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Ward and Sandidge: Use imagination to reach potential

Published: Sunday, June 1, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

Imagination is the key to changing your life and your business for the better. Why? Because everything you create in your life and in your world started in your imagination. If that’s the case, how can you use your imagination to more effectively bring about the results you desire?

Why do some people appear to be more creative? Some companies more innovative? Some organizations more vital, energetic, engaged and successful?  

Let’s step back and listen to how we talk to ourselves. We have conversations with ourselves that produce feelings. We experience those feelings as either positive or negative. When we are successful at making an important goal, meeting expectations, creating and delivering spectacular services or products, we say nice things to ourselves and we feel good.

When we miss the mark, or fall short in comparisons with others or competitors, we often say discouraging things to ourselves and feel not so good. Sometimes, we simply imagine bad things happening. Worry is a misuse of imagination. Worry is making pictures and having conversations inside about the worst that could happen. When we worry, we use imagination to create scenarios of failure and frustration. We feel depleted, discouraged and find it easier to stop trying. That’s the negative power of imagination.

So now turn it around. Be for yourself. Start with knowing what you want. Unless you know what you truly want, how will you know you’re moving in the right direction? Once you have a clearly envisioned outcome, you can “start at the front of the line.” Most of us think that we have to work our way up through the line, wait our turn or wait for the right circumstances. What we don’t know is that we can move to the front of the line instantly by using our imagination to think like the person at the front of the line.

We’re not talking about the “power of positive thinking” here. Positive thinking is not enough. It is good, but not enough. Do this with us: Imagine yourself as if you have already accomplished the goals and outcomes that you richly planned for yourself. Imagine what you will be doing, what you will be enjoying now that you’ve landed a great new client, that you’ve increased your business 100 percent. 

Now for the part that may need some practice: step in. Be that person now. Think from and imagine from that person now. Imagination lets you be in that future with those accomplishments and lets you look back and see what you’ve done to get there. Notice how different this accomplished self thinks and uses her imagination. The more you can be, imagine and behave as that more accomplished you, the more you will find yourself being that person. And that person is the one who can bring into reality all that you imagine. 

This is not magical thinking, wishful thinking or hallucinating. Our thoughts have power. They inform and motivate. Thoughts and imagination make it all happen. The people who are most successful at creating success in their personal and professional lives are those who know how to imagine and step into and behave from that more accomplished self.  

• Anne Ward and Bob Sandidge, of CreativeCore Media in Algonquin, are marketing, communication, management and training consultants. Reach them at or go to

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