In my early 20s, I was a counselor at Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. I went through a program sponsored by the Albert Einstein School of Medicine and became certified in clinical hypnotherapy. Afterward, I started my own counseling/consulting business, got an MBA in marketing (my thesis was Mind Power’s Role in Sales Success), and helped countless people break bad habits, overcome phobias, improve athletic performances, manage stress and yes—achieve sales goals.
My MBA thesis led to articles which served as the impetus for my first book, Winning the Inner Game of Selling. It’s not my most polished book, but it’s arguably the most important regarding maximizing sales potential.
Enough about me. Can you daydream? If the answer is yes, you can master self-hypnosis and achieve BIG goals. Is this hyperbole? No. But it requires discipline—I’ve often referred the self-hypnosis I’m going to share with you as the “Mother of all Fixed Daily Activities.”
Ready? Can you devote 10 to 15 minutes four or five days a week? Sure you can. Now for your Self-Hypnosis Goal Achievement pre-work:
- Dream Big (ambitious long-range goal): Give yourself permission to dream big. Look into that crystal ball and see yourself 5 years from now exactly as you’d wish it to be: professional success, dream house, etc. Get some tangible pictorial: your dream house, yacht, scholarship fund in your name, etc.
- Ambitious 1-Year goal (linked to long-range goal): This is your first stepping stone to achieving your big dream, an ambitious 1-year goal. You want this to be a specific stretch goal and it helps to couple it with a reward.
- Fixed Daily Activities (activity required to achieve 1-year goal): Not every activity will be daily, but I use this metaphor for the discipline required to create a critical path upon which to execute specific activities. Many of these activities are out of the comfort zone, that will lead you to your 1-year goal, including the self-hypnosis you’re about to learn.
Four Steps to Self-Hypnosis for Goal Achievement
- Breathing: Breath is life, but most people take it for granted. Diaphragmatic breathing is simply filling your lungs fully with air, which fills your stomach first. It’s our natural mode of breathing. Watch a baby’s belly breathe while sleeping, often referred to as “belly breathing.” It oxygenates as well as relaxes. You want to either sit in a straight-back chair with your feet flat on the floor, hands loosely in your lap (don’t clasp) or lie flat on your back on a yoga mat.
*** Look at your dream pictorial and then take two to three belly-breaths and close your eyes.
- Relaxation: Back in the days of Woodstock, transcendental meditation took the country by storm, which led to Dr. Herbert Benson’s blockbuster book, The Relaxation Response, which now has morphed into meditation. Relaxation has always had medicinal value, and being able to relax under pressure is a skill that can be learned. That said, relaxation is a key component of hypnosis and by practicing self-hypnosis, you’ll develop the skill of being able to relax on demand.
*** Let your entire body relax by continuing your belly-breathing and taking your mind slowly up through your body: feet, legs, stomach, back, shoulders, neck, head and face. Let yourself go with the feeling of relaxation for two to three minutes.
- Imagery: This is the fun part. In your relaxed state, you’re simply daydreaming of going to a favorite quiet spot; beach, stream, etc. You’re preparing yourself for the real fun—goal imagery.
*** Stay at your favorite quiet spot for 3 to 5 minutes, if your mind wanders, gently guide it back as your mind is now ready for goal imagery.
- Goal imagery: Think of this as a controlled daydream—visualizing living your dream—that 5-year goal—achieved. Visualize yourself professionally (recognition, office, team, etc.) and personally (lifestyle reflective of your success). Next, visualize achieving your 1-year goal, the stepping stone to your dream. Finally, visualize yourself going through your upcoming day as a perfect day, with every specific activity you planned for that day occurring exactly as you’d like it.
*** You’re visualizing in a reverse sequence, starting with the end result (dream) then your 1-year goal, and finishing with visualizing your upcoming day. This is a controlled daydream and should take three to five minutes, if your mind wanders, gently guide it back to what you were visualizing. You can repeat this sequence as many times as you like—but don’t rush through it.
Common sense, albeit not common practice, is probably telling you that if you applied yourself to the above, good things will happen. Our ability to visualize, to imagine something that has yet to become reality, is what separates us from every other species on the planet. Sports psychologists have recognized the power for years and all top athletes use some form of visual imagery. Practice these steps of Self-Hypnosis and your dreams are likely to become your reality.
Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com.