I am not sure that my dad ever thought it would sink in as we kicked the soccer ball back and forth at the soccer field near our house growing up. I was just a kid, but for me it clicked. Or at least I wanted it to. After countless times of missing the goal and the ball rolling off into the bushes, my dad could see the frustration on my face. He grabbed the ball and came over to me, asking me to mentally visualize me scoring a goal. At this point, I was open to any suggestions, so I closed my eyes and pictured it in slow motion... all of the movements leading up to my laces striking the ball and the ball soaring through the air. It was a high strong kick and landed into the net at the back of the goal. The net rippled as the ball hit it and I think I probably saw myself doing a slow motion "superstar" move from that Saturday Night Live skit. But I could see it. I could visualize myself successfully reaching the goal, quite literally and figuratively. My dad who loved everything about tennis then went on to tell my about one of the athletes he admired, Andre Agassi. Andre won Wimbledon in 1992 and explained that it was kind of like deja vu because he had won in his mind so many times before. He had pictured this victory and now it was his reality.
This previsualization of victory and success soon became a part of my pre-game warmup right along side actually warming up with my team all through high school. It was the secret training tool that my dad gave me. And to this day, all these years later, I still find myself doing it. I previsualize myself accomplishing my goals and imagine what that would actually look like. I use past moments of victories and successes to build a picture in my mind's eye of accomplishing another goal.
But let's face it, I don't always do this. Sometimes it's hard to picture myself successfully doing this or that because I see all of the "what if" moments that stand in the way. What if I forget what I was going to say, or what if I forget how to do this, or what if I fail? What if I am just not good enough or have what it takes or what if I fall on my face? The fears and anxieties can build some serious mental blocks that stack up to form sky scrapers. But I have to remind myself, that if I can't picture it, then how do I ever expect myself to actually accomplish the goal and be on the other side of the sky scrapers. Sometimes it takes a lot more focused effort and some encouraging to previsualize the "win" for ourselves.
In 2011 Andre Agassi was inducted into the Hall of Fame and the opening of his introduction speech has stuck with me as a great reminder. He said, "I've stood at this podium twice before. Once was to introduce my beautiful wife, Stephanie Graf... The second time was in my father's imagination, in his mind's eye. From the day I was born, my father Mike saw this day in my future and described it to me many times." It pulled on my heartstrings as he spoke of father's love and belief in his son. A visualization to actualization which Andre came to embrace. And that is key. It reminded me that no matter how many times his father saw his induction into the Hall of Fame in his mind's eye, what was important is that if it was Andre's goal to be inducted, Andre needed be able to previsualize it - he needed to picture himself doing it.
No matter how many times people support us and tell us we can accomplish something, the key is we need to believe we can. We need to see it for ourselves, past the insecurities, fears, and "what if" blocks. Picture yourself being a wedding photographer and shooting a wedding at that venue in the next town over. Let your heart and mind believe you are going to have a successful meeting with this prospective family for their family session. We need to dream, see, believe and embrace the power of positive forward thinking and believing that we CAN.
Because if we can't see something happening for ourselves, chances are it won't happen. So here's to dreaming, picturing, and believing in ourselves to achieve our goals!
And now I'm off to previsualize spring and cherry blossoms! :)