How can we change our life with visualization? What is the science behind it? These are questions I asked Tanya MFK, Business Strategist with a degree in Applied Neuroscience.
What you will learn in this episode:
- The power of visualization
- How to visualize successfully
- Benefits of visualization
- How to improve your everyday life with visualization.
About Tanya MFK:
Tanya MFK helps unsatisfied driven entrepreneurs move from their mess- to the message they're meant to share through their life and business.
She is an accomplished Business Strategist with a degree in Applied Neuroscience and the host of the "My Designed Life Show" and creator of the "My Designed Success" Program for high performing leaders on a mission for impact.
Connect with Tanya:
TP: Today, we are speaking about visualization, and my guest is Tanya MFK. Welcome Tanya!
TMFK: Thank you. I am so excited to be here.
TP: You have worked in corporate marketing for 16 years with big and famous companies. Why your own company? Can you please share your story?
TMFK: Yeah, well, I used to work in health care clinical research and I started in the industry actually at a very young age. And I was running departments by the age of 18. I was married at twenty one and I became a widow to cancer at age twenty five after spending months in the hospital. I had decided it was time to leave the health care industry. I did not want to be in that anymore. So it was then that I began working on my own and contracting with those large companies, places like Nestlé and Whole Foods and these these large corporations. So through that, I eventually co-founded a startup with my mentor and business partner, and that was until he left with all of the money and disappeared into another country. I was eight months pregnant with no money and my husband was a European immigrant at that time. We lived in California so he could not legally work in the US. And it was at that time that I decided I needed to be the source of my own income and build my own business. So that's what got me there.
TP: Oh, okay. Definitely not the simplest.
TMFK: No, that's really not you know, I always had that entrepreneurial bone and I was freelancing and contracting with these large companies. So in a sense, I was my own boss. But it wasn't until that situation woke me up to really decide to take full control because it's one thing to contract or still working with another company. But when you go, it's really going to be all from me. That was that was when I opened the door to a completely different level.
TP: And can you please remind me, how many years do you have your own company now?
TMFK: Well, I started working on my own outside of health care in 2005 when I created the last of my most recent company on my own right now was in 2015.
TP: Okay. Yeah, yeah.
TMFK: It's been a while. It's been a while. Yeah. I started the online kind of working on my own business in 2005. So it was funny during this pandemic when people like "this is so new", I'm like "I've been doing this for 15 years working from home" and all this kind of stuff. So it was a little easier shift for me. But but yeah, it's been a long time
TP: And now your new baby is visualization. Tell me what is it.
TMFK: Yes. Well, really, the baby is about kind of high performance. It's about taking entrepreneurs to a different level of just understanding marketing funnels and things like that. It's about really being the ultimate best that that we can be, because when our lives, our mindset and everything is in order, our businesses can flourish. And so one tool that I love that is so overlooked or dismissed as kind of the woo woo thing is visualization. And so I have since in my path also added to my toolbelt a degree in applied neuroscience. And so now that I've really started to dive into the understanding of the brain, visualization has become key in a tool that I use with my clients. And really, it's a simple mental technique. It's not a supernatural power. You know, the way that the brain works is that it has the same activity when it visualizes doing something as it does when you're actually performing the action. So there are neural connections that are created when you practice something in real life and then they also can be created when you imagine that same practice. And that is extremely powerful when we think about what we can create with our mind. Our brain chemistry actually changes as you go through an experience that we experience is real and our mind records as a memory. And when we go through a real experience, we go, oh, that happened. And our mind records this memory. But the key is that there's no difference between a real experience or a visualized experience. So we create that our brain kades that same experience as a memory. And we can use this in a lot of ways. You know, you might go, well, okay, that's great. So what we can use that for is we have the power to change fears of the unknown, which is something us entrepreneurs are going through all the time. I mean, in life, we're going through the unknown. So this applies to everyone. But I know, especially for for my clients, I mean, this is something we're constantly dealing with the roller coaster of, "OK, everything's looking good. What's going to happen next?" And