When we anticipate the future, do we see ourselves winning or succeeding? Or do we look into our future and see only losses or failure ahead?
Some could see this as a simple difference between optimism and pessimism. However, it is more than that too. When we dream, we don't typically dream of the fish we almost caught, the deal we almost won, or the meal we almost prepared. No, typically in our dreams we catch the fish, and it is bigger than we expected; we close the deal and it's worth more in commission than any previous deal we had sold; and the dinner that we cooked was nothing short of culinary perfection, worthy of qualifying for a spot on a famous cooking show.
Over the course of life, I have yet to find the person who shared a dream where they saw themselves shanking a drive on the golf course, had a big outdoor event like a wedding getting rained out or canceled, or the company they were about to start becoming an immediate and utter failure. When those do occur, those are nightmares, not dreams.
All visions of success are not limited to dreams. As a matter of fact, many people who have achieved their goals in life didn't passively wait for success to happen to them, they went ahead and made success happen. And the way they contributed to their success was planning, preparing, and rehearsing ahead of time.
A friend of mine was always swinging a golf club. Well, not really a golf club, but an imaginary golf club. We would be in the conference room having a conversation and he would stand and make the motions of swinging the club. He would do this in the airport, standing around outside of a restaurant as we waited to get in, or anywhere he had enough space to swing his arms. Whenever he had a few minutes, he would go through the motions as if he were playing a round. And if he knew the course that he was going to be playing, he would envision the actual hole and mentally play it out in his head. He would tee off, hit his approach shot, and make the putt.
He was rehearsing for success.
Now I play a little golf too, or rather I attempt to play golf. And I have also made some imaginary golf swings. However, I am doing it just to stretch, not with the full intention of seeing the club strike the ball, the trajectory, and the soft landing. No, I am not rehearsing for success the way that my friend does, and it shows each time we play.
Have you ever seen a pianist, guitarist, drummer, or other musician practicing without their instrument? Their eyes are usually closed as they play, but in their head, they see their hands moving across the keys or strings and hear the awesome and beautiful sounds that they are creating.
They too are rehearsing for success.
Will we always succeed or win by merely envisioning ourselves doing so? No, we will not. Will we increase our likelihood of succeeding and winning by seeing ourselves doing so? Yes, we will. You see, something happens to us as we allow ourselves to internalize the motions, the real and rehearsed drills and practice swings of life, they become part of what we call the winner's attitude.
If this pandemic has taught me anything, I have learned to keep dreaming, to keep seeing the next opportunity for success ahead of me, and to encourage others to do the same. The world will continue to change, that is fact. And the best thing we can do is to make sure we change our mindset to one of seeing ourselves succeeding and winning with each change that comes our way.
As always, I would love to hear your story of envisioning winning at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we rehearse for success, it really will be a better than good year.
Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.
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