“You have to be a legend in your own mind before you can be a legend in your own time.” -Jack Nicklaus

A mental highlight reel was first introduced to me by the book Mind Gym by Gary Mack. I have made it a habit to make sure I keep one and keep adding to it. I used it in my Division I college wrestling career and in my Professional MMA career. IMG_5341It can be used for any endeavor in which you want to gain confidence; business meetings, sales, any activity and anything that you’ve had experience in. Its all about recalling the times you did something great. If these times aren’t recounted they go to waste.

A mental highlight reel is a written list of times you performed at a high level. Times in your past when you performed so great that you were proud of yourself. Times when you gave yourself permission to be the best and performed with complete disregard to others’ opinions, your own doubts, and free from anything holding you back. Every event on the list should bring back happy feelings and thoughts. Each item on the list should bring a smile to your face and bring back those blissful emotions you felt that day. Include smells, sounds, feelings, emotions and others involved. Just as a dumbbell curl flexes the bicep and puts it under tension to induce growth, you are flexing your mental muscle which induces self esteem growth.

One of basketball’s greats, Lebron James put this into practice his rookie year. His rookie year he was only 29% from three-point range. Being a multi-million dollar NBA player has its perks and it just so happens he had a lot more resources to pull from than most of us and of the equipment managers of the team cut together a long range shooting montage that Lebron could watch every single day. It had footage of him draining threes off the dribble. Making threes while heavily guarded. Hitting swooshes after awesome tricky cut backs and moves. It showed game footage of him draining threes. It showed practice footage of him hitting threes. It had his favorite songs in the background to associate good feelings with shooting threes. Seeing himself perform at a high level increased his self esteem with every single shot he saw on that video. Along with countless extra hours of shooting actual three pointers, he was instructed to watch that video every single day, especially right before bed so the last thing he was was “Lebron James the three point king.”

Obviously a professionally made highlight reel would be great, but a list in a journal or on a piece of paper will do you just as well. Mine is in my MMA career journal I keep. With every event that is written down I bring myself back to that moment. I see it happen again from first person point of view and then again from a third person or birds eye view. I see myself winning, achieving, breaking barriers, overcoming adversity, getting after it. For me its sweating, veins popping, feeling fast, feeling strong, feeling confident, staying composed and breaking people in competition. Its beating guys I wasn’t supposed to beat in competition or in practices.

For you it could be that account you landed at work. That entrance exam that got you into the school of your dreams. It could be nailing that sales pitch and “wowing” people. It could be all the smiles you have put on peoples faces with your presence. It could be the compliments you have received from others – I love keeping track of the compliments because they are great to refer to when you are having a bad day.

Whatever it is, make a list, keep adding to it and keep referring to it often. There is absolutely nothing wrong with reminding yourself of all you have accomplished. If you don’t keep reminding yourself of all the victories you have had, both big and small, it is easy to forget how much you love what you do.

To Your Success,
Michael Chandler