so we have the power to change those fears by creating a positive experience in our mind and then allowing it to be recorded as real. And then we can function in our unknown, coming from knowing that the experience is going to be fine. So if we sit there and go, "oh my gosh, I don't know if this is going to work", and then you think, "oh,OK, let's imagine this". "Let's let's close my eyes. Look at this and see it working out, see it going fine. See me thriving and surviving". Then as you start to go through it, your brain goes, remember, we've already done this and it turns out great. And now you're standing in such a stronger place as you go through this thing that's actually unknown. You can also develop new skills faster. There are actually studies that have shown that people visualizing themselves, practicing piano or basketball actually improve. I have improved when it comes to real life situations. So when they show up on that court, they're actually got better at basketball. Now, I'm not saying practice at all, guys, but this is just the extra edge. This is about becoming elite, about standing up. And so it also can tell our mind where to focus. We have so many messages that our brain actually has to have a system to filter it out, if it's interest to anyone it's called the assets of reticular activating system. And it's actually in our brains and it keeps us from dealing with more information than we can handle. And in this day and age, we are in a deluge of more information than we can handle. And so it will prioritize survival, safety and then the current content of our minds that beliefs, thoughts or emotions. So this is why if you've ever decided to buy a certain type of car or you're thinking about it, then all of a sudden you see it everywhere. That car didn't just appear like road and just show up. It's because you've basically told your mind what to think about and that visualization will do the same thing. So if we're telling our brain to think about how terrible this can come out, then our brain is going to filter out all the good things and go, "OK, let's focus on survival, safety and how terrible this thing can turn out". So visualization is powerful to take us out of that mindset. And the last thing I'll throw in this benefit section is that it can also help us notice limiting beliefs. And I know limiting beliefs. Again, it kind of can sound like this woo woo thing. But when you start to visualize something, you have to visualize yourself hitting that goal. And you're like, "this is hard. Like I just can't see myself doing it". You can "mmmm" because maybe somewhere we don't believe we can do it. We can start to investigate and go. Why is it so hard to just imagine I did this well and so we can uncover these beliefs about why why we think it's so hard of trying to accomplish these things, which then brings us to a place of accomplishment. So it's really it's really a great thing. And the truth is, we're visualizing all the time, you know, if someone's listening to you and I right now, totally they're visualizing their visualizing what we look like. They're visualizing where we are. And just to help you guys out, I'm six foot blond, OK? And so totally. She's laughing because I'm actually five one with brown hair. OK, I'm very short, but you can see I've already messed with some of the listener's vision. Right. And how many of us have kids before we had the Internet to search anything, had this idea of what our favorite radio DJs looked like, only to be really confused when they saw when we saw what they actually look like. And why is that? Because we had put a picture together in our mind. So you see, we are always visualizing this isn't some who think we're doing it. We just usually aren't doing it for good. The one of the number one ways we visualize on a regular basis is called worry. We use our imagination to think of all the terrible things that could go wrong or to replay the past and go, oh, what? It's terrible. And so we're doing it we're just not using the power of it. And that power in the negative, I mean, it affects us. It affects how you feel. You see the rest of the day, "oh my gosh, my kids not home yet". And everything in your being is awful. All you can see is what's awful. None of it's real. We've created it all in our head. The other powerful thing to look at with this is the idea when we say, I can't imagine. So think about when someone says, "I can't imagine traveling for one year with just a backpack. I can't imagine ever running a marathon. I can't imagine ever quitting my job." Well, you know what? You probably never will, because the possibility of it ever happening begins in the mind. And at one point, no one could imagine flying through the sky in a metal tube, but someone out there eventually did. And now we have airplanes. So it's really it's extremely powerful. And I was so happy to go. I don't know if you want to go into maybe how we can use that and how that works. Does that sound like a good place to go?
TP: That's a very good idea. You mentioned about those fears and you mentioned the way how we keep getting what we want. So maybe we turn the other side and look how we could be successful and how we can use visualization for driving in our business and in our life.
