Why is it that sometimes it feels easy to execute well, and other times it's an uphill battle? After a great month of high revenue, it is much easier to jump into the office early and continue to put in maximum effort toward success and results. Momentum is that wonderful experience of finding the zone, and it makes performance much more enjoyable and successful. The truth about momentum is that there are physiological components that make it easier to be successful, and the great news is that those physiological components can be influenced.

Here's how it works. When a person recognizes the fact that he or his team is performing well, the brain releases endorphins into the bloodstream. The endorphin release actually increases the person's potential for focus and performance. This increase gives the person an advantage.

To add to this, when a person recognizes that the competition is out-performing him, he is a whole lot less likely to be releasing his own endorphins. Trying to execute without endorphins is a little like riding a bike without any grease on the chain. So the real question is: can a person learn how to release endorphins into the bloodstream to promote increased performance? The answer is yes, but it takes a little work.

You can actually train your mind to release endorphins by remembering what it felt like to perform really well while experiencing the emotional effects of an endorphin release.  One of the things we know is that the brain and the nervous system cannot tell the difference between reality and dream states. Using visualization to remember great past experiences can actually cause an endorphin release in the present. The key is to visualize great past success on a regular basis, and then replay the visualization prior to and during performance. Follow these simple pointers to learn to control your endorphin release, and more often experience momentum working for you and your team.

  1. Identify: Think back to a time when you felt the greatest emotional rush from performing and succeeding in your career. For example, a pitcher I know told me his greatest moment is one of his relief appearances from the 2006 World Series where he came into a tight game with runners on base and was able to get the final two outs of the inning to help the St Louis Cardinals win the game and eventually go on to become world champions. Obviously "performance" for most of us does not include a World Series appearance, but that does not make the performances we do on a daily basis any less important or impactful. For example, a financial advisor I know told me his greatest rush was the day he first brought in half a million in production. Each time you are having a conversation with a client, or working on a presentation, or making your contacts for the day, you are performing. 
  2. Visualize: Remember, when it comes to releasing endorphins, your brain does not make the distinction between reality and a dream state. Once you have identified your moment, then turn it into a 10-second visualization or mental video where you remember with as much detail as possible what you did to cause the success, and then how great you felt when you succeeded.  
  3. Use It: The next time you feel like your day isn't going well, take a few seconds to replay your visualization. Realize that this is a tool you can continually use to turn your performance around. The trick is to keep using your visualization whenever possible during down times until you gain the momentum of a great performance or result.

Committing to working through tough times is often necessary for success. Visualization is a method of keeping your attitude positive, your momentum strong, and your mental toughness high. Remember, greatness is a choice you can make everyday.