey on visualizing success, which Eilene Zimmerman outlined in a 2016 piece for Forbes. If you’re a business owner, the results of the survey were compelling!
The survey was completed by TD Bank and involved more than 1,100 people and 500 small business owners who used visualization of their business goals – through pictures and idea boards. Here is a breakdown of the findings, according to Zimmerman.
- People who imagine their financial and business goals are more confident they will achieve them than people who don’t.
- Those who create a vision board (or a less formally organized collection of images and photos) that relate to their goals are almost twice as confident they’ll achieve them than those who don’t visualize their goals in some way.
- Almost two-thirds of small business owners believe that visualizing goals helps them map and develop their business plans.
- One in five small business owners used a vision board or other visual representation when starting their business; 76% of those business owners said that today their business is where they envisioned it would be when they started it.
- Eighty-two percent of small business owners that used a vision board from the get-go reported that they have accomplished more than half the goals they included on that board.
To me, that’s not only compelling, it’s encouraging. After all, the idea that there’s something so simple we can do to improve our chances of success just gives us one more tool we can use as business owners.
The ’How-To’ of Visualizing Success
So, how do you implement visualizing success for your life and business?
I don’t claim to be an expert in this area, though I have long been a believer in the practice and use it in my own life.
Thankfully, motivational speaker, corporate trainer and author Jack Canfield is an expert in this area. And he outlines the steps you can take for visualizing success in his blog Visualization Techniques to Affirm Your Desired Outcomes: A Step-By-Step Guide.
And, of course, there’s always the vision board – a visual reminder where you place pictures and other representations of the goals you want to achieve on an actual board and keep it prominently displayed where you will see it every day. Jack Canfield has a blog to walk you through creating an empowering vision board too.
Even if you’re still feeling a bit skeptical, I encourage you to give visualizing success and the goals you want to achieve a chance. It only takes a commitment of minutes a day and might help you stay focused on your goals. It may also open your mind to opportunities to achieve those goals you might have missed if you weren’t keeping your eyes on the prize.
Want a little more?
Here’s a quick-read that gives a look at 8 Successful People Who Use the Power of Visualization. I bet you recognize at least a few.
I’d love to hear your stories if you’ve ever used visualization to reach your goals and dreams or if you’re planning to use it now! Leave a comment below and let me know how visualization works for you.
You can also contact me if you’re ready to take those goals and turn them into the plan to get you there!