9 Mins Read

Strategically Visualize Your Way To A Million-Dollar Role

Brandon Fluharty  |

Brandon Fluharty |

⚡️ Today’s level up ⚡️

Today’s edition focuses on unlocking the power of strategic roleplaying and visualization to consistently nurture and win multi-million-dollar opportunities.

Let’s go!

Read time: <9 minutes

If you missed last week, read it here.

 

Getting serious about expanding your capacity

When I was a kid, I took roleplaying to a whole new level.

Around age ten, I’d don a fedora, brown jacket (a leather jacket was too expensive), and tie a whip around my belt loop I got from The Cracker Barrel and play out the opening scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I wanted to be like Indiana Jones.

In sixth grade, I begged my parents to buy me a pair of Nike Dopemans (the closest things to Nike Bruins) so that I could authentically play out scenes on my skateboard from Back to the Future. I wanted to be like Marty McFly.

A couple years later, while playing basketball with the teenagers down the street, I had my tongue out on full display as I shimmied, turned, and released the ball while in full fadeaway. I wanted to be like Mike.

My family thought it was cute.

But I was serious about my play and every last detail needed to be accurate.

When I got older, this skill actually served me well. As I became surrounded by more talented individuals, it actually became a necessity. Because I was not as skilled as everyone around me, I had to role-play and visualize my way up to the levels of those who made it look so easy.

While I was in Eastern Europe chasing a pro soccer contract, it was the cornerstone to leveling up my game. My fitness levels were pretty strong, my ambition was high, but my abilities were not at the level of the more tenured pro players. This caused a confidence gap that I needed to fill up each day.

Somehow, I was able to snag a copy of Playing Out of Your Mind. I easily read that thing at least ten times over the course of a year. One because it was super thin, and thus a quick read, but mostly because it was packed with valuable advice I needed at the time.

It was written by a sports psychologist, Dr. Alan Goldberg, and a novel concept (at that time circa 1999) I learned was the fact that our brains cannot decipher between what we visualize and what we actually do.

This seemed impossible to me, but once tapped into, opened limitless potential.

Insights from “Playing Out of Your Mind”

I was a “holding midfielder” when I was in Romania.

It’s the link between defense and offense and the top player in this position at that time was Dutch and Juventus player, Edgar Davids. He was known as “The Pitbull” and was both a tenacious tackler and quite skilled on the ball. With his long dreads and distinctive glasses (he had to wear them following eye surgery caused by glaucoma), he had a big presence on the pitch.

This was the type of presence I secretly hoped to have when I daydreamed but was too timid to bring to life when I was actually on the field.

This is where deep visualization became a strong ally for me.

Visualization and mental rehearsal are powerful techniques that leverage the brain’s inability to distinguish vividly imagined experiences from actual physical experiences. This phenomenon, known as “functional equivalence,” is rooted in neuroscience and has been extensively studied over the past few decades.

Here’s the scientific basis of functional equivalence:

Neural Activation Patterns:

When we visualize an action, the same brain regions are activated as when we physically perform that action. This has been demonstrated through various neuroimaging studies. For instance, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans show that imagining a movement activates the motor cortex, the same area involved in actual movement.

Study by Dr. Richard Suinn:

Dr. Richard Suinn, a pioneer in sports psychology, conducted a study with Olympic skiers where he measured muscle activity while they mentally rehearsed skiing down a slope. The results showed that the same muscle groups activated during mental rehearsal as during actual skiing, although to a lesser degree. This provided concrete evidence that visualization could enhance muscle memory and coordination.

Role of Mirror Neurons:

Mirror neurons are a type of brain cell that responds both when we perform an action and when we observe someone else performing the same action. These neurons help explain why visualization can be so effective: they essentially allow us to “practice” by watching, either in reality or in our minds. This ability to simulate actions in the brain helps reinforce learning and skill acquisition.

This was huge for my development, as I had picked up a knack for mimicking others I admired in childhood (thank goodness we didn’t have smartphones in the 80s and 90s).

In my mind, each night before going to sleep, I visualized myself (in great detail) as The Pitbull. Each morning, as we drove to the training ground on the bus, I had a little more confidence and excitement.

