Visualization and Career Success

The July 18 issue of Newsweek, the one with Sarah Palin on the cover, had a really interesting article on the Science of Success. It made for some very interesting career success reading. At the end of the article, five winners gave their perspective on winning: Lindsey Vonn, an Olympic Gold Medal Skier; Ken Jennings, winner of a record 74 straight Jeopardy shows; Tina Thompson, four time WNBA champion; Joey Chestnut, winner of five straight Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contests; and Jennifer Egan, a Pulitzer Prize winner – quite an eclectic group.

I’m a big Lindsey Vonn fan. She; lives in Vail CO, so she’s almost a neighbor. A couple of weeks ago, she won the 2011 ESPY award for Female Athlete of the Year.   Many people think she is the best American female ski racer ever.  This is what she had to say about ski racing and winning.  What she has to say applies to life and career success as well.

“The entire morning on a race day is a ritual, solely designed to me confidence. When I wake up, I do a workout and usually listed to rap. It gets me into that kind of aggressive state of mind. When I’m actually in the starting gate, I’m pretty calm. I’ve already visualized the course an hundred times and know exactly what I need to do.”

I like what she has to say about visualization. I am a big believer in the power of visualization. Tweet 12 in my career advice book, Success Tweets says, “Visualization is powerful. The more vivid the image you have of your success, the more likely you are to succeed.”

As a career success coach, I suggest that once you define what career success means to you personally, you need to develop a clear mental picture of yourself as that career success. This image should be as vivid as you can you make it. Try to create your career success vivid image in 3-D.

When I was 25, I created a vivid mental image of myself as a success coach, motivational speaker, management consultant and author. I worked in my home office – where I wrote and developed the programs I delivered at client locations. This office had a floor-to-ceiling wall of books that I could use for easy reference. It also had a state of the art IBM Selectric typewriter and a big, clunky telephone. PCs and the Internet were science fiction in 1975.

I also saw myself having one to one discussions with senior leaders in a variety of organizations, conducting training and team-building sessions in conference rooms at their locations. Amazingly, many of the people in the sessions were smoking. I had very vivid images of standing in front of large audiences at sales meetings doing talks. I saw myself signing a book I had written at a bookstore. I also saw myself on airplanes, traveling to my speaking, coaching and consulting gigs.

All of these vivid images came true. My office is much as I had imagined it – except it has two PCs and a cell phone, not a Selectric typewriter and clunky phone. The wall of books is there – overflowing. I’ve written 14 of the books on the shelf. People don’t smoke in my training and team-building sessions anymore and I use PowerPoint instead of handwritten flip charts, but the big stuff is the same as I’ve imagined it. I’ve spoken to audiences all over North America, in Latin America, Europe and Asia. I am a million-mile flyer with Continental Air Lines.

I’m living my career success dream – in large part because I dared to visualize it all those years ago.  I created a detailed vivid mental image of my career success. Just like Lindsey Vonn, I was calmwhen I set out to create my career success, because my vivid mental image of my success helped me know exactly what I had to do.

What’s your career success dream? Have you created a vivid mental image of it? Take some time for yourself. Ask and answer these three questions:

  • Where do I want to be 10, 20 and 30 years from now?
  • What will it look like and feel like when I’m there?
  • What will my life be like?

Ask and answer these and any other questions that will help you develop a clear, vivid mental image of your career success. This is not day-dreaming. It is real work. You are designing your future in your mind.

Keep this mental picture of your career success with you as you go about your day-to-day business. Every once in a while, ask yourself if what you did that day brought you any closer to your mental image of career success. If the answer is no, make sure that you take at least one act the very next day to move closer to your vivid mental image of your career success. In this way, you’ll be keeping your dream alive – and moving toward your goal.

The career coach success point here is simple common sense. Successful people define what their career success means to them personally. Then they develop a compelling and clear mental image of their career success. They heed the career advice in Tweet 12 in Success Tweets: “Visualization is powerful. The more vivid the image you have of your career success, the more likely you are to succeed.” They use their vivid mental image to help keep their dreams alive and to keep moving forward to what they want in their lives and careers. Creating a vivid mental image of your career success is not day-dreaming. It’s real work – it’s the work of designing your future, so you can take the steps necessary to create it.

That’s my career advice on the power of visualization for career success. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained. It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail. Go to to claim your free copy. You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

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  1. Really awesome information. Thank you for sharing. Please let me share you blog with my friends. Thank you

  2. Feel free to share on your blog.
    All the best,

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