In the late 1970s, Jim Fannin was coaching Adriano Panatta, one of the top-ranked tennis players in the world and a former French Open champion. He tells the story of Panatta’s quarterfinal match with one of the newcomers at an ATP tournament.
“As the match unfolded, this low-ranked, left-handed, red-headed jerk of a guy has no respect for a top-ranked player in the world. He stalls. He berates an umpire. He yells at a ball kid. He crushes my player! We are humiliated!”
“Fourteen years later I’m at my home in Chicago having dinner with my best friend Peter Fleming and his doubles partner, John McEnroe Jr. I turned to John that night and said, “Do you remember when I met you back in San Francisco?” He smirked and replied, “Oh, you mean when I crushed your Italian boy?” We all started laughing.
And I said, “Yeah, how did you do that?” Your ranking was so low. How did you play like that?” McEnroe looked me cold in the eye and said, “I was number one in the world. My ranking just hadn’t caught up yet.”
Wow. That’s self-belief.
You’ll See It When You Believe It
Too many of us have it backwards. We think it’s when we reach the milestone goal – the ideal weight, million-dollar income, major promotion or championship trophy — that we will finally become the person we want to be.
In fact, it’s the opposite. We have to embrace our vision before it actually happens. As Wayne Dyer says, “You’ll see it when you believe it.”
Mark Levy tells the story of Jake Jacobs, founder of Winds of Change Group, who wanted to take his company to $5 million in annual revenues. In order to make the leap sooner rather than later, Jake conducted a thought experiment:
“He projected himself into the future and looked at each part of his firm and noted how they were conducting business. He saw who they had as clients, what services they were offering, how they closed deals and how they delivered upon promises. Together with his team, they began taking immediate action on as many of his future-focused tactics as they could – thus behaving as if they were a five million dollar firm in the here and now.”
Here’s Lady Gaga‘s version:
“I used to walk down the street like I was a fucking star… I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be — and then to fight so hard for it every day that the lie becomes the truth.”
What kind of person (or company) do you have to become to achieve your goal? Embrace your vision and, as much as possible, act that way now — make your decisions from where you want to be, not from where you are.
Sooner rather than later, reality will catch up.