Self Help

The Choice Point - Joanna Grover

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 36 min read
  • The authors introduce the concept of Functional Imagery Training (FIT), which uses visualization and mental imagery to help achieve goals and overcome obstacles.

  • They provide an initial imagery exercise, asking the reader to visualize biting into a lemon and imagine the sights, sounds, tastes, and physical sensations. This demonstrates the power of mental imagery.

  • FIT utilizes all the senses to create vivid mental experiences that can positively impact performance, motivation, and psychology. It goes beyond just visualization to involve emotions, kinesthetics, etc.

  • The book will teach FIT strategies to push past mental obstacles, reimagine goals, and apply imagery training to teams. The techniques help turn imagery into reality.

  • Imagery can impact the subconscious mind and body in profound ways. But creating an effective mental image takes practice and intention. This book provides guidance on harnessing imagery effectively.

  • The introduction sets the stage for how FIT techniques can help individuals and teams perform at their peak by leveraging the mind-body connection through vivid sensory imagery training.

  • The book introduces a method called Functional Imagery Training (FIT) developed by psychologists to help people override cravings and stick to goals.

  • FIT trains people to use multisensory imagery to visualize achieving their goals in detail. This helps motivate them to persevere through challenges.

  • The authors explain how elaboration and mental imagery can drive behaviors and actions, both positively and negatively. Deliberately using imagery can optimize actions towards goals.

  • The Choice Point is the moment you decide whether to continue pursuing a goal or give up. FIT provides tools to choose to persevere.

  • The book shares FIT techniques like SLAPP to interrupt habits, and AIM for teams. It includes real stories of people using imagery for goals.

  • The authors have a company, Imagery Coaching, and are expanding research and training in FIT and AIM. Their goal is making coaching accessible and supporting change initiatives.

  • The book aims to provide a blueprint for using imagery to achieve goals, change behaviors, reduce stress, and gain motivation. It’s ultimately about helping the reader pursue their dreams through harnessing the power of their imagination.

Here are the key points from the passage:

  • Choice Points are moments when we face a challenge and have to make a decision to either push through or give up. These choices reveal our character.

  • At Choice Points, we often rely on willpower alone, when we should also be asking why we want to do something and what it means for our values and goals.

  • Mental mutiny threatens to lead us to disappointment, while cognitive control stems from commitment to our values and meaning.

  • We have 60,000+ thoughts per day and 0.1% of those are Choice Point moments - so we have many opportunities to consciously choose our actions.

  • Core values like health are often neglected due to shifting priorities. Though people rate health as their top value, obesity rates show many opt out of healthy choices.

  • The Solbrig study showed that using motivational imagery led to significant weight loss without medication, demonstrating the power of directing attention and imagination at Choice Points.

  • Managing our thoughts, perceiving obstacles, and planning ahead through imagery can strengthen willpower and increase confidence at critical moments of choice.

The study by Solbrig in 2018 investigated the effectiveness of two interventions - motivational interviewing and FIT training - for weight loss. 121 participants were recruited and randomly assigned to one of the two groups.

The motivational interviewing group received a client-centered, evidence-based intervention involving open-ended questions, affirmations, reflections, and summaries. The FIT group learned to use imagery to plan, anticipate obstacles, and try new solutions.

Both groups received minimal contact - just 1 hour in-person, 1 phone call, and some brief check-in calls over 6 months. At 6 months, the FIT group had lost an average of 9 lbs while the motivational interviewing group lost just 1.5 lbs on average. Remarkably, at 12 months, the FIT group maintained their weight loss, losing an average of 14 lbs total, while the motivational interviewing group still only lost 1.5 lbs.

This demonstrates the effectiveness of FIT in providing tools for self-sufficiency and persistence towards weight loss goals. Key FIT techniques included exploring discrepancies between values and behaviors, imagining success, and using imagery as a daily habit.

Overall, the study shows FIT enabled significant weight loss with minimal practitioner contact, and gave participants the ability to continue progressing independently towards their goals. The techniques helped participants manage impulses and stay focused on their long-term aims.

  • FIT (Future-Oriented Identity Training) is an intervention that helps people master their thoughts and achieve goals by directing attention to long-term objectives.

  • Jonathan recruited 31 “nonrunners” who valued health but lacked motivation to exercise consistently. After motivational interviewing, 15 agreed to train for an ultramarathon.

  • Those 15 were split into two groups - one received motivational interviewing support, the other learned FIT involving multisensory imagery to retrain “thought worms.”

