“My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get a new idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination, and make improvements and operate the device in my mind. When I have gone so far as to embody everything in my invention, every possible improvement I can think of, and when I see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form the final product of my brain.” – Nikola Tesla

Top performers use visualization to create what hasn’t yet been created. Athletes, inventors, business icons, artists and presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt use visualization.

Most people don’t intentionally practice visualization because they think it doesn’t work or they aren’t good at it. Both are untrue.

So how do you visualize?

Start by noticing the images you are creating in your mind.

You are always visualizing whether you are aware of it or not. Most of the time we are not because the pictures are subconscious and they happen so fast!

“I would visualize things coming to me. It would just make me feel better. Visualization works if you work hard. That’s the thing. You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”- Jim Carrey

Ask yourself, “What am I seeing in my mind right now?”

You will slowly become more aware of the images you are making.

What colors do you see?

Is the image moving or still?

Is the picture dim or bright?

Is it close or far away?

As you build up this practice you will slowly chip away at the images you hold in your mind. Stay tuned for the second part of this series next week!

“I study pitchers. I visualize pitches. That gives me a better chance every time I step into the box. That doesn’t mean I’m going to get a hit every game, but that’s one of the reasons I’ve come a long way as a hitter.” – Mark McGwire

Becoming great at anything requires you to notice what’s missing. If you want to get your body in better shape, you’ll notice the extra fat you have on your stomach even if you already have a six pack. One of the challenges achievers face is they constantly notice what’s not working and spend little time appreciating their successes. The downside with that is that you tend to beat yourself up and wear yourself down with stress.

A big part of becoming successful at anything is positive reinforcement and building upon what’s working. By training your mind to notice what you’re doing great at even if it may seem small at the time you will make yourself more resilient when the inevitable big challenges come your way.

Celebrating small wins also stacks over time in your favor just like compounded interest when you invest your money. If your goal is to get in the best shape of your life give yourself praise when you tie your shoes to go to the gym. Most people constantly associate pain to the micro goals needed to achieve their big goals. Reverse that and start to consciously be grateful for the micro achievements you make along your way to the big success you have your eyes set on.

How do you do that? Simple. At the end of each day ask yourself and write down three small wins from the day. A few examples could be:

Drank a large glass of water first thing in the morning.

Called mom and said hello.

Got out of bed on first alarm.

Skipped eating a brownie.

Smiled at a stranger.

The small wins stack up over time and they become the big wins. You’ll start noticing all the great things you have and are creating. It will begin a self perpetuating cycle that works in your favor in the different areas of your life.

Years ago, before transatlantic flight was common, a man wanted to travel to the United States from Europe. The man worked hard, saved every extra penny he could, and finally had just enough money to purchase a ticket aboard a cruise ship. The trip at that time required about two or three weeks to cross the ocean. He went out and bought a suitcase and filled it full of cheese and crackers. That’s all he could afford. Once on board, all the other passengers went to the large, ornate dining room to eat their gourmet meals. Meanwhile, the poor man would go over in the corner and eat his cheese and crackers. This went on day after day. He could smell the delicious food being served in the dining room. He heard the other passengers speak of it in glowing terms as they rubbed their bellies and complained about how full they were, and how they would have to go on a diet after this trip. The poor traveler wanted to join the other guests in the dining room, but he had no extra money. Sometimes he’d lie awake at night, dreaming of the sumptuous meals the other guests described. Toward the end of the trip, another man came up to him and said, “Sir, I can’t help but notice that you are always over there eating those cheese and crackers at mealtimes. Why don’t you come into the banquet hall and eat with us?” The traveler’s face flushed with embarrassment. “Well, to tell you the truth, I had only enough money to buy the ticket. I don’t have any extra money to purchase fancy meals.” The other passenger raised his eyebrows in surprise. He shook his head and said, “Sir, don’t you realize the meals are included in the price of the ticket? Your meals have already been paid for!” – Anonymous

Our words are a linguistic representation of our inner experience. If you make a meaning that doesn’t serve you and attach a word to it, it can become a label that holds you back.

Often times people don’t even realize the words they use. And when they do they often discount the power of the word. Transformational vocabulary can have a HUGE impact on your life even though it may seem silly. One trick our mind plays on us is when we intellectualize the process, saying ‘we know’ and it’s not that big of a deal. And often times it may not be a big deal. Some things are so important you stick with the discipline no matter what. That’s why pilots review their checklist EVERY TIME they fly no matter how mundane and repetitive it may seem.

One word difference is a different life. One will make you feel unworthy, angry, sad and depressed. The other will pull you into gratitude and create momentum in your life. We make choices in words not understanding the impact they have.

