Most people have some sort of fantasy as a child of performing in front of a huge crowd in something they love. It may be the idea of playing to a sold-out Carnegie Hall, making the winning shot at the last second in the NBA Finals, or executing a similar lofty goal on the biggest of stages. As we grow older, those kinds of thoughts seem to dissipate, being consumed by being more “realistic”. As children, we dare to dream of being the best at something we love, and we pursue that with our actions. We play music until we are told to come to dinner, dance until our feet feel they will break, or play ball outside until the streetlights come on and we hurry home before getting into trouble. Then we begin to give up on that goal, and we stop picturing those moments. We allow that fire and passion to be eaten away by behaving like a grown-up and focusing on getting an education and finding a job, starting a family, and falling into the idea of what we “should do”.

While only the smallest fraction of us will play on the biggest stage in something we love, we need to allow that part of us to continue to exist. At one point, we have all the confidence in the world, and nothing will get in our way. Then we are confronted with reality, and suddenly life gets very much in the way. That kid is onto something, and it is something we can harness for any part of our lives. Visualization is practicing over and over for the big moment, preparing yourself to achieve your goal, and executing it in the moment without worry because you have already done it repeatedly in your mind.

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