This morning I hopped on a weekly business training. I gleaned some great new stuff and was reminded of some wise old advice and important training I had learned in previous years.
Today, I was very thankful for those reminders.
You know when you hear something at just the right moment you need to hear or be reminded of it? Like, you might have known the information already but at different times in life, things just click in a totally different way.
When I was 8 years old, I learned to figure skate. That intro hobby quickly turned into a competitive passion and before long I was on the ice 6 days a week in freestyle, figure and precision skating as well as dryland training and dance lessons.
Part of my competitive training included visualization and coaches that helped us with that sort of thing. If I wasn’t mastering a jump properly or if I had a routine I was working on, I was instructed to listen to my chosen song and visualize executing the routine with absolute perfection. When not on the ice, hours were spent practicing jumps physically in running shoes and spins on a spin board and I spent many hours with eyes closed visualizing being on the ice.
For the entire hour before a competition, I spent most of the 60 minutes visualizing my routine.
And it worked.
In my last competition in early high school, I place 1st and took the overall top podium finish in all the categories.
When you’re a competitive athlete, visualization becomes second-nature. You basically eat and breath whatever sport you’ve chosen and you’re trained to visualize everything.
After I quit figure skating, I took up snowboarding.
I quickly excelled at boarding and moved to Whistler to pursue my dream of one day becoming a professional snowboarder. While that dream didn’t pan out as I had initially planned, I did manage to secure a store sponsorship and get some free gear. Before I dropped any cliff or did any jump, I visualized it. It came naturally. Not only was visualizing good for winning a figure skating competition, it came in handy safety-wise when stomping a landing that could have otherwise ended up terribly.
In the years following my departure from Whistler, due to life-circumstances, I was not active in any anything in an intentional competitive way.
But, the one thing about being an athlete is- once an athlete, always an athlete.
The desire to compete, be better and be challenged never goes away.
In 2010 when I was 29, I was diagnosed with progressive and very aggressive breast cancer. I was also pregnant at the time. Because of the type of cancer I had ‘fed’ off of hormones, they told me to abort my baby as surely I would not survive to deliver him and he would certainly not live through the chemo if I chose to keep him.
Well, guess what? I chose to keep him and he came out with more hair than I had after all the chemo…totally unfair! ;) Though I believe there was more to that miracle than simple visualization, I do believe my conviction of decision, determined thoughts and perseverance contributed to the positive outcome.
4 years ago I competed in my first bodybuilding figure competition and my first 1/2 Iron Man triathlon…at the same time. For anyone who knows either sport, the training strategy for those two events are 180 degree complete polar opposites. I had my work cut out for me. During that time, my youngest son (4 at the time) also underwent open heart surgery. It was a challenge but I was up for it.
In one of the biggest heats they had ever had in that particular bodybuilding competition, I ended up placing 2 and 3 in both of my categories…in my first event…and I visualized it the entire way.
This morning on my business call, goal setting and visualization were the topics and I was reminded of how important visualization is in life and in business. I was thankful to get a boost of mental rejuvenation, a revival of that feeling of challenge and a reminder of how important it is to have a mindset of victory.
So, here are 5 tips for you related to visualization. They may come as a refresher or new knowledge:
1- Breathe. As in, learn intentional breathing excercises. There are many great apps you can download for free. I use one called Prana Breath but any one that has a structured and varied breathing cycle is good.
2- Write Down Goals On Paper. You probably already do this but do it again and get really really clear on them. Use the ‘why’ ladder and get down to about level 7 and then you will have your clarified goal.
3- Work For 2 Hours Only. For best productivity, work for 2 hours completely undistracted, take a short break, then do it all over again. You will be waaayyy more productive.
4- Learn The Subconscious. Learn how powerful the subconscious is. There’s lots of research on Google and it is important to know how your thoughts, even the ones you don’t think you are thinking, control your actions etc.
5-After Writing, Visualize. After writing down your goals, visualize the whys, hows, whats, whos and wheres of your goal. Where are you when you achieve that goal? Who are you with? What are you wearing? Etc.
I hope you were either inspired to start visualizing if you’ve never adopted it into your daily routine, got the courage to try something new or nudge to get doing whatever it is you are passionate about.
That’s all for now friends, good night.