Get Unstuck Through the Practice of Mental Rehearsal by Darlene Corbett

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Do you ever feel stuck? Of course you do, and since life is full of obstacle courses, you will continue to face many throughout your life. What is a potent way to become unstuck and reach that next pinnacle of success? Well, one way is through repeat mental rehearsal, also viewed as intense visualization. I have witnessed the effectiveness of this practice for over twenty years and have developed some simple techniques of visualization and writing to help people get unstuck. A more expansive version can be found in my book, Stop Depriving the World of You.   

Visualization is elevated in mental rehearsal. If you are dubious of its usefulness, look at the studies that show the results of mental versus physical rehearsal. The results will astound you. In his fabulous book The Brain That Changes Itself, Brian Doidge gives an example of a more advanced form of mental rehearsal known as mental chess. He shares the story of a human rights activist who not only survived solitary confinement with the practice of mental chess, but years later managed to beat the world champion Gary Kasparov. Although many of us may never reach such lofty heights, we can obtain greater confidence, motivation, and performance by mentally rehearsing through visualizing, writing, and visualizing again.  

As a mind/body activity, writing is an important step in this process. The physical movement of writing (even typing) not only helps redirect your thought process but actuates visualization. Doing this on a regular basis will help you get unstuck. The more often you do it, the more you are producing a new habit, which automatically promotes change. 

Now take a piece of paper and write the first four letters from the word Unstuck. You can also take four sheets of paper and write each letter on a separate sheet. Once you do this, you are ready to assign positive words to each letter. 

Let us start with Unique for the letter U. Just having your own DNA makes you unique. Reflect on everything within you that makes you, well, you. Now think about the fact that you are entrepreneurial or at least willing to give it some consideration. Being entrepreneurial makes the unique you more unique. You are a risk taker and believer in a unique business and/or idea. Think about this uniqueness; then close your eyes for a moment and visualize the unique you. Now return to the pen and paper and write down a few words of what you envisioned next to the word unique.  

N is a fitting second letter for unstuck, and what could be a better word for N than New? Why? The reality is that nothing stays the same. An entrepreneur embraces new, always keeping his or her eye on the prize. Being open to new when something isn’t working is a crucial aspect of getting unstuck. The word new is inviting and reminds us of the possibilities. What is the point of focusing on days gone by? When you’ve had constant rejection, remind yourself that a new chapter is beginning. How many times do babies fall before they walk steadily on their feet? Their desire to move supersedes all else. Go ahead and visualize something new that you could begin to incorporate. It could be as simple as changing the language in how you approach things tomorrow, adding or delegating a task, moving the time you attend to a particular activity. Once you have decided on your newness, write it next to the word New. Recognize that generating one change will alter the course of events in the near future without knowing how or when. Most importantly, allow yourself to get excited about trying something new and congratulate yourself for doing so.  

For the letter S, I suggest Strength. This is one of my favorite visualizations for mental rehearsal as it is for many of my clients who have practiced it. I modified the original form I learned from the late Dr. Claire Frederick. What I suggest you do is close your eyes, take a deep breath, and just imagine your inner strength. Is it an image, thought, feeling, sound or a memory of your power shining through? Whatever it is, write it down next to the word strength. When in need, close your eyes and evoke your inner strength. Do this on a regular basis and watch what happens. 

Tenacity is for T. Many of us recall the Greek myth of Sisyphus who was condemned to roll a massive ball up a hill repeatedly. Now obviously, this is a myth, but sometimes we feel like Sisyphus. The beauty is that tenacity provides us with the will to keep going, and eventually, maybe with an adjustment or two, the ball will go over the hill. If you look throughout the ages as well as current times, the most gifted or brilliant person is not usually the one to achieve the crown of success. No, the most tenacious frequently gets the reward. Visualize yourself in a situation that draws on your tenacity. Write down a few words you can associate with it, and then visualize it again.    

Continue to practice all four steps, and as you get ready to approach your next lead, investor, or anyone whose assistance you will require, visualize yourself going into the meeting as you tap into all you have incorporated. Again, write it down, close your eyes, and visualize the scene again. Notice a difference. There will be one. Not only will you experience it, but you will project it.   

Being an entrepreneur is a creative, courageous, and exciting endeavor but, at times, a daunting one. Even in the best of circumstances, human beings get stuck, but when you walk to the beat of a different drummer, the voices of doubt may ring louder when stuckness ensues. If this is you, go ahead and practice these simple techniques of mental rehearsal and celebrate your Uniqueness, Newness, Strength, and Tenacity. If you visualize, write, and visualize again, this exercise will eventually transform the way you think. A new idea may foment in your mind. A solution to a problem may begin to take root. Motivation and mobilization will energize. Whatever happens, because you are practicing a new approach, change will occur in some form. Within a short time, you will come to subscribe to the belief that mental rehearsal cannot only help you get unstuck, but perhaps also bring you opportunity in ways you may have never thought possible.  

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Darlene Corbett is a keynote speaker, success coach, and licensed therapist who is committed to helping people become “unstuck” through visualization and scripting so that they can live their lives to the fullest. Her book Stop Depriving the World of You: A Guide for Getting Unstuck is available to purchase from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-a-Million, and many other fine retailers on November 20, 2018.