TMFK: Exactly. Exactly. And we really are creating our realities with our with our minds. And again, I always kind of laugh when I say this because I feel like I've heard these things before as a kid. And you're like, this sounds like some woo woo magic. But when he starts to really understand the neuroscience of it, when you understand the parts of the brain that connect and go, this is what we expect and this is how we see the world. You really are creating your reality with your mind. You are starting to see things as you've created them to be seen. So so, yeah, the subconscious. It's a very real thing that exists. The subconscious accepts your thoughts that you repeat often as reality and those create your mindset. That's your foundation. So your that's your belief of what's possible. So just like you said to really if we constantly see where it could go wrong, your this becomes your mindset. Your mindset is I things always go wrong. That's that's the foundation that you've actually set to wake up to the day. How to see your success is that things go wrong. So the visualization allows us to practice what we're going to do and where we're going to go. So we have a set patterns in our life that have gotten us to where we are, good or bad. So in moments of uncertainty or tension come the actions we take come from what we know and what we've done in the past. So are usually knee jerk reactions. We don't even think about it. You know, if I usually get mad when this person cuts me off and I'm driving, then I can tell myself I just don't get mad. But when it happens, your knee jerk reaction is going to go, hey, this is what we do when somebody catches up. We yeah, we I come from California, so I'm always using traffic examples. So we're we have a problem over there, guys, but that's what we're going to do now. If we do what we've always done, you're going to get what you've always gotten. So using visualization. You think and choose ahead, it requires you to decide beforehand what you're going to do, what action we want to take and practice doing it before it happens. So we take something like the traffic example I just use you would actually have to take a conscious moment and go where first you have to decide. I don't want to be like that. I don't want to be that angry person in traffic. That's a big part, too. Then you go, OK, right now. So what do I want to do? And you don't have to close your eyes, but you close your eyes and you go, OK, I see the person cutting me off. I can feel myself getting upset. I can see my I'm going to take a deep breath. You see yourself take that deep breath and you go, I'm just going to turn on the radio or I'm just going to I wouldn't I would say look the other way, but we're driving. Right? So but you identify what you're going to do. I'm going to take three breaths. I'm going to say something. Whatever that thing is for you, it doesn't really matter as long as it's not the one that actually belongs in action you want to take, not the one you don't want to take. And this is what I said earlier, why this matters. Your brain's going to record that as a memory. Your brain's going to record that as this is what we do now. This is our new action. And it will feel like when the moment comes and that person cut you off, the brain's going to go, oh, this is where we take a deep breath. And you're like, Oh, yeah, OK, I'm fine. Just let him go. That's their problem. It's not about me, whatever that is. And you've now literally started to use your brain to work towards what you want because you made a choice and you took a moment beforehand to see it and to experience it. Now what again, we can sit there, go. Oh, I see. I see it. But this is really beyond that. This is about training the mind. This is about neuroscience. So it's again, like I said, when that moment arises, your mind will kick into gear. You have this new practice and I feel like it's the tenth time you've done it, even if only in your mind. And it's just so powerful. And it's the thing, again, to come back to is understanding the fact versus fiction. Your subconscious doesn't delineate from fact or fiction. This is important for those two ways. We talked about this go through a negative or positive. So this is why you can cry at a movie. Even even though the situation isn't real, your body still reacts physically in the real world. I think we've all cried some sort of movie. You know, it's a movie, right? Yeah, it's in front of your TV or on the screen. But you're those are real tears. Those are real tears because your brain doesn't make a difference between fiction and reality. It experiences the emotion. It experiences what's in front of it. It's recording this as a memory. Another example, I'll give it again. I grew up in California. Earthquakes are a reality of our life. So every now and then my cat would jump on the bed and it would give it a little shake and immediate. I was like "Earthquake". And my heart would start racing to my blood pressure would rise. It didn't matter that it wasn't a real earthquake. I believed it and my body reacted in reality with fear. So your thoughts really create your reality. So when we talk about how to use this to be successful, you know, we really we use visualization to get for me again with entrepreneurs. We use it to even take this leap in the first place. We were able to see freedom from an office or freedom to