Your imagination is a powerful tool that you should leverage in mapping out your future. As previously discussed, your mind does not differentiate between what is real and what is imagined. There are three ways you can use your imagination as you begin your program of continuous improvement.
- Consciously shaping your daily activities to move you closer toward your goals.
- Making changes in your environment that will influence you – on conscious and unconscious levels – to focus on your goals.
- Behaving as though you have already achieved your goals.
While fear embedded in the unconscious mind can sabotage our success, the reverse is also true. You can use your unconscious mind to influence your thinking in order to achieve your goals. This is an incredibly powerful process that all successful individuals have mastered. Many of these people were unaware that they had actually “programmed” themselves for success, but in reality they had shaped their destiny deep within their unconscious minds long before reaping their rewards.
The first step in changing your mindset and moving toward a new position, or a new career, is to understand what is involved in the new role. For example, if you want to start a business, you should interview people who have started businesses that are similar. You will gain an understanding of their thought processes and behaviors. Observe them in action. See what they do and how they do it. Spend as much time in that environment as possible. Think about what you would do differently.
For example, let’s say that you want to become the owner of a McDonald’s franchise. Stop in your local McDonald’s and talk with the manager. Ask her what she likes about working there. Ask her what she thinks could be improved. Ask if you can contact the owner and speak with him. Ask him to tell you his success story. More often than not, people are happy to share their stories with you. Not only are you gaining information to prepare for an ownership role in the future, but you are also programming your unconscious mind to believe that you are already in that position.
Next, you should surround yourself with items that symbolize what you hope to become. If you want to become a McDonald’s franchise owner, cut out some photos of a McDonald’s restaurant and tape them to your wall. Read books about McDonald’s. Imagine your success in this role. If owning several of these restaurants will make you rich enough to buy a boat, put some pictures of boats up on your wall, too.
Finally, before you go to sleep at night and immediately upon waking in the morning, think about what your day would be like if you achieved this new position. As you fall asleep, imagine yourself counting your money with the manager who works for you. Imagine, in vivid detail, taking the briefcase full of money to the marina and purchasing your boat. Then, when you wake up the next day, imagine how your day would start if you owned that restaurant. Imagine pulling into the parking lot and seeing it full of cars. Imagine a counter packed with a line of happy customers being served by employees who smile and nod as you walk into the building.
The more you practice this process of acting as if you are in the role you seek, the more natural your transition into that role will become. You should not limit yourself to small dreams. Successful people acted in ways appropriate to the roles they would assume years before they achieved their success. When they got there, they felt and behaved as if they had been doing it all their lives.