(Read part I here)
Let’s say, for example, that you want to be the Salesperson of the Year in your company. You know that each year an awards banquet is given during which a plaque is presented to the year’s sales leader. You may choose to focus on this banquet for your visualization exercise. Here’s what you do:
Make yourself comfortable, close your eyes, and relax. Slowly and systematically go through all of the five senses. Imagine what you would be experiencing at the banquet.
Sight. Imagine what you would see there. You’d see other salespeople and their spouses. Imagine what they are wearing. You’d see tables decorated and waiters scurrying about. You’d see the bar and people standing around talking. Keep going for several minutes.
Sound. What would you hear? You’d hear the chatter of people. You would hear laughter, the tinkling of glasses, and music from a band, people talking. You would also continually hear people coming up to congratulate you. Imagine that.
Smell. Imagine all the smells you’d experience. Women’s perfume, food, alcohol, men’s cologne, the smell of polyester suits (not yours, of course).
Feel. What would your tactile sensations be? You’d feel people rubbing up against you in the crowded room. You’d feel others shaking your hand.
Taste. Taste in your mind the champagne you’ll be drinking. Taste the food you’ll be eating. Experience the sweet taste of success! In advance!
Most importantly, imagine the exhilaration you’ll feel when your name is called to receive the award! Take your time during this exercise and enjoy it. The more you can “visually” attend this banquet the more motivated you will become. (You might even learn something about the catering business!)
The Visualization File
To aid in your visualization exercise, you might want to start a visualization file. This is an envelope or file into which you put pictures, clippings, letters, and other reminders of what it will be like to succeed. Your file should also contain letters or awards that you have received in the past. Anything that makes you feel good about yourself can be included in the file. It can then be used as a source of motivation and inspiration, especially if you begin to feel a little down or demotivated. We all need to be reminded of our past accomplishments once in a while. Be your own best friend— remind yourself!
Many people concentrate only on the goal they wish to attain. There’s more to the picture. Successful people in every field have certain character traits in common. These common traits do not occur by chance, they are an integral part of goal attainment. It is worth your time to analyze the constructive characteristics of people who are now where you’d like to be.
One effective method is to choose role models. These are people to look up to and emulate. Your choices can include people who are dead or living as long as you are familiar with their personalities and accomplishments.
Harry Truman knew the value of role models. When he was in the White House he reportedly went into the Lincoln bedroom, looked at the late president’s picture and asked, “What would Lincoln have done if he were in my situation?” The answers to this question gave Truman the insight and direction he was seeking. It worked because Truman felt Lincoln was a man worth emulating.
In choosing a role model, several things must be kept in mind:
Keep them off the pedestal. There is no doubt that you will choose people whom you see as being “above” you because of what they have accomplished. That’s good. What isn’t good is to put them on a pedestal, thereby making them larger than life. We are all human. We all have strengths and weaknesses. You must not lose this perspective on people. Putting them on pedestals only further separates you from them.
Isolate their strong points. You need to look at the person you wish to emulate and analyze the precise qualities he or she possesses which you need to acquire. Sit down and write out the characteristics that seem to encourage their success. Use concrete examples of their behaviors that you can adapt to our own situation. For example, if you admire a corporate executive, one of the many traits you might isolate is her policy of “early to bed, early to rise.” Write out approximately when she does each and why. You can then do the same and know the reason why you’re doing it.
Remain yourself. Quite often the tendency when admiring someone is to try to become his clone. People who seem to “have it all together” have done all the “work” for you. All you have to do is imitate them. This is a dangerous way to think because you are not working on your own personality.
In the final analysis, you are you. It is impossible to become exactly like someone else. And why should you want to? So remain yourself while you acquire new traits to help you achieve your goals.
Sometimes it is helpful to have a symbol or another person’s virtues. This symbol will actually remind you of that person and his or her qualities. It can take the form of a picture, a possession (e.g., your father’s pocket watch), or some abstract thing such as a rock. It will be useful as long as it makes the association in your mind.
A mentor is someone you admire under whom you can study. Throughout history the mentor-protégé relationship has proven quite fruitful. Socrates was one of the early mentors. Plato and Aristotle studied under him and later emerged as great philosophers in their own right. Mentors are worth cultivating if you can find one.
The same cautions hold true here as for any role model. It is better to adapt their philosophies to your life than to adopt them. Be suspicious of any mentor who seeks to make you dependent on him. It’s better to have him teach you how to fish than to have him catch the fish for you. That way you’ll never starve.
Under the right circumstances mentors make excellent role models. The one-to-one setting is highly conducive to learning as well as to friendship.
The THOUGHT DIET
The thought diet, developed by my friend and colleague Jim Cathcart, is a tool that you can use on a daily basis to help you become the person who will achieve your goals. It breaks down goals into daily actions that are bite-size and easy to do. By showing you the steps along the way, the thought diet will keep you from being overwhelmed by your lofty goals.
Thought Diet Action Plan
On your thought diet card, write out the “minimum daily standards” which you will perform every day to move you closer to your goal. Be specific.
The following are some examples of minimum daily standards:
Mental: I will spend 15 minutes every evening doing visualization exercises.
Physical: I will do at least five push-ups and ten sit-ups every morning.
Professional: I will read something related to my career for at least 15 minutes before going to bed.
Financial: I will keep a complete record of every expense and financial transaction.
Spiritual: Each day I will do a good deed to help someone less fortunate than I.
Family: I will relax over dinner and enjoy a meaningful uninterrupted conversation with my family.
Social: I will take time during my coffee breaks in the office to chat with co-workers.
Inspiration and Motivation
Read the thought diet card twice a day until everything becomes a habit. Once you’ve developed constructive habits, you can move on to new goals and behaviors. Fill out a new card and practice the new challenges every day until they become habits. In this way, you will painlessly move closer and closer to your goals.
The dividends reaped by investing in yourself are unlike any other found in the financial world. When you clarify your values and set goals in all the major areas of your life–mental, physical, family, social, spiritual, professional, and financial– the right roads appear in front of you like mirages in the desert, yet they are real. Choices become infinitely easier to make because you are aiming at something specific, and you’ve taken a giant step toward hitting your goals… with amazing accuracy.