choose or income and vacations. You have to see it first or you would not have jumped from the security of a nine to five if you couldn't imagine something better. But it doesn't stop there. We have to keep vigilance visualizing what a website could look like, closing that sale with a client, things that our customers might want. It is a constant visualization, getting ourselves through the valleys and roller coasters most of us would give up if we start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. There's a famous story about Jim Carrey, a famous actor in 1990, where he wrote himself a ten million dollar check dated for a Thanksgiving night in 1995. Right. And he carried it in his wallet for five years, looking at it every morning. And then five years later he was paid ten dollars million for the movie Dumb and Dumber. And that's the thing, it's mindset, it's creation, it's showing your mind what to look for.It wasn't some woo woo thing. We could listen to that story and be like, well, it's like the tooth under the pillow and the tooth fairy, OK? But it wasn't the true love that if we broke that down, is that because he could see it, his brain was trained to look for the opportunities that showed up to make that real. All his brain could see was the opportunities. If he looked at that and said, yeah, but it might not really work that his brain was going to train to look for other ways it wouldn't work is it's not magic, guys. It's science. It's so much deeper than imagination. It's chemical and it's neuroscience. So, I mean, I think that's in a nutshell that helps. So basically with visualization, we create totally new reference points. We can build on our lives and our businesses and our actions and basically everything. Yes, you really it's everything. I mean, our brain manages so much. It's our emotions, our movement. There's there's so it really it's a chemical release. That's why we have dopamine and serotonin. When we when we celebrate our wins, our brain goes,"oh, this is a good feeling. I like this success thing. Let's do that again. And every time everything we're doing, we're actually training our neurochemistry. We're training every part of our body. And one thing that's so powerful in this as well is that it's not just results. I think a lot of people talk about the power of visualization. They talk about the end result, like even in the Jim Carrey thing, it's this ten million dollar end result. But sometimes if we go and look at something like having to get up in the morning to work out instead of visualizing the beach body or whatever that is, sometimes it's actually visualizing getting up, seeing yourself and hearing the alarm, getting up, maybe feeling grumpy, maybe being a little annoyed, you know, stumbling around, grabbing the gym bag, getting to the gym and just doing it. That is powerful because the wind is still a little far away, right, but if we can see the next step, the next wind, as I got up and I got to the gym, that actually, again, tells our brain, OK, we get up. When the alarm goes off, we go to the gym. Even though we're feeling groggy, we are setting that new trigger in that new path. And a lot more times than not, that's actually more powerful than visualizing just the result is visualizing the process that got us there. I mean, it just it's it can be used anywhere visualizing tomorrow, what is tomorrow going to look like? I'm going to get up this time. And not only does this help you have the motivation, but sometimes it actually helps you catch problems. So every night I have a like five, 10 minutes where I literally visualize my next morning. I look at my list, see what I have planned, and I go, OK, I'm waking up. I've set to wake up at 4:00. Yes, I know I'm crazy, but I wake up before I see myself getting up and I sometimes maybe groggy. I'm like, OK, I get up and I'm going to go do this, do that and have my coffee and do these things. And then at five o'clock I start my work, my work block and seven I'm doing this and sometimes I'll catch me like, oh wait, that's not going to work. I need to do this or wait. Is that is the teapot out? Is the coffee like you actually can catch some of the issues that you don't want to have at 4:00 in the morning. You can catch the night before when you're having this moment of just visualizing what your day is going to look like, walking through the steps, seeing yourself doing that project that you've been afraid of or you kind of maybe don't want to do, but you see yourself actually sitting there doing it and your brain's like, hey, we've done this, we got this. It's like having the best cheerleader in your brain because, again, your brain is and I'm just going all over the place here. But your brain is not functioning to be your cheerleader. Your brain is functioning for survival and to keep you comfortable. And if we've told our brain over and over that comfortable means not going to the gym, then guess what? You can tell yourself all you want. We're going to go to the gym. It's going to be great. And the morning comes your brain's like we do like this. Remember this novel? We do. You haven't. You've trained it for so long. You think overnight, to be sure. You told me once the gym, let's go to the gym then. I know your brain's like we don't like this. It's not comfortable. Let's think about it. Isn't it warm here? It's a cozy, but we start walking it through.
