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What Springsteen Taught Me About Success

By Guest Blogger: Todd Herman

“In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway american dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin out over the line”
~ ‘Born To Run’ by Bruce Springsteen

Ahhh… every time I hear that ‘little diddy’ by Springsteen, it always takes me back to cruising down the highway with my high school buddies, Bill and Jeff. Windows down, music blasting and the feeling of freedom on our way to a Sunday baseball game.

No matter where I am or what I’m doing, when I hear that song, the feeling washes over me like I’m actually there… it never fails.

The mind is a marvelous storage house of these experiences. It’s amazing how one tiny little sensory input (ie good ol Springsteen) – links a truly vast array of emotions, sights, sounds, and smells together in a cataclysmic flash. Only to be triggered again and again, by the same sensory input years and years later.

I’m sure you’ve had the same experience. Whether it’s the smell of lemonade taking you back to some lazy day at the lake… Or, the tone in your Moms voice immediately creates a cascade of negative emotions because of some event in your past… Or, a specific way someone might touch your shoulder – instantly making you feel better, because it’s the same way your dad used to grab your shoulders when you were hurt or feeling down.

We all have these little triggers… You, Me, and Oprah.

Now, I’m going to tell you a little secret. You can INTENTIONALLY create positive triggers for yourself.

It’s the same thing I train professional and Olympic athletes to do, in order to trigger ‘The Zone or Flow State’. (You know… that place where we got completely lost in our activity and produce amazing results… yeah… that place.)

Instead of keeping the proverbial ‘cat – IN – the bag’ – I’ll let you in on the process.

Okay… so here we go, I’m going to run through an exact scenario I just used with a young up and coming golfer trying to break onto the PGA Tour.

Background:

Jeff, was struggling with his bunker play. Every time he stepped into a sand-trap he’d get a tense and anxious feeling in his stomach. His palms would sweat and he’d immediately start to think about what he DIDN’T want to happen (never a good strategy :) ).

Step 1:

Develop a new trigger for every time he feels the squishy sensation of sand under his shoes – so he feels calm and confident. (Why calm and confident? Because I asked him. How would you like to feel when you enter a bunker? Now, the same goes for you if you’re following along… if you’d like to create a new trigger for some activity you avoid or procrastinate on. Ask yourself, how would I like to feel when I’m faced with that activity?)

Step 2:

I asked Jeff (we were standing on the course by a sand-trap btw) – can you imagine a time or an activity that causes you to feel all warm inside, especially in your stomach, and you get the feeling of calm confidence?

It took him a while to recall an exact experience, but he finally said yeah… “Every time I think of going fishing.”

———————————————-
Key Point:

Now that I have him ‘thinking’ about it… I want him to go deeper, to the feeling part of that experience and really get emotionally engaged in that memory, because that’s where the sub-conscious will create deep, strong bonds and links to what you’re currently doing.

So, I simply ask him to describe that to me… what is he feeling, what’s that like to be out on the boat or the dock? etc.
———————————————

Step 3:

With Jeff holding that strong positive emotion and feeling inside of him I asked him to step into the trap and set-up for the ball that’s sitting in the trap.

(What I’m trying to do is link that feeling to the sensation of sand beneath his feet.)

Step 4:

I told Jeff to step back out of the trap and tell me more about fishing. What his best day was on the water… What’s he thinking about when he’s heading out to fish (incidentally – nothing. He’s just lost in the process of it all and enjoying himself. Which is key to reaching the zone or flow state – no expectations of outcomes.).

We followed the same process of Step 3 and Step 4. Constantly anchoring this positive emotion to the feeling of sand under his feet. (In reality, we did this about 25 times – until he naturally felt calm and confident without any thoughts or feelings of failure.)

Jeff ended up practicing this drill for a week, 10 minutes a day on his own to ensure we were impressing a new cascade of natural emotions and feelings whenever he entered the bunker. VERY KEY!

