Visualize Your Own “Olympic Gold”

Grit and determination are universal qualities that all successful people seem to possess … especially Olympic athletes. And, whether your goal is to become a six-figure freelancer or win an Olympic gold medal, you’ll need a liberal dose of each.

But equally important to success in your field is having total confidence in yourself and your own abilities.

John Wood here, taking over The Writer’s Life this week, with my tribute to six Olympic athletes. Stories which I hope will inspire you to have greater confidence – and success – in everything you do.

I’m kicking off my tribute with American diver Laura Wilkinson. Just six months before the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, she fractured her right foot. As a result, she had to wear a cast for several weeks and was unable to train in water.

But Wilkinson didn’t let that stop her from preparing intensely for the Olympic challenge that was fast approaching. She took advantage of another method of training, one that didn’t tax her physically, but still kept her readiness and confidence level up.

Every day she would spend hours visualizing each one of her dives.

“I would go up to the 10-meter, stand there, and go through every dive in my head. Then when I got back, it wasn’t as if I had missed three months,” she says.

She’d go over every detail of each dive. Executing it flawlessly in her mind.

Wilkinson says that visualization “helps you know your dives, so when you get up to do them, it’s as though you’ve done them that many more times.”

It paid off for her.

Even though the Chinese divers were heavy favorites (China having won gold in the previous four Olympics), Wilkinson performed a near perfect inward two-and-a-half somersault pike on her way to edging out the Chinese diver Li Na by just 1.74 points for the gold medal.

It’s not just athletes who use visualization to help them succeed. Andrew Carnegie, Albert Einstein and Napoleon Bonaparte have all sung its praises. Celebrated email writer Matt Furey is also a big believer in this confidence-boosting technique, as is marketer extraordinaire Dan Kennedy.

Here’s a five-step process you can start using today for effective visualization:

  1. Pick a specific activity, event, task or desired result. Pick something you want to perform better at. It could be anything from writing a great sales letter or email, interviewing an industry expert or marketing your services over the phone.
  2. Relax. Close your eyes and block everything out of your mind except for the scene you’re about to create.
  3. Be in the moment. Make your visualization as real as you possibly can. Imagine you’re in a movie theater watching a film about you acting out the task. Don’t skimp on the details. Experience the sounds, emotions and the thrill of victory. Put yourself completely into the scene.
  4. Believe. See yourself in stunning detail having success. Make it a reality in your mind. What personality traits will you need to succeed? Picture yourself possessing them in your mind.
  5. Repeat often. Every time you visualize your success, both your focus and confidence will be increased. And, because there are no limitations on what you can visualize, it will help you understand there are also no limitations on what you can achieve with your life.

Is visualization a strategy you use? If so, how has it helped you achieve your goals? Share it with me by posting a comment here.

If you love underdog stories, don’t miss tomorrow’s issue, where one father’s memorable advice to his despondent son helped power him to one of the biggest upsets in Olympics history.

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Published: February 17, 2014

3 Responses to “Visualize Your Own “Olympic Gold””

  1. Thank you John. I really need to have more effective visualization. Your article has spurred me on to becoming better at visualization.

    LaDeana Wilke

  2. Visualizing. I do it but it can allso be dissapointing as I see my self God knows where and in the end I dont kniw what steps to take to get there!
    But yes do it! It's grate to be at keadt once in your life where you want to be:)


  3. I remember when I first bought a manual shift car I learned the shift positions with visualization. It really worked!
    Visualization is a great way to improve performance and to get us closer to our goals.

    images in apple valley

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