Visualization and imagery has been used for thousands of years with anything from athletic performance to healing, but does it really work?

Yes, it certainly does!

Our brain doesn't know the difference between what is actually happening and what we are vividly picturing in our mind which influences our physical reality.

Prove it?

I was hoping you'd ask because that is exactly what I am about to do and then I'll present how you can use it at work to improve your performance, productivity and job satisfaction.

If you've never done visualization, want a quick how-to refresher or need a simple routine to practice with follow my 6-minute sample podcast below:

OK, first to the proof that visualization works.

I invite you to examine three fast and furious pieces of evidence:

#1 The Lemon Test

Let's test visualization with something we all know well - a lemon. Close your eyes and picture a lemon in as much detail as possible. While your eyes are closed imagine the lemon using all five senses:

-See the lemon's color, bumps, shape and size

-Feel the lemon's weight, temperature and texture

-Hear the sound as you cut or tear the lemon apart and any drops of juice that land

-Smell the scent of one half or both halves of the lemon with a great big sniff

-Taste the lemon by licking or biting into the juicy citrus fruit

Did anything happen in your mouth when you went through the five-sense lemon visualization?

I bet your mouth watered, puckered, or you had that sour tingling sensation in the corners of your mouth.

That is proof that your mind is influencing your brain's perception of reality and it is creating a physical response in your body like you actually have a lemon.

#2 The Movie Test

Have you ever been watching a movie from your safe sofa or theater seat and found yourself so wrapped up in what you were seeing that your heart started racing, your muscles tightened up, your palms became sweaty, your stomach began to knot, you cried, or you jumped out of your seat?

Me too! Your body was responding to your brain's perception that you were actually living what was happening in the movie.

#3 The Stress Test

The most powerful and frequent proof that visualization works is shown through the stress response. Stress is all perception. When we perceive a situation, event, interaction or person/place/thing as threatening the brain tells the body to go into fight-or-flight. The trickiest part about stress is that we can perceive a threat from the past, present and/or future! More times than not, we are stressing about something that may never ever happen. We have anxiety about the future or we are depressed about the past. Remember fear stands for False. Evidence. Appearing. Real.

Through visualization you bring to life the threat of a worst-case-scenario for an upcoming financial bill, deadline, job interview, traffic back-up, delayed flight, public speaking event, supervisor interaction or performance review. This causes your reality to shift accordingly through hormonal and biochemical changes that directly influence your physiology and psychology.

Reflect back upon the last stressful event you were in and how your mind created a threatening picture of possibility through negative beliefs, thoughts, ideas, stories and judgements.

This is the power of visualization...but used in the negative. Imagine what we could do if we used visualization and our mind to focus on what we do want as opposed to what we don't want.

How Visualization Works?

Whether your mind is picturing a lemon, imagining swishing free throws or experiencing flying a plane through a simulator; the brain will process the information you are sending it through the act of visualization and then communicate that through your body's nervous system to your glands, organs and muscles. This is how visualization creates muscle and mind memory that increases confidence and performance plus why physical bodily reactions come from a mental virtual reality.

Using Visualization for Work

Now that you have proof that visualization does work, how can you use it to improve job performance, productivity and satisfaction?

Simple let's use the power of the mind to picture, imagine and daydream about professional desired outcomes!

Using all five senses you can visualize yourself in any or all of the following professional situations:

-Completing your daily to-do list with ease, steady flow and time to spare

-Working throughout the day with constant positivity, energy and focus

-Successfully facilitating a staff meeting

-Closing a sale

-Signing a new client

-Receiving that important email with the best possible news

-Navigating a co-worker or client challenge calmly and creatively

-Receiving high marks on your performance review

-Accepting the new job, position, raise or bonus

-Meeting and exceeding the sales quota

-Drafting an impressive article, email, speech, presentation, program, plan or outline

-Leaving the office on time with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment

-Speaking with poise at the Board Meeting

-Facilitating a positive and productive conference call

-Reading and holding your desired business card, compensation check or contract

-Receiving positive feedback from a co-worker or supervisor on a recent project

Take the 21-Day Visualization Challenge

As you can see from my list above there are no rules or limits with visualization except that you must do it to benefit. I invite you to put vitalization to the test by performing a few minutes every day for the next 21 consecutive days. If you are still not convinced that visualization will actually work for you, I can guarantee you will benefit that from an honest effort through an immediately lower level of anxiety, stress and stinking thinking. My final recommendation is to choose a specific time of day to do your visualization (i.e. before work or bed), make it as specific for your work-life as possible and have fun. If you need help getting started here again is my 6-minute sample visualization.

You're going to love this Challenge...I can see it now!

Author's Bio: 

Lance Breger is the CEO and Executive Wellness Coach of Infinity Wellness Partners, a comprehensive corporate wellness company that prepares executives and organizations for the most productive and healthy work-life. Lance has led online/on-site training programs for thousands of professionals through his company’s four pillars of wellness: fitness, nutrition, mind/body and ergonomics.

Lance is a Top 50 Health Promotion Professional in the nation by the Wellness Council of America, a Master Instructor for the American Council on Exercise and the recipient of the IDEA Health & Fitness Association Program Director of the Year award.

You are invited to connect with Lance for coaching, consulting and speaking at