I remember watching the Olympics years ago and seeing a high jumper getting ready to take his turn. His name was Dwight Stones, a three time World Champion. As he stood back at his starting point, I noticed his head bobbing up and down, following with his eyes, a path along his route to the bar with his head moving upward as his glance approached the target. He did this two or three times prior to making his jump. The commentators made a comment about his unusual routine, “He is watching himself make the jump in his mind, something he has been doing for years.” In other words, he was visualizing a successful jump. The great golfer, Jack Nicklaus, said he never made a golf shot without first visualizing the shot in his mind.
I played football in high school and was a wide receiver. I always remembered a line I read by an NFL quarterback, when asked the most important characteristic of a great pass receiver. His response was, “A damned short memory.” What he meant was that we cannot think about the last dropped ball. Instead, think about how you are going to catch the next one.
And this same rules applies to life. We all have failures that seem to keep us down, telling us, I was never good in sales, I can never speak on a stage in front of people, I failed before, therefore I will fail again, etc. And yet, a hypnotist can take a shy, wallflower and get them up on stage, singing, dancing or doing something silly they would never do if not hypnotized. But why? It’s because we all have these abilities within us that, due to our past failures or being told we could never do something, we have come to believe these things.
In the book, New Psycho Cybernetics, Maxwell Waltz wrote that, “Ideas are changed not by will, but by other ideas.” I never considered myself that great of a salesperson when I first started in sales. I hated cold calls and dreaded another. “No.” As a result, I was in the middle of the pack when it came to my performance. And then I had a huge contract come in that propelled me to the top of the pack. And at first, I attributed it to luck. A few other reps congratulated me and asked how I did it. A couple others asked if we could ride together so they could get a few pointers.
The following month, my sales went up. I was gradually getting more contracts than normal when it hit me. I was believing I was a better salesman! The good month prior, the accolades, and requests to help had shaped my thinking and slowly removed some of my previous beliefs about myself. I have now been in sales twenty years and make a very good living but I look back and wonder what would have happened had I continued negative beliefs.