In September 2008, I was sitting in a workshop at the National Association of Women MBAs (now MBA Women International) conference in Stamford, CT. The workshop was called something like “Using Visualization to Achieve your Goals.” It was run by a woman who was a professional at Microsoft and was interested in visualization, but she was not an expert.
As is customary in any MBA workshop, she began with a flurry of data and statistics regarding the effectiveness of visualization, for athletes in particular, in order build credibility and grab our attention. Once our minds were opened to the possibilities, she led us in a guided imagery exercise.
She asked us to focus on our breathing, took us way up above the atmosphere, and then dropped down back onto the planet five years in the future. She walked us through visualizing every aspect of our lives –
How did we feel? I felt happy, relaxed, and fulfilled. I was smiling
What were our surroundings? I could tell I was in a mountain town in a cozy house that was my own. I felt at home and at peace. There was lots of sunlight.
What were we wearing? I was at home wearing casual clothes.
Was there a man/partner in my life? That part was fuzzy, but I knew the boyfriend at the time was not in the picture.
What were we working on? I felt I was working on presentation material to do an inspirational talk and making plans to take a group of women out backpacking.
Where were we going? I was packing up a bag to head to a coffee shop to do some writing (I LOVE working in coffee shops!).
I walked out of that workshop totally perplexed. That vision was SO different than my daily reality. I was working hard in a new sales role at a quant analytics firm called Axioma, Inc. However, I had become an avid outdoorswoman and was very involved in supporting women in leadership, but to not have a regular job, be guiding, be speaking, be living in a mountain town were radical concepts…
This September will be five years EXACTLY! The other day I looked around and I was stunned as I realized I was now living in a mountain town, in a cozy home of my own, working on presentation material for upcoming talks, planning an upcoming trip with women the back country for my new company, Call of the Wild, and heading to a coffee shop to do some more writing.
A lot happened between then and now and there were many supporters along the way, but I can point to that workshop as the moment that the seed was planted for the life I am living today.
One small detail I forgot to visualize was that my activities would be profitable enough to cover my living expenses. I’m working on visualizing that now. 🙂