It's about consistency, because this is a training. Your brain is always learning and adapting. - Tanya MFK, Podcast Step Up & Thrive
TP: Especially at four o'clock in the morning.
TMFK: Yes, I'll see you guys. It took me a long time to get there, and I don't mean anyone has to do it. It works for me and it has amazing benefits. But I used to be an avid nine a.m. We're like, don't wait, don't talk to me before then. And through many years it's come to this and it's great. I do love it. I advocate it for those who are willing to give it a chancebut yeah, it's and it also took me a while to get there for I was like five a.m. that's my limit. That I was like before would be really nice. Oh can I see that. And I and sometimes I do. It's going to be dark. I imagine that's going to be dark. One of the lights like I'm going to make sure my stuff is, is it cold tomorrow. I grew up in California. I live in Czech Republic now. So I have to really imagine myself dealing with the cold and being OK with it. But there's so much power in that now. My brain, like, "yeah, you're fine. You got this. You're going to put on your sweater. You're good". So so. Yeah. And it is really about just choosing to make this a practice in determining a regular interval to do your visualization. I do the five minutes in the morning and I can do five minutes at night. You can start with a one minute short bursts graduate to longer. There's no right or wrong amount of time. It's the result, not the process. And it's about consistency, because this is a training. It is a practice. Your brain is always learning and adapting. You're always getting new information. So if you think it's OK, are you going to do once and it clicks. We need to work on understanding how the brain works. You know, if you've been in school, you know that just because the teacher told you it didn't stick. We had to practice. We had to keep doing it. So when it first started, I would say it's best to choose a specific time, set an alarm, maybe even to remind you to do it. I actually do this with gratitude. This is a side note. Gratitude is a great practice, actually said a gratitude alarm that goes off every day at five thirty to remind me to go be grateful. And now my family catches on because I hear their gratitude time. So I said, well, sign up, but set an alarm for it to do your visualization or put it in the calendar. Just give it that same respect that you do as as a key meeting. And then from there, you really just start to you know, if you're doing this on like a goal set, you can start to look at your vision and the goals that you want to accomplish. But the key here is really to get detailed. If you remember what I said about the traffic thing, I. I told you to see yourself in the car, see the person cutting you off. It's not abstract. You don't go, OK, we're not you don't telling yourself in words. When I get cut off, I'm going to do this. You have to see it happening and you have to see yourself taking a different action. So you have to create an emotional connection to it and go, you know what?How are you dressed when you're in the situation? We are accomplishing this goal. What would you say, who's there with you, maybe even engage the senses? What do you see? What do you smell? What can you taste? What can you hear? What can you touch? And so you really kind of do that and feel those emotions know. Do you feel excited or giddy, peaceful, joyful, grateful in that traffic situation? You might be like, I see him cut me off. I took a deep breath and I actually felt peaceful, you know, and that's OK. And your brain is like, "OK, all right. And we keep doing that". Maybe the first time you take the deep breath and then you're like, you jerk that step one, you know, next one, you feel peaceful. And then maybe, you know, the jerk part, you know, every time again, it's a practice, but this is a tool. What's the whole point is this is a tool. And right now there's not a lot of tangible step by step tools teaching us how to train our brain. We can learn, oh, we can create neural connections. How exciting. But what do we actually do? What is the steps? And that's really what I'm about and what I work with my clients. It's like it's great to be inspired, but it comes down to the action steps. It comes down to doing it. And really the main thing is this, like I said, it's consistency. Just keep doing it, keep trying it. And it works for everything, entrepreneurs and goals. It works for dealing with our kids. It works for worry. It works with anxiety. It's really about putting yourself into that position and choosing how will react and how we're going to show up who we want to be. And and it just it's it's so powerful, so changing.