That confidence began to manifest into actual strong performance on the pitch and my coaches, and more satisfying to me, a handful of the players recognized this and commented on my rapid improvement.

“If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do.” – Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, has spoken extensively about his use of visualization.

He would mentally rehearse every aspect of his races, from the starting dive to the final stroke. Phelps visualized not only perfect races but also scenarios where things might go wrong, preparing himself to stay calm and focused no matter what happened. This mental preparation was crucial in his record-breaking success.

Elevating your roleplaying from boring status quo exercises to hyper-strategic performance

Roleplaying has an important role in sales, but let’s face it, the execution in most environments is, well, lacking.

Most don’t have access to a Wendy Rhoades to help keep their minds right in the demanding role of strategic selling (I had to hire my own). Sadly, roleplaying is diminished to a few half-hearted attempts during onboarding and SKO, while performance visualization is rarely, if ever, used by sellers. Yet other performance fields make it standard operating procedure.

“As you think, so shall you become.” – Bruce Lee

Here’s why it’s so beneficial:

→ Reinforces new neural pathways

Repeated visualization strengthens the neural pathways associated with the visualized action, making it easier to perform the action in real life. This is similar to how physical practice reinforces muscle memory.

→ Reduces performance anxiety and builds confidence

Visualization helps reduce anxiety by familiarizing the brain with the performance environment and scenarios. This familiarity builds confidence, as the brain feels as though it has already successfully navigated the situation.

→ Enhances focus, concentration, and mental clarity

Regular mental rehearsal helps you develop a clear mental picture of your ideal performance and the steps needed to achieve it. This clarity enhances focus and concentration during actual performance.

→ Regulates emotions

Visualization allows individuals to practice managing their emotions in high-pressure situations. By mentally experiencing and overcoming challenges, they build emotional resilience and improve their ability to stay composed under stress.

“Live out of your imagination, not your history.” – Stephen Covey

Incorporating strategic roleplaying and visualization into your routine

1. Practice daily

Set aside time each day for mental rehearsal. It helps to do this following a series of relaxation techniques to tap into theta waves, which is the pathway to creativity, intuition, and daydreaming. EndelMindvalley, or Headspace are good tools if you need help with this. Establishing a daily visualization practice can transform your mental landscape and prepare you for success. The key to effective visualization is consistency.

It doesn’t have to be a time consuming endeavor.

For instance you could start your day with a ten minute visualization session (I did this a lot on early flights). Set aside a block each morning to mentally rehearse your upcoming performance.

Find a quiet space, sit comfortably, and close your eyes. Put on some binaural beats and begin by taking a few deep breaths to center yourself. Then, imagine your day unfolding exactly as you want it to. Visualize each task, meeting, or event with clarity and confidence. Picture yourself navigating challenges with ease and achieving your desired outcomes.

Imagine you have an important presentation to deliver with your team to a major prospect later in the day. Visualize yourself entering their conference room, greeting each attendee confidently, and delivering your presentation with poise. See the positive reactions from your audience, feel the sense of accomplishment, and hear the positive feedback and commitment to next steps.

By dedicating a specific time each day to this mental exercise, you can reinforce positive neural pathways and build a habit that enhances your performance.

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

2. Use detailed imagery

Engage all your senses:

For visualization to be effective, it must be vivid and detailed. Engage all your senses to create a rich mental experience that mirrors reality. This depth of imagery strengthens the neural connections associated with your goals, making them more achievable.

Visual details:

Imagine the physical aspects of your goal with as much detail as possible. If you’re visualizing a successful pitch, picture the room where it takes place. Notice the layout, the furniture, the lighting, and the people present. Visualize your presentation materials, such as slides, a whiteboard, or handouts, and see them clearly in your mind’s eye.

Auditory details:

Incorporate sounds into your visualization. Hear the sound of your voice as you confidently deliver your pitch. Imagine the reactions of your audience – their questions, comments, and their commitment to next steps at the end. This auditory component can make your visualization more realistic and engaging.

