How to Achieve Remarkable Results Using the Power of Outcome Visioning

visualizing outcomes

visualizing outcomes

Outcome visioning is a powerful technique to produce remarkable results in your work and life. Unfortunately this idea is not grasped fully by most of us and benefits not reaped. In this article I will explain you what outcome focusing is and how you reap benefits by making use of it.

What happens when you decide to host a party at home? 

First you determine what kind of party it is. Is it a birthday party, or a family get together. This is your intention, the purpose.

Your purpose automatically triggers the natural planning process. You begin to think about what kind of food you will prepare, what kind of ambience you will create, convenient time when everyone can come, types of people you will invite etc. You probably did not think about these things consciously, but these are your principles.

Once you decide to fulfill your purpose, you might just begin to see a picture of how the party will be, the smell of the food, the people involved, the noise and laughter. You might even experience how it will sound, how it will look and the way it feels to be in the party, much earlier than the actual party. This is your outcome visioning

Outcome visioning is the art of building razor sharp clarity around your purpose and visualizing the end result by associating it with positive experiences.

Outcome focusing has three main elements:

  1. A purpose – The purpose is your intention, something you want to accomplish.
  2. The principles – Principles determine the boundaries and standards to fulfill your purpose. They are like guideposts to help you gain clarity around your purpose.
  3. The experience – What will it look like when your purpose is fulfilled? What picture does it create in your mind? What kind you experiences (seeing, hearing, feeling) can you associate when your purpose is fulfilled?

 Using Outcome focussing at Work

Let us assume you receive a request from a client to deliver a proposal. Your intention is to deliver the proposal. This is your purpose.

The principles around your purpose could be the timeline to deliver, level of detailing needed, topics covered, target audience (who will ultimately read it and take decision) and budgetary constraints. Each of these factors determines how your proposal will look like when it is ready.

Did you notice something? As soon as you determine the principles clearly, you could easily picture what it’s going to look like when it is finished. You could visualize how nicely the proposal structured and the satisfaction you will get after completing it. You could visualize how it would be appreciated by client and even see the positive emotions on their face.

In the above example, we associated the following experiences with your purpose of creating proposal:

  1. Satisfaction you will get
  2. The Appreciation may receive from client
  3. Positive emotions on client’s face

Now the magic begins here. As you begin working on the proposal, the quality of your actions will be substantially high, consistent to the outcome you have envisioned.

That’s outcome visioning in action! Does it raise standard of your work? Does it induce higher predictability around quality of your deliverable? To answer this question, imagine for a moment that you did not think of these things consciously and just began writing the proposal. What outcome could you see? Better or worst?

Once you get used to outcome visioning, you can produce remarkable results in your work and life. Begin with a smaller/easier project and keep practicing until it becomes your second nature.

Once you do, let me know about your experiences!

Productivity is All About Focus & Flow

Developing natural focus and creativity

Deeply immersing into something brings up natural focus

Just a while ago, I was watching my 6 years old kid deeply immersed into scribbling pictures in a small diary (see the picture). He was scribbling page after page drawing interesting shapes and figures. When I asked him what it was, he described each shape in vivid detail. It was a sheer joy watching him so deeply involved.

There is something to learn from this experience.

Each one of us has something which we can deeply immerse ourselves in.

What is it that you love the most? What can have you immerse yourself hours into something without realizing the time fly by?

During my childhood days, summer vacations were the most exciting times when the time used to fly by. We would spend entire days creating gizmos often getting lost in our own ‘scientific world’ – make trolleys and robots. On certain occasions, we would start with sunrise, go up on our apartment roof and begin. Before we could finish our ‘invention’, the sun would start setting in – to our realization that we skipped the lunch!

Do you remember any such occasion when you were totally lost in doing that one thing? I am sure each one of has such experiences.

That’s productivity in all it’s splendor!

When we see the originality of 37Signals, quality of Apple products, or the writings of Seth Godin, deep focus and flow is in action. There are numerous such examples but the core principle remains the same – Focus & Flow.

How do you get into your Focus and Flow? Is it a new hobby or a passion you have been suppressing for a long time or is it something that you need to give up or complete?

The easiest way to get your Focus and Flow back is to find something adventurous, fun and interesting!

What has been your experience with Focus and Flow?

How to Develop a Focused and Relaxed State of Mind

developing relax and focused state of mind

how to develop relaxed and focused state of mind

I am a big fan of Bruce Lee and grew up watching his movies. It was fascinating to see his power packed punches and near perfect round-house kicks. While learning martial arts, I used to imitate him, dreaming to become like him – “some day”. That day never came. But, there is a profound learning from what he did and showed to the world about the power of Relaxation and Focus.

Your ability to generate power is directly proportional to your ability to relax

The more focused and relaxed we are, the better is our experience of life. An ideal state of focused and relaxed mind much resembles still water  – often referred as “mind like water” in GTD system.

What happens when you throw a pebble in a pond of still water? It responds in the exact proportion to the force and mass of the object thrown in it. Neither more, nor less.

In a “mind like water” state, you respond appropriately to the situation in front of you, neither overreact, nor under-react.

You can also learn to be focused and relaxed like a martial artist by following these three practices:

1. Take everything out of your mind

Your mind is a focusing tool, not a storage device to hold the large number of agreements you have made to yourself and others. Such commitments (often referred as “open loops”), take up unnecessary mental energy and attention – no matter how small they are. Unless these “open loops” are handled appropriately, your mind isn’t going to give up bothering you about them .

Here are the steps to handle your “open loops” – 1) Take them out of your head on a piece of paper  2) Determine what it is and the next action to be taken 3) Store them physically in an external system where you can come back to refer. Once you start doing this regularly, your mind will stop bothering you about those open loops. You will immediately experience a relaxed state of mind. More on this here.

2. Organize 

Life is full of uncertainties and staying disorganized adds one more layer to it. To me, being organized means keeping everything going around you in perspective and being fully aware of all the moving parts in your world. An organizing system comprises of – 1. Your projects and associated to-do’s 2. Reference material and inventory of ideas 3. Time specific commitments (calendar) 4. Action items to be done by you 5. Tasks you have delegated to others. Having a clear picture of all these five aspects will allow you to experience relaxation and a sense of control in your life.

3. Meditate

Meditating is like slowing down and cleaning up your mind so that it works optimally. In today’s demanding world, meditation is not optional, it is an important need. Here is a simple method to meditate (There are hundreds of ways to meditate and the one described below is probably the simplest method you can start with):

  1. Choose a quite place where there is minimum noise and zero distraction
  2. Sit down in a relaxed position either on a chair or on the floor
  3. Keep your posture straight and relaxed
  4. Close your eyes
  5. Focus on your breath

As soon as you close your eyes, your mind will start wandering aimlessly . Don’t try to force yourself to focus on breathing. Gradually your internal noise will start settling down and you will become calmer and calmer. Once you make a habit of meditating daily, you will begin to experience a greater sense of relaxation and focus. Start with 5 minutes and gradually increase to 10-15 or 30 minutes. You can learn more on mediation in this excellent book.

These three practices are simple, yet very profound in their impact. It takes only a few minutes everyday to practice them. Once you do, it will open up a new world of productivity  – the one where you are relaxed and focused, every moment.

What are your ideas to develop a relaxed and focused state of mind?

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