Bottom Line Up Front: Visualization is a simple yet powerful tool that can significantly enhance your job performance and empower you to create a better plan for your future. By tapping into the unexpected benefits of visualization, you can unlock new levels of success and overcome challenges with confidence.
Short Story-Tug boat dive- 2007
In the year 2007, I found myself descending into the darkness, anchored to a rope adorned with chem lights every 15 feet. As I ventured 90 feet underwater, an old tugboat awaited me. I had meticulously planned this dive, coordinating with the dive chamber and ensuring the necessary equipment and dive teams were in place. It was my first test as a leader since earning my dive supervisor certification at the Navy SEALs dive supervisor's course. The challenge of diving at night added an extra layer of risk to the endeavor.
As I descended deeper, the pressure grew, necessitating equalization of my ears and clearing my dive mask. Split into dive pairs, each of us had a buddy for emergencies. Armed with high-intensity dive lights, we cautiously maneuvered our way, stopping every twenty feet to manage the pressure buildup. Eventually, we reached the sunken tug boat, a ghostly presence in the underwater realm. Checking our dive watches and monitoring our bottom time, we remained mindful of decompression issues and closely watched our air consumption.
Diving defies the laws of nature, and there are countless medical risks associated with it if one fails to adhere to the established rules. The consequences range from seizures and comas to death. The Navy, through extensive experimentation and the courage of sailors, determined these limits and provided guidance in manuals. Ascending too quickly can be fatal, holding your breath while ascending can be deadly, and staying submerged for too long risks decompression sickness. The risks are concrete, and adherence to guidelines is essential.
Being next to a sunken ship at night evokes a sense of spookiness. Underwater life seems to awaken after dark, with lobsters emerging from their hiding places and eels slithering through the depths. The tug boat was no exception as life teemed around us while we explored its eerie presence. However, during the descent, my dive light malfunctioned, leaving me reliant on my buddy's light. I felt like Scooby following Shaggy through an abandoned mine in search of ghosts.
Navigating through the ship's bow and onto the deck, we dodged other divers, examining the sea life and peering into the pilot house. It was inside the pilot house that an unexpected turn of events occurred. As I followed my buddy's light, my regulator was violently yanked from my mouth, leaving me feeling exposed and vulnerable at 90 feet below the surface. Panic set in, but I reminded myself of my training. If unable to free myself, I would ditch my gear and swim to find a buddy or ascend to the surface.
With a trembling hand, I traced the regulator hose and discovered it caught on a metal hook. I swiftly unwound it and regained my air source. The weight of the situation pressed upon me as I grappled with the close encounter with death. At 90 feet, air supply depletes rapidly, adding to the urgency. Carefully exiting the pilot house, I scanned the deck for my dive partner, finding him inspecting the ship's side for lobsters. I swam close to him, still rattled by the experience. Together, we ascended to the surface, leaving behind the darkness and danger that lurked beneath.
So, what's the point? Often, we find ourselves blindly following others without forging our own path. We become complacent, assuming that our current trajectory is predetermined. But sometimes, life throws us into a dark and disorienting place, where we feel lost. In those moments, we must visualize our way out and into a better future.
1) Picture success
The Science and Benefits of Visualization Athletes have long employed visualization techniques to enhance performance, with renowned figures like Michael Jordan and Michael Phelps attesting to its power. By visualizing the steps to success and envisioning each detail, we make our goals tangible and fill in the gaps in our plans. Visualization exposes weak points and prepares us for success.
1) Picture failure-The Art of Contingency Planning Just as the military uses contingency planning to account for potential deviations from the original plan, we too can visualize realistic failure points. By envisioning how we will react and take action when our plan falls apart, we can adapt and navigate through adversity with greater resilience and preparedness.
Visualization is the best way to picture these realistic failure points. As a jump master, I would picture a premature exit from a jumper. I would envision and brief my expected response. I would picture jumpers being hung up while exiting the aircraft. I would coordinate my planned actions with the aircrew. As a jumper, I would picture known parachute malfunctions. Partial malfunctions of my parachute, full malfunctions, mid-air collisions, canopy entailments, and other emergency procedures. My jumpers and I would rehearse these actions before each jump.
Wrap up. Visualization is a key tool. It’s critical to achieving your definition of greatness. Visualization fleshes out your plan. It makes your goal tangible. It fills in details and gaps in your plan. It exposes weak points. Visualization is done by picturing both success and failure. Visualization allows you to shape and affect their future. A future you define. A future of greatness.