Friday, February 26, 2010

Olympic athletes use visualizations and so can we!

Better than most humans, Olympic athletes—both summer and winter—use visualizations to spectacular effect. When you were watching the downhill skiing at the Vancouver Olympics, you may have noticed Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller using visualization at the top of the run. With their eyes closed, they swayed, gently moving their shoulders and hands. They were picturing the run they were about to take—at anything but a gentle speed! Do you think they were picturing themselves falling? Of course not. So why do we?

Think of the last time you gave a speech or presentation. Did you visualize a successful result or were you picturing the disasters that could befall you: forgetting something important, developing dry mouth, having everyone tune into their pdas? Try this next time. Practice, practice, practice and while you're practicing, picture a smiling, supportive audience. Picture the room you'll be in and what you're wearing—you look terrific! Picture the audience's response when you finish—warm applause and lots of congratulations. And questions—always a sign they were interested. Visualizations can also help you calm yourself when dealing with other stressful situations. More about that in another post.

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