If you’ve ever seen the old movie Rocky you probably remember him climbing the steps of the Art Museum in Philadelphia to finish with a very powerful victory stance. It’s a very moving scene with very powerful music. What we remember is the success.
But, did you know that Rocky climbed 72 steps after running 30.6 miles?
Heidi Grant Halvorson in her book Nine Things Successful People Do Differently says, “Don’t visualize success, visualize the steps you will take in order to make success happen.”
Let me come at this issue from two different sides. One side is what I call “Dave the Dreamer” and the other side is called “It’s easy for you.”
Dave the Dreamer
I have a friend, I’ll call him Dave the Dreamer. Dave is one of the most advanced technical minds that I know. When Dave is talking about technical issues, I feel like I’m barely hanging on by my fingernails. I sort of grasp the concepts, but I don’t really understand the details (which he spends a great deal of time talking about).
Dave really is a friend and I do enjoy being around him and listening to these incredible stories. But Dave is a dreamer. He always assumes that the next big thing is going to happen to him. He visualizes the success.
With each new story and concept, I think (and say to him), “Dave, that’s fantastic. Go for it. Create it. Get it into the world. And Dave is sure it’s going to happen because he knows the “right people” and the concept just can’t fail. Dave visualizes the success.
The next time I talk with Dave, it’s all about the next new thing. What happened to the last idea I ask.
- Oh, it ran into a snag.
- We couldn’t come up with the funding.
- Someone didn’t follow through on their promise.
- This idea is so much bigger and better
Dave never visualized the steps that it was going to take to get there. He only visualized the success.
Success is fun. Steps are hard. Success is at the end of a straight line. Steps are long and winding roads. Success exists in your mind. Steps are real, hard and filled with setbacks.
It’s easy for you
I also see the other side of this story. Those who have visualized the steps. They faced each step and each setback. They overcame difficult issues, failed, got up and tried again. When they experience success, the crowd looks at them and often says.
- It was easy for you.
- You were smarter.
- You had a better opportunity.
- You were in the right place at the right time.
This reflects the crowd’s belief in visualizing success rather than visualizing the steps. Visualize the steps. They’re difficult. They are not stable. They’ll shift with time and circumstances. They’re long and arduous. But keep going. The success that others only visualize is much more enjoyable after you’ve climbed the steps.