  • FIT participants were 5x more likely to finish the ultramarathon than the non-FIT group. Even during fatigue/pain, FIT helped retrain thoughts toward the goal.

  • FIT makes imagery a habit to steer thoughts toward goals. Cues (like morning coffee) remind people to imagine overcoming obstacles and taking small steps.

  • Cues trigger “thought worms.” Planning cues manages thoughts productively. Harmonious thoughts enable focus; distractions increase thought frequency.

  • We have 60,000+ thoughts daily, 80% negative. Without intervening, 95% of thoughts are the same day to day. FIT shifts those odds.

  • We can choose to elaborate on thoughts or not at “choice points.” Iris relied on muscle memory diving, didn’t imagine the dive, and was injured.

  • Iris emerged from a cliff diving accident bruised and injured, but without any broken bones. After spending time in the hospital, she joined her fellow divers for a drink that evening. However, the experience caused her physiological and psychological trauma.

  • For months after, Iris had intrusive thoughts about the accident, vividly replaying it in her mind. This led her to avoid high platform diving since then. She sought help from Jonathan to overcome her trauma.

  • We can’t fully control the arrival of spontaneous intrusive thoughts, but we can manage the depth of attention we give them. This is done through elaboration and rehearsal.

  • Elaboration involves exploring thoughts in sensory detail. Mental rehearsal means repeatedly elaborating. This strengthens the thought’s hold on us.

  • We have a 2 second “window of change” when a thought first arises to choose whether to elaborate on it. This Choice Point allows us to offer an alternative thought.

  • The theory of elaboration involves 3 key systems: phonological loop, visual imagery, episodic memory. These allow multisensory exploration of a thought.

  • The episodic buffer provides meaning and emotional context, making thoughts more impactful. Traumatic events can influence future choices through changing risk perception.

  • We can only elaborate on one thought “box” at a time. The choice of which to open and explore is key to determining our responses.

  • FIT (Functional Imagery Training) is a 3-minute daily exercise that helps people make choices aligned with their goals and brings enjoyment to life. Practicing it over time leads to better goal-oriented decision making.

  • FIT was created as part of an imagery coaching program. Imagery helps people control emotions and make better choices at key decision points.

  • FIT helped a CEO, Charlie, win a golf tournament by controlling his emotions. He was then inspired to use FIT in other areas of life and work. It changed how he manages himself and others.

  • FIT builds on techniques from motivational interviewing, developed by William Miller and others. This empathic conversational approach helps elicit people’s own motivations for change.

  • The FIT model has 3 steps: Focus, Imagine, Talk. People imagine a goal, focus on how it makes them feel, then verbalize it. Verbalization strengthens neural pathways to support goal-oriented action.

  • FIT taps into the wisdom people already have within and helps them align emotions and behaviors with goals. Practicing FIT rewires thinking over time to make wise choices intuitive.

  • Motivational interviewing is a counseling technique developed by William Miller and Stephen Rollnick to help motivate people to change behaviors. It is more effective than traditional advice-giving.

  • Motivational interviewing involves having an empathetic conversation to understand the person’s values and goals, developing discrepancies to create ambivalence, evoking motivation for change, and collaboratively developing a plan.

  • FIT builds on motivational interviewing by integrating mental imagery. It was developed by Jackie Andrade, Jon May, and David Kavanagh through research on memory, creativity, and imagery.

  • FIT helps redirect intrusive thoughts and replace them with more positive, goal-oriented thoughts through elaboration and visualization. This sticks better than just talking about changing behavior.

  • FIT creates deliberate thinking to manage thoughts, alter inner chatter, and shape motivation. By focusing on small acts and short-term goals it builds confidence to achieve long-term success.

  • FIT has been tailored over time for different populations, time constraints, and those who struggle with visualization. The core techniques remain focused on integrating imagery with the spirit of motivational interviewing.

Here are a few key points from the chapter on commitment:

  • Commitment is what unlocks imagination, allows vision, and gives you the motivation to turn dreams into reality. It’s crucial for achieving big goals.

  • Julius Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon River demonstrates a true point of no return, where the only option is full commitment to success. Most goals have many small choice points where you can waver.

  • At each choice point, you must recommit and do the thing that gets you closer to your goal rather than setting yourself back. These repetitive small commitments accumulate into big results.

  • You alone decide when you have crossed the Rubicon of full commitment to a goal, and when you reach a “walkaway point” if the costs begin to outweigh the benefits.