The idea that you can invest a small amount of time one day to get everlasting change is naive and silly. You’re battling against months and sometimes years of conditioning. Repetition is key! But, the rewards are phenomenal.

Key Insight:

Too many times people give far too much weight to their internal responses to thoughts about their capabilities. Remember, emotions are a biological response to some sort of idea you just thought of… and depending on whether that idea or thought was linked in your brain to a positive or negative emotion from your past – THAT’s the feeling you’re going to get.

IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHETHER YOU CAN OR CAN’T DO IT! It’s just how that idea was stored… unfortunately it was tossed in the ‘I’m sucky at that bin’. :) (Yes, that’s a technical term!)

So let’s remove it from the wrong storage bin and gently place it in the, ‘How freakin’ awesome am I bin’.

Oh, btw… Jeff has now turned into a bunker-lovin’ machine because his results have dramatically changed. Not because he spent hours working on his sand-trap skills… but because he went to work on the root of the problem.

Bonus Audio Tip!


———————————————————————–
Todd Herman is a Peak Performance Coach to Professional and Olympic athletes. He’s also worked with Hollywood actors and business professionals on the inner game of success. But more importantly he loves Root Beer and probably needs counseling! You can find out more at: http://thepeakathlete.com or http://thechampionchallenge.com

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  • http://www.giuiettathemuse.com/blog giulietta the muse

    Hey guest blogger Todd,

    Really enjoyed reading this. Reprogramming the mind works! Thanks for taking us through a great example. If you think you can, you can …

    Giulietta

    • http://thepeakathlete.com Todd Herman

      Thanks Giulietta… the reality is re-programming is happening all the time. So why not take back a little control. :)

  • Anonymous

    Great use of Springsteen lyrics in your thought-provoking post. The mind is a marvelous storage house of ideas – training and untraining is key. Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://sallyg.me Sally G.

    You love Root Beer? You DO need help!! (Kidding.) What a gift you are today – your words, written on the blog post and shared via the audio clip, can change lives if consciously practiced and applied. It takes courage to go through this process – because while the end-goal is awesome, working through the ‘suck bin’ feelings means facing them again and again until they get weaker and we grow stronger.

    I’ve also found that choosing how I desire to FEEL at the end of something I’m nervous about (a difficult meeting, anywhere I may feel I’m being judged, etc.) centres me in a place of Integrity and allows me to choose to thoughts, words and behaviours more responsibly too.

    We truly are the masters of our minds – remembering this is the key! Thank you Todd …

    • http://thepeakathlete.com Todd Herman

      Thanks Sally. You made a good point about ‘focusing on the end FEELING’. Often times – because of our limited past experiences with success or whatever it is we might be we’re working towards – we have a difficult time seeing what the end result might ‘look like’.

      But getting clear about how we’d like to feel can be far easier and also far more motivating.

  • http://frankdickinson.me/ Frank Dickinson

    I get that same wonderful feeling when I hear Springsteen.

    Loved this!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for letting “the cat out of the bag”. Great step-by-step instructions on how to do this. In coaching (life & career) we call that negative inner voice your gremlin or saboteur. This is a great way to convert your saboteur to a cheerleader. The key to this exercise is step 4 – practice, practice and more practice until it is your new ‘habit’. It isn’t magic, it’s a little work. Great post – thanks!

    • http://thepeakathlete.com Todd Herman

      Practice and faith in the process are key! Without them – nothing happens. Thanks Elisabeth

  • http://www.giuiettathemuse.com/blog giulietta the muse

    Hey guest blogger Todd,

    Really enjoyed reading this. Reprogramming the mind works! Thanks for taking us through a great example. If you think you can, you can …

    Giulietta

  • lynnatl

    Great use of Springsteen lyrics in your thought-provoking post. The mind is a marvelous storage house of ideas – training and untraining is key. Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Caring-Creates-/228986840568 Sally G.

