What is prosperity for you? A key element in the Positive Choices strategy is the addition of positive choices to your life that reflect your prosperity goals. Prosperity for most people is not simply money in the bank. Your health, peace of mind, and well-being all count. Think about combinations of fulfilling work, great relationships, a sense of community, healthy lifestyles, harmony with nature, personal growth and creative expression. You are the author of your own life and therefore your prosperity plan reflects your uniqueness. I recently met a photographer at Yosemite National Park who lives in a tent and sells his numerous photographs of the park’s stunning mountains and streams to the local gift shops. He told me that he’s living his prosperity dream—fresh air, intimacy with nature and a serene lifestyle. When he talks about his slides of the park, his joy radiates. He is living the life he relishes. Successful people know what they desire and set about making it happen.

Think about your work of choice. Most people intuitively know where their talents and interests lie. If not, then discovery emerges as your first goal. Are you on or off your mark? Barbara loved teaching but found public school politics oppressive. She fantasized about starting an innovative pre-school filled with community volunteers and multi-media. Fear of financial insecurity clouded her motivation to begin. Yet, every day in her traditional classroom wore her down. Jake dreams of leaving his high stress middle management job and going back to school in computer graphics. Paul is unhappy with the anti-environmental direction of his chemical company and wants out. Susan, a working mother of three, resents missing the everyday milestones of parenting, and longs to work at home.

What do you want? Forget reality for a moment and tell the truth. Write down a paragraph describing your ideal workday. Be as specific as possible. Then, write a second paragraph about what you would like to do with the rest of your day. Do the pictures fit together? If not, what needs to be subtracted? If it’s your job then you’ve got some career management research to do. A terrific prosperity technique entails designing a collage of pictures illustrating what you’re trying to create. This visual portrayal helps you to “try out” your desires. If you don’t have a clear picture, begin with what you do know. Sarah knew that she wanted to use her drawing skills to earn a living, but she didn’t know for what purpose. Her collage consisted of a picture of a woman drawing next to a collection of charcoal pencils, colored papers, a computer, and a wall of art books. That’s all she knew. But never underestimated the power of step one.

As a workshop leader, I’ve seen many people roll their eyes when I mention goal-setting. Goal-setting doesn’t have to be tedious. A goal is simply a statement of intention—a target point. Starting an intention helps you focus your energy on that direction and increases the likelihood of a positive result. Goal setting allows you to set the agenda. Here are a few tips to help you write powerful goals:

1.)Be specific. State the exact result you want in detail. For example, Jake wrote “I want to complete a master’s degree in computer graphics at my state university by December, two years from now.”
2.)Be realistic in terms of time and ability. Carmen wanted to be a rock star but couldn’t sing so achieving that goal is unlikely. So she has to decide if she wants to try voice lessons or find an aspect of the music business that matches her skills. Barbara wants to raise a millions dollars for her pre-school so she needs time for an effective public relations campaign. Some prosperity experts advise writing down what you really want even if it’s unlikely and see what evolves. Try both, but an attainable and manageable goal often inspires patience and diligence.
3.)Break down each goal into detailed action steps. These action steps help you make continual progress on the path. Develop a framework that spells out what you can do today or this week to further you along.
4.)Be clear about the challenges of your goal. Fill out a Personal Challenge Contract for each one:

Personal Challenge Contract

1.)I am committed to this goal because…

2.)The barriers to achieving this goal are…

3.)I need to do the following (usually develop skills or supports) to increase my likelihood of success…

Setting goals is positive risk-taking…the word risk is derived from the Greeks and means to sail around a cliff. It beckons traveling into the unknown for the benefit of adventure, growth, excitement or purpose. You can’t grow unless you risk and goals can help you approach that risk in a prepared, strategic manner. Preparation demands talking to other successful risk-takers, researching your project and experimentation. Factor in your own strengths and weaknesses and allow for the unexpected. Jake’s wife became pregnant while he was in computer school and they had to hire a nanny to support Jake’s timetable.

It always helps to be flexible and have a back-up plan. Barbara’s fund-raising efforts proved overwhelming so she decided to take a sabbatical for a year so she could fund-raise full time. Stay tuned into your intuition about your goal. Sometimes we don’t really want what we thought we wanted in the first place. Sarah’s drawing collage scared her into the realization that she didn’t want to work alone at home, so she redirected her efforts towards affiliating with a company. Carmen explored the music business and decided she disliked the constant travel. She’s now the entertainment booking agent for a major local restaurant and singing in a chorus for fun.

