It is a paradox. Success requires a clear vision. The more you can see it, the more likely you are to achieve it.
I get it. In fact I believe in it so much that I repeat a “success mantra” every morning and ever night. I have a clear vision for what I have defined as success in my business, in my health, in my spirituality and in my family life.
But I also noticed that sometimes I get way to fixated on the vision. Take softball for example. I play in a pick-up game about five to ten times during the summer months. I decided that I wanted to be a regular home run hitter and set the vision. No mantras needed for this one. Just envisioned myself hitting the ball out of the park every time.
Sure enough, I did. With my newly found hitting skills I earned the coveted batters position – 4th spot in the order.
Then I expanded the vision. I decided I wanted to hit the home runs so far that they went sailing into the distant woods. Something, that I believe, no other batter has done. This vision was so clear that I played it over and over again in my mind. As I approached the batters box, I walked through each step necessary to hit the ball that far. I over thought it.
As the pitch came my way, my mind was going crazy with all the things I needed to do perfectly to hit it that far. I need to have a slight down to up swing. I had to snap my wrists a little bit earlier. I had to put more muscle into it for sure. I had to take a slightly bigger step. As I thought the ball sailed by. Strike! I thought so much that I forgot to swing.
Next pitch. My mind was going more crazy. All the same steps, but had to remember to swing this time. With all the thoughts rushing through my head, I swung too early. Strike two! The third pitch was worse. I swung so late and so hard that I nearly threw my shoulder out. Strike three!
Subsequent up-at-bats I went through the same mind talk nonsense. My fluid swing, became a mechanical choppy-chop-chop. The more I screwed up, the more I over thought it. And the worse I got. That Sunday was my worst outing ever, even though I envisioned it would be my best. The mistake? Overthinking.
Vision is power. Preparation is necessary. But when you are up at the plate, it is time to stop thinking. It is time to let your natural instincts take over. It is time to sit back and observe yourself. I have found it to be the only way to hit home runs.
In fact, next year I envision myself hitting “into the woods” homers. I’m just not thinking about it.