Each of us
stores pictures in our minds about the type of relationships
we deserve, the degree of success we'll attain at work, the
extent of our leadership ability, the amount of money we'll
earn and accumulate, and so on.
Where do these pictures come from?
Well, we begin to
develop our "mental movies" early in life. If we
were criticized or felt unworthy as a youngster, we record the
events (and the feelings associated with those events) as
images in our minds. Because we frequently dwell on these
pictures (both consciously and subconsciously), we tend to
create life situations that correspond to the original image.
For example, you may still hold a vibrant image of being
criticized by a teacher in elementary school. You felt
humiliated in front of the whole class. Later on, when you
were tempted to offer your opinion in school or in a group of
people, you held back and kept quiet all the while remembering
(even if only on a subconscious level) how painful it was when
you were criticized. The picture remains in your mind, and
exerts tremendous influence over your present actions.
Unfortunately, many of us have not updated or revised our
childhood movies, so we are continually producing results that
fall short of our full potential. Here are some techniques for
using the power of visualization to improve virtually every
aspect of your personal and professional life:
- Take responsibility for the pictures you are playing
in your mind. No matter what the source of those
images, it's you that keeps playing them. Let's try
a short experiment. Think about an ice cream cone filled
with your favorite flavor of ice cream. Does that create a
picture or image for you? I'll bet it does. Okay, now
think about an elephant. Can you see it? Change the color
of the elephant to pink. In a fraction of a second, you
probably formed an image of the pink elephant. Can you
bring back the picture of the ice cream cone? Of course,
you can. You have full control over the pictures that
occupy your mind. However, when you do not consciously decide
which pictures to play, your mind will look into the
"archives" and keep re-playing old movies on
file in your mental library.
- Accept what happened in the old movie - but change
its meaning. It doesn't serve you to deny what
happened in a past experience, no matter how painful or
disappointing. You can't, for instance, change the fact
that you were criticized by the teacher. You can, however,
alter your interpretation of the event. That is, at
the time you were originally criticized, the meaning you
might have assigned to the experience was: "I'm not
good enough," or "My opinions are
worthless." While this was the interpretation of a
child, you may have inadvertently carried it into your
adult life. Today, though, you can consciously choose to
view the situation differently -- for example, the teacher
may have disagreed with you, but it wasn't a statement
about your intelligence or your overall worth as a person!
- Create new pictures to move you toward what you want.
can create new mental movies whenever we choose to do so.
And, when we develop (and concentrate on) new images that
evoke powerful feelings and sensations, we will act in
ways that support those new pictures! So, the first step
is to create an image of your desired outcome. You are
limited only by your imagination. Recognize, however, that
the pictures in your mind are not fulfilled overnight!
But, by being patient and by persistently focusing on
these mental images, you'll automatically start acting in
ways that support your vision.
- Relax and involve your senses. What's the best
method to use when concentrating on your new images?
been proven that your mind is most receptive to
visualization when you are calm and not thinking about a
lot of things simultaneously. So, sit down in a
comfortable chair at home, close your eyes and do some
deep breathing exercises to clear your mind and relax your
body. Now, strive to develop images that involve as many
senses as you can. The more sights, sounds, smells, tastes
and touches you put in your pictures, the more powerful
the "pull" for you to make your vision a
Here's an example.
Let's say you always dreamed of owning a
beach-front house in the Caribbean. Picture the white and
peach colored house. See the green palm trees slowly swaying
in the gentle breeze. Smell the salt air. Feel the warm sand
between you toes. Can't you just taste it? And all this
can be yours, if you hold onto this image and do what it takes
to achieve it!
Also, remember that those images associated with strong emotions
have even more power, so be sure to add positive feelings
to your vision. For instance, when visualizing your ideal job,
combine the vivid mental picture and the physical senses with
the terrific emotions of pride and satisfaction you'll have
working in that new position.
Finally, don't be concerned with the quality of your images
at the outset. Some people can create lively color pictures. .
. while others have trouble getting anything more than a
fuzzy image, or no image at all. It's also possible that you
may only be able to get a particular feeling at the
beginning as opposed to a clear image.
In any case, don't worry about it.
Do the best you can and
don't compare yourself to anyone else. Your images will become
sharper over time. The key is to spend several minutes each
day running these new movies in your mind.
Well, there you have it--some suggestions for creating and
benefiting from your own mental pictures. Remember, if you
don't take control and develop your own movies, you'll
continue to replay the old ones. If the old movies are serving
you, that's great. But, if they're holding you back in any
way, get started today and use the incredible power of
your mind to picture your way to greater success!
The Key to Your Security
There's a lot of talk these days about the lack of security
in the workplace, especially in corporate America. Events such
as downsizing, re-structuring, mergers and acquisitions have
many workers wondering whether the job they have today will be
there tomorrow. This uncertainty has, in some places, resulted
in a loss of morale and an unwillingness for some employees to
give their best. After all, they think, "If I could be
gone soon or have my job radically changed, why give 100% to
But, while it's true that the days of working for a company
for 30 years, getting a gold watch and a secure retirement
package are long gone, the person who suffers most when you
don't give your best is YOU!
To begin with, excellence is a habit that cannot be
turned on and off like a faucet. We are creatures of habit and
either we have a commitment to do the best job we can. . . or we
condition ourselves to put forth less than our best efforts.
Whichever approach we take, it will not be easy to change.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can withhold your
talents and enthusiasm today, then give your all tomorrow.
To illustrate, consider one of your daily habits--how neat
you keep your bedroom. If you're the type that throws shirts
and pants on top of a chair (or on the floor), how difficult
would it be for you to change that habit and fold all of your
clothes and neatly put them away in a closet or drawer? I'll
bet that you'd find the new pattern almost impossible to
follow. Within a day or two, you'd probably take your socks
and throw them on the chair, just as you did before! The same
is true of the way you approach your work. You either make the
commitment to do an excellent job, or you develop a pattern of
doing just enough to get by.
That's why, if you're looking for security in a job, you're
looking in the wrong place. There is no security in any job.
The security lies within you. The key to developing
your security is by becoming excellent at what you do, and by
continuing to improve your skills. Add to that a very positive
attitude and an ability to work well with others, and, voila,
you have job security!
Now, I didn't say that you are guaranteed to work
for the same company for the rest of your life, or even that
you will remain in your current position. But, by always
giving your very best, you'll assure yourself of having a
decisive edge in any future situation. Think about it.
company was acquired by another, which employees would have
the best chance of sticking around--those who
enthusiastically gave their best, or those who dragged their
feet, complained, and had little interest in learning new
And, even if the excellent performer does not get a
position in the new company, that person, because of his or
her commitment to excellence and positive attitude is going to
have an advantage in the marketplace when securing a new
When you put forth 100% effort, people notice.
You may not
be rewarded immediately but you are building a reputation that
will serve you well in your current organization, and in any
other place you may work In the future.
The bottom line is this:
giving less than your best
effort in your current position can only hurt you.
So, if you want to obtain real security, ask yourself these
questions: Do I enthusiastically give my very best at work
every day? Do I cooperate with others and support their
efforts? Do I maintain a positive attitude? Am I learning to
be better at what I do and am I developing the skills that
will be important in my field in the future?
Answer these questions and re-evaluate yourself on a
regular basis. When you can finally reply with a resounding,
"YES!," you'll have the type of job security that no
one can ever take away from you.
* * * * *
Keller is a motivational speaker and writer who founded
Attitude is Everything, Inc. Visit Jeff's website at http://www.attitudeiseverything.com
. He'd love to have you visit!