The Visualisation of your dreams

Published: Wednesday 17th February, 2021.
Hi there!

Welcome back and thank you for being with us today. We would like to talk to you one more time about your dreams and the Dream map course we are conducting each month.
A Dream Map is a powerful tool we are giving you to design your future. In our last article, we talked about dreaming generally but today we want to focus on the visualization aspect.

I would like to dedicate this article to everyone wanting to flourish abroad. I know how hard it is to build a life from scratch, to overcome language barriers, to feel lonely sometimes. I have been there I experienced every single bit of it and I just want to say, well done to you all. To move abroad and leave our native countries require braveness and courage!

When I prepared this article, I thought about myself and my own visualization, it is not very often that I do but I remember where it all started….

I was born in Poland near the Russian border under communism. As you can probably imagine life was not easy nor pleasant. I grew up the hard way and as a single child with my grand-parents’ help since my parents were divorced. The way I had to deal with my life or with the consequences of the situation was not easy and because I was a child, I had no power over who I should allow to be surrounded with or who I should escape from. I could not take any decisions.

I remember one very dark night when I was 6 years old all by myself. I was very sacred and could only think about trying to survive until the morning knowing that it would be brighter then.

Since when things are dark in my life, I remember that day when I was 6 and I know that my future will brighten up. Tomorrow will always be a better day!

It was also for me a liberating moment when I became and adult and could make decisions for myself. I started to explore the difference between surviving and thriving. I knew that my life should not be and would not be about surviving. I had to embrace live and thrive. I knew that my limits in suffering and acceptance had been reached when I was a child. It was not an overnight success but a work in progress.

Visualization became part of my general practice. I moved to the UK without knowing anyone there, without speaking English, without any international work experience. But I deeply believed inside that I would make it.

Over the last 3 years, I managed to develop my language skills… yes, I know I still make a lot of mistakes, but I believe that the only way for me to improve is to keep practicing no matter how bad I sound. I have been promoted and I became a leader. I conducted two projects for expats to help them flourish abroad (Design your life in the UK and Start today build tomorrow). I organized various conferences and workshops to help people thrive in their life.
But before I did any of this, I pictured everything in my mind. Clearly. I know your mind is like your imagination, but you can always create things twice. Once in your mind and then in your reality, in the world around you.

I tend to see things in my head and always believe that they will become true. I take the actions which I know will work towards achieving those things and always find the tribe that will support me. Having a tribe is crucial, because without people’s help it will be much harder. Find people around you that share the same vision, the same mission as you as they will always be on your side.

Think about the many times in your life when you experienced difficulties but never gave up!
Prior to the Covid-19 era, I lead an International Women’s Group in the UK which use to meet every second Friday of the month. The host would prepare some lovely food, often traditional dishes from their native country and we would dine, wine & talk about everything and anything, building strong relationships.

You too can organise your own circle or you can join our “dreamers” community. Either way find your tribe quickly, so you do not go alone. Always look for the helpers, you can always find people prepared to help. You are probably one of them!

Now let’s focus on visualization.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, visualization is “the act of visualizing something or someone” or “forming a picture of it in your mind”. It is authentic but not real, it exists in your mind but not yet in your reality.

Either way it always starts in your thoughts. A small, tiny shy thought pops in your head and wait to be invited formally in your world. This is the great beginning. Write down all the ideas that come to your mind as you may forget about them. Keep everything on paper so you can act in the future if not feasible to implement straight away. This is the only way your ideas will survive. I was told once that we all have 4 ideas a year that could make us earn millions, but we do not believe in them, so we do not implement them! Be more conscious of your thoughts and ideas from now on!

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

- Frank Outlaw

Let’s move forward a little.

A study published in Neuropsychologia* discovered that imagining moving certain parts of our body was almost the same as training our muscles to do the actual movement. Our mind is very powerful! Does it mean that there is no difference between a workout and just thinking about a workout?

