Every external manifestation of success—whether it’s a business venture that is taking off, an ad campaign that’s gone viral, or a sports team that has gained the winning edge—comes about as a direct result of the environment that has been created by and between each of the players. What we call genius is really nothing more than having the faith and the willingness to hold true to our vision and to be meticulous in our attitude, even in the face of naysayers who invariably try to talk us “back to reality.” A visionary sees in his mind or feels with her gut what has not yet been created—and in so doing, creates it from the inside out. And when you think about it, this inside-out approach is really the only way we can effectively influence anyone. It is not our words, our demands, or even the contracts we enter into with one another that inspires people to bring the very best of themselves to any endeavor. The only way to truly lead is to lead by example, and through the power of our own confidence.
Think about some of the intricate rituals that professional sports teams perform to ready themselves before taking the field for a season-defining game: dancing, turning backflips, forming into a circle and jumping in unison—even hitting themselves and their fellow teammates in preparation for the battle that’s to come—and you’ll begin to get a sense of what it means to “warm up” before an important event. At this point in the game-day countdown, the coach’s motivational speech is over; there is no more mental preparation to be done, no more rehearsing the first play. In that moment, the only thing left to be accomplished lies in the realm of emotion and vibration, as each teammate creates his or her own personal environment of victory before ever stepping foot on the field. Can you imagine an effective pregame ritual that was otherwise? What if the players took those crucial twenty minutes before starting time to mentally rehearse all their past mistakes, to recall exactly how it feels to drop a pass or miss the clutch shot? It would be ridiculous to deliberately cultivate an environment of failure at the very moment you want most to succeed, right? Yet this is precisely what many of us do unwittingly when we allow our energy to become split by wanting an outcome and doubting our ability to create it at the same time. To be at the top of your game, you need to bring yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually into complete alignment with the outcome you intend to create. I refer to this internal preparation as the art of feeling on purpose – or of creating within ourselves a personal environment that is supportive of and conducive to the success that we desire.
Initially, at least, it does require more mental effort to maintain our own personal environment of success – especially in the absence of evidence that supports it – and yet, this skill is the hallmark of every human being whom we’ve ever revered as a visionary or a true master. When Walt Disney, determined to make the first animated full-length feature film, approached entertainment executives, they undoubtedly thought he was crazy, calling the idea “Disney’s Folly.” Only much later, after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs received an Academy Award and earned more than $8 million dollars (the equivalent of about $130 million today) was the true genius of his vision widely understood. In more recent times, Elon Musk, the founder of the automotive company Tesla and the creator of Paypal, is currently developing reusable rockets, as well as a futuristic solar-powered Hyperloop transportation system that would ferry passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about half an hour, traveling just under the speed of sound. Just imagine for a moment if that idea had been floated even twenty years ago! In each of these cases, the strength of desire and conviction about what could be proved far more powerful than the odds that were stacked in opposition. This is the momentum that we generate within us by creating a personal environment of success and then tending to it regularly, as we would a newly planted seed.
To create your own personal environment of success, first call to mind an image of the specific results you wish to create. Once you are clear about what you want to create, begin to ponder the question, “Why do I want to create this?” What do you think the fulfillment of this desire will enable you to do, and in what ways do you think it will change the kind of person you regard yourself to be? Next, allow yourself to imagine this desire as if it were already fulfilled, until you begin to connect to the bottom-line feeling or energy that you want to experience from it. What quality do you hope having this career, accomplishment, goal, sum of money, or possession will enable you to experience or express? Is it joy? Abundance? Freedom? Love? Perhaps it’s a feeling of accomplishment or pride, or maybe it’s the contentment of resting at the end of each day, knowing that you’ve shared your time and energy in a way that enhanced the quality of another person’s life.
Whatever the essence of your desire, notice in what aspects of your life you are already experiencing it, and take a moment to genuinely appreciate its presence. Next, identify some easy and tangible things that you could do for yourself on a regular basis that would enhance and expand your experience of it even further. What actions could you take that would further solidify the environment of success that you wish to carry with you?
The people in our lives—including our friends and family as well as our colleagues and business associates— are continually reflecting back to us the same degree of impeccability that we demonstrate through our attitudes and actions alike. Through the power of our example, we teach those around us how to treat us and set a precedent that everyone in our environment responds to. In the same way a professional athlete prepares him- or herself—physically, mentally, and emotionally—before an important game, distinguish for yourself the rituals and daily practices that support you in performing at the top of your game, and commit to preparing your internal environment in advance of each new day.