Do you know what cognitive dissonance is? It's the uncomfortable inner battle between what you want and what you think you can have. You can 'want' all you want - you can imagine the perfect scenario (you know: you, in your ideal situation, in the perfect place, etc., making buckets of money... whatever 'perfect' means to you) but unless your mind is onboard with your intentions, you'll self-sabotage. Here's how to bridge the gap between your intentions and your beliefs.
Have you ever watched the Olympics? Before any event, the cameras pick out the faces of the athletes. Some are looking around, waving to fans, relaxed yet ready to unleash their best effort. Others have that 'look' - totally focused, shutting out the world, waiting for the starting gun to go off. Others are nervous, fidgeting and constantly checking their equipment. Who is going to win? In races where the difference between gold and no podium finish can be as little as hundredths of seconds, which athlete will win?
You might think, "the one who is focused on winning." In one sense, yes... in another, you'd be wrong. In a level playing field in which athletes are equally matched in physical prowess, the athlete who will win is the athlete who has visualized the process as well as the outcome; and who is mentally and emotionally the best prepared for the times when it's going to hurt like hell.
Of course the athlete visualizes the end result too - that's a given; but here's the secret:
The elite athlete doesn't leave any movement to chance. Every physical act is carefully scripted and choreographed in the athlete's mind. He or she is mentally and emotionally in the moment of pushing their bodies harder than even they thought possible - not past the point of pushing (which comes after the finish line) but AT THE POINT OF PUSHING.
The athlete is visualizing being okay and happy in the moment(s) of extreme effort - not the podium. They are so used to how this feels mentally, physically and emotionally that there is no surprise during competition, no sudden "I didn't realize it would hurt this bad!" in the middle of a race. The athlete's body can send all the 'please stop this nonsense' signals to the brain that it wants, but the athlete is has conditioned him- or herself to know what this 'breaking point' feels like, and he or she knows that breaking point can be overcome by staying in the moment. The moments that make up the process are far more important than the objective. These are the ones that must be rehearsed over and over and over.
But the athlete whose sole focus is on the finish line, is thinking about the point of relaxation, the moment of release - "Yay, I did it!" - not the point of pushing beyond limits when every cell in the body is screaming at you to stop. Do you see the difference? The moments before you hit the finish line is not the time to relax. You only relax AFTER you have crossed the line - way after, just to be sure. Remember how Michael Phelps blew that race where he relaxed a fraction too soon?
Visualize the entire process, not only on the finish line.
Now apply that to your business. Are you looking at the golden carrot, or at the point where you are pushing your own limits? Which of these mental rehearsals will make you keep going when you're actually doing what you need to do, and which will make you relax and 'let down your guard' because mentally you're already at the point of achievement?
Unfortunately, as good as it feels to simply visualize the end result, seeing yourself relaxed and enjoying your success doesn't help you deal with the inevitable challenges that will come your way. Only mentally preparing yourself for the process will do that. You'll get through them with greater ease than someone who is only focused on the awesome feeling of accomplishment.
Imagine the aspects of business that scare you and visualize yourself getting through them with ease. Of course you can't always know what will happen, but give yourself the opportunity to mentally rehearse every possible scenario you can think of and keep it dynamic and evolving as new challenges pop up. Learn from the best and visualize yourself doing what they do. Visualize yourself pushing past your self-perceived limits so that when you go out there and do it, you won't hesitate. You'll push through it.
Constant visualization is a must. You can't really maintain the type of focus needed for effective visualization if you try to do it all in one go, say for a half hour once a week. Every day, several times a day (preferably during meditation, when your logical mind is less judgmental) spend a few minutes visualizing what you want AND how you imagine you'll get there. This will help your mind come onboard with your intentions.