Mindset Made Simple Tip #126 – Watch or listen HERE.
I have had an awesome 2022 and I hope you have, too! I put the bow on my speaking engagements of 2022 with Oswald Companies in Cleveland last Friday, encouraging them to think about the impact of their mindset as the look toward their big goals for 2023.
While tying the 4Ps of peak performance to their expertise, I asked this high-achieving group, most of whom are former college athletes, if they ever used visualization as a competitor.
A few raised their hands.
Although they may not realize it, they all use it! And they use it more than they realize!
We all use visualization.
We use it when we think ahead…and behind. We used it when we pictured ourselves throwing the touchdown pass as an 11-year-old to Lynn Swann (he’s a former Steeler for you young people 😊). We use it when we are belting out a song in our cars and picture ourselves on stage with our favorite artist….or by ourselves in place of the artist.
We “see” a lot more than we realize!
I picture myself doing all kinds of stuff (including the aforementioned experiences!). Admit it. You have images like these, too!
I saw myself pull the bar perfectly straight from my knees to my clean position yesterday as I was lifting. I pictured myself at Oswald, in my blue blazer, blue striped RL blouse, etc. before I got there.
And I spend a lot of time during the holidays picturing and reliving memories in crystal clear definitions of Christmases past.
I can see my mom, who I miss dearly during this time of the year. I see my Grandma Fought’s house on Christmas Eve and her small tree with gifts for all 12 of her grandchildren around it. I picture sitting at Gray Drug on the way home from her house, stopping to pick up that last-minute stuff my mom needed and thinking we were going to miss Santa (I think this is where I first learned the feeling of anxiousness and why I hate to shop). I can see the savings bonds on my Poppa and Grandma’s tree. This image leads me to picture where those bonds are today and makes me realize I have money laying around somewhere 😊.
The power of our mind’s eye struck me even more after a recent comment my dad made. I took him this year’s Christmas card, a picture of my son and our 1 ½-year-old pug, Roscoe. My dad smiled and said, “sometimes when I am here alone, I picture that handsome boy’s face and it makes me so happy!”
Just typing that makes me well up.
My dad pulls up an image of my son and it lights up his life.
THIS is the power of the images we see! I am certain if I asked my dad if he visualizes, he would say “no” and add in some “back in the day when I ran track in college” comments.
What do you see when you think of past holidays? Whose image can you pull up to change your mood or mindset?
We ALWAYS have this tool at our disposal!
Why don’t we use it more?
Maybe we don’t realize its power. Or maybe it’s because it requires us to slow down for a split second and see and feel something. Maybe we are too busy doing instead of seeing before we do…which would help us do we can do better.
Or maybe we shy away from it because we use it to create the life we don’t want!
In past articles, we have discussed the benefits of visualization on skill improvement. We know that the same neuropathways are used when we imagine something and when we actually do it. As a quick reminder of the power of mental rehearsal or practice, check out the study done at Harvard by Dr. Pascual-Leone where he had one group of people practice a five-finger exercise on the piano for two hours a day for five days and another group imagines the same exercise. Post-practice scans showed that the parts of the brain responsible for moving the fingers as needed to play expanded in both groups. The brain changed in exactly the same way for those who moved and those who thought about moving!
So, when my dad pulls an image of my son into his mind’s eye AND when you imagine practicing your shot, your guitar, your power clean triple extension, YOUR BRAIN IS CHANGING!
You are building new pathways. You are changing the chemicals that enhance well-being (if you pull up good images, of course). You are sending energy to the parts of your body that would be doing the work.
As I offered last week…want to see it in action? EMAIL ME WITH YOUR PHYSICAL ADDRESS I’LL SEND YOU A MIND-BLOWING EXERCISE!
THIS is why we must monitor what we allow to rattle around in our heads. We get one thought at a time. That’s it!
What will we allow to take up that precious space?
Do we want to “see” good stuff, or will we let our negativity bias lead the way?
At this time of year, it is easy to pull up images that can take me to opposites of emotion. An image of my mom may bring me joy. The next moment it may have me in tears.
The cool thing is that I get to choose which images I see and what emotions I feel.
This is a great opportunity to exercise my ability to choose. Sometimes I feel that loss, but I know staying there will not help me be a better me in that moment or any moment in the future.
On the other hand, those images of her serving what we didn’t know would be her last Christmas meal and the worst lasagna you have ever eaten make me smile and even laugh. And that keeps me searching for more of those images to flood my brain and my heart with good stuff!
As you move through this holiday season, remember the power of your mind’s eye. You have time through all of the hustle and bustle to “see” things to make your skills better, your body better and your well-being better.
I challenge you to have a go-to image, like my dad’s, to uplift yourself.
I challenge you to see yourself perform at your best as you wait in line or in traffic.
I challenge you to CHOOSE to see what will make your life better, whether in the moment or your next performance.
What will you see this holiday season? Starting a visualization practice will help you see the good around you during this time of joy and long after!
I hope you see what I see!
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!
P.S. The New Year is almost upon us. Start the New Year off right with a Mental Performance session to get your team’s mindset ready for the challenges of 2023. Reach out to set up a 45-minute team session today! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 234-206-0946.
Mental Performance Coach
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