Momentum: The Product of Mental Muscle

momentum

"Momentum is generated by exercising mental muscle." @andyhorner

This Sunday, the Ravens and the 49ers will attempt to crush their opponent with a combination of plays that will swell to an overwhelming force.

This is called game-winning momentum. Once a team catches fire, the opposing team is in deep trouble.

Do you know how to create momentum with your business, in your industry, against your competitors? Have you caught fire yet?

If not, you're far from alone.

There are 32 teams in the NFL. Only 2 will play for the title on Sunday.

I can't tell you how to win the Big Game in your industry or with your business, but I can break down the mental skills you'll need to create game-winning momentum.

First, momentum is born out the unwavering belief that you CAN win. It swells with the force of mental determination. It rises to powerful heights with focus. Finally, with stalwart execution, it crushes its goal and washes away the threat of defeat.

Here's your game plan for creating your game-winning momentum:

Belief. Determination. Focus. Execution.

BELIEF: I start every year with a two week kickstart project. This year, I committed to building my own video studio. I completed it last Monday! Now I can record professional quality video content for my customers as a core part of my 2013 business strategy.

Like most people, I didn't have the first clue how to create a video studio. But like The Little Engine, I believed I could. Self-belief is far more vital than know-how.

Two behaviors to foster your self-belief:

1. Disbelief of the Opposite: For me, the idea of not completing my video studio did not exist. Self-doubt is the great killer of momentum. It's what causes fumbles on the 10 yard line. You must only consider and imagine one outcome - victory.

2. Repetition: Once you've discounted failure, your germ of belief must be reinforced by repeating to yourself that you can do it! Sharpie it on your bathroom mirror. Set it as your phone's lock screen. Tattoo it on your knuckles.

DETERMINATION: It may appear synonymous to having focus, but it's very different. Focus is the control over the actions needed to complete a task. Determination is the control over the will needed to complete a task.

Determination is your stalwart resolve.

Building momentum requires tremendous power, like the boosters needed to lift a space shuttle off the pad. You'll be tired. You'll ache. You'll be told you can't. Mental determination is the fortitude to heave forward against all forces.

How do you develop mental determination? Like any skill, it can be strengthened.

How? The same way muscles grow! You start light. Your mental muscles get torn, hurt, then heal stronger. As you increase the weight, you eventually get "ripped."

Your determination training plan - Start with a task that..

1. Is out of your comfort zone

2. Has a clearly defined goal

3. Is challenging but not impossible

4. You can accomplish with a friend

5. Scares you (the one's you grow from the most!)

If you push yourself to level up with each accomplishment, you'll have new will power muscles to flex. Your mental determination will mature and grow strong.

FOCUS: Your self-belief got you to the Big Game and your determination is ripped and ready. But if you don't have the concentration required to win, you may suffer the heart-wrencher of going home without the trophy. In pro sports, the momentum, the game, the purse, and the dream are lost at the same time as the team's focus. The same is true in business.

4 tips for retaining focus:

1. Write your game plan down - so you never lose sight of your strategy

2. Keep doing what works - don't change your 3rd quarter strategy unnecessarily

3. Make minor shifts - if the game changes, flexibility may be required

4. Stick to your original objective - avoid project bloat by simply saying "no"

5. Write your outcome down - so you never lose sight of the finish line

EXECUTION: About this time in 2006, American cross racing snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis had a comfortable lead and was moments from claiming the gold medal in the XX Olympic games in Turin, Italy. As she sailed off one of the final jumps on the bump-filled course, she celebrated early with a trick called a "method air." She lost her balance upon landing and wiped out. Lindsey recovered, but not before Switzerland's Tanja Frieden passed her to win gold. Lindsey stood embarrassed on the silver platform as the Swiss anthem played.

Execution is the carrying out of a plan. You may have the self-belief, determination, and focus to win, but if you veer from the plan and fail to follow through, you too may fall.

6 blunders that end in execution wipe outs:

1. Cockiness - no trash talking or hot dogging, self-conceit becomes self-defeat

2. Assumptions - make only one, things will never go as planned

3. Trusting in your lead - just like Avis, your competition will try harder

4. Finishing weak - at the end of the game double your efforts to finish strong

5. Allow for luck - the Swiss snowboarder got lucky, thanks to Lindsey

6. Celebrating early - save the back-patting until you're wearing the gold medal...

...or the Super Bowl ring.

Momentum is how most games and many business successes are won. But make no mistake, momentum isn't something you chance upon. It's the product of mental muscle that you create with self-belief, strengthen with determination, maintain with focus, and drive to the end zone with execution to help you win YOUR Big Game!