7 Tools for Success

Posted by: Jo Banks

Date: 07-05-2014

Our drive to win is part of who we are it's in our DNA as an inbuilt survival mechanism - competing for food, partners and power is how we've survived and evolved as a species.

Winning unleashes our euphoric chemicals; it releases dopamine, making us feel ecstatic, serotonin drops (the chemical we release when we are under pressure/stress) endorphins are released and this causes changes in our physiology, which is why winning feels so good!Winning unleashes our euphoric chemicals; it releases dopamine making us feel ecstatic, serotonin drops (the chemical we release when we are under pressure/stress) endorphins are released and this causes changes in our physiology, which is why winning feels so good!

So what can we do to increase our chances of winning?

  1. Hard Graft

    10,000 hours is the magical number that has been scientifically proven to produce excellence in a chosen subject and to become an expert. That means 10,000 hours or 3.5 years worth of hard work and practice to become The Best. It’s said that the Beatles practised over 10,000 hours during their stint in Hamburg before they became famous. The theory suggests that innate talent is irrelevant, it’s the practice that makes the difference (to read more click here for access to a BBC article on the subject). For most of us, 10,000 hours is excessive.  However, the point here is the more you put in, the more of an edge you’ll have.

  2. Behave like a winner

    Behaving like a winner puts the competition off and it’s attractive! Convince those around you that you’re a champion, walk the walk and appear 100% confident, leave any doubts you have behind. The more we behave like a winner, the more our conscious and subconscious minds will get used to the idea and we will act that way naturally. Winners have a different outlook, they deal with things differently and ask more empowering questions.

  3. Get in the zone

    Have you ever noticed how quickly time flies when you’re in the zone? I notice it particularly when I’m coaching or writing, I’m so completely absorbed with what I’m doing that I have no real handle on time, it just flies by. How much easier is it to do things when you’re in zone or another term for it is ‘in flow’ when you seem to be able to magically conjure the resources, thoughts and actions that take you exactly where you want to go?

    If you’re struggling to get into the zone, think of a time when you were, vividly imagine it – see what you saw, feel what you felt and hear what you heard – with a bit of practise doing this exercise you’ll be able to enter that state whenever you need to. Being in the zone is like canoeing downstream, easy and stress-free, whereas not being in the zone is like carrying the canoe on your shoulders up a dry rocky river bed. Shut off outside influences, close your eyes, concentrate on your gut feeling and get into a positive state. Have a positive outcome in mind and take clear, focused actions. Shut out any distractions and influences.

  4. Stay on target and keep focused

    This will give you the edge; keep checking back on your goals regularly to ensure that you haven’t ended up off-piste. We sometimes get drawn to the easiest options rather than what we really need to do. Keeping one constant eye on the goal will ensure that you don’t get distracted.

  5. Visualise the outcome you want

    I can’t stress this one highly enough.  As I’ve said so many times in other posts, the brain can’t tell the difference between something that’s vividly imagined and something that’s real.  Therefore the more you can practise visualising the outcome you want, achieving your goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. Visualisation is THE most important trick to learn in order to win. Doing something repeatedly in your mind will help you to spot and overcome any obstacles.  It also stimulates your reticular activator (the part of your brain that looks out for the things that are important to us - click here for more information) and really is the difference between success and failure.  It unlocks hidden potential.

    Ask any really successful person and they will tell you that they first started to by visualising creating their multi-selling widget or they’ve visualised running a multi-national corporation or “always dreamed” of owning their own business. Whatever the scale, it started with a thought and imagining how they wanted their lives to be whether they were consciously doing it or not.

    Visualising creates new neural pathways in the brain, when we do something for the first time, we create a new neural pathway.  The more times we then do that thing, the deeper the neural pathway becomes and the easier it is to do in real life (not just in our minds).  However, we don’t actually have to physically ‘do’ that thing, we can create the deep neural pathway by simply vividly visualising what we want to do, be or have.

    I teach clients to visualise things going well for important meetings, interviews, presentations etc.  The more you visualise something going well, the deeper the neural pathway will become and subsequently, when it comes to the actual event, you brain simply thinks, “Ah, I know what do it here” and almost switches to automatic pilot. That’s why it’s crucial to change negative thought patterns if you’re a worrier, as you’re training your brain and creating negative neural pathways making it quick and easy to go into that 'victim' state and attract negative outcomes.

  6. Have an unshakeable belief in yourself

    If you don’t believe you can win, who will? CONFIDENCE IS KEY and whether you are confident or not will show in your body language irrespective of the words you use. If you don’t feel confident, people will know no matter how hard to try to cover it up. Use visualisation to create the most fabulous version of you possible and keep running that picture.

  7. Attention to detail

    Being obsessive about the detail can be a good trait when it comes to winning. It enables you to ensure that no stone is left unturned and that you have considered every avenue, dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s thereby significantly reducing any risk. Most of the most successful people will say that they are control freaks and obsess over detail; it’s what sets them aside from being mediocre.


From time to time we are all going to fail, it’s a fact of life, lucky/positive/owners don’t stay down for long, they take the learning and use it to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. I’ve found that life is not all about the winning, it’s about the lessons we learn along the way. If we were to always win, we’d never learn anything. The key is to not wallow, but to learn and move on quickly and the really great thing is that losing is not terminal; it’s how you react that makes you a winner.

Developing a winning attitude is crucial to success. Is there an area that you would like to concentrate on in order to give yourself that winning edge? If so, contact us for a free, confidential, no obligation chat about how we can help.

JO's FIRST BOOK: Thoughts Become Things

Visit the website for Jo Banks' first book, Thoughts Become Things now available in paperback and Kindle formats.