Five years in business and Brenda had not made more than $20,000 on a single job. That may sound like enough, but given her experience and the complexity of her service, it's not even close. Last week, Brenda called me to celebrate something rather incredible: She had just received payment on her most recent job--a check for $130,000.

Brenda and I began working together a couple of months ago and immediately began to address three things: her confidence, recognizing her value (leading to higher rates), and mental time travel. Yes, you read that right. Mental time travel, also known as visualization.

What did Brenda change to achieve a 650 percent increase in pay? Her mind. That's it, Brenda learned to believe her worth and the learned the skill of visualization. Other than one new administrative hire, her business remains the same (for now).

You may think this scenario is unique, but it's not. It happens often for those who understand and practice mental time travel. Most of the seven-figure CEOs I've spoken with use visualization techniques daily, as does Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, and countless athletes. There are a growing number of neuroscience studies to back it up--visualization is one of the most powerful keys to success.

The science behind visualization, and specific results.

As neuroscience evolves, we continue to learn more fascinating things about our brains. One of them is that a common brain network underlies both memory and imagination. The brain sees no difference between your action and the thought of action. The same physiological changes occur whether you actually do something or simply see yourself doing it. When you focus on success, from the completion of your daily goals to financial freedom, your brain sees it as a done deal.

Why is this significant? Because if you constantly bombard your brain with thoughts of failure and doubt, that's exactly where it will lead you. If you see your success so vividly that it's practically a done deal, the filter in your brain (the reticular activating system, or RAS) will open your eyes to information and opportunities that lead to success. Whether you visualize success or failure, your brain will encode it as a real memory. It really is that simple.

Do you believe that success is possible?

Here's the rub. The people who have not reached high levels of success don't completely believe it's possible to do so. So, what you may need to work on first is confidence, believing in yourself and your business, and that you deserve success. Visualization is one way to change your current limiting thoughts and beliefs about success into something more positive. It also increases your skill level.

Improve your skills with visualization.

Studies have proven that simply visualizing yourself doing the necessary things to achieve a goal helps you to develop the necessary skills. Do you need to do a presentation but doubt your presentation skills? See, and most importantly feel, the event happening just as you wish. Do you want to take your clients or a prospect on a golf outing, but your swing is an embarrassment? Visualize yourself performing perfectly. Feel the club connect with the ball and experience the immense satisfaction of a 195-yard drive through visualization. Athletes use this technique all of the time, and it works. 

The more you practice visualization the more your brain believes what you tell it to. You are reprogramming your brain--changing the neurons. Your filter, the RAS, will ask your brain to reveal opportunities, give you access to brilliant ideas, and give you the courage to take action.

I have a 30-day challenge for you. If you do exactly what I suggest and don't see a very positive change in yourself, your life, and/or your business, I'd be surprised. Make sure to do the first step, otherwise, the messages you send to your brain will be all over the place, thereby limiting the results.

Step 1.

Write down the answers to the following questions:

What goal do you want to work on in the next 30-days? Begin with one small goal rather than a Fortune 100 client roster.

How will you know when you're successful? What will change?

How will it feel? This one is important. Emotions are like the track that delivers the train of thought to your brain. You must be able to feel the excitement of your success. 

Step 2.

Every single day, for a mere 30 seconds (but longer is better), close your eyes and visualize what your life looks like when you've achieved your goals. 

Escalate your positive emotion(s) as much as you can and sustain those feelings for as long as possible. This is the magic in the sauce.

Step 3.

Share your experience with me. Seriously, I'd like to celebrate with you. And perhaps I can offer a word or two of support if you don't experience favorable results. 

Ditch the complicated plans and become a mental time travel machine. Your brain will not fail you.

Published on: Jul 9, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.