Visualizing for meaningful connections

I remember even as far back as college where I heard about the tremendous benefits of visualizations. The classic example being olympic gymnasts who imagine themselves performing the routine flawlessly in their mind, before executing it in front of the judges. In fact, multiple athletes cite visualizations as a key enabler of their success.

I think I might have tried it a couple of times, but it never stuck. My guess is that I didn’t think of myself as an elite athlete and as such dismissed the benefit of visualizing when it came to the “real world.”

Enter last week when I was re-reading “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” I came the following passage:

“But instead of seeing my normal response, I can see myself handle the situation with all the love, the power, the self-control I have captured in my affirmation.” 

It hit me! I actually was visualizing all of my life. The problem was that I typically visualized the worst possible outcomes, which frequently became self fulfilling prophecies 🤦‍♂️

For example, I would have to make an important presentation at work and I would picture my management asking me tough questions. I had all the right intentions. I wanted to anticipate my employer’s needs. Where I think my efforts hurt me was my fixation on preventing a train wreck meeting. The anticipation of arguments that might potentially undermine my findings stressed me out.

Consequently I went into the meetings with my shields up. Even when I was able to stand my ground, I missed an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way. 

Having said that my goal going forward will be to take at least a minute to visualize how an effective meeting or speaking engagement will look like. I want to focus on the smiles, nods and moments of vulnerability that enable everyone to become much greater than the sum of individual attributes. 

I will choose to that. For if I don’t, I know that my mind, by default, will pull me towards what could go wrong. That’s when the shields go up and I miss the opportunities to connect … I miss an opportunity to be an instrument of God’s love. 

When was the last time you tried visualizing? How open are you to trying a positive outcome visualization prior to your next meeting?

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