    You love Root Beer? You DO need help!! (Kidding.) What a gift you are today – your words, written on the blog post and shared via the audio clip, can change lives if consciously practiced and applied. It takes courage to go through this process – because while the end-goal is awesome, working through the 'suck bin' feelings means facing them again and again until they get weaker and we grow stronger.

    I've also found that choosing how I desire to FEEL at the end of something I'm nervous about (a difficult meeting, anywhere I may feel I'm being judged, etc.) centres me in a place of Integrity and allows me to choose to thoughts, words and behaviours more responsibly too.

    We truly are the masters of our minds – remembering this is the key! Thank you Todd …

  • http://frankdickinson.me/ Frank Dickinson

    I get that same wonderful feeling when I hear Springsteen.

    Loved this!

  • ElisabethAL

    Thank you for letting “the cat out of the bag”. Great step-by-step instructions on how to do this. In coaching (life & career) we call that negative inner voice your gremlin or saboteur. This is a great way to convert your saboteur to a cheerleader. The key to this exercise is step 4 – practice, practice and more practice until it is your new 'habit'. It isn't magic, it's a little work. Great post – thanks!

  • ariel

    I’m going to try this I have a good feeling about this .

  • therman

    Thanks Sally. You made a good point about 'focusing on the end FEELING'. Often times – because of our limited past experiences with success or whatever it is we might be we're working towards – we have a difficult time seeing what the end result might 'look like'.

    But getting clear about how we'd like to feel can be far easier and also far more motivating.

  • therman

    Practice and faith in the process are key! Without them – nothing happens. Thanks Elisabeth

  • therman

    Thanks Giulietta… the reality is re-programming is happening all the time. So why not take back a little control. :)

  • Asar

    Greetings Todd, I think you are correct in your training. I believe that if you can introduce cognitive reframing into your
    mind, then you can create a positive atmosphere that is conducive for change. If the althlete can change their thinking to a
    more relax state in the storm, then the athlete can have a better chance to be victorious. Keep up the good work!!

  • ariel

    I'm going to try this I have a good feeling about this .

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention What Springsteen Taught Me About Success | Escaping Mediocrity -- Topsy.com()

  • Asar

    Greetings Todd, I think you are correct in your training. I believe that if you can introduce cognitive reframing into your
    mind, then you can create a positive atmosphere that is conducive for change. If the althlete can change their thinking to a
    more relax state in the storm, then the athlete can have a better chance to be victorious. Keep up the good work!!

  • http://twitter.com/IAC_Heather Heather

    The power of the mind really is incredible. The mind is trainable. I think so many people get stuck believing that what they feel is true, when actually we have the ability and power to control what we feel.

    Thanks for outline a great step-by-step process.

  • http://themarketingmark.blogspot.com MarkSherrick

    Wonderful reminder that our mind is not our master, but we are the master of our mind.

    Proof positive that its good to have a happy place.

  • Wade Sims

    Hello Todd

    What a great story of re-programming success. It is just one more item of proof that anything is possible. It reminds me of an early (1am) or late morning i spent with my 7 year old son who was determined to become the best goalie in the world. After repeated goals scored he slumped down on the ground and said “I suck”. As I sat with him on the middle of the cold concrete floor and began to tell him to just keep telling himself that he is the best and visalize making the save which seemed like hours (actually 20-30 minutes). He worked himself up to an excited state of euphoria that he could not be beat and when he stood up that one last time and said “okay dad give it your best” I let go with one of my harder slapshots. As he grabbed it from the air he said “dad it works” (referring to the postive thought makes positive results) attitude that he had just discoverd. I still remind him of that night as it always brings his best game.

    Thank you for this post as I will have him read this to re-affirm his past feelings of success.

    If I would have knew this information sooner in life it might be easier to keep the gremlin voices at bay and the postive voices driving me. Thanks again positive words from a professional always help.

