Showing posts with label Visualization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Visualization. Show all posts

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mental Rehearsal: The Secret to Superior Performance

When you observe truly outstanding performers in any field, it’s like looking at the tip of an iceberg. You can see only a tiny fraction of what lies beneath the surface.

You aren't able to watch the commitment, preparation and repetitions that preceded the performance. And you don’t have access to another element that plays a critical role in their success: mental rehearsal.

The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, learned how to use visualization techniques from his coach Bob Bowman. After each swim practice, the coach gave Michael instructions to go home and “watch the videotape” before falling sleep and upon waking. But the videotape was not physical. It involved mentally visualizing the perfect race in exact detail, with each movement being executed flawlessly. This mental practice, combined with intense physical practice, led to repeated Gold medals and the setting of world records during the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games.

When he was at the peak of his career, world-renowned golfer Jack Nicklaus, revealed one of the secrets to his success: “I never hit a golf shot without having a sharp picture of it in my head. First I ‘see’ where I want the ball to finish. Then I ‘see’ it going there; its trajectory and landing. The next ‘scene’ shows me making the swing that will turn the previous images into reality.”

But this type of mental preparation is not limited to top athletes.

You can use visualization for every area of your life: getting the job you want, starting a business, finding your life partner, or being a strong parent.

In 1983 I was the top producer in a regional sales competition, and in the following year I was #2 nationally. In addition to putting forth the commitment and effort required, I invested time in picturing myself on stage, accepting the award, and feeling the excitement and pride in my accomplishment.

When I spoke to 900 entrepreneurs at a conference in 2011, I spent hours preparing my talk. But I also recognized how critical it was to play mental movies depicting my presentation and the positive response I wanted from the audience.

Maxwell Maltz refers to this technique as “Theatre of the Mind,” in his classic book, The New Psycho-Cybernetics. You learn to watch yourself completing each action perfectly, and you do this repeatedly.

Why is mental rehearsal so successful in improving performance?

When you vividly imagine, in rich detail, the steps to achieving a positive outcome, you strengthen your self-image and build confidence. At the same time, you block out the doubts, fears and insecurities that typically creep in when you’re attempting to do something new.

When you have an important goal you want to reach – or simply a bad habit you want to change – add mental rehearsal to the process and experience the benefits of this powerful strategy. As Maltz reminds us in his book:

“Human beings always act and feel and perform in accordance with what they imagine to be true about themselves and their environment.”

Friday, December 28, 2012

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

For some reason, many of us wait until January 1 each year to set new goals. As if that’s the only time it’s appropriate to describe what you want to do, have or be. Actually, any day can work.

But no matter when you decide the time is right, these five ingredients are essential for those dreams to become a reality. And they apply whether your goals focus on physical health, finances, relationships, career or spirituality.


What you think is possible for yourself will influence the goals you set in the first place. These beliefs also impact the effort you’ll put forth initially – and later.

That’s why your first step needs to focus on identifying the deeply-held thoughts you already have and examining if they’re actually true. You may have imaginary boundaries in place that are simply a reflection of what others have told you is realistic. When you allow yourself to consider possibilities outside this restrictive view, many more options emerge.


Your WHY comes into play when you’re in “implementation mode.” But you also need to consider your reasons for selecting these specific goals in the first place. You may set a certain target because, somewhere along the line, you determined this was something you should do. But if you’re not driven by a deeper purpose, a clear vision and a strong passion, you’re more likely to give up at the first sign of trouble.


By definition, a goal represents a gap between where you are now and where you want to be. That means you’re going to be investing personal energy over a period of weeks, months or even years to achieve the results you desire. You’ll need determination and perseverance to stick with your plan when you encounter obstacles, disappointments, setbacks and failures. If your goal means that much to you, you’ll heed Winston Churchill’s advice to “Never, never, never give up!”


Elite athletes have long understood the value of practicing moves in their minds before performing them in competition. This involves spending time each day vividly imagining yourself performing the actions successfully, in very specific detail accompanied by strong positive feelings. You can invest just a few minutes a day and get some benefit. But if you commit to 30 minutes of mental rehearsal, you’ll be astonished at the impact it has on your results.

Accountability Coach

When you’re trying to achieve anything ambitious, you’ll have times when you feel discouraged or tempted to slack off. That’s why you need someone who supports you and checks to make sure you do the things you say you’ll do. Knowing you have to answer to another person is a powerful driver to taking action and following through. Enlist the help of one person who will consistently hold you accountable for taking the actions you commit to.

Having a coach, combined with the first four factors, will make all the difference in your achievement of your goals.
"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work." - Colin L. Powell, American secretary of state (1937- ) 
"It is only by working with an energy which is almost superhuman and which looks to uninterested spectators like insanity that we can accomplish anything worth the achievement." - Woodrow Wilson, American president (1856-1924) 
"Most people never run far enough on their first wind, to find out if they've got a second. Give your dreams all you've got, and you'll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you." - William James, American psychologist (1842-1910)