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The Super Power Mental Skill of Visualization

“I never hit a shot, even in practice, without having a very sharp, in focus picture of it in my head.”

Jack Nicklaus

Visualization is a super power mental skill for performers in all areas. The ability to imagine success in a future event: what it looks, sounds, smells, and feels like is critical to consistent and confident performance. So much so that professionals across all industries have adopted the practice. Olympians, musicians, writers, artists, businessmen, teachers, etc.. There is not a single endeavor one could take on, in my opinion, where the ability to see what a successful outcome could look like would not be advantageous. 

Benefits of Visualization

Decreases high stress and performance anxiety

Increases positive energy states

Enhances motivation

Boosts confidence

Can help healing

Builds muscle memory

Trains mindset

Retrains faulty thinking traps and belief systems 


We All Visualize

Insane right! It is hard for me to not push this mental skill when the benefits are so numerous. The fact is that we all already visualize to some degree. As a human being, we have a mind that is capable of looking into the future: planning, analyzing, and contemplating. What a gift that we were given there! The problem is that we often don’t take control of the visuals we project. We tend to be run by negative past experiences, faulty belief systems, low self-esteem, thinking traps, and fears. Due to our natural instinct to protect ourselves from unsafe physical, emotional, or social experiences, our mind tends to project the very thing that we hope does not happen. Again, it’s a great feature of the mind to help us survive; but it’s terrible timing : ) From then on, those thoughts have a cascade of negative consequences on our performance, physiology, behaviors, and results. 


Thought Exercise

When I work with teams and individuals, I always do this quick thought exercise. I ask them to not think of an elephant or a giraffe, which ends up being incredibly hard to do. Go ahead… you try. Don’t think of a lion! Our minds do not recognize “no” or “dont” when we are thinking. It sees the subject of focus. I then continued the exercise by telling them what I really was hoping they would see the whole time is a cheetah, but of course they could not possibly think about a cheetah because their mind was focused on what I didn’t want. Same goes for any performer! 


An Example

Say you are a baseball/softball player and you only think about not striking out, or hitting a pop fly, or what people will say if you let them down, or fail yet again. If that is what is on your mind at the plate, you become tense and hesitant, defensive, you are in your head instead of in the moment, and play not to fail. How about we change our thoughts to visualizing what we hope happens instead, like hitting a shot in the gap for a double. That thought creates confidence, eagerness, and an attack mentality. It changes everything, results included! Now you just need to train it!


Getting Started

There are many variations to how people visualize but here is the essence: 

Imagine with all of your senses yourself performing your task with success. What would you be seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, tasting? What emotion would you be experiencing? If you make a mistake, how can you respond sharply and deal with it?. Spend at least 5 minutes a day imagining that scenario. Repeat it often!  It’s such a small amount of time to have such a major impact. 


Are you ready to start this training, but feel that you need more help? Contact Powell Here!

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Best wishes to you all!

Powell Cucchiella, LMHC





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