I read in the Boston Globe about this guy, Jim Fannin, who is a mental coach for hundreds of people, including twenty-two major league baseball all-stars. So I decided to interview him, thinking that I’d be able to implement his program for my own goals.
Most of what I know about mental coaching comes from my experience in professional beach volleyball. At the top of any sport, the difference between players is not physical skills because everyone has them. The difference is mental. Who can stay focused and believe in themselves during every game.
I couldn’t do that on the volleyball tour, and I know this shortcoming holds me back in my work today, too. So I was very curious about Fannin saying that he can teach people how to gain mental focus.
It turns out, that Fannin teaches people how to be top in their field by teaching one thing: Play a movie in your head of you achieving your big goal. For Alex Rodriguez it was being a top hitter. And he became the American League MVP. Not just in his own movie, but in real life.
Sounds easy, but for most people, getting to the movie is very hard. (Which is why Fannin wrote a book.) Here are the steps you have to take:
1. Know exactly what you want. A defined, very specific goal. Not “start a company” but “open a dog-grooming business in Portland.”
2. Know exactly what reaching the goal will look like — the steps leading up to the achievement. If your goal is to win a Nobel Prize, you need to imagine yourself making the great discovery.
3. Organize your life around your goal so that you can play your movie in your head before you go to bed and immediately when you get up. This means you need to get to some sort of meditative point where you can sit still, for maybe ten minutes, while you play your movie in your head.
4. Find optimism. Lots of it. Because you have to believe in yourself enough that you will actually do this exercise every day until you reach your dream.
I believe that this will work. It makes sense to me, and it’s worked for thousands of people. Not just athletes.
But this morning, when I woke up, I realized how hard it was going to be. I had no movie to play in my head and I had not set aside time in my schedule to day to plan what my movie will be. So I guess I’ll start tomorrow.