    • http://thepeakathlete.com Todd Herman

      Great story Wade… and great job reinforcing over again for your son. But don’t forget… you’re no different. You can always use this on yourself.

  • Armando Castro

    That was good, we use visualization to get our hitters to relax prior to enetring the batters box.
    Our organization is a well respected Fast Pitch Softball and we spend alot time on mental training why we physically train. Thank you for the info

    • http://thepeakathlete.com Todd Herman

      Thanks for the comment.

      One thing to keep in mind Armando, not all players respond well to using visualization during a game or competition.

      It can cause different personality types to fall out of the ‘performance curve’ – which will create lapses in focus and decrease hand-eye co-ordination.

  • http://twitter.com/IAC_Heather Heather

    The power of the mind really is incredible. The mind is trainable. I think so many people get stuck believing that what they feel is true, when actually we have the ability and power to control what we feel.

    Thanks for outline a great step-by-step process.

  • http://themarketingmark.blogspot.com MarkSherrick

    Wonderful reminder that our mind is not our master, but we are the master of our mind.

    Proof positive that its good to have a happy place.

  • Robert Menard

    Sounds good on paper ! I’ll give it a try on my first tee jitters.

  • Wade Sims

    Hello Todd

    What a great story of re-programming success. It is just one more item of proof that anything is possible. It reminds me of an early (1am) or late morning i spent with my 7 year old son who was determined to become the best goalie in the world. After repeated goals scored he slumped down on the ground and said “I suck”. As I sat with him on the middle of the cold concrete floor and began to tell him to just keep telling himself that he is the best and visalize making the save which seemed like hours (actually 20-30 minutes). He worked himself up to an excited state of euphoria that he could not be beat and when he stood up that one last time and said “okay dad give it your best” I let go with one of my harder slapshots. As he grabbed it from the air he said “dad it works” (referring to the postive thought makes positive results) attitude that he had just discoverd. I still remind him of that night as it always brings his best game.

    Thank you for this post as I will have him read this to re-affirm his past feelings of success.

    If I would have knew this information sooner in life it might be easier to keep the gremlin voices at bay and the postive voices driving me. Thanks again positive words from a professional always help.

  • Armando Castro

    That was good, we use visualization to get our hitters to relax prior to enetring the batters box.
    Our organization is a well respected Fast Pitch Softball and we spend alot time on mental training why we physically train. Thank you for the info

  • Robert Menard

    Sounds good on paper ! I'll give it a try on my first tee jitters.

  • Anonymous

    I’m A Christian , i listen to Hymns.
    Although the songs may be just some soundtracks, but there would be some spiritual infection or transmission.
    Good personality of the singer might infect the listener, i bad personality would also infect us.

  • josephgoodnews

    I'm A Christian , i listen to Hymns.
    Although the songs may be just some soundtracks, but there would be some spiritual infection or transmission.
    Good personality of the singer might infect the listener, i bad personality would also infect us.

  • Andreas

    Hy Todd! Just a thought: Why didn`t you let Jeff remember a situation in the bin, where everything was perfect?

    • http://thepeakathlete.com Todd Herman

      Depends on what you mean by ‘everything was perfect’… but the biggest reason why ‘perfect’ wasn’t used is because it’s an abstract concept. Also from a performance point of view – perfect doesn’t exist. So it’s far easier to use a situation he can easily get engaged with and remember. Hope that helps…

  • Andreas

    Hy Todd! Just a thought: Why didn`t you let Jeff remember a situation in the bin, where everything was perfect?

  • therman

    Depends on what you mean by 'everything was perfect'… but the biggest reason why 'perfect' wasn't used is because it's an abstract concept. Also from a performance point of view – perfect doesn't exist. So it's far easier to use a situation he can easily get engaged with and remember. Hope that helps…

  • http://www.ginaparris.com GinaParris

    Wow, I totally missed this post and I LOVE THIS STUFF. Thanks for emphasizing the importance of working on the inner game every day. I enjoy working with athletes too. I don’t think that link seemed to work over at thechampionschallenge. Was it missing anything?