TP: Thank you so much. And now it's time for our Quick Tips section. This is something what we do regularly on our podcast. And my question to you is, what is your biggest revelation about visualization?
TMFK: Simplicity of it, really, honestly, the biggest revelation I have is how simple it is, because from 30 seconds to 10 minutes or one hour, you can literally change your mindset. Now, I know there are some amazing mindset coaches out there, and I use them, talk to them. But when you think of how powerful this is at a chemical, biological, physical, emotional, mental level that you can do in 30 seconds. Whoa. Like how low? I mean, we're talking about problem solving. We're talking about the tone for the day. We're talking about changing neurochemistry, uncovering limiting beliefs, reprogramming your subconscious, telling your brain what to focus on, how many things can can do all that in 30 seconds or ten minutes. Like what can do that? I mean, this is just so powerful. You know, how can you lay out your accomplishments for the future, pushing you to see the vision of the life you want?I mean, it's just insane how easy and effective the simple practices like that would be. My biggest revelation about it.
TP: Wow. And yeah, 30 seconds. I really think even the busiest business woman has time for that. Yeah.
TMFK: Yeah. That's a quick pump up before a meeting. Like sit there, see yourself in the meeting and see yourself standing up like go through it and like OK, you're watching your own movie and make it a good movie and you're going to create the movie. Let's watch a good movie. We don't want the horror film. We want the good feel good. You know, a champion hero movie. So see that 30 seconds and then walk into that meeting with your brain already knowing how this is going to play out, knowing that you're in there confident even if we don't know the results. The one thing I want to throw in there, too, is we may not always know the result, but you get to choose how you show up. That's the most powerful part in this, is we do this and we can let go of the result, but we own how we show up and how much power we put into ourselves to be there and to go through the process. We'll leave it at that.
TP: Thank you so much time for joining and sharing all those tips. And if all our listeners would like to know more about you, your services, things, what you can find more information.
TMFK: Yes, well, I am Tanya MFK, and that's because my name is crazy long. So if you're feeling adventurous, Tanya Marie Kraisingr. But instead of making you remember that, you can find me anywhere at Tanya MFK. That's TanyaMFK.com. @TanyaMFK in social media anywhere there. I am the only one. So it's pretty easy to find and we yeah, there is plenty of stuff to do. I work with entrepreneurs who are in their mess. They're unsatisfied and they're ready to take it to that next level, to create the business, to write that book, to stand on stages and do what they're really meant to do in their business. So however that works, we have that and you can reach out. We have plenty of resources. We have our own show as well. So you're welcome to check us out there.
TP: And you have also a good resource for everybody who was listening to our episodes, so you have a special worksheet, can you please share some information about that?
TMFK: Yes. Well, so I am a firm believer that, you know, knowledge plus action is what gives us wisdom. Otherwise, you just have a library of information and it's it's actually useless because if we don't put into action, that means it's not being used, which actually means it's useless. So knowledge plus action equals wisdom. So if you want to bring the idea of visualization into a place of wisdom in your life into a real tool, then you have to try it. And so I have a very simple worksheet that will lead you through kind of identifying your main goals this week, what you want to focus on and keep you to some level of accountability to actually try each day for the next seven days. And so you can get that worksheet shortly. We'll have the link for you here and start putting into action uses tool really accessible.
TP: Wow. Thank you so much and thank you for joining us. It was a really interesting subject. And yeah, I love this. And it's it's been. Yeah. You cannot do anything great without using that one.
TMFK: Yeah. It's part of us already. Like you said, most of us are using it. We're just not using it. Well so this is a way to use it to its full potential. And and I love it. And thank you so much for, for allowing me to be here any time. I love to talk about it.
TP: Thank you. Bye bye.
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