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What’s Next? You’ve Got to See It First!

Mindset Made Simple Tip #147 – Watch or listen HERE.

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Whether this year was the best yet or fell short of expectations, it is in the past. Every play, every experience, every year has a life of its own. It happens and it’s done. We live, learn and then move to create our future...and protect it!

As we transition to the next phase, the question that helps with both is…WHAT’S NEXT? Not what's possible or what others think, but what can we create to make the future better whether we are coming off a win or a loss!

This is the question we are working through with one of my DI women’s basketball programs. It is the same question I recently asked one of my newest college football programs as they get comfortable with a new coach, new schemes and a new culture.

What’s next? What does the next level look like, feel like and act like? What needs our attention to get where we want to go?

Before we can get anywhere, we must have an idea of where we are going and what it will take to get there. What does our destination look like? Then, what will it demand of us?

To get smarter, stronger and better at anything, we know we must create positive routines and use tools that will help us determine our destination and then help us move toward it. One way we can increase the likelihood of making progress is through painting a VERY CLEAR PICTURE of what we want to happen and where we want to be – today, next week or next year.

We first must SEE where we are going. Then plan a route to travel.

This isn’t “pie in the sky” thinking or dreaming. This is getting a mental picture – a very clear picture – of what we want. And since our tendency is to talk about what we are trying to avoid, this is a practice that takes some intention.

We rarely start a road trip without a pretty good idea of where our destination is and what it holds. Knowing where we are going is important. We can’t get there without that information. But this isn’t the end-all, be-all to success.

We need specifics. We imagine what it will be like and what we will need to make the trip successful. What will the weather be like? What will we do while we are there? It’s the “by doing what?” that Dr. Sue Ziegler used to say to our team when planning for the future.

Then, and maybe most importantly, we need to know what obstacles we may face as we travel down the road understanding that the “pie in the sky” dreams for the future are as helpful as a parachute with a hole in it.

It isn’t that positive thinking is bad. It’s that getting there takes more than thinking about everything we want. As Dr. Gabriele Oettingen says, “The solution isn’t to do away with dreaming and positive thinking. Rather, it’s making the most of our fantasies by brushing them up against the very thing most of us are taught to ignore or diminish: the obstacles that stand in our way.”

What can keep us from WHAT’S NEXT? That is the million dollar question!

The cool thing is that we have a tool to run through all of this with us 24/7! The more we SEE, FEEL and PRE-EXPERIENCE the better! You can call it visualization, implementation intention, WOOP or whatever you want. No matter what you call it, it works! We can use our innate ability to "see" in our mind's eye to create and plan for what we want!

Here is how GETTING A VERY CLEAR PICTURE works and how it helps!

Step 1: Determine where you are and where you want to go. To SEE the future wish for, it's very important to be specific about where you want to go, what you want to do and why. This can be achieved by understanding what you do well, what you are willing to work for, what your expectations are, what you are willing to repeat, what you value and what brings you the most joy in your performance. Have you ever had that moment when you were doing something and felt joyful, confident and free? If yes, then that is a good sign of something you might want to focus on to relive and find ways to reproduce as you look ahead to what’s next. These are the things that help you persevere and keep you on track.

Ask yourself: Why do I want to go to this destination? What is in me that ties me to this future? What am I willing to give for it?

Step 2: Describe your vision in detail. This is one of the most important steps. When you want to manifest the skills or performance you want, you must create a clear vision of what it should look like. You can write this down in detail or you could create a vision board. This will help you to create a clear and full picture of what your future can look like. You can also create a video highlight reel of how you want to look, feel, and act from past performances.

Ask yourself: What does my best performance look like? If I could see myself achieving it, what would I be doing, saying, where would I be, how would I look, who would be with me and how would others see me?

Step 3: Create and feel the emotions that go with that experience. Once you are ready, you can take a moment to start envisioning the actual outcome. Start to imagine how everything will play out. Experience the sights, the sounds, the smells and even the taste of achieving what you want. As you go along, don't forget to feel the emotions you would feel, as if this "skills/performance" was your reality now.

Ask yourself: What would I feel if my visions for the future came true?

Step 4: Identify the roadblocks. You have a clear picture of where you are going and what you want. Now you need a clear picture of what may keep you from getting there. No matter how clear our visions and how dedicated we are to seeing them through, something will stand in our way. There may be time constraints, personnel changes, physical setbacks or self-inflicted wounds. Identifying those things that may throw us off track is vital to our ability to stay the course.

Ask yourself: What things could disrupt my vision for the future? Are the obstacles internal or external? What might you face as you strive to improve your performance?

Step 5: Plan for the problems. You have identified what may trip you up. Now it’s time to see yourself side-step, climb over or avoid the obstacle altogether.

These are called implementation intentions. They are our “if, then” plans. They may turn into “when, then” if we know what is coming, but either way, we will be ready because we have identified, planned for and envisioned our responses to what may come. This does not ensure the road will be easy, it only ensures we are up for the rigors of the trip as you imagine yourself facing these challenges, and most importantly, overcoming them.

Ask yourself: If ___________ happens, what is my plan? How will I look, feel and respond as I face them?

Step 6: Travel one mile at a time. There's a saying that “Rome was not built in a day.” Similarly, the skills/performance you want to create won’t happen in one day but will eventuate in a series of days and actions of working toward the future you see. Don’t get too caught up with how far you are, instead focus on the present and set yourself daily or weekly actions to get to where you want.

Ask yourself: What is one thing I could do today that would help me get closer to the skills/performance I want?

This is not rocket science, but it is a system to keep us from breaking down and turning around as we travel toward our future selves. Define it, see it, imagine how it will be when it happens, think about the bumps in the road, make a road map of where they are and what you plan to do about them and then MOVE!

Manage the moments…and see what you want first!


P.S. Looking for a speaker to come in to kick off 2023-24? Contact me today at or call/text 234-206-0946 and let’s set up a session or a plan for your program!

Julie Jones

Mental Performance Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946

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