Imagine it..

Something a little different this week.  I have a guest blogger who was really keen to share their secret to finding their career and life mojo. 

How often have you heard – imagine it and it can happen, you could become richer, slimmer, faster, stronger , more successful at work !  It’s easy to think that’s a load of rubbish and there is no way you could actually achieve something by imagining it. I dispute that and have learnt through personal experience the real value in what I call “active visualisation”. The real power in this is that the subconscious mind is far bigger than the conscious mind. Think of it like an iceberg where most of it is really below the sea’s surface. Feeding positive thoughts into the subconscious mind then directs the conscious mind where to go!

Originally when I first heard of this concept I did some research and found some incredible examples of visualisation success. One fascinating example was that of a US Army General held captive for many years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. Every day he visualised playing a game of golf on his local Californian course. He would mentally follow each stroke, into each hole across an 18 hole golf course. He would visualise playing better shots, getting lower scores and being the best even winning prizes. Not only did this exercise relieve the boredom of being a prisoner of war confined to a cell, it also gave him strength to endure the awful environment he was kept in.

And guess what when he finally was released from captivity at the end of the war he got to play a game of golf soon after his homecoming. Guess what – played the best game of golf ever smashing previous scores!

What has come to me from active visualisation is greater happiness, financial security and a generally better attitude to life.

So how does this active visualisation work? I understand it can take a number of forms but I will share with you the different exercises that have worked really well for me:

1.       The Shower of Money

You are having a lovely warm shower on a cold Wellington morning. You close your eyes and imagine money coming out of the shower nozzle. You think I am going to be better off so I can help my family, have a car I deserve etc. (you can fill in the rest).

2.       The Happy Life

You find a safe comfortable place and mentally work through what the signs are of a happy life.  Great relationships, great job etc. All of what you want – focus on it and imagine it.

3.       The Fit and Healthy Me

This is another active visualisation step where you really see yourself as a strong, healthy and fit person who is loving life.

It’s really easy to dismiss the above as new age mumbo jumbo. But trust me put some time and energy into the above and your life will change.

Four qualities you should have in your toolbox

Late last year I stumbled across the Happenstance Theory (Jim Krumboltz). It really caught my interest as at the time I had a number of clients who were either going through restructures or had recently been made redundant. The more I read about Happenstance Theory the more I became convinced the four qualities often referred to as key to enabling people to capitalize on chance events and turn serendipity into opportunity, could be found in my clients who were successfully managing change in their careers. More importantly these clients were able to leverage off the change in a positive way.

Happenstance Theory focuses on the importance of creating and transforming unplanned events into opportunities for learning. This is not the same as leaving everything to chance. Rather, this theory advocates an active searching process while also remaining open to new and unexpected opportunities that were not planned.

 Curiosity                         exploring new learning

Persistence                     exerting effort despite setbacks

Flexibility                        adapting to changing attitudes and circumstance

Optimism                        viewing new opportunities as possible and attainable

The reality is we will continue to face constant changes at work with the ever increasing pace of technology changes and the unpredictable economic market.  If we want to be career resilient we should all ensure these five key skills are at the top of our toolbox.

This week’s challenge is to undertake a quick self assessment of the competencies above, how do you rate yourself? If you identify areas that require further development or a bit more proactive effort on your part put a plan in place today. One of my clients decided to place this list on the wall in her work area and she reported back that it really helped her take control of her own destiny during some pretty tough weeks of uncertainly.

Do you have a plan for the next six months?

Up until my late 30’s (a few years ago now) I never really understood why people always asked what your career goals were.    Around this time I was encouraged to read Anthony Robbins book by my mentor while on holiday in Fiji. I wasn’t really into reading big books and the only thing that ran through my head was how on earth she expected me to read such a big book in six days. Well to cut a long story short I did read it and not only did I read it, I also did the exercises. It all seemed to make sense and I suddenly found myself setting goals including a number of career related goals.

I realized I had some vague career goals but what I was missing was –

  1. writing them down.
  2. chunking them into bite sized actions to ensure I stayed focused and on track, and to get them across the finishing line.

As a Leadership and Career Strategist Coach  I am regularly reminded that the difference between those who have their career mojo and those who don’t, is the mojo guys have their goals written down, chunked into smaller actions and they make time to review them (not always weekly, but at least every couple of months).

I am sure you will all agree that most of us say we are going to do this and that, but never sit down and plan out how we are going to do it? My challenge to you is if you have never set goals or it’s been ages since you have, give it a go and set yourself some career goals for the next six months. A little quote that might help you along the way is “if it is to be it is up to me”.

There are plenty of books and website resources on setting goals and I believe the best approach is finding a goal setting framework that works for you. I now use a combination of Keith Abraham, Anthony Robbins, and Jack Canfield in setting my goals.  I have wobbles along the way like anyone else but I can put my hand on my heart and say I do make better progress in being the best I can be when I am focused on my career goals.

Your challenge this weekend is to check out Keith Abraham’s Passionate People website  .There are some great goal setting tools available.  You could even go one step further and set some goals for the next six months so that by the end of 2014 you can say you had a great Career Year.