A long time ago, I heard a story about a baseball player who, upon reflecting on his career, realized the power of his thinking had on his performance. He recollected a few examples. One game, he came up with a chance to win it all if he got a hit. He went up to the plate repeating to himself, “I can’t strike out. I can’t strike out.” He kept focusing on how bad it would be if he struck out, and guess what happened? He struck out. In another instance, he had went up to bat in a tight game and as he walked to the plate, he pictured himself hitting a towering home run. You probably guessed it – shortly thereafter he hit it out of the park.
You might find these examples hard to believe. After all, much in life can be attributed to mere coincidence. Maybe the pitcher in the first scenario was having a particularly good day. Maybe the pitcher in the second scenario was focusing on NOT giving up a home run. It seems hard to believe that a simple pattern of thought can alter the energy in our lives or in our work. However, in The Commitment Engine, John Jantsch talks a lot about how your perspective on your business and the mix of your business with your life can impact your levels of success.
No matter what kind of work you do, having a job can, in Jantsch’s words, be viewed as an adventure or as an imposition. This may seem particularly true if you own your own business. You’re aware of all of the uncertainty and you’re aware of how important each individual battle is for the overall health of your company. But even if you do not own your business, you encounter challenges and victories at your job. There are people you work well with and people you can’t stand. There are tasks you love to dig into and tasks you feel are nothing more than busy work. Your commitment to your work, no matter what you do, hinges on how you view your work. Similarly the amount of success you experience will depend upon your perspective.
Consider the example of the baseball player once again. The baseball player in the first scenario spent all of his energy focusing on what would be terrible. He focused everything on what NOT to do. He literally set himself up to focus on nothing except for that one thing he wanted to prevent. If you are preparing to pitch a new product or service, or if you want to talk to your boss about a promotion, or if you want to suggest a new way of doing things at work, there are two ways you can prepare yourself for those events. You can concentrate on everything you do NOT want to say. You can concentrate on NOT fumbling with your words, on NOT spilling your morning coffee all over your white work shirt, or NOT getting flustered. Or, you could also focus your energy on picturing yourself performing at super hero levels. You can picture yourself on your game, talking as smoothly as a a speaker you admire, making your point more deftly than any politician around.
In the first scenario, you’re setting yourself up for failure. In the second scenario, you’re paving the way to success.
Work takes preparation. This is not to say that you should not be aware of possible pitfalls, but in the moment of truth, writing your story the way you want it to end is the ultimate key to success. Picturing yourself winning the race is much more productive than picturing yourself tripping and falling. As author Napoleon Hill noted in his book Think and Grow Rich, “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
Note: This is our third post in our series inspired by John Jantsch’s The Commitment Engine. You can check out the rest of the series here, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a post!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jjpacres/3293117576/ via Creative Commons