I am not a specialist, but we can explore how neuroplasticity works together.
* https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0028393203003257?via%3Dihub

Lara Boyd Neuroscientist and Physical Therapist at the University of British Columbia famously shared in her ted talk speech how our brain changes to help us learn new things. Other researchers use to think that after childhood our brains could no longer change. However, according to more recent research this was a misconception, and it appears that even when we are not doing anything our brain is active. As a matter of facts every time we learn, something changes in our brain. The key to those changes is the neuroplasticity and scientist shared 3 ways for this to happen:

1. The chemical way - when our brain functions change due to chemical signals transferred between the brain cells called the neurons which causes a series of actions and reactions. When we learn new skills our brain changes increasing the concentration of chemical signals between neurons. This chemical way supports short term memory because it is a very rapid change process.

I think this is what links us to luck. For example, if you play bowling for the first time and you win, it is probably because you have learnt a new skill which your brain has supported part of the fast change process.

2. Another way that your brain can change to support your learning is the structural way. When you are learning your brain can change the connections between the neurons. This relates to the long-term memory. For example, if you learn to play tennis you will get better and better after each training. The structural change take more time.

A good example of a long-term structural change is taxi drivers. Over time they develop the part of their brain responsible for spatial orientation. The more they practice, the more they will master it. Repetition is the master skill.
You will recall from the story about my childhood that I did not have any influence over my choices but now I have, I chose wisely to protect and nurture myself and to enjoy the best experience.

3. Finally, the functional way, a little more exciting as the whole of your neurons network is changing. From the books I read and the conferences I attended it seems that the best way to change your brain is to change your behavior. Practice is the most effective way to get there but you must do the work. This is a huge topic for us for future episodes as well as going from dreaming to acting or knowing how to make the transition. Everything you do can influence your brain, being positive or negative such as running or taking drugs. It is not always easy but often we have a choice and if we do not believe in something, we should not do it. However sometimes it can work the other way round.
For example, if you are stuck in a job you do not like and you do not believe in finding something better then you won’t. It may not be true but often it is convenient because we do not have to do anything about it. However, remember that difficult decisions bring easy life, but easy decisions can equal to difficult life.

What I realised whilst working with clients is that the images from our imagination must be very precise. With a lot of details, we can create and design something clear. Tali Sharot, a New-York University teacher published a study about Nature suggesting that visualization with a lot of details bring specific emotions and by envisioning them we feel more joy. The joy that gives us energy and motivation to achieve our goals. Imagination and visualization are like the light we see in a dark street. We can aim for the light, our better future.

I conducted my first Dream Map workshop six years ago and since I realised that there are a few steps to follow in a good visualization process:

1. Clarification: Having a clear image of the future!

You must have a clear image of your future, your perfect day or perfect life. The one you are craving for. It needs to include many details such as where you are in your life, who you share it with and what you look like. The more you give the better it will work. Think of the big version, vision of your life.

2. Chatting: say it loudly!

When you create a vision board or practice meditation about your future self, which is part of our Dream Map training, you are by yourself. The only witness is yourself. However, you need more witnesses in life, you need to say things out loud. I know it can be terrifying, but it works. When your thoughts and words become real the chances you have to achieve your dream/vision will increase dramatically. It will be like a commitment, but you will also be allowing people to support you and help you in your achievements. See it, name it, and experience it.

3. Choose your actions.

Dragon Dreaming is a formula which stands for:
Dream
Plan
Act
Celebrate

Basically, once you have your dreams in mind, you have just finished your visualization. You can then consider which steps to take to move forward. The smaller the first action will be, the more chances you give yourself to do it. For example, if you want to lose weight, the first step shouldn’t be to exercise 3 hours a day but maybe to walk for 15 mins a day. It will take time to make your dreams come true, but it will happen! You must accept and stick to small steps.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. - Laozi

4. Change your mindset: allow yourself to achieve it!

You do not have to wait for anyone to allow you to do this. You do not have to wait for people to tell you when you are ready. As one of my friends always say: “I was born ready”! You just have to believe in yourself and trust that you are capable to reach your goals step by step. You can thrive in the environment you chose to be in. You can be your own enemy and sabotage yourself or be your best friend. The decision is yours.

5. Check it out!

Evaluation. Strategy. Review.
Always analyse and review the strategies you applied. What worked, what did not and why? What are you the proudest of? Can you repeat anything? It is important that you write down your ideas and dreams so you can check them again clearly in the future. Otherwise, how can you compare them against something that do not exist!
Put everything on paper and it will become alive.