The Breakfast of Champions
Take a bowl of delayed gratification
sprinkled with fruits of opportunity
but handle carefully
lest accomplishments spill over
and some early bird gets the worm
in which case just sleep on it, dream on it
and begin eating the biggest frog
first thing next morning
because that is the breakfast of champions.
Longtime blog readers may recall that I have been a fan of mind mapping for over thirty years. My non-fiction books refer to them. Heck, I even created an online course (now free) all about creating incredible goals using mind maps. I continue to mind map but have begun to also experiment with a creative process known as ‘clustering.’ There’s a post about it on my writing blog here.
The relevance of a skill like clustering to life events such as career change is that it helps to damp down the influence of a part of the psyche that just loves to rain on the parade ground of success and aspirations. You probably know how it goes. For me, these mental mutterings (which can become annoyingly loud in ‘thought-tones’ at times) take the form of trite put downs such as:
“Grow up. You can’t be serious.”
And so on.
I do think that a healthy degree of skepticism is a survival trait in the appropriate context, such as finding and then fixing spelling errors in an updated resume before sending it; or in assessing the opinion of an expert in some field of interest to your career change plans.
However, even though both skepticism and realism are an ideal cognitive combination for filtering out BS and the unworkable, the aspect of the psyche I alluded to earlier is so concerned about the ‘survival’ risks of ‘screwing up’ that it tends towards delivering ‘change agent’ ideas and goals as stillborn, or worse, causes them to be naturally aborted at a very early stage.
In plain English, this amounts to dismissing the very idea of a career change goal as preposterous and unrealistic. Do that sort of thing often enough and it’s no surprise that many folks settle for the status quo and hope for the best. Rigid thinking and a reluctance to test the boundaries of one’s ‘career box’ (a psychological structure, I admit, but one that can often manifest in an all too real cage many employees frequent every working day – the ubiquitous corporate cubicle), present massive hurdles to making a successful career change.
And this is where the breakfast of champions makes a guest appearance. Exercise nine in my ‘Just Five Rules’ book is titled ‘Hypnotic Goal Setting Unleashed’ and asks readers to playfully focus on what they might be eating for a celebratory breakfast on the very (next?) day they finally achieve their career change goal.
The photo below shows my initial cluster around the trigger word ‘breakfast.’ I clustered for about ten minutes and then wrote the vignette at the top of this post in another ten minutes. Both exercises were done using pen and paper. I then typed it up, tweaked a few words (thus giving that ‘parade ground drill sergeant’ a useful editing and proofing job now that the creative component is at least breathing unaided!)
What I find fascinating is that the clustering word can be about anything of interest to the potential career changer. Reasons to do it. And reasons not to. There’s a whole world of possibility waiting to be explored and uncoiled.
It’s both a fun way to practice entering a light trance state (the same type of trance one might be in when engrossed in a good book or watching a movie) and an introduction to the tension that a desired future state (eating that amazing breakfast) can stimulate and continue to trigger each time the exercise is repeated. Can you begin to imagine how the breakfast of champions and the business of career change are related? Play with this exercise. Have fun with it.