I recently completed the 50-hour SEALFit Kokoro Camp in California and the 36-hour Mill Gym Cadre Camp in Western Australia, both within three weeks of each other. These experiences are meant to be some of the most challenging—physically for sure, but also mentally and emotionally—that athletes ever go through.
For a long time, these goals felt impossible. But, as the saying goes, "when the student is ready, the teacher appears." My teacher, in this case, was SEALFit CEO Mark Divine, via the online Unbeatable Mind Academy.
In addition to my hard-core physical training and careful attention to recovery, I began to work on myself from the inside out. This involved visualization training completed after morning yoga or before going to sleep.
Research has shown how visualization rewires your brain. Specifically, the brain’s reticular activating system (RAS) brings attention to anything that will help you achieve your goal. You subconsciously develop solutions to achieve your goal, like randomly coming up with new ideas in the shower. And you get motivated to place all of your focus and attention into achieving that goal.
Visualization required patience. Working out is goal-orientated and measurable, but "working in" is usually nonmeasurable. Yet it creates little shifts that change everything. It's like Kokoro yoga teacher Greg Amundson says, "If you're flying a plane and steer off course by even the slightest degree, you'll end up many miles from your intended destination."
My little shifts manifested in a growing self-belief. By the time I arrived at Kokoro and the Cadre Camp, I was prepared for the verbal harassment and mind games of the instructors. I'd already won in my mind, even though I was about to face the hardest challenges of my life.
These three visualizations from Divine's Unbeatable Mind training worked for me. I tapped into these feeling of strength and stillness during low or chaotic moments in both camps. But they shouldn't just be limited to the hardest workouts ever; they can be used anytime you're facing a challenge and need a mental boost to get you through it.