What are some helpful “visioning” tools that you use with clients?
I use visualization to ”anchor” clients in a resourceful state, a tool from Neuro-Linguistic programming. A client needed confidence as she prepared to take a difficult stand to senior decision makers in her organization. I asked her to remember a time when she was fully at ease during a challenge. She remembered a time from her days as a competitive skier, standing at the top of the mountain, feeling focused, prepared, and excited. I asked her to be fully there in the memory, seeing, hearing, and feeling that moment. Then she “anchored” this sensation by pressing her knuckle. She was then able to press on that spot when she needed courage in the weeks that followed.
In our leadership workshops, we use the vision journal exercise to help folks get clear on their ideal success. We have each one put on the cover of her journal a collage of pictures of the things that matter most to her: people, things, activities, goals, beliefs, and values. Over the years, we’ve had candidates return as speakers at the Rutgers’ Executive Leaderhip Program with journals in hand. At a panel in 2012, two of our guest speakers came with their vision journals. One forgot it in the car and ran out, heels and all, to grab it. They reflected on how, years after they’d cut out pictures on their first day of class, they’d arrived at the places they’d wanted to be. My experience with coaching leaders is that, “dreams do come true.” A guiding vision allows an individual to survive and thrive in our changing world.
From Leadership Presence Coach Lucia Brizzi: Envisioning Success
Question 4 of the Success Circle Peer Mentoring coaching methodology: “Imagine you’ve achieved this success. What are you seeing, hearing, and feeling? Complete the sentence, ‘I am…’”
This question is the crux of the process. Why?
According to Emily Cook, a U.S. freestyle aerialist Olympian, in the New York Times’ article, Olympians Use Imagery as Mental Training, to achieve success, “You have to smell it. You have to hear it. You have to feel it; everything.” Studies have found that in some cases, visual practice is as effective as physical practice in building muscle, and doing both is proven more effective than one or the other.
An active visualization, utilizing the five senses, is stored in the same region of the brain as memory. So rather than entering a new job with the doubt of a rookie, you prepare yourself to experience the inner confidence of familiar achievement. An “I’ve got this!” stride, rather than an “I hope I’ll get this!” shuffle.
At 64 years old, Diana Nyad did what no person had ever done before–what she herself had attempted and failed 4 times before, beginning at age 28–swimming 110 miles, 15 hours, from Cuba to Florida, without a shark tank. Her TED talk, here, delivered after her final failed attempt as she prepared for her ultimate success, is a portrait of unshakable vision. Vision anchors and energizes, transforming obstacles into opportunities. Nyad says her mantra on that final swim was, “Find a Way.”