Kinesthetic details:

Feel the physical sensations associated with your visualization. Imagine the feeling of standing confidently, the texture of the table or podium, and the weight of any materials you are holding. Feel the adrenaline and excitement as you successfully navigate your presentation.

For an athlete preparing for a race, detailed imagery would involve visualizing the race track, hearing the crowd, feeling the texture of the track under their shoes, the wind against their face, and the physical exertion of running. This comprehensive sensory experience helps to mentally prepare for the actual race.

Bring that same level of preparation into your sales performance.

“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” – Oprah Winfrey

3. Positive self-talk

Combine visualization with positive affirmations:

Positive self-talk complements visualization by reinforcing a positive mindset. Your internal dialogue can significantly impact your confidence and performance. By consciously replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations, you can enhance the effectiveness of your visualization practice.

Identifying negative thoughts:

Begin by becoming aware of your internal dialogue. Identify any negative thoughts or self-doubt that arise during your day or while visualizing. Common negative thoughts might include fears of failure, doubts about your abilities, or concerns about how others perceive you. It helps to keep a journal nearby so that you can jot these down as they arise and check in with them later in the week during your weekly organization.

Example:

Before a big presentation on stage, you might think, “What if I forget my talk track?” or “I’m not good enough to impress this audience.” Recognize these thoughts as they appear and prepare to replace them with positive affirmations.

Creating positive affirmations:

Develop positive affirmations that directly counter your negative thoughts. These affirmations should be specific, positive, and stated in the present tense. They should reflect the successful outcomes you visualize and the confidence you want to build.

Example:

If you’re concerned about forgetting parts of your presentation, your affirmation might be, “I am well-prepared and confident in my ability to deliver a great presentation on stage.” If you doubt your ability to impress, say, “I am a skilled and persuasive speaker who captivates my audience.”

Integrating Affirmations into Visualization:

During your visualization sessions, incorporate your positive affirmations. As you visualize yourself achieving your goals, repeat your affirmations silently or out loud. This dual approach strengthens your belief in your abilities and enhances the vividness of your mental imagery.

Example:

As you visualize delivering your presentation, repeat, “I am confident and articulate. My audience is engaged and impressed.” This combination of visual and verbal reinforcement solidifies your confidence and prepares you for success.

It sounds woo-woo, I know, but it works!

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

4. Scenario Planning

Scenario planning involves visualizing various potential situations you might encounter and developing strategies to handle them effectively. This practice prepares you for both expected and unexpected challenges, enhancing your adaptability, and problem-solving skills.

Visualize positive scenarios:

Start by visualizing positive scenarios where everything goes according to plan. Imagine the ideal outcome and the exact steps to take to achieve it. This reinforces your confidence and sets a clear mental blueprint for success.

Example:

If you’re preparing for a big meeting, visualize a scenario where the client is highly interested, asks engaging questions, and responds positively to your proposal to increase usage and add on your new gen AI product. See yourself confidently addressing their needs and eventually winning the business.

Visualize challenging scenarios:

Next, visualize potential challenges or obstacles. Imagine situations where things don’t go as planned, such as technical issues, tough questions, or a distracted audience. Think about how you will respond to these challenges calmly and effectively.

Example:

In the above example, visualize a scenario where the client raises unexpected objections, maybe around underutilization because they’ve lost faith in your company. See yourself responding with confidence, providing clear and honest answers, and ultimately turning the situation around in a way that they understand your point of view.

Develop contingency plans:

For each challenging scenario, develop a contingency plan. Think about the strategies and resources you can use to overcome the obstacles. This proactive approach prepares you to handle real-life challenges with resilience and creativity.

Example:

If you anticipate technical issues during your presentation, visualize yourself calmly addressing the problem, using backup materials, or smoothly transitioning to a different format. This mental rehearsal ensures you’re ready for any surprise that may come up.

That’s a wrap. See you next week!

 

Here’s how I can help you right now (changes coming soon – get these while you can):

1 | Unlock the 7 Figure Seller OS

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2 | Download The 7 Figure Open Letter

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3 | Book a 1:1 coaching session right now

You can book a 60-minute coaching session with me (although the Pro above option provides access to 1:1 coaching with me at a 70% discount.

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