Visualization… The word calls to mind images of sitting cross-legged on bohemian pillows and chanting nonsensical phrases as the scent of burning sage wafts through the air.
In our fast-paced culture of doing, visualization may seem like the last thing that will actually help you arrive at where you want to be. You can’t just visualize what you want to happen and expect a concrete result, can you?
Science shows you actually can. Neuroscientists at Harvard foundthat playing the piano and simply thinking about playing the piano produces the same change in our brains. In both cases, gray matter expands, proving that mere thought can affect physical matter equally as action.
In other domains, visualization has been shown to improve the performance of athletes, to heal the body of disease, and to increase the success rate of achieving goals.
If you’ve been feeling stuck or are lacking clarity in making your next career move, visualization may just be the missing link for you.
Carrie Green, the founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association, says visualization is what helped her conquer a quarter-life crisis and access the clarity to create what is now a global network of 300,000 female entrepreneurs, and counting.
I caught up with Green about the power of visualization on the latest episode of the Unconventional Life podcast, “Visualization: The Secret to Finding Breakthrough Clarity.”
Green first learned about visualization from her father at the young age of 9. Growing up with a learning difficulty, Green was barred entry from prestigious schools and struggled with self-confidence.
What enabled her to persevere through these setbacks was visualizing a more empowering reality. “It really helped me to expand my vision of what was possible and what I could create,” Green says.
Visualization stayed with Green as she grew into adulthood. While studying law at the University of Birmingham, she was able to launch a profitable side business to pay for tuition as a result of her deep-rooted belief in her own abilities.
Though she knew nothing about online businesses, she scavenged the internet for free resources to build a website from scratch that ultimately began generating over $10k in monthly sales. “If I could make this happen from being someone absolutely clueless, than what more is possible?” she wondered.
Thus, the idea for the Female Entrepreneur Association was born. The FEA is a platform for women to come together and experience support and community in business. The site has become an authority for women to access inspirational and empowering content that serves as a beacon along their entrepreneurial journeys.
“I was consciously aware of the fact that my success is my responsibility and it’s not an accident, so if I wanted to create it I needed to create it on purpose with so much intention,” Green says.
On the FEA Facebook page, visualization and mindset-related quotes dominate the feed, garnering thousands of likes from purpose-driven women like Green who are applying her advice with massive success.
Below, Green shares five ways you can use visualization to pierce through the veil of uncertainty and harness the clarity you need to make your next big move.
1. Think about what you want to achieve or what you want to happen in your life. Don’t limit yourself here—hone in on what makes you feel the most excited or most inspired about living, regardless of “how” this might be possible. Are you lit up by contribution to others? Do you desire greater health and vitality? What is it that excites you?
2. Close your eyes and connect with what you want in your mind. “See a movie in your mind,” Green says. “Where are you, what’s going on around you, what can you see and feel and touch?” Visualize a vivid scene in which you have already attained what it is you want. Maybe you’ve just launched your dream business and are feeling the rush of excitement as sales flood into your account while you work remotely in a lush tropical location.
3. Commit to a daily practice. Make it a habit to visualize what you want and, most importantly, how it makes you feel for at least a few minutes each day.
4. Keep a goal jar. Write each your goals for the future on a tiny piece of paper and store them in a jar where you can pick them out and visualize them from time to time. This ensures your goals stay organized, on hand, and fresh and mind.
5. Have fun with it. Green jokes that the strangest opportunities have appeared in her life from visualization. “Either I’m producing them through visualization or it’s just a coincidence, but I really think it’s more than that,” she says. No matter what you attribute the cause of your success to, mind or matter, visualization is a fun way to connect with what you deeply desire in life while expanding your mind.
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com