Developing a Soldier’s Mind To Reach Your Highest Potential
Welcome back to our 7 part series on pursuing excellence. Achieving greatness starts by developing the mind of a soldier. There are seven keys that unlock the soldier’s mind:
- Commit yourself to the mission
- Believe you will succeed
- Focus fully on the task
- Use positive imagery
- Prepare your mind for the battle
- Control the distractions and barriers that hinder results
- Continue to learn and grow
This article focuses on the second:
Believe You Will Succeed
“Whether you think you can, or that you can’t, you’re right.” –Henry Ford
The second crucial element to developing a soldier’s mind is to believe in yourself, your team, and your mission.
This is important, so I will write it again. You must believe in yourself, your team, and your mission. Fully trust that you can and will accomplish anything you put your heart and mind to.
Starting with Basic Training, soldiers are taught to believe in themselves. Drill Sergeants are there to tear you down to nothing and little by little begin building you up to strong, confident beings. In the Army, you start with 9 weeks of overcoming fear: repelling off 90 foot walls, screaming in gas chambers, walking to the middle of nowhere with nothing but a bag on your back, close combat fighting, and firing heavy weapons all while operating on minimal sleep and high stress. Every single task is meant to build your self-confidence while learning to simultaneously trust your teammates, leaders, and cause. Some call this brainwashing, but I call it genius.
Positive Imagery Time
Think back on a time when you accomplished a milestone goal…something that took you at least six months to accomplish. This could be graduating from high school, passing your bar exam, losing the first 50 pounds, etc. Reflect on this for a moment. How did you accomplish this goal? What or who enabled you to believe you would succeed? What were the steps you took that lead to this success? Can you replicate those positive strong feelings for the 12 month goal you set for yourself in the first part of this series?
Recap from Part I: Commit Yourself
In the last article, you created your mission (aka, your 12 month goal).
The first step to reaching that goal is to commit yourself. If you want to reach excellence, discover your true potential, and achieve your wildest dreams, you must first commit to that dream.
How is your level of commitment currently? If you are still struggling, there is no better time to commit to yourself than now. Go back, review part 1, and make the commitment to pursue excellence with every single step.
What is Belief?
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines belief as “a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing.” Belief is knowing you are investing in something worthwhile and that you have a great chance of success. It is the without-a-doubt knowledge that your goals are meaningful and achievable. It is knowing the people and organization with whom you are affiliated have your six o’clock position (i.e. your back), value you, believe in you, and are committed to your goals and development just as much as they are their own.
“Belief in yourself and confidence in your capacity allows you to extend your limits, create your own opportunities and push through performance barriers.”–Terry Orlick
You must develop an unwavering belief in your capacity and your team’s to complete your mission. When negative thoughts interfere with trust, performance wavers. In the same way that belief can unlock doors, doubts can place limits on possibilities and potentials. In the presence of belief your performance blossoms; in its absence you never touch your potential. The greatest part about this is you get to DEEcide which end you want to be on.
Belief is strengthened by experiencing improvement and success, learning from failure and from others, receiving positive, constructive feedback, and feeling the support of others. Belief is further strengthened by developing essential mental skills associated with excellence.
“Dee, how do I believe in myself?”
That is a great question. Here is how I start when I feel self doubt:
- Take a piece of paper and split it in half.
- Title the first half “superpowers.”
- Title the second half “gremlins.”
- In the superpower column, write down all the positive things that will lead you to achieve your goals–all the people who will support you, your positive character qualities like excitement and commitment, skills that will lead you there, and coaches (ahem) who will guide you to success.
- In the second column, write down all your gremlins–people who tear you down and negative character qualities like self doubt and fear.
- Look at your list. Do you have more superpowers than gremlins? Great! If you have more gremlins, go back to superpowers and keep adding to it until that list exceeds the gremlins.
- Get rid of your gremlins. Seriously, do it right now. Cut that side of the paper off and burn it. Throw it away, and do not let it come back into your life.
- Now, take your superhuman side and hang it on your fridge, mirror, or car visor–wherever you spend the most time. Everyday, look at that list and remember that you frickn’ rock!
To reach excellence, you must believe you can. This exercise will remind you that you are strong enough to succeed. Do not let self doubt get in the way between you and achieving excellence. You control your destiny through your thoughts and your behavior.
Stay tuned in for our next segment on:
Third Key to Pursuing Excellence: Fully Focus on the Task
What to do Today:
- Do the exercise listed above to start believing in yourself.
- Act as though you believe in yourself.
- Stay committed to your goal.
Ready to pursue excellence today?
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Subject: Coach Dee, Help me!
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