“I think therefore I am.” – The power of visualization

Black Girl with Purpose Confidence, VisualizationIt’s summer time and you’re planning a vacation. You decide to stay somewhere close because you love a good road trip. So you get in the car and head out on the road without predetermining your end destination. You decide you’ll just wing it, driving for a while and then taking a promising looking exit only to end up stranded in no man’s land – a huge field with cornstalks and grass.

Compare this experience with that of your friend who plans a vacation and decides Pensacola, Florida would be the best fit. It’s only a three-hour drive from here in New Orleans, requires one tank of gas and has beautiful beaches. She encounters many exits along the way but keeps her eyes focused ahead on the sign that says “Pensacola” with a note on how many miles she has left. She’s not distracted by Gulf Shores or Orange Beach signs because she’s picturing the clear blue water of the Gulf of Mexico and white sand. She can visualize her end.

As the saying goes “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve arrived?” That’s the underlying concept in visualization. Picturing yourself giving the snowball stand your two weeks notice, turning your paper in, crossing the stage at graduation and walking into the office of your first big girl job all accomplish the same end. This whole month we’ve talked about endurance and I believe visualization can be one of the most effective tactics in helping you fight to the finish.

In Philippians 3:14, Paul says “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.” He had a heavenly motivation and kept his thoughts on that of God’s smiling face when he reached the end.

So what are some practical tactics for visualization?

  • Print out pictures
  • Do a vision board exercise
  • Talk about what your life will be like when you reach particular goals you’ve set
  • Actually run through the future you envision in your head – this practice is called mental preparation

In 2009, Psychology Today published an article entitled Seeing is Believing: The Power of Visualization. In it, they cite several studies that prove visualization can be effective. For example, Guang Yue, an exercise psychologist from Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, compared “people who went to the gym with people who carried out virtual workouts in their heads”. He found that a 30% muscle increase in the group who went to the gym. However, the group of participants who conducted mental exercises of the weight training increased muscle strength by almost half as much (13.5%). They literally convinced themselves that they were actually going out and doing it!

Think & Grow Chick, Courtney Sanders, also advocates for this practice. Now a full-time, self-employed entrepreneur, Courtney has shared in podcasts and many of her paid offerings that she would literally picture her life as the CEO of her own business. She envisioned her office with big windows and open spaces, she saw herself traveling, would pretend that her drives into the office were really drives to meet a high-end client and she even pictured herself with a different hairstyle that wouldn’t be influenced by corporate big wigs! The awesome part? Courtney talked about seeing herself as a blond and when she quit her job, one of the first things she did was die strands of her hair blonde as a reward for her endurance! Now she’s full blonde and her hair looks gorgeous!

Ultimately, visualization all comes down to letting self-fulfilling prophecies work in your favor. If you tell yourself you’ll never graduate or leave your parents house or get the promotion – you probably won’t. But if you decide first and foremost in your mind that you will pursue and achieve greatness, the possibilities for your life are endless.

So go out there and own it black girl with purpose. I can assure you as you stay focused on what’s coming next and continue to be intentional about the vision ahead, you’ll look up and have arrived at your destination.

Now it’s your turn! Do you also imagine one day being the CEO of your business? Is your main focus graduation? Comment below with the kind of future you envision.

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About Brie Daniels

Author of The Black Girl's Guide to Living on Purpose and Executive Director of Black Girls with Purpose.