A few years ago I spent some enjoyable time working with motivational speaker Dennis Deaton and teaching his principles of “visioneering”—which he defines as “engineering dreams into reality” by the use of active mental imaging.When I gave my weekly Thursday night public seminars, I’d sometimes teach Deaton’s “visioneering” concepts, and my (then) little daughterMargery would always accompany me. She helped hand out work booksand pencils and when the seminar got started she would take a seat in the audience, open her own workbook and participate. She was 10 at the time, and I was never certain exactly how much she was absorbing.Then one weekend afternoon by the pool at our apartment complex, Irelaxed in a deck chair while Margie and her girlfriend Michelle played by the pool. There were a lot of people in and around the water that day, but above them all I could hear Margery and Michelle having a heated conversation down by the deep end of the water.
“I just can’t do it!” said Michelle.“Yes, you can,” said Margie. “You just have to believe you can.”“I’m afraid to dive,” said Michelle. “I’ve never dived in my life.”“Michelle,” said Margie, “listen to me. Will you just try it my way?”“I don’t know,” said Michelle. “Okay, what’s your way?”“Just close your eyes,” said Margie, “and picture yourself on a diving board. Can you see yourself standing up there?”“Yes,” said Michelle.“Okay good!” said Margie. “Now, I want you to get an even better picture. What kind of bathing suit are you wearing? Can you see it?”“It’s red, white, and blue,” said Michelle, her eyes still closed. “It’s like an American flag.”
“Great,” said Margie. “Now picture yourself diving off the board in slow motion, just like in a dream. Can you see that?”“Yes I can,” said Michelle.“That’s great!” shouted Margie. "Now you can do it. Because if you can dream it, you can do it! Let’s go over here and do it."Michelle followed her slowly to the end of the pool. I was looking over the top of my book but not letting them know I was listening. I was amazed. I had no idea what would happen next, but I noticed a number of people around the pool area watching and listening with fascination, while pretending not to.
Michelle walked up to the edge of the water and looked very scared.She looked at Margie, and Margie said, "Michelle, I want you to keep saying, very softly, ‘If I can dream it, I can do it’ and then I want to see you dive in."Michelle kept repeating “If I can dream it, I can do it,” and all of a sudden, surprising even herself, she dove—a near-perfect dive into the deep end with almost no splash!Margie was jumping up and down and clapping when Michelle came up from the water. “You did it!” she shouted, and Michelle was grinning as she climbed up to do it again.
Could it be, I thought to myself, that this system is this simple?The principle is this: You won’t do anything you can’t picture yourself doing. Visioneering is just another word for picturing yourself. Once you make the picturing process conscious and deliberate, you begin to create the self you want to be. We dive into the pictures we create.