Achieving success comes from within. We read books and listen to CDs which give us the opportunity to motivate ourselves. These ideas from others encourage us to create our successful universe - both personal and professional. I believe in creating our own destiny, of visualization, of ‘seeing’ our success. But no professional speaker or author proved it to me more than seven young men who ran high school cross country.

They taught me that visualization is a three-way process. You can’t just have a goal and expect to achieve it. You can't just think it and have it drop in your lap. Though the thought starts the process, there must the goal, the ability to see it happening, and finally the motivation to make it real.

My son was on that cross country team. They were rated in the top 10 in the state, but certainly not number one. They could have paid attention to the newspaper articles, the buzz about other teams being better. They could have seen themselves as a fourth or fifth place team. But the strength of visualization gave them permission to see themselves differently. It allowed them to see themselves as state champions. And that vision gave them the stamina to train like champions.

The team worked hard, running two times a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. It didn’t matter if it was 95 degrees or 20. They were good and this intense training made them even better. They saw themselves winning it all. The key is they didn’t just see themselves on stage receiving their blue-ribboned medals; it was much more than that. They saw each step, each race, each victory one at a time.

Before each meet the team formed a circle and each mentally ran his own individual race. Their eyes were closed and their heads moved as they saw themselves maneuver a curve or push up a hill. The entire team saw every detail of every race from a perfect start at the pop of the gun to crossing the finish line.

Did each race turn out as they envisioned? Absolutely not. Sometimes they didn’t place where they expected. Other times they didn’t run the pace they anticipated. Instead, they visualized themselves coming in strong, arms in the air in victory … In reality, we – and they - saw wobbly knees carrying sweat-soaked bodies, each struggling to breathe as they often staggered to the finish line.

But I also saw winners race after race! And at the end of the year, they stood on stage as state champs! Their vision became reality! The physical effort these boys put forth was amazing. But the edge they brought with them was that they saw it happen before the season even started!

These seven runners – who on paper were not a championship team - made me a believer in visualizing your way to success. Of course, as stated earlier, just seeing it won’t make it happen. What it will do is permit you to believe it can happen. It will allow you to work toward your goal with a belief that it will happen. Once you allow yourself to see it, you will begin to believe it.

See your success and each step you need to take along the way to reach your goal. This is what allows one person to become a success while others sit back and wonder why life dealt them a bad hand.

The same is true in our business life. Our business associates, fellow networkers and power team members help us see what we can be and help us get there. We are each others' cheerleaders, mentors, teammates. Without support, without others keeping us at the top of our game, we will not have the success we want. We, like the cross country team, hold each other to a higher standard. Your teammates’ successes are your successes, and yours are theirs.

Success is not a sprint. Achieving goals is more like a cross country meet – a long run, one step at a time, with obstacles, ups and downs, people getting in your way, maybe even pushing you off course, and in the end, it’s you – alone – crossing that finish line. You’re exhausted, but jubilant with arms in the air. And you know that your team helped you get there.

You take a moment to celebrate the victory, and then you’re off again, ready to start visualizing your next goal and seeing your next success. The cross country team did that. They decided that gold medal hanging on a blue ribbon was not enough. So they immediately began their new vision, their new goal - that of back-to-back state championships. They worked through the pain, and knew it was worth the effort. They found strength in visualization because they knew that it worked. They gave themselves permission to believe!

Stay the course. See it - believe it - achieve it.

Author's Bio: 

Cindy Hartman is President Hartman Inventory, a woman-owned business that provides residential and commercial personal property inventory services. She is also co-founder of Hartman Inventory Systems, a complete turnkey business package that helps you start and grow your own personal property inventory service. Cindy is also a freelance writer, covering a variety of topics which include motivation, marketing, small business, entrepreneurship, disaster preparedness and asset inventory. Visit her blog at