There is a famous story of a political prisoner who was held for four years. He was a golfer and sat quietly every day to imagine himself golfing his favorite course. As he was in a cell, he had no club and nothing but his own mind. He played it shot by shot and hole by hole in detail. Feeling the grip of the club, the sun on his head. Feeling the backswing and hearing that beautiful contact thwap when he hit the ball just right. Since it was all in his mind, he chose to imagine the perfect round over and over. The process of walking and winning his course gave structure to his mind during a difficult time. What is most interesting is that when he was finally released and played the course for the first time in years, he had shaved 7 strokes off his best game. With no physical practice but by mentally rehearsing winning and improving, he got better. This is the power of the mind.
What are you mentally rehearsing? If you spend any time worrying about future failure, you have time carved out to rehearse success. Take the mind by the reins for a few minutes a day to visualize in detail the future win. This action moves us closer to our goal. This is process oriented success. The willingness to do one thing a day, a process, to move our needle closer to our desired outcome. As my mentor Paul Chek suggests, we want to get 1%-3% better every day. Our intentions and how we define success can change day by day and certainly, person by person. But with conscious thought and presence we can achieve progress even on our days off.
Most conversations and intentions around goal setting are outcome oriented. ‘I want a raise’ is an outcome oriented goal. ‘I want to be the most valued member of my team’ is a process oriented goal that will likely result in a raise. Shifting the focus to process gives us rewardable bite sized goals that move us in the direction of our desired outcome without creating overwhelming anxiety. Outcome oriented goals tend to be large and distant. If we use process oriented goals everyday, they will help us map the small roads to the big mountains.
What is most interesting about this secret mental power, it does not require any doing. But simply requires being present in the mind and imagining the outcome. Dedicating a piece of time every day to move our mental game toward our process goals is of great value. Oprah Winfrey was correct in noting; “I know for sure what we dwell on is who we become.” Are you wasting time rehashing past errors? Take the lesson and move forward with new knowledge. Catch the habit and change it. Redirect your thoughts. Mentally see yourself about to make the same error, now watch yourself incorporate the lessons of the past. See your success in that small moment. Another brick in your foundational strength.
We realize the power of our thoughts to direct our success. Your self image is what drives your potential. How I see myself; a hard worker who never gets promoted or as a success story from the beginning; becomes my story. Olympic gold medalist Lanny Bassham writes in his book With Winning in Mind, “We have Self- Image about everything. It makes us who we are. The sad thing is that most people believe there is nothing they can do about their Self-Image. They believe that they are the way they are and cannot change. We experience change as we age. The direction of that change can either be determined by you or for you.” (Italics mine.) As the author of your own story, let yourself write the hero’s journey. See yourself overcoming and dominating. Write yourself a great next chapter.
The body believes the mind. Neuroscientist Dr Joe Dispenza notes, “Whenever you say, ‘I am’ anything, you’re commanding your mind and body towards a destiny.” Therefore we need to be careful not only about what we think of ourselves and our potential but also what we say. Any ‘I am’ statement will be believed by the body. If I choose to say ‘I am the most valuable member of the team’ I am confirming that belief and truth in every cell. Others will believe you, too. It is a very powerful mental tool. Yoda was right: “There is no try, only do.” I would add: there is no try, only be.
Is it being at the right place at the right time? Or is it believing you are the right person at the right place at the right time. Yes, you must lay the foundation and do the work. That is how we build self confidence to see our winning potential. Usain Bolt reminds us; “I trained four years to run nine seconds…. and people give up when they don’t see results in two months.” Determine how willing you are to sacrifice to achieve this goal. If you find it hard to give things up to get what you want, perhaps the goal isn’t really your dream but someone else’s.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of being pressured by a teenager with an intention has experienced results oriented success. They want a ride to the mall and you create obstacles to their desire. The teenager sees success as possible and they willingly participate in overcoming the obstacles. They then immediately return and ask for what they want. They are driven. They have a clear intention. They have a self imposed timeline. This is a process oriented goal. In this example, the outcome oriented goal could be to be popular. The process oriented goal is achievable in the near future, and is a small step to getting to the top of their popularity mountain.
Define your purpose and priority. ‘I want to go to the mall to see my friends.’ See yourself approaching your gatekeeper and asking for what you want. Imagine the potential obstacles you may encounter to get what you want. Are you willing to mow the lawn, clean your room, finish your homework to get the ride to the mall? Picture yourself overcoming all the obstacles, even the unforeseen. Because that is who you are. You are the kind of person who gets to yes. No matter what it takes, and it may take years. Practice this small success in your mind and you will enjoy it playing out in your life.
Take a moment now to picture yourself achieving success. You are that person. Become that truth from the inside out.