Sports champions have a method which they practice before an event, especially if they're going to play against a team they have not met before. They visualize the game in their mind; they picture themselves winning and their fans applauding them loudly. They experience all the emotions and the good feelings associated with winning. They play this scene inside their head for a while until they feel comfortable with it and it feels real. Then they go out and play the game on the field, already having experienced the win in their mind's eye.

Great leaders have a vision for their followers. They have the ability to visualize the future in a way that the ordinary person cannot do, and they inspire the average person to share their vision and turn it into reality.

I met with a couple recently who were experiencing the pain of a troubled marriage. When I suggested that, with effort from both sides, they could achieve a loving and meaningful relationship, the wife said: "That is impossible. I have been married for 14 years, the last 10 of which have been nothing but misery. It will never change!" She was not prepared to believe that the future could be any different from the past. "If this is the case"' I said, "then the future will most probably be a repeat of the past. Are you happy for things to continue the way they are?" I asked.

"We want a better future," came the instant reply.

I advised them as follows: begin with the end in mind. Close your eyes and imagine being in your home a year from now enjoying a loving relationship. Describe this atmosphere of love and harmony fully, in all its details, and write them down — in the present tense, as though they had already become real. Get in touch with the feelings of love and pleasure generated by this wonderful relationship.

Next, examine the steps taken to reach that point. Still visualizing the result, go back one step and describe how your relationship is in 11 months from now what have you done so far to bring it to that point. Work your way backwards month by month until the present. Then schedule in your diary the time when you are going to do these things, and how you are going celebrate your small victories along the way.

By beginning with the end in mind, your subconscious mind can begin to believe that change is possible and will help you work towards achieving it. Act and feel as though you already have a wonderful relationship. Act like a loving couple acts even if you're not quite there yet. In other words, fake it until you make it. If you you think you're being dishonest, don't — the faking is the making of the real thing.

This is the key to success in our relationships, raising our children, and virtually everything we do: Take action that makes a difference. When an area in your life is not working for you the way you would like it to, begin with the end in mind. Put a plan of action in place, get to work and enjoy a new level of happiness even while you are still on the journey to achieve your goal.

Try it — it works!