Exceptional People

Michael Jordan

Sports Psychologist Bob Rotella just released his book How Champions Think.  In it, he shares the “virtuous cycle,” which is the winning formula for success in any field that enables you to serve the world with the gift you’ve been granted.  His formula?  Optimism + Confidence + Persistence = Success

Optimism (Thoughts)

Exceptional people engage in helpful frames of mind.  They go beyond the “Little Train Engine That Could” — which repeated his mantra of “I think I can” — to “I know I can.”  These thoughts include:

  • Visualization. Our imagination is an invaluable tool many of us left in the sandbox.  For visualization to work, it must be vividly detailed and intense.  It must entail the senses: sights, sounds, touch, and smells of the experience.  Rotella: A vivid, sensual detailed visualization helps convince the subconscious that the experience is actually happening. (pg 51)

Be limitless. Rotella believes that if Jack Nicklaus had won 25 majors and Tiger Woods had set out to surpass him, Tiger would have won 20 majors by now (instead of 19 & 14, respectively).  Much like breaking a plank of wood in karate, aim for what’s behind the wood; not the plank itself.  Aiming high enables your chance to be great; it will make your failure be better than most people’s best.

  • Re-framing. Exceptional people respond to perceived failures/misfortunes and react to the events in their lives as lessons to draw from, then they forget the negative aspects. Rotella: There’s a difference between learning from failure and wallowing in it. (pg 178) Bulls coach Dean Smith told Michael Jordan to give himself no more than 10-20 mins to reflect on an undesirable performance, if he ever wanted to reach his personal vision.  Think and remember in ways that will keep a positive outlook.
  • Positive Self-Talk. Exceptional people thrive off of positive input; however, the cost of greatness entails getting knocked down a lot. Be confident in your ability.  Doubt and fear ruin performance.  Jack Nicklaus: You have to be a legend in your own mind before you can be a legend in your own time.

Confidence (Feelings)

Exceptional people gain confidence from their optimistic outlook.  This feeling is fueled by passion for loving what they do.  Healthy feelings include:

  • Enthusiasm. Exceptional people live for their wins. They build on their successes.  They find it every day.  They get into the flow of being good at something they love doing.  Ralph Waldo Emerson: Nothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm.
  • Patience. Exceptional people show enormous patience (and perseverance) when they have an improvement process in place.  Setbacks do not take them off-track from their quest for excellence.  Rotella: You’re unstoppable if you’re unflappable. (pg. 161)
  • Humility. Exceptional people keep their ego in check, despite the level and ranking attained. They do not feel as though they are better or more entitled than anyone else.

 

Persistence (Behaviors)

It is not enough to internalize success.  Exceptional people create action plans.  Practices include:

  • Network. Exceptional people surround themselves with and listen to, people who will help them be great. Optimism and confidence are contagions; and success is not a journey for the sole traveler.  These are people who support and encourage without going so far as to pander.  These people are “straight shooters” – ones who will tell you what you need to hear in order for you to move forward towards your vision; even when it may be information you would not like to hear. We learn from those who can see what we are capable of achieving; oftentimes more than we can see for ourselves.  There is wisdom to be gained from people who believe in us.
  • Accountability. Exceptional people never blame failures on others. They are fully functional adults who constantly ask themselves, “What more can I do?”  Most people are not capable of self-evaluating, but exceptional are.  They set their own performance bars.

Exceptional people also know when to evaluate themselves.  They suspend evaluation until post-performance so as not to distract their natural ability and get in their own way.  Overthinking can result in “analysis paralysis;” it is best to allow the subconscious to control the moment (and not introduce the conscious to hi-jack your performance), since evaluation is a function of the conscious brain.  Course corrections can come later.

  • Mindfulness. Exceptional people hold onto favorable memories, and let the rest go. Then, there is only the present moment to enjoy and build upon.  Focus on the shot, and do not think about the consequences of the shot.

Call it “The Secret,” learned effectiveness, your vision board, or whatever you choose…one thing is for sure: Exceptional people maintain a vision and dream big—of excellent performances, of a beautiful life, of a stellar career, of a great something.

Rotella:  “When you retire, you’ll like the face you see in the mirror.  On your last day, you’ll look back and think how lucky you were to have lived the life you did.”

Create your own reality.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is an optimistic Global Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.   We increase retention.  Visit CorporateLookingGlass.com.

© Rossina Gil, 2015

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About Rossina

Thought Partner & Corporate Primatologist

Posted on July 19, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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