Visualization simply means creating a picture in your mind of the results you want. Relaxation exercises or meditation are meant to calm you and put you in the alpha state. That is the primary goal, although meditators will tell you that there are numerous auxiliary benefits like increased clarity of mind and good health. Visualizing your goals allows you to prepare yourself to have them. It’s like practice. It also elucidates if the goal is truly right for you and stimulates any emotional baggage you may have about not deserving it. Collages, as we’ve discussed, illustrate your vision so you can experience the future. Mental imagery helps you do the same.

Sean’s goal was to double his income in the next twelve months. He had ten years of experience as a builder. For the past two years he worked as a general contractor with a crew but found supervising other people irritating and inefficient. He finally admitted that he only wanted to work he could do himself; he liked having his independence. But if he continued to do general building jobs solo, he couldn’t meet his goal. His monthly average net income was $6000.00. So he began to sit quietly every morning and evening for ten minutes and imagine depositing $12,000.00 per month into his bank account. He imagined receiving checks from his customers and going to his bank, inserting his card, pushing the right buttons, and receiving a $12,000.00 deposit slip back. He also imagined buying a new truck and new tools and hiring a landscaper for his own home. He also mentally set up that Keough account for his retirement that he hadn’t been able to do before.

Not much was happening except that Sean was getting very excited about having the extra income. He asked me if I had any suggestions to improve the impact of his visualization. I suggested that he focus on the faces of the people who were handing him the checks and their words: “Thank you for…..”. After two weeks, he told me that they all thanked him for building their sunrooms. “I love sunny rooms”, he said, “Maybe I could specialize and double my income”. And that’s what he did. Visualization enhances the way you are able to tune into a dilemma and sometimes surfaces new information that propels you in the right direction. It took 18 months instead of 12 but Sean did double his income.

Pick one goal that you want to visualize and follow all the previous steps we’ve discussed. Pick two times a day to focus your complete attention on this goal and its outcome. Some people create an altar or sanctuary somewhere in their home of office, other people sit in a favorite chair and still others relish the peace and quiet in their car or on the beach. Select a location that will foster your results.

In your quiet place, begin by focusing on the words of your goal and then move to associate a picture or pictures of what you want to manifest. Let your mind go and take whatever images you get. Nothing is set in stone; you can change the slant when you want. See what clues you can pick up from your creative mind about how your goal may happen. Pay attention to key people who show up or specific locations or symbols that arise. Tune into how you feel having achieved your goal. Trevor pictured himself living in St. Thomas and enjoying warm weather and tropical drinks all year long. Yet, his eyes filled up with tears during his exercise. He suddenly realized that he would be all alone in St. Thomas and felt overwhelmed with affection for his friends and family. He later decided that he only wanted to winter in St. Thomas and needed a mobile career. When he visualized that configuration, a laptop image showed up and he knew technology held the answer.

Many visualizers find it helpful to have a small notebook handy and keep a journal of emotions and experiences each day. You can also write down your doubts, i.e., Who do I think I am trying to get a job on television? Watch for patterns of both success and sabotage. This process engages your unconscious. Knowing what you really want takes time. Visualization allows you to experiment with your ideas on a daily basis. Statistics collected on athletes and other performers support the concept that visualization works. Use it to enhance your path to prosperity. Good luck!

Author's Bio: 

Gail McMeekin, LICSW is a national executive, career, and creativity coach as well as a licensed psychotherapist and author located in Boston. She has over 30 years of experience helping people to vision and achieve their personal, professional, and creative goals. She coaches clients on how to leverage their creative ideas into heart-felt, prosperous businesses and fulfilled lives. She is the author of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor (Conari Press, 2000) which sold out its first printing in 8 weeks and The Power of Positive Choices (Conari Press, 2001) which won the Living in Balance magazine Award in 2001

Gail has coached and trained clients in executive and career development and outplacement, creativity, positive life choices, stress management, positive management strategies, time management, professional development, and women’s business development. She has helped thousands of people action-plan their way to success and balance. Gail can be reached at 617-323-1442 or Gail@CreativeSuccess.com.