Studying perseverance from LeBron James or channeling the power of visualization like Serena Williams--the underlying principles of succeeding in athletics--can be eerily similarly to succeeding in your career.
I was reminded of this by a Yahoo Sports article published on Wednesday about Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green. Green has a belief that he's the best defender to ever grace the floor of the National Basketball Association:
Every day that I step on the basketball floor, I will strive to be that. My mindset will always be as such as I am the best to do what I do. And that'll give me a shot at being the best. But before you can ever reach anything, you have to believe in it.
Green ended the interview with eight simple words that perfectly summed up the necessary mentality to achieving anything great:
"You don't just mistakenly become great at something."
James Allen, author of books like The Path to Prosperity and As a Man Thinketh, once wrote: "As a man thinketh, so he is. As he continues to think, so he remains." In other words, what you believe about yourself is ultimately what you will become. The beliefs you carry around today affect the construction of tomorrow.
I've spent plenty of time in my life believing that my work wasn't good or important enough, and that no one really cared. My reality reinforced these beliefs--I had inconsistent clientele, and my writing wasn't getting published anywhere.
It created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Operating with those beliefs led to me avoiding consistent action, which led to those undesirable results, which further cemented the beliefs. It was a negative feedback loop.
As Green states in the interview: "If you're trying to do something meaningful, if you don't have the mindset you're the best ever, you've failed already."
Here are the two actions that helped me break out of that mindset:
1. Stop letting others think for you.
You may brush this off as something you already do. Take a second to think about it. If you look at the way you go about your business, relationships, and even your health--are you fully in the driver's seat?
I work in the health and performance industry. The typical messaging in that space is fear driven: sickness, obesity, broken bodies, aging badly, and the usual undesirable associations. It encourages you to run away from something, instead of running toward something
To no surprise, the deeper I fell into that type of messaging, the more difficult it became for me to create content and garner traction for my company. I finally started creating true to my character and opportunities soon followed.
The more you let others think and make decisions for you, the further you'll stray from truly getting what you want.
2. Start acting "as if" right now.
The only way to truly get what you want is to act in the congruence of someone who would be worthy of having those things. More simply put: Commit to the habits and actions of someone else who you think would attain your desired results.
I essentially created an identity for myself that I wanted to attain: a prolific writer, a coach to high performers, a speaker, and a generally benevolent human. It allowed me to start taking actions that specifically built toward those goals--using role models, real or imagined, in each of those spaces for inspiration.
You'll start off by acting "as if." Over time, you'll morph into acting "as is."
Take the integral first step by identifying who you ultimately are becoming and then identify the character traits of someone who would have those things. You could be supremely talented and have the best strategies, but without a properly operating mindset--all will be for naught. Upgrade your mindset before anything else.