Visualization can be a powerful technique when you want to achieve success in some area of your life. It enables you to gain confidence and helps you to focus your attention on the path you must take in order to achieve the experience of future that you visualize.
I heard an interview earlier in the week with Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Tim Ferriss podcast. Ferriss asked Schwarzenegger a great question. He wanted to know how he had so much confidence during the early body building competitions in his career.
I loved his first answer.
He said he would visualize success. He would imagine himself standing on the podium as the champion looking down on the opponents that he defeated. He would imagine their faces and the feelings he had as the winner.
Listening to the interview, though, I immediately thought of how I could apply this to my own life right now:
- Visualize what is like to stand on stage before hundreds of people as a successful and inspiring speaker.
- Visualize myself as a bestselling author.
- Visualize my family life in a new, larger home with smiles on everyone’s faces.
- Visualize myself in a room of colleagues engaged in meaningful and inspiring conversations.
- Visualize myself in conversation with and on interviews with the top names in my field.
These all seem like great ideas, right? In fact, these kinds of visualization techniques will probably work.
“Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind’s eye, and you will be drawn toward it.”
Like young Schwarzenegger, visualizing success in concrete ways enables you to gain the confidence of a person who has actually been there before. It will feel much more natural and not so much of a surprise once you succeed. Failing to succeed will feel strange and unnatural, not in line with the vision you have burned in your mind’s memory. It will inspire you to work both harder and smarter.
I looked for some time to share this technique with others–other writers, teachers, and entrepreneurs–but of course God rocked my world before I had the chance.
The Ultimate Visualization Technique
This weekend I went to a Catholic men’s conference. It was my first men’s conference. My family was out of town and when a friend of mine asked if I was going, I had no excuse.
I’m so glad I went.
One of the grace-filled moments of the day was when Dr. John Wood talked about a visualization technique that he uses to remind him of his mission of becoming a saint.
John was an athlete growing up and I could relate to that. He spoke in his talk about his vision for himself arriving at heaven’s gates.
He shared with us how he imagines the faces of the people who are there to greet him and give him high-fives as he runs into a stadium of heavenly paradise. He imagines all of the people who would be there to greet him and cheer him on.
Visualizing success? Is there any other more important vision of our success than this?
Again, when you visualize success, you not only gain the confidence to be there, but you think about the things you need to change in your life that will enable you to experience that vision.
So, what would happen if we visualize our life after death arriving in our heavenly home?
What happens when you visualize, like John, our arrival at heaven’s gates? What if we, like John, imagine ourselves arriving at the heavenly stadium of God.
Think about it.
Who would be there in heaven to cheer us on?
Whose lives would we have impacted in a way that they would be able to join that heavenly bliss?
Who would be there because we helped them get there?
Who would be there that we might not expect?
Who would be there that we might not want to be there?
Who would not be there?
Who would not be there because we didn’t help or heal them?
Who would not be there because we didn’t take the time to call, email, or message them?
Who would not be there because of our personal concerns with our lives and work.
I have to tell you that this was a powerful visualization technique for me.
My first thought was that I would have to drum up the courage to have the spotlight on me. We fear success and the intimacy that comes with someone giving us true affirmation.
What would people shout at us in their affirmations of thanks and praise?
Those affirmations and thank-you’s should inspire us to change the way we act today. They should make us more into that saint that we are meant to become.
I love this visualization technique because it shows us that being a saint is not about inner-holiness and perfection. It is about the people who we have helped around us. It is about the people who we will inspire towards that heavenly stadium as well.
May we all run the race, receive the crown of righteousness, and help those around us become saints too.
“I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.”
2 Timothy 4:7-8
Download a Guided Meditation for this Visualization Technique
I took some time to put together a more formal meditation that you can use yourself, with a friend or spouse, or in your ministry. It has reflection questions that should help inspire deep thoughts about how we can all become saints both today and in our future.
(photo credit: milla.deet)