“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
– George Eliot
Years ago, I was in Liverpool for a day viewing properties.
A very pleasant man was driving me around the city for the day and as we chatted he revealed a fascinating back-story. His true passion in life was dogs. His family had no background in it but despite that he was always curious and that one day he decided to really commit to the field.
He then revealed to me that when he started he had given himself a massive goal. To win the Crufts Championship within 10 years.
In case you don’t know, Crufts is like the World Cup for dogs and it’s very competitive!
He then went on to tell me that he succeeded in his impossible dream of winning the prize within 8 years.
Now it’s not every day you meet someone who has achieved something so unique so I was very curious. And because of my interest in the ‘inner game’ I asked him if he believed in visualisation.
He looked and me with curiosity and told me that no-one had ever asked him that and then went on to reveal to me that part of his winning strategy was a very deliberate routine every morning that involved visualisation.
He would get up at 5am and take his dogs for a walk by the sea. He would stop at a certain point on the water’s edge, close his eyes and then imagine for several minutes in great detail and with intense feeling his dream of lifting the Crufts’ trophy. He lived every moment as if it had already happened, and then he quickly would play mind movies of what he had done to get to the podium.
He said it became so real to him that at one point he thought he had won before he really had!
He was absolutely convinced that it was one of the keys to his eventual success because his vision was so compelling that it kept him persisting year on year in the face of many obstacles.
But it’s what happened next in our chat that really stayed with me. I asked him if he applied the same approach to his career and life.
He went very quiet and eventually slowed the car down and parked by the side of the road. He told me that he’d never once considered visualising his desired success in any other area of his life – and asked me if I thought it would make a difference.
I replied that it seemed logical that it would most likely help and it certainly wouldn’t hurt! I told him that I had met many highly successful people in business who did something similar to him when it came to their business goals – but usually never applied the same mental approach to their personal lives. The same often applies to very successful sports people.
He then went on to reveal to me that he had a broken marriage and he never really managed to get the same level of success in any of his jobs. He didn’t enjoy his life.
And as we talked about it he revealed that he usually had ‘negative images’ in his mind for his relationship and his job. Unconsciously he was expecting negative outcomes.
It’s not easy to change habits – especially mental ones. But it is possible.
And just like going getting fit, it all starts with identifying the habit you want to build and starting with a daily routine.
Isn’t it worth the pain of success to keep at it?
I haven’t seen that man since. But I really hope he applied himself to his career and life in the same way he did to his Crufts goal.
Where can you tweak your mental approach?
Where can you change the outcomes in your mind?
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