Natalie Cook and Sarah Maxwell are beach volleyball players at the highest level, with Natalie having won an Olympic gold medal.
While being a great athlete requires physical training, it also requires spiritual training, which Natalie and Sarah have begun helping people with.
In fact, they’ve recently taken their spiritual expertise on the road to connect with as many people as possible
On the podcast, Natalie and Sarah discuss the many aspects of spiritual training and how it connects with success.
Successful athletes tend to be masters of visualization, Natalie explains. This usually involves closing your eyes and seeing your desire. Your eyes being closed is extremely important, as it allows you to forget about where you are and focus on where you’re going.
However, this is only the beginning. Many people will stop here and wonder why it’s not working, not knowing how much more there is to it.
If you really want to extract the full power from visualization, there are a few more steps. First of all, you need to write a life story for yourself. This might be harder than it sounds, but it will take your goals out of your head and put them into the real world.
Writing will also help you mold your desires into a tangible form. When they remain in your head, they can be ambiguous, but writing forces you to define your future. You might even see your goals from a totally different perspective, or find something that you didn’t know was there.
External visualization can take other forms, too.
In fact, when Natalie’s team won the Bronze in 1996, they began brainstorming on how to get go further and get the gold. One thing they started doing was surrounding themselves with gold–gold sheets, gold clothes, gold toothbrush.
It might sound funny, but it got Natalie in the right frame of mind that she needed.
When Natalie and Sarah first met, they had opposing spiritual philosophies. Sarah was of an “allow it to happen” mindset and Natalie was of a “make it happen” mindset. However, as the years went on, Natalie started to shift over to Sarah’s side.
This is in part due to Abraham Hicks, a philosopher they bonded over. Hicks discusses “getting into the vortex,” which resonated with Natali as an athlete, because it reminded her of “getting into the zone.” Both involve a clearness of mind and a certain level of acceptance.
From this perspective inside the vortex or zone–whatever you call it–all things seem in balance and a peace washes over you. You begin to move and make decisions with the cosmic tide, instead of against it.
Another element where spirituality helps is in regard to teammates. These are people out of your control, yet you so badly want to control them. Once you let go of that need to control and “get into the vortex,” the tension goes away and you’ll get better results.
Outside the arena of sports, this is true with any dependent relationship. Only by accepting that you’re not in control of others can you hope to assume any kind of control over yourself. And only by having control over yourself can you hope to influence others.
One thing that Natalie perpetuates is the “fake it ’till you make it” approach. Because the mind is so powerful and has full dominion over your body, you need to convince it that you’re going to win. Once you have your mind, your body will follow.
Even when you don’t win, you can’t let your mind believe that you’re a loser. Otherwise, it will completely debilitate you. Plus, you can’t be a loser if you never quit.
In many ways, your mind is like the driver of a car. If you want to get where you’re going, you need to keep the driver happy–feed the driver, massage the driver, tell the driver what a good job he or she is doing.
Another way that Sarah and Natalie put it is to create a tangible gap between where you are and where you want to be. Because the universe doesn’t like gaps, it will do everything it can to fill it. All you have to do is open yourself up to the possibility.
The last thing that Natalie wants people to know is that they should hang on to their dreams. Once you visualize your desire and write them down, they may not come true immediately. But with time and hard work, good things will come. Only by giving up will dreams vanish into thin air.
A good deal of positive reinforcement is necessary, as well. Tell yourself that you deserve your ultimate goal and allow it to come to you.
As for Sarah, she wants you to start doing something in the next ten minutes that lets you know something has changed. Make the tiniest bit of progress–whatever it is–to show yourself that moving forward is possible.
Sarah also wants to reinforce the importance of living in the story that you write for yourself, not the story that’s led you to this point. Stop riding the wave of your past and take your life into your own hands.
Only then can lasting change occur.