I heard a story about a young woman who moved to South Sudan and started a school for orphans. To her it was an ‘accident’ and she believed she didn’t deserve it. Her belief system made her feel unworthy of her amazing efforts in service for others and she labeled it with the word ‘accident.’  With the help of a great coach she changed the word from ‘accident’ to ‘grace’. Her new meaning is that she was guided. She did the work from the pureness of her heart and she accepts her worthiness of the amazing work she did.

Most of us are more sensitive about what we say to others we love than we say to ourselves. Some aren’t sensitive to others they love and take for granted and say things to them that they wouldn’t say to a stranger.

Notice the power of your words when you say them to yourself. Say the word and notice how you feel. Also notice the power of your words when you say them to others and how they respond. The words you speak mold your experience of life. 

At Tony Robbins Date With Destiny event in Palm Beach, Florida – December 2019

How often do you attend an event where you immerse yourself in learning, growth and expanding beyond your current comfort zone? If you want to be successful in any area of your life it’s one of the best ways to compress decades of learning into days. There’s a few reasons why full immersion events are so powerful.

  1. You get to leverage the learning and expertise others have invested years and lots of money figuring out.
  2. You surround yourself with other like-minded people who are committed to growth which makes you elevate your game.
  3. The group energy magnifies your progress and you get exponential results.
  4. You meet high vibrational people doing amazing things that will stretch you to do more and become more.
  5. They break you out of your current routine and re-evaluate your next moves toward your peak.

I get myself to an event once every six months. I learned this ritual from my mentor Tony Robbins when I worked for him as one of his national speakers and corporate business trainers. He is constantly going to events and trainings to keep on growing. The events can be anything you feel will be useful for you to become the person you want to become. Here are some examples of events/experiences:

  1. Vipassana meditation
  2. Yoga retreat
  3. Any personal development seminar
  4. Ayahuasca ceremony
  5. Sound ceremony
  6. Burning man
  7. Mens or womens retreat
  8. Sign up for improv class

The hardest part for people is following through and actually going to the events. Most people say they will do it and then when it’s time to get up and go there is no action. The key is to schedule your events beforehand to lock them in. This commits you to go and you don’t get caught in the trap of falling from peak to trough and staying on a plateau. After the event you are naturally going to drop from the peak of being at the event. Most people fool themselves into thinking it didn’t work because they lose momentum and don’t feel as good after they are gone from the event for a few weeks. Then they plateau and stop going to events and eventually start declining their progress.

Schedule your events ahead of time and block out your calendar so you are committed to going. This way you’ll go from peak to peak. Make this a ritual in your life and you’ll see the benefits compound for you as the years pass and you’ll be living a life you and others never could have imagined.

Maps are super useful tools to help us understand the world around us. They help us get around, remember where we’ve been and where we want to go. They help us communicate with other where we are and how to reach us. There are many different types of maps. Most people think of a map of geography to drive or fly from one place to another.

There are other maps also. Language and storytelling are maps of our experience. We use them to communicate to ourselves and others. One way the map messes us up is when we start to think it is the actual experience. It is not the experience, it is a representation of the experience. Just like drawing a car route from LA to NYC is not the same as the experience of driving the route, the language and story we tell or hear is not the exact experience of what’s really going on.

Why is this important? It’s important because often times we forget that the way someone communicates their map with us is a representation of the experience they are having. Even though people are doing the best they can to communicate their experience words can only capture and articulate so much. We must also remember that we have our own map of our experience layered on top of it. So there are two maps we must do our best to objectively observe and make an accurate meaning of.

With this new awareness you can do a few things:

Be respectful of other people’s maps.

Be curious about other people’s maps.

Don’t judge other people’s maps no matter how different it may be from yours.

Ask better questions to clarify what people mean so you can understand their experience better.

We’ve all been around people who are unfriendly or harsh without justification. It’s not a pleasant experience especially if one of those people is a family member or close friend you interact with on a daily basis. I used to think it was something I did or there was something wrong with me.

The truth is that it has very little to do with you and mostly has everything to do with what’s going on inside their head. If you observe how people interact with others it is simply a reflection of how they are communicating with themselves. When people avoid their internal challenges they tend to abruptly let them out on someone who has nothing to do with.

Rather than taking it as a personal attack and getting offended or fighting back you can learn to be curious, even playful with what’s going on with the person. I know it’s easier said than done when your emotions are involved. The neat part is once you become better at letting their reaction pass and give them the love the crave in the moment you will start to see them break that habit. You can be the stimulus that helps them transform their pain into a force for good.

It may take more than one time for this transformation to happen and you have no obligation to do this or be around the person. However, if you are up for the challenge it may take some repetition and consistency. Most likely they invested a lot of time and energy into this habit. The great part is there is a lot of energy that once transformed into a more empowering habit will be a magnificent gift for all involved.

