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Pursuing Excellence Series Part 4: Use Positive Imagery

Developing a Soldier’s Mind To Reach Your Highest Potential

By Dee Josey

Welcome back to our 7 part series on pursuing excellence. It’s been a while. I apologize for the small break in service as my partner and I were working hard to improve our coaching system.


Achieving greatness starts by developing the mind of a soldier. There are seven keys that unlock the soldier’s mind:

  1. Commit yourself to the mission

  2. Believe you will succeed

  3. Focus fully on the task

  4. Use positive imagery

  5. Prepare your mind for the battle

  6. Control the distractions and barriers that hinder results

  7. Continue to learn and grow

This article focuses on the fourth:

Use Positive Imagery

“Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible.”--Frank Gaines

The 4th key to unlocking greatness is to use a little thing called imagination.

What? Adults using imagination? That’s nonsense!

It may sound like a toddler wrote this, but that’s just my writing skills. When it comes to using your imagination to reach success, the research doesn’t lie. Every great success story has a person who was willing to imagine the impossible. Albert Einstein. Thomas Jefferson. Henry Ford. Mahatma Gandhi. Billie Jean King. Elon Musk. Steve Jobs. Jeff Bezos. J.K. Rowling. The list goes on and on. All the great inspirational leaders-- those who have paved the way for the rest of us--imagined the impossible.

Want to know something even more crazy? All those people are the same as you and I. They bleed the same blood, have the same life struggles, and even live in the same 24 hours.

The thing that makes them different is they actively practiced what I am telling you. They were committed to their mission, they believed in their abilities, they focused fully on their mission, and they used positive imagery to achieve greatness.

Plan for the Worst. Hope for the Best

The military uses imagery before every single mission. Every soldier involved gathers in a circle and plays out every single scenario imaginable. We hope for the best outcome, but we do not fool ourselves. We take calculated risks and plan for worst case. We recon the area, create the situations, and do dry runs before going on mission.

As a medic, we were trained in every environment we may experience. We trained at night. We trained with people yelling in our faces, in a “black out” (in an environment so dark, you can’t even see your hand in front of you), in chaos, and while taking fire. It was our duty to maintain control in an uncontrollable situation. The lives of our soldiers depended on it.

Positive Imagery Time

Brace yourself; it’s time to dust off that imagination.

Take a moment to think about the 12 month goal you set for yourself in Part 1. Think about all the possible scenarios that could cause you to fail at your goal. What is going to get in the way? What will cause you to shift your course of action? Where is the greatest struggle? What is the worst case scenario? How can you overcome those situations? How do you defend yourself and complete your mission above everything?

“High quality images of high quality performances allow you to experience yourself following desired courses of action and help you to feel ready to perform to your highest potential.”--Terry Orlick

Now What, Coach?

For most of us, thinking about the worst case scenario is natural. We fail to take it one step further--planning for the worst.

It’s time to learn that the only thing that can stand in your way of success is you. If you are serious about achieving excellence, do the following exercise. It will change your world.

  1. Take out a piece of paper, and write all the possible scenarios that could get in your way of success. Leave nothing out. If you dream it, there is a possibility it could happen.

  2. For each scenario, write at least two (2) plans of action to overcome each barrier. You may have to get creative here, but understand there is no situation you cannot handle.

Reflect on how much relief you feel immediately after this exercise. The unknown can be a scary place. When you put a face on it, suddenly it feels manageable.

To achieve excellence, you must have a game plan for every scenario imaginable. There are many things that could get in your way. By creating a plan to overcome every situation imaginable to reach success, you give yourself the best fighting chance.

Stay tuned in to our next segment on: Pursuing Excellence: Prepare your Mind

What to do Today:

  • Plan for the worst. Hope for the best.

  • Do the exercise above.

  • Stay focused on the task at hand.

  • Keep your belief that you will succeed in this goal.

  • Stay committed to your mission.

If you are interested in learning more about the Delta Performance coaching system:

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