Jim Carrey is a name we know and a face we recognize…but he wasn’t always that famous actor. At one time he was a young man with a dream, struggling to make it in Hollywood like so many hopeful unknowns. But he didn’t stay that way. What did he do differently? He made a practice of envisioning his life after he’d ‘made it’ on the big screen. On a regular basis he drove up into the Hollywood Hills and parked his car where he could see the entire city of Los Angeles. Then he would imagine his life on the other side of his dream as if the dream were already complete. He pictured the films he would make, the actors and directors he’d be working with, and the roles he would play. He even pictured being at awards shows…right down to what he wore. Jim would stay there in his car until those visions felt real to him, and then he’d drive home recommitted and reenergized to pursuing his dream.

Along with this vision he did something else to make it more concrete. He wrote himself a check. Not just any check, but a check for ten million dollars! In the memo section he wrote, “Acting Services Rendered”. It was 1990 and he post-dated the check for Thanksgiving 1995. He explains that it wasn’t so much about the money, but about the type of work he’d be doing and people he’d be working with if he was getting paid that much.

I’m sure on those hard days - when he didn’t get the job, or didn’t even have an audition - he pulled out that check and looked at it, reminding himself of his goal and that he was going to make it happen. After all, he’d already paid himself. Of course, the mere fact that you know exactly who I’m talking about demonstrates that his process worked. What you may not know is that shortly after that he landed his career launching roles in Ace Ventura and The Mask. Yet, what’s most amazing is that just before Thanksgiving 1995 Jim Carry signed a contract for $10 million dollars. He accomplished his goal. It’s said that when his father, one of Jim’s best encouragers and supporters, passed away, Jim took that check and buried it with his father. It was an act of closure…a way of saying, ‘thanks for believing in me…we made it.’

I love to share this story because it’s such a great example of how you can help yourself accomplish a goal or achieve a dream. There are a lot of things we can do to ensure we get to where we want to be, but the most important is how we talk to ourselves…or what we think. This is especially true when we hit those inevitable bumps in the road that can derail us and deflate our motivation.

When that happens and we’re in a bad mood or place, it can simply be a matter of getting the blood flowing differently. We sometimes need to make a physical change in our pattern. Maybe we need to just take a walk or perhaps we need to eat better or get a good night’s sleep. When we do something to address our mood, we will begin to feel better. And, visualizing is a great mental tool to do just that. Spend some time ‘seeing yourself’ as if your goal is already accomplished.

This type of visualization is more that just a neutral third party exercise, like watching a movie screen. Although that can be a great place to start, what I’m talking about is truly allowing yourself to act as if it’s already done. How would that feel? I want you to experience the emotion - the joy - that comes from having that goal already complete. How will it feel to tell those people in your life what you’ve accomplished?

Then, you need to attach something tangible to that vision. With Jim Carrey it was the check for ten million dollars, but that tangible piece can be many things. Maybe it’s the invitation to your book launch party or the logo or sign on the door to your new business. Using this ‘act as if’ concept, your tangible thing may mean embracing and doing something you would only do after you’ve reached your goal. For example, what would you do differently if you were a successful book author or had that advanced degree? How would you dress? What would you eat? What movies would you watch? Where would you go on weekends? It doesn’t have to be a big thing or an expensive thing…it’s just something you can identify with clearly.

Once you envision your life post-goal and what you would do differently, you need to take action. Write that check, design that invitation, shop at that store…all the while knowing that this is a glimpse of life on the other side. Life after the dream or goal is accomplished. Having that vision coupled with a concrete thing you can look at or touch gives your dream dimension. It gives it feet so it seems more attainable and real. Most importantly, allowing yourself to feel the joy and pride of accomplishment is fuel for your motivation and inspiration.

Feeling the emotions can also help us discover the solutions we need to keep moving. Remember that emotion drives the thought process. The more positive that thought process and feeling, the more creative parts of our brain open up. And with that usually comes solutions to our challenges. If we’re not feeling good, if we’re feeling down or tired, that creative part of our brain is not going to be functioning at the highest level. When we can take a step back to visualize our success, not only do we experience that joy, we create a positive avenue to solving some of the challenges we’re facing.

These powerful acts help us believe in ourselves. We’re talking to ourselves in very positive ways and sending ourselves messages of encouragement. If you can picture your life with you goal accomplished, then of course you can make it happen. The sense of success becomes a natural part of your behavior.

Of course, you still have to do the work…take the class, exercise, write, study or practice. And, you still want to surround yourselves with people who encourage you and people who can help you get to where you want to be. But…every time you do those things, you also have a picture, an action or a physical reminder of your new life…the life you’re creating. Jim Carrey still had to take acting classes, go out for auditions, meet and network with the right people, and accept roles that were nothing more than stepping stones. But he did it and he continued to envision his success so vividly that there was no question about it becoming reality.

You can accomplish your goal too. Picture it, give yourself a tangible connection and act as if…today!

Author's Bio: 

Lori Anne is an inspirational author, as well as a collaborative writer and life coach for the next generation of thought leaders who’re ready to transform even more lives. She’s the author of Who Am I? How to Answer the Single Most Important Question You’ll Ever ask, a self-coaching book, meditation guide and journal. She was the expert behind the Rediscover Yourself MAP™ program with Compass Coaching, and has published numerous articles. Get started with her FREE video series, Top 5 Secrets to Successfully Change Your Life, by visiting her website at www.LoritheChangeAgent.com.