One of the quickest ways to go from any unpleasant feeling or emotion is with appreciation and gratitude. If you’re angry, depressed, frustrated, etc. you can metabolize it into happiness, joy, excitement through the power of appreciation.

We all feel down sometimes and there’s nothing wrong with that. No emotion is wrong and they are actually action signals from our inner world. So it’s totally ok to sit with it and I would actually encourage you to feel and honor whatever emotions you are feeling, no matter how ‘negative’ they may seem.

Denying or repressing the emotion is not the goal. The goal is to honor the emotion and then if/when you are ready turn it into a more empowering emotion through the power of appreciation. The emotions aren’t good or bad. They do have energetic frequencies that we can measure though. People who are in low energy states such as depression, frustration or sadness show up much differently than people who are in high energy states such as joy, curiosity or excitement.

Most people are unhappy these days because the world is moving so fast and they are trying to keep up with all the achievements and advancements happening around us. We achieve one goal, enjoy it for a short period of time and then quickly move on to the next one. That pattern is what makes people unhappy because there is never enough and they are constantly focused on what’s missing. If they took some time to appreciate and notice all the abundant blessings around them they would be much happier.

Appreciation and achievement are on two sides of the same coin. To be great at either you must toggle back and forth between them. You need to stop and smell the roses on a regular basis to keep moving forward with zest and enthusiasm. You also need to have a grand vision of what’s not created yet so you can have something to pull you forward and appreciate once you make it a reality.

The first step to becoming a great appreciator is to make an effort to appreciate the little things you’re not noticing on a daily basis. Appreciate the way someone smiles at you. Train your mind to appreciate something new you’ve never noticed before. Appreciate the design of a piece of furniture in your room.

The next step is to appreciate the ‘bad’ stuff. Appreciate the things that are creating pain in your life. It may sound crazy and it might feel really hard to do in the moment you are going through it. If you develop the strength to appreciate the problems in your life you will begin to notice they are gifts showing up to make you grow and become more. This is when you become a true master of your emotions. When you can metabolize the ‘bad’ experiences into ‘positive’ ones.

Your problems become your gifts if you develop the daily habit of appreciating the things you aren’t noticing.

Here are three of my favorite morning rituals to kick off my day.

Meditation

It clears my mind and centers me for the day. Rather than waking up and reacting to my emails, texts, people etc. it puts me in the drivers seat and sets me up to be above my day vs. racing to catch up. When you meditate you increase the grey matter in your brain which improves memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. One of the things I love about it is that it helps me slow down my experience of life and respond/perform at a much higher level than when I am not in a meditative state.

Gratitude walk

There is nothing like getting outside for some fresh air, connecting with nature and moving my body in the morning. Top it off with gratitude for another day of life and all of my blessings makes it a core pillar to start my day off in an epic way. I simply go for a walk and go over things I am grateful for. They can be big or small, current or from a long time ago. I like to mix it up and make it a game trying to come up with things I haven’t noticed before.

Free flow journaling

My goal is the write non stop for 15-20 minutes about whatever is floating around in my mind. It is similar to a meditation and very helpful to dump out my thoughts on paper. When I first started doing this I had a lot of resistance and the things I wrote down were absurd but that’s ok! The point of the exercise is to clear your mind and free it up for your upcoming day. If you can’t read it that’s ok too. You can throw out the journal when you’re done with it and nobody needs to read it, not even you. One of the biggest benefits I’ve gained from this is more flow and creativity in my day.

When I was in high school playing basketball my brother got me a small basketball engraved with the saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Not sure whether the quote is attributed to Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky or someone else but the point is clear.

I was a great shooter, top two on the team, yet I would look to pass more than shoot. Everyone would tell me to shoot the ball. My coach would yell at me when I didn’t take enough shots.

As I grew older and slowly got the point I started not only shooting more but also looking to create a shot if there was none right away.

I’m glad I learned that lesson as a kid through sports. The neat thing about life is that often times the same lesson shows up in different contexts and areas of life. When I graduated from college I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do specifically. I did know that I didn’t want to sit in an office behind a computer analyzing data all day.

Now as a business owner I am realizing the same lesson. There are many shots out there every day for me to take; prospects to add value to, clients to serve and deals to close. There are also times when I have to go out and create my own shot or my business may not be in business much longer.

What’s great about it is that it’s just a mindset that can be developed. Over time the more you build the habit of taking the shot as soon as you see it you will become better and better at it. It will become second nature to the point you don’t even feel any fear or hesitancy about it. It’s just what you do.

Misses and failure (I call failure lessons) are an inevitable right of passage to success. Your job is to embrace them and keep on taking your shot.