    • http://thepeakathlete.com Todd Herman

      Thanks Gina. I love athletes too – especially the ‘young-ens’. The link isn’t working because it’s supposed to be: http://thechampionschallenge.com :)

      • http://www.ginaparris.com GinaParris

        Perfect Thanks! The “young-ens!” LOL I got to work with an eleven year old Little Leaguer last night on his pre-game anxiety since he was playing his most awkward position and actually asked for my help. Woo hoo! The transformation was incredible – which is always most shocking when the clients are my own kids. True.

  • http://www.ginaparris.com GinaParris

    Wow, I totally missed this post and I LOVE THIS STUFF. Thanks for emphasizing the importance of working on the inner game every day. I enjoy working with athletes too. I don't think that link seemed to work over at thechampionschallenge. Was it missing anything?

  • therman

    Thanks Gina. I love athletes too – especially the 'young-ens'. The link isn't working because it's supposed to be: http://thechampionschallenge.com :)

  • http://www.ginaparris.com GinaParris

    Perfect Thanks! The “young-ens!” LOL I got to work with an eleven year old Little Leaguer last night on his pre-game anxiety since he was playing his most awkward position and actually asked for my help. Woo hoo! The transformation was incredible – which is always most shocking when the clients are my own kids. True.

  • Anonymous

    The Champion’s Challenge is an awesome thing to do. It helped me in my game and the way I mentally view myself. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a challenge.

    • http://thepeakathlete.com Todd Herman

      Thanks Travis! It’s been great having you in the program.

  • travisboy

    The Champion's Challenge is an awesome thing to do. It helped me in my game and the way I mentally view myself. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a challenge.

  • http://thepeakathlete.com Todd Herman

    Thanks for the comment.

    One thing to keep in mind Armando, not all players respond well to using visualization during a game or competition.

    It can cause different personality types to fall out of the 'performance curve' – which will create lapses in focus and decrease hand-eye co-ordination.

  • http://thepeakathlete.com Todd Herman

    Great story Wade… and great job reinforcing over again for your son. But don't forget… you're no different. You can always use this on yourself.

  • http://thepeakathlete.com Todd Herman

    Thanks Travis! It's been great having you in the program.

  • Julia Josephine

    Todd, it took quite some time to get around to write this, but better late than never.

    The champions challenge is awesome. Thanks to it I’ve gained focus, confidence and many skills to stay on track. I’ve set a number of PB’s both indoor and outdoor, achieving it in circumstances that were highly unfavorable. According to my coachI had the physical skills to be perform well in meets, but I lacked the mental strength. Thanks to Todd’s program I now have both. People look up to me, asking me how I’ve mamanged to turn my game around. It’s amazing when preparation meets opportunity and it all just clicks at that one moment. My running style is powerful, relaxed, confident, technically strong, well planned and executed well too. This is all possible thanks to the 60 day champions challenge.

    Thanx a million Todd!

    Ps. If you join the challenge you can read all my posts in the members area. I wrote under the name Jos

  • Julia Josephine

    Todd, it took quite some time to get around to write this, but better late than never.

    The champions challenge is awesome. Thanks to it I've gained focus, confidence and many skills to stay on track. I've set a number of PB's both indoor and outdoor, achieving it in circumstances that were highly unfavorable. According to my coachI had the physical skills to be perform well in meets, but I lacked the mental strength. Thanks to Todd's program I now have both. People look up to me, asking me how I've mamanged to turn my game around. It's amazing when preparation meets opportunity and it all just clicks at that one moment. My running style is powerful, relaxed, confident, technically strong, well planned and executed well too. This is all possible thanks to the 60 day champions challenge.

    Thanx a million Todd!

    Ps. If you join the challenge you can read all my posts in the members area. I wrote under the name Jos