Rule 1: A Champion Sets a “Dream Big” Vision

RULE 1.1: STAKE YOUR VISION ON WHERE YOU WANT TO GO.

A person could be in sales, in school, or in line to win an Olympic gold medal—it doesn’t matter. As long as that person has a vision of what she wants to accomplish, I’ll gladly offer my expertise on how she can reach her destination.

The Method begins with one essential ingredient: a vision. You need a vision of where you want to go, what you want to do, who you want to be someday down the road.
Simply put: In your mind you must program your internal viewfinder toward a performance, toward an achievement, toward a scene that you see taking place in the future. Something you want to be a part of. That’s your vision.

Without that vision, there is no starting point, no way to plan an attack. And no way to know whether or not you’ve achieved what you want to achieve.

RULE 1.2: USE FACTS (AND YOUR GUT) TO PLOT YOUR FUTURE.

I needed to be ready when a potential record-breaker came within my circle. Eleven-year-old Michael Phelps—hyper, precocious, a cutup—fit just that profile.
My job: Get this kid, and those closest to him, to see the vision, too.

RULE 1.3: SUSPEND BELIEF TO SEE YOUR VISION.

“Michael has real potential,” I said. “I can see him doing things that no other swimmers can do.”
I told them this—that he could accomplish things never before seen in the sport.
As we would later discover, he surpassed even those expectations.

RULE 1.4: DON’T JUST THINK ABOUT YOUR VISION. THINK ABOUT IT CREATIVELY.

It’s easy to tell a young athlete that he needs a vision. Heck, it’s easy to tell anyone—a co-worker, a best friend, a brother or sister—to have a vision. The reality is, establishing your vision requires work. You want to achieve something, right? In order to do that, you have to expend effort, and that starts with the vision phase.

In fact, to ignite the vision process I tell people that they need to think creatively.
Artists, musicians, writers, software developers are creative types.
Here’s how to start: Just find a spot where you’re comfortable. Wherever it is, go there. Thinking creatively requires a destination. A place where you can let your mind get to work.

I’m just asking myself, Where am I now? Where could I go?
In this step you’re envisioning more than one thing. You’re putting together a menu of a lot of things you want to do or become or achieve.
Part of your thinking should include this subtext: “I may be dreaming, but this could happen.”

He had achieved his vision of becoming a poet. “[I]t was what I had to do,” Levine said, “and whether it changes people or whether it doesn’t, it’s what I have to do.”

RULE 1.5: PUT YOUR VISION DOWN IN WRITING.

And the great thing about thinking creatively is that it’s fun and revealing. You’re seeing yourself in a different place, a place you want to be. A place you can be.

But you have to do more than just see your future. Remember, this step is an action-oriented one. I recommend that you codify your vision. For instance, after you’ve gotten fixated on a vision write a few words about it on a scrap of paper and tuck the paper in your wallet or in your desk.

Be like Jessica and envision something you would really like to achieve.

RULE 1.6: YOUR VISION WILL PROVIDE THE PICTURE FRAME FOR FUTURE SUCCESS.

A vision gives a purpose to daily pursuits. A reason to push yourself out of bed each morning and do something. Without this purpose, it’s easy to drift through the days and weeks and months of life.

Simply put: The vision must inspire you. It should be exciting and emotional; it should speak to your heart as well as your mind. The mental picture of your achieving it should give you goosebumps. Yes, it can be far off, maybe a little vague. But what it can’t be is tedious, routine, the same old.

RULE 1.7: YOUR VISION MUST ENGAGE YOU.

"I want each practice to be relevant. I want you to have a reason to be here. There is a culture of excellence here."
"We will ask for more effort, more focus, more persistence, more toughness, more training, more creative thinking, more problem-solving, and more honesty than you’ve ever put forth. These are the hallmarks of champions."