So when you’re going into a new situation, learning a new skill, you have to think and prepare. First you’ll prepare for your success – research and study, think and practice, tone up your mental or physical muscles for whatever activity you’ll be involved in. Then imagine what you will do if you don’t succeed – if you don’t wow the audience, if you don’t get the highest score, if you don’t get the job you’ve wanted. Think of it in terms of what you can learn. Decide then and there, before it happens, that you won’t let it stop you. Have faith in your future. Don’t expect perfection, but don’t plan for collapse either.
Suppose you’re trying to lose weight. You’ve planned your menus and calculated the nutritional values. You know when you’re going to eat, what, and how much. Terrific. Now imagine that just as you’re sitting down to dinner, you slip, bump into that cabinet, and break the new 50″ plasma flat screen television you bought for yourself at Christmas and are still paying off from Best Buy. You see it cracked from corner to corner and a little smoke coming from the back of it. Its fried. It makes you want to pull out that container of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream you had hiding in the back of the freezer and grab the biggest spoon you can find…and devour the whole thing.
Now plan for the television breaking. You’ll definitely need…you definitely deserve…to reach back, relax and regain your focus. Envision yourself having three spoonfuls of ice cream. And yes, enjoy the ice cream. You’re not to going to feel guilty about it, or feel that you’ve failed, or that you’re weak. Having this ice cream is part of the plan – the plan for dealing with the pain. When you’re finished, you’ll pull out your diet chart and plan what will eat the next day, cut out a little here and there to make up the difference. Hey, it’s just three spoonfuls, so it’s not a big deal.
Then you envision putting the ice cream away and cleaning up the mess. Imagine how much better you will feel because not only did you have the ice cream, you enjoyed it enough that you don’t have to eat more. As I say, life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You won’t always succeed the first time, or the second, or the third – but that just means you will have more than one chance to succeed. In fact, you’ll have many. Each time you fail, you’ll have another clue about how to avoid failure the next time. The more you can learn to overcome obstacles, to reposition that opposition to your mission, the more you will enjoy doing it.
Prepare and envision. See yourself overcoming the problems, see yourself answering your critics. The next time you’re working on a presentation, imagine how to respond if your boss disparages your ideas. It could be as simple as being ready to ask your boss what was wrong – whether it was the way you presented your idea or the idea itself. You might find out that there was nothing wrong with the idea, but that you didn’t get it across adequately. You’re learned something.
If you add that you want to benefit from the boss’s experience, you may gain an ally in the bargain. Even if your boss still doesn’t accept your idea, you may get some support the next time.