[Special Note: No video transcription today, just follow the 5 steps below.]

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously and never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop this picture!”

For many, this is easier said than done.

From being naturally pessimistic to getting too busy to think about the future, there are a lot of excuses for avoiding business planning. Especially when planning is predicated on a mental picture of what success will look like.

Yet, time and again, we hear from world class athletes and business leaders who credit a big portion of their success to the fact that they pictured it long before it happened.

Success was not an accident; it was intentional.

Their mental picture of success helped them formulate a path that allowed them to achieve their ultimate goals.

Are you ready to give it a try?

#1 – Stop what you’re doing…

Get out your journal or a blank piece of paper…and a pen.

Shut your door. Turn off your phone. Put your computer to sleep for the next 20 minutes.

Relax, clear your mind.

If you feel anxious…try to control your breathing.  Here’s a simple technique adapted from the marines:

  • Inhale through your nose, deeply, expanding your stomach for a count of four – one, two, three, four.
  • Hold that breath in for a count of four – one, two, three, four.
  • Slowly exhale through your mouth, completely, contracting your stomach for a count of four – one, two, three, four.
  • Hold the empty breath for a count of four – one, two, three, four.

Repeat a few times until you feel relaxed.

#2 – Read these questions out loud…

The first time you read these questions, you don’t need to anything down.  Let them sink-in.

Allow them to still your mind.

  • Imagine yourself one year from now….
  • Picture the successes you will have achieved – no matter how big or how small.
  • What goals have you reached?
  • What challenges have you overcome?
  • What single achievement would be more important than any other?
  • Think about how you will look and feel – to yourself as well as to the people who are important in your life.
  • Think about the recognitions you may receive – industry, company, community and family.
  • Consider your personal life – how does your success translate away from your business?
  • Remember, it’s YOUR picture of success, don’t second guess yourself – you don’t have to worry about what other people will say or think.
  • What other thoughts do you have?
  • What questions haven’t you answered?
  • Can you take it a step further…what does success look like 3 years, 5 years or more into the future?

#3 – Commit your mental picture to writing…

Re-read the questions…one at a time.  Put your thoughts on paper.  And remember…this is not a test.

You don’t have to answer every question.  Respond to the ones that truly allow you to see a mental picture of your future success.

There are no right or wrong answers.

Avoid the temptation to edit.

You’ll end up with a few paragraphs, a bunch on unconnected sentences or a ton of bullet points.

The format doesn’t matter.

#4 – How does this make you feel?

If you were patient and truly allowed your thoughts to flow, you probably feel relaxed and rejuvenated. You may even be excited.

Read your notes out loud.

Write down any additional thoughts.

Remember these feelings, hold onto them, and be prepared to build on them.

#5 – Revisit your mental picture…

Tomorrow, during your morning routine or during any other time you take time to reflect…read your notes out loud again.

Feel free to modify them…turn your thoughts into a more cohesive vision statement.

Or pull out the 2, 3, or 4 gems that resonate with you the most.

Don’t back away from your most ambitious picture of success.  Try to capture and frame your future success so that it will be firmly imprinted on your mind.

At this point, you may also choose to put your mental picture of success in a place you will see it often…

…on a note card you keep in your pocket

…on a page at the front of your daily planner

…on a sticky note next to the phone on your desk

…as the screensaver on your computer.

Read it frequently…preferably out loud.  Share it with your closest allies.  Keep it alive.

Success will surely follow!

(In the next few days, I’ll share some ideas on how to build your mental picture even deeper into the 21-day challenge.)


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