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Creative visualization is a key success skill. Here's why peak performers make a habit of it.

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You have a goal. You want that next big promotion. You want your business to break through that invisible barrier that will transform it from wannabe to place to be. Or perhaps your goal is more personal — you want more kick-back time, less stress, more joy.

You want it, you need it, you have to have it. Maybe, you even pray on it. But can you see it? Can you envision your goal? And do you actively and regularly make the time to do so? If not, say experts on creative visualization, no matter how hard you work at it, you’re less likely to attain your goal.

Old sayings such as, “What you can see, you can achieve,” don’t form in a vacuum. Creative visualization — the art of using mental imagery and affirmation to produce positive changes in your life — works. For years top achievers, from the golf course to the boardroom, have been using this technique to reach peak performance. There’s not a great athlete you can name, from Tiger Woods to Serena Williams, who hasn’t visualized winning. It’s as critical a part of their training — and ultimate success — as the grueling hours of practice and physical preparation.

Cecilia Loving first learned about the power of visualization 30 years ago when she was selected among a handful of black students to attend the prestigious Lewis Cass Technical High School in Detroit. “I was the only child in my grade from the Jeffries Housing projects, and this gave me an intense feeling of aloneness,” Loving, now 43, recalls. “Middle-class black teenagers talked openly about surviving the bus ride past the projects where I lived. They could not imagine that anyone they knew actually lived there.”

Isolated and increasingly insecure, Loving developed a deep fear of speaking in class. But she was determined to remain a stellar student. That’s when she began doing visualization exercises.

“At night, before I went to bed, I visualized myself speaking in front of large audiences,” she says. “Soon, I began taking a public speaking class. I used the class as an opportunity to face my fear. I kept visualizing myself at night, and I continued to focus on getting As. My classmates might have come from better neighborhoods, but I decided that I would be the best student.”

Now an attorney in the New York City-based firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, Loving still uses visualization as a self-improvement tool in both her professional and personal life. She believes in it so wholeheartedly that she leads seminars teaching others about the power and art of creative visualization.

“It was through my experiences in high school that I began to realize that the ultimate revolution takes place within,” says Loving, who is currently writing her first book on this topic. “The power of visualization is not tangible, but it is real. Whatever we experience and become is a result of the vision that we hold of life.”

Use Your Vision To Improve Your Life
Creative visualization is not a quick fix. It takes time

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