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Visualisation isn’t a new approach to realizing what you want to achieve through the power of the mind. Many top athletes have used relaxation and visualization techniques in preparation for a major sporting event.

Apparently Wayne Rooney asks for exact details about what colour shirts, shorts and socks his team will be wearing the following day to enhance the accuracy of his psychological preparation. This allows him to visualize a much more detailed and richer picture of himself which enhances his ability to perform well. And he’s not alone – it seems many other successful sportsmen too employed visualization techniques including Muhammed Ali, Michael Phelps (Olympic gold medalist swimmer) and Jessica Ennis-Hill who revealed before the London 2012 Olympics: “I use visualisation to think about the perfect technique. If I can get that perfect image in my head, then hopefully it’ll affect my physical performance.”

The Power of Positive Thinking

If you’re preparing for an NHS job interview can be very tough, especially for medical consultants who have to face a panel of 7-8 people, of course its essential to work through and plan the answers you would give to likely questions (and I strongly suggest verbalizing them rather than only writing out answers) and researching the organization well so that you are fully prepared to answer questions about why you want to work for them. But this is where I find many candidates often feel they’ve done all they can, when actually there’s so much more they can do to make their interview a success!

Many of my past clients, including doctors, nurses and other non-clinical NHS managers tell me about what they think caused them to fail previously in interviews including going blank and freezing, believing that they should have answered certain questions differently, finding the experience intimidating and generally feeling very nervous about their next interview …

But they’re all focusing on the negatives! All the attention is given to thinking about what has gone wrong previously and what they are worried about going wrong next time! … I always respond the same way – if we give our attention to negative outcomes, we are much more likely to create that ending for ourselves, albeit on an unconscious level but our unconscious mind is very powerful. However, what is there to lose by totally reversing that notion and instead using positive self-talk and visualizing an outstanding interview performance?

Reprogramming your mind

A good visualization technique is more than a passing daydream insofar as you are purposefully programming your mind to visualize only the positive things you want to happen. This can be done in any situation where you want to mentally prepare yourself for an interview.

Try this exercise when you are able to relax in a quiet space and won’t get disturbed.

• Lie or sit comfortably. Close your eyes, and take some deep breaths to relax your body from head to toe.

• Imagine yourself preparing for the interview on the morning it will take place focusing on what you will be wearing (detailed down to earrings for women!), how you will wear your hairstyle, even the smell of your perfume or aftershave that you will apply! Imagine your smooth journey and getting to your interview in a calm state. When you visualize reaching the organization’s premises, use your senses to imagine the objects in the room, the light, colors, the whole ambience of the place. In your mind, hear the interviewer’s voice when she/he greets you. Notice your emotions are calm as you give a confident hand shake.

• Upon meeting the interviewer and the panel, imagine you are smiling warmly, and they are smiling back at you. See yourself in flow as you answer the questions with ease, projecting your voice clearly and with authority, feeling in control of the meeting and enjoying the experience. The whole time, you feel confident and comfortable.

If you practice this exercise regularly, you will find that your thinking and self-belief around your healthcare interview becomes a more positive one and you are much more likely to behave in this calm and controlled way next time. Good luck!