This week’s Pearl of Leadership Wisdom is on Visualisation.

Visualisation is an important part of the goal-setting process. It’s like a television advert for your own future. And you are the director of the advert. But where it’s different from a normal advert is that it creates the future. The advert isn’t pulled from the programme. The programme is made from the advert.
Now, before you reach for the delete button, I am not advocating that you can think yourself rich, because you can’t. No. You have to work really hard. But working really hard with the end in mind is much more effective work. And the end in mind, is the advert in your mind; the visualisation.
When you have something to do that is important, and perhaps worrying, visualisation is a powerful tool to help you raise your game.

Lights, camera, action…!

I have a small talk to give today, in Macclesfield, and it’s a bit different from any talk I’ve done before. I could furiously scribble notes down and try to memorise them, getting a bit stressed in the process. I used to do this, when I thought perfection was a good thing.

What I have done is this. I took a 3 x 5 inch index card and wrote down a few bullet points. No more than one for every two minutes of the talk. I then went and lay on my bed and I gave the talk, in my head, to an imaginary bunch of people in a place I’ve never been.

Can I do this in the car…?

No. Being relaxed is critical. Eyes shut. Lying down if possible.

How often…?

Depends on the event. I did this two consecutive times on Sunday morning and once this morning. That’s enough. If I was addressing the nation on TV, I’d do it a bit more. But not much more.

What do I see?

I try to imagine small details as I talk. The faces looking at me. The ties. The necklaces. The temperature in the room. It’s all made up. I’ve never been in the room. And I never will be truly in the room. I’ll be in the advert for the room. The advert I’ve created in my head.

What do I feel?

Exactly what I want to. This is about setting the emotion for the talk. How am I going to feel – I choose how I want to feel and I put it in the advert – I chose to feel calm, clear, in control and on top of my game.

The advert is imbued by all of this…twice yesterday and once this morning. The job is done, before it’s even begun. And will happen exactly as it has done in my head. The future is written, in my mind. The execution is a formality.

You can do this. Start with a small thing, something you know is going to happen, but you’re not 100% confident about it. Then move on to bigger and bigger things.

This stuff works…

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