All creation begins with a vision.

It begins by seeing – literally or symbolically – some greater possibility for your life than you previously believed was possible. Whether it comes about as an idea, inkling, a glimpse, or a three-dimensional Technicolor picture you see in your mind’s eye – vision is what makes change possible. It’s what opens up the potential to create a new future, and gives us the inspiration to keep moving forward in that future.

Visualization is a popular technique for creating something new – be it a new job, a new relationship, or a new way of relating to someone who is in our lives already.

However, there is also a common misconception about visualization that, as a coach, I’ve encountered time and time again and would like to dispel once and for all: It is not necessary to conjure up a detailed image of your desired future in order to create it. In fact, going about it this way can actually be counter-productive because it places limits on the creative process. Let me give you an example.

If what you desire is more abundance and you conclude that the fastest way to attract it is to receive a raise at work, you might go about visualizing your boss giving you a pay raise. Now, you may very well find that your next pay raise comes faster or easier than expected, but in the process of envisioning this specific result so clearly, you have narrowed your focus to include only one of about a million ways that the Universe can deliver you the experience of being abundant.

If instead, you conjure up the feeling of abundance, by using your imagination to picture and wonder how you will think, stand and interact with others when you are abundant – you will open the door for that experience to come to you through any one of countless channels.

Manifestation, the act of deliberately attracting a desired experience or circumstance, is not an intellectual process that unfolds according to a carefully constructed plan. It is an energetic process that responds to an emotion. It’s not holding the image of the things we want to create that attracts them to us. It’s living in the feeling of them.

When we feel worthy of, excited by, and grateful for the experiences we are in the process of creating, we literally magnetize more of those experiences into our lives. To hasten the process, we need only to give more attention to the way we will feel once our goal is attained.

The next time you become aware of something you want to create, use the following three-step process to help you become a magnet for it immediately:

1) Once you’re clear about what you want (for example, a new car, more friends, to lose ten pounds) ask yourself why you want it. This will always lead you to the feeling that underlies your desire. Another way of asking this is, “How will I feel once I’ve achieved this goal or attained this desire?”

2) After you’ve identified the feeling that underlies your desire, for example, you wanting want to feel more secure, healthy or love, identify three things you can do immediately to cultivate that feeling within you. Try asking yourself, “What can I do right now to feel more secure?”

3) Whatever actions you become aware of, take them! Even though on the surface they appear to have nothing to do with your ultimate goal, generating the feeling that you have already achieved your goal will help you attract it, and other experiences, faster.

Visualization, like all tools, is a means to an end; it’s not the end itself. Techniques like guided imagery, vision boards and future mapping are incredibly useful, but only to the extent that they help us clarify what we want and evoke within us the anticipation, eagerness, satisfaction, and the gratitude of having already attained it.

Like the Zen saying about a finger pointing to the moon; we have to remember that the object of our desire is the moon, not the finger. It is not necessary to envision in detail what your life will look like when your future desire is your present reality. The Universe will handle those details for you. Your only job is to conjure up the feeling of having fulfilled that desire and align yourself with that feeling every chance you get.

Author's Bio: 

Christy Whitman is a New York Times best-selling author, CEO and founder of the Quantum Success Coaching Academy, a 12-month Law of Attraction coaching certification program. She has helped thousands of people around the world achieve their goals through her coaching and has been seen on The Today Show, The Morning Show and The Marilyn Dennis Show in Canada.