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Positive Self-Talk and Visualizing Success
Last week I wrote a short review on Mind Gym by Gary Mack and committed that I would write a few follow-up blogs from lessons I learned from the book that apply to a JMO conducting a successful transition from the military to business. This week I want to relate a few of Gary Mack’s points about the impact of negative thoughts and the power of visualization to successful interviewing.
Mack writes, “One key to achieving success in sports is learning how to focus on the task and not let negative thoughts intrude.” With a career transition, it can be easy to let negative thoughts creep into your mind. “What if the company doesn’t like this answer? What if I freeze up or can’t remember what I want to say? I am not sure I have what the company is looking for.” Those are thoughts that went through my mind when I prepared for my transition and I am sure some JMOs experience the same thing today. The problem is, “The mind can concentrate on only one thing at a time,” according to Mack. So, if you are focused on the negative, you can’t focus on preparation and what you do want to happen. Mack says, “So, rather than suppress what you don’t want to happen, you must focus on what you do want to happen or on some neutral thought.”
“What we’ve learned in psychology is that actions follow your thoughts and images.” This statement from Mack essentially says that what you set your mind on is what you will achieve. That’s good news, and bad news. If you imagine yourself in a successful interview with powerful answers and insightful questions, that’s what will happen, but if you imagine yourself freezing up or being unsure of what to say, that’s exactly what will happen. You see, your mind cannot differentiate between what is reality and the scenarios that you imagine in your head. Mack writes, “The law of dominant thought says your mind is going to remember the most dominant thought. Think water, remember water, and water is likely what you will get.” Early in my career at Cameron-Brooks, I asked Rene Brooks, my mentor, boss and President of Cameron-Brooks, about one of the most significant books she had read in her career. She told me about Wayne Dyer’s book You’ll See It When You Believe It. I read the book and I learned that I can only achieve the success and accomplishments in my life when I believe that I can achieve them first and visualize them happening.
What can you do to strengthen your mind and focus on what you want to achieve versus the negative thoughts?
Practice. I physically exercise every morning. I now take 5 to 10 minutes to visualize what I want to achieve that day and other goals I have personally and professionally. One piece of advice, don’t try to do this around 4 kids – it’s impossible to not get interrupted every 30 seconds.
- Take time several times a day to ask yourself what you are thinking. Subconsciously, you may have negative thoughts or worries.
- When you catch yourself losing focus, re-focus back on the positive and what you want to achieve. Last night I watched “For the Love of the Game,” which stars Kevin Costner as a 41-year-old baseball pitcher who pitches a perfect game the final game of his career. When he loses focus or negative thoughts creep in his head during the game, Costner’s character Billy says, “Clear the mechanism.” I am copying this now until I come up with my own phrase and it is effective to get me back on track and focused.
These are just a few tips to focus your mind for successful interviewing or anything you want to achieve.
Next week, I will write a short visualization exercise for interviewing since we will be leaving for our August Conference that week.