The single most-powerful mental exercise for achieving your sports career goal is visualization.
This is how Harvey Mackay, author of the classic business book, Swim With the Sharks, describes visualization: “I came to realize that fantasizing, projecting yourself into successful situations, is one of the most powerful means there is to achieve personal goals.”
Visualization is nothing new. You did it as a kid. Remember when you’d count down, “3, 2, 1…” in your driveway as you hit a fade-away jumper right as the imaginary buzzer sounded? And if you missed it, you pretended that you got fouled and went to the line for two free throws with your team down by one point with no time left. That’s visualization!
OK, so how do you apply visualization to your career?
Start With the End in Mind
Ken Kragen, president of Kragen & Company, one of the entertainment industry’s most respected celebrity management firms, and the author of Life is a Contact Sport, a source I pull from on a regular basis, describes it as, “Backward thinking for forward motion: create a road-map to where you want to be by thinking backward.”
In other words, start by creating a vision of yourself in a position where you ultimately want to be. Your vision could be the president of sports marketing firm, or a sports agent, or a sports news anchor for The Worldwide Leader, or maybe a shoe designer for Nike.
Your Vision Could Be Anything!
It’s important, however, to create a vision of yourself that’s true to who you are as a person and what you want to become as a professional.
To establish your vision, think in terms of your God-given talent, your passion and your skillset. You want to tie all three of those things together. For me, I always knew that “creating” was my God-given talent. I also knew my biggest passion was “basketball” and that my skillset was “selling.” So naturally, my vision was to create basketball events and sell sponsorships, which is what I did in my 20s. Ultimately, my vision led to a dream job with my favorite NBA team.
But before I ever produced my first 3-on-3 basketball tournament, I had a vision of the event. I could see what kind of players would sign up. I could see what they wanted in an event. I could see which sponsors would fork over money to be part of it. I could see myself pitching the sponsors. And leaving with a fat check in my pocket. I could hear the music playing. Everything happen in my mind before it happened in reality. Including the obstacles. And how I overcame them.
Visualization is beautiful. It’s powerful. It can lead you to where you want to go.
You Must First See It – Then Do It
It’s pretty easy to visualize playing in the NBA when you’re shooting baskets by yourself in the driveway. It’s completely different to walk yourself through a visualization exercise to achieve your career goals. It takes discipline. And a genuine desire to become great.
I’ll leave you with this well-known quote from coach George Raveling: “If your mind can conceive it and your heart can believe it, then you can achieve it.”
ACTION ITEM: Start fantasizing — and projecting yourself — into a successful sports career position. Think backward in terms of the steps it takes to get there. That’s your plan. Now, get after it!
Comment below for other great ways to make your dreams a reality! And make sure to tweet us @sportsnetworker