Are you visualising
your goal?

by Neeraja Ganesh

Are you visualising your goal?

How many of us have a goal? A goal which is SMART — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound!

And, now that you have set your goals, how do you achieve them? The simple answer is to work towards them!
Have you ever visualised your goal?
So, if your goal is to be selected as the chairperson of the college sports committee, have you tried visualising yourself as the chairperson of the committee? It’s almost like seeing a movie where you see yourself in the role of the chairperson. The movie shows you being selected and the announcement made, you taking the stage, hearing the applause, going into the regular meetings, doing the discussions and making those decisions etc. And how often do you watch this movie?
Visualising your goal is like when we say “Seeing is Believing”. You may ask whether it’s the same as dreaming or aspiring. Dreams are usually unconscious thoughts while visualisation is conscious thinking. Visualisation is not only about the outcome but the actions taken to achieve the outcome.
I was sitting at a conference in 2016 amongst the audience and as we always do, taking pictures of the speakers and the Emcee for the event and sharing it in some of my friends and family whatsapp groups to tell them what I was doing that day. A cousin of mine asked me if I was also one of the speakers. Of course, I had never had the opportunity to take the stage to be a speaker till that day and I responded with a “No”. But, there was always this desire to be on the stage as one of the panelists, or a moderator or a keynote speaker.
I started visualising myself in those roles in my own mental conference setup. Right from visualising the organisation who was inviting me, to receiving the email invite, deciding the topic, how I prepared for the same, dressing up for the event, reaching the venue on the day, hearing the announcement of my name as the speaker, taking the stage and actually delivering the entire talk ending with the applause from the audience. And I actually deliver the talk in my mind!
Did it work? I was invited for my first talk in March 2018 during Women’s Day. In fact, I was invited to 2 talks that month, one of them was for the organisation that I was working at earlier and the invite came from an ex-colleague. The second was from someone totally unknown to me. I am part of a women entrepreneurs’ WhatsApp group and this lady had posted about the event they were planning to conduct to celebrate women’s day and that people could put up some stalls at the event. I messaged her just to find out more about what these stalls could be for and we got onto a call to discuss. She met me later at my office to explore a collaboration beyond the women’s day event. As she was leaving after the meeting, she asked me if I was free on the day of the event and would be one of the speakers. Well, I am presuming that I must have conducted myself in such a manner that she could see a potential speaker in me, but beyond that, what helped is the fact that I had been continuously visualisingsuch an opportunity.
Some of the steps that one needs to take for the process of visualisation are (once you have set the goal!)
1. Visualise how your life or career will be once you have achieved the goal
2. Visualise all the steps to take(I mean every small detail) to achieve the goal
3. Play it out like a movie
4. Some people practice creating a vision board
5. Rewind and play the movie again and again, while commuting, during the shower, before you go to bed, anytime
6. Act on the plan, all those micro and mini steps that you have visualised
7. Bring in the confidence in your daily life and in every activity you do, as if you have already achieved the goal
In 2020, since the lockdown in April, I have received around 50 invites to deliver talks, or be on podcasts, video interviews, tweet chats etc. If I look at the 6 month period, on an average, it comes to two talks per week. And, I have not sought out any of these events. People have reached out to me via LinkedIn, through other referrals and recommendations. That also brings us to another topic, which is Networking and Personal branding, but that will be for another day.
The power of visualisation, in 2016, when the desire to be on stage to deliver talks crept in, has shown the outcomes over the years, with the maximum so far, being in 2020. The main part of the entire visualisation exercise is actually the content preparation and delivery of the talk which I continuously do in my mind, while in the kitchen or the shower or at any such opportunity. Hence, one can ask me to give a talk any time and I will be able to list out at least half a dozen topics for which I will have content ready in my mind!
What is the science behind visualisation? It activates the subconscious, programs your brain, builds the motivation and the confidence. You could also call it the Law of attraction!
Remember that the actual steps to reach your goal will necessarily have to be taken. However, by visualising the success every day, your body creates pathways and memories of the actions taken even though you have not actually performed the action. And the more you visualise, you get better and perfect at it, not only mentally, but in the real act too!
The extension of the mental visualisation is to try and physically be in the space where the goal actually manifests the outcomes.
When my daughter,
Sneha Ganesh
was in 8th std, as a typical mom, I used to give long lectures on why she needed to score better marks as better marks meant admission into a better college! A better college got you access to better faculty and infrastructure which meant better learning! And better learning meant better career opportunities leading to better salary and better life! I am sure you all have heard your parents speak that language. But none of the lectures that I gave her towards this seemed to work. Her marks kept twiddling down. For some reason, the girl who used to score a 95% came to a 70%. I have nothing against a 70% or for a 95%. What irked me and worried me was that her marks were coming down with no specific reason. She continued to work hard but with every passing school test, the marks only worsened. After attending the Parents Teacher meeting conducted for the last school test that year, I decided to take her on a tour of the colleges in the city. We started with a very ordinary school, and asked Sneha to check in the office what the cut-off marks for admission for 11th std was in that school. She was informed that it was 50%. I told her that I was relieved as there was at least one school that she would get admission in. Of course, she did not like the idea as the school did not look (in terms of the building, playground, etc.) like her current school. She said that she would not study there. I told her that we would check other colleges which she might prefer and understand what the cut-off marks for admission would be. We went to the best of the colleges and the mid-range colleges. The response to the cut-off marks varied from 75% to 95%. I didn’t have to do much talking as she must have started visualising herself in the first school that we went to asthen her test marks seemed to work only for that school. Finally, we went to Christ University, Bangalore. Whoever has seen this campus would have wanted to study there. She too wanted to and expressed her desire to get admission here. I got her to ask the same question at the college and the response was that till the previous year, the science admissions cut off was at about 98%. When we were returning home, she again said that she wanted to study at Christ University and I just reminded her what the cut-off percentage was going to be.
As she stepped into the 9th std., I stopped checking on how she was preparing for the tests. When the results of the first test came, she had scored 98%. Well, her marks through 9th and 10th dwindled between 90% and 98%, but I knew that I no longer had to give her the long lectures because she had now visualised her goal. Since the goal was now more concrete in terms of getting admission in Christ university, she would automatically work towards getting the required marks in the exams.
What usually happens is that we don’t know what is meant by a good college! In this example, I do want to emphasise this point to the parents too as most of the time, we assume that the children understand what is meant by good (in this case, a good college, a good job etc.). They have only experienced the good as we never want them to experience anything other than the good. So, how do they know what is not good? That day trip to most of the colleges in Bangalore made Sneha realise that every institute was different in terms of what it offered. Hence, her access to the resources and facilities would be different based on which college she chose to study in. With this visualising, she automatically worked harder towards her goal of getting admission to Christ University.
said —
“I would visualize things coming to me. It would just make me feel better. Visualization works if you work hard. That’s the thing. You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

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