  • Key ingredients for fortifying commitment are understanding your motivations, connecting to your values, believing in your abilities, planning for challenges, and summoning grit and resilience.

The main takeaway is that unwavering commitment, built from many small choice points, is essential to turn dreams into reality. The chapter provides guidance on building robust commitment.

  • In 1985, Jo’s father Al Sr. and brother Al Jr. attempted to cross the Atlantic in a small motorboat. The night before they left, they were nervous but tried to bolster their spirits.

  • Soon after departing, they encountered a storm that made them question whether the journey was worth it. Al Jr. wanted to turn back, but Al Sr. said it was too late - they had crossed the Rubicon.

  • They endured a brutal 2-week storm before reaching the Azores islands. Al Jr. quit there, but Al Sr. was motivated to continue by his wife Rosemarie’s insistence that he finish.

  • Al Sr. completed the journey with his other son Dante. His commitment was fueled by envisioning the legacy and recognition he would gain.

  • Commitment is fixed, unlike motivation which fluctuates. Four key ingredients can strengthen commitment: 1) Having a one-pointed goal 2) Having a support system 3) Linking your goal to a legacy 4) Having grit and resilience to persevere through challenges.

Here is a summary of the key points about finding your core and building trust:

  • Imagery is deeply personal and can make or break your success. Take time to find images that move you emotionally, like fitting into your favorite outfit or hearing the crowd cheer when you achieve your goal.

  • Jo led Bob through two imagery experiences - one where he failed to reach his goal, which left him feeling sad and heavy, and one where he succeeded, which felt joyful and light. This helped him see the difference his choices make.

  • Come back to your positive imagery whenever you can, especially at choice points. The images you hold onto shape your behavior.

  • FIT doesn’t tell you what to do - it trusts you already know what to do. Finding your core imagery is an inward journey of consistently showing up for yourself.

  • Build trust by understanding the scope of your goal and determining your readiness to commit. Journal to explore your dreams, values, risks, and what you’ll gain and give up. Also rank your commitment on a scale.

  • Jo helped Bob see he was ready to fully commit to his health goal and make changes differently this time with her support. Letting go of past stories can be part of the inner journey.

Here is a summary of the key points about multisensory imagery:

  • Imagery engages all the senses, not just visuals. Engaging multiple senses makes it more powerful than just visualization.

  • When you imagine something multisensory, your body reacts physiologically in a way that is similar to the real experience. This shows how the mind can trick the body through imagery.

  • We constantly experience stimuli and respond to them consciously or unconsciously. These responses can be healthy or unhealthy, like giving in to cravings or addictions.

  • Multisensory imagery of something pleasurable, triggered by a simple stimulus like a smell, can derail you from your goals by overriding logic and willpower.

  • FIT research initially focused on understanding cravings and why people committed to sobriety could be instantly hijacked by them. The sensory aspect of cravings overrides logic.

In summary, multisensory imagery is very powerful and can elicit strong physiological and emotional responses. It’s important to use it intentionally to support goals rather than letting stimuli unconsciously derail you. FIT teaches how to harness imagery positively.

Here is a summary of the key points about imagery and motivational imagery:

  • Imagery is a mental technique that involves visualizing goals and outcomes. It can be cognitive (task-focused) or motivational (focused on meaning and emotions).

  • Cognitive imagery involves mentally visualizing the details and steps of a task, like visualizing driving to a meeting. It enhances confidence and performance.

  • Motivational imagery adds meaning and emotion to the visualization, like visualizing why the meeting is important to you. This boosts motivation to achieve the goal.

  • Imagery works by connecting your current self to your future potential self. It helps you mentally prepare and build confidence.

  • Active imagery that evokes emotions is more motivating than neutral/inactive imagery. Vivid, sensory imagery drives physiological reactions that amplify motivation.

  • Imagery is a skill that can be improved with practice. Assessing your current imagery ability through scales of controllability and vividness can establish a baseline to build from.

  • The better your imagery skills, the more you can mentally prepare, enhance performance, and persevere through challenges. Imagery provides a way to rehearse goals like an athlete rehearses their sport.

  • Vividness refers to the clarity and detail of mental images. Improving vividness is like upgrading the picture quality on a TV.

  • Imagery ability was first assessed in 1880 using Galton’s “breakfast table survey”, where people rated the vividness of visualizing their breakfast table.

  • The Plymouth Sensory Imagery Questionnaire (Psi-Q) assesses imagery ability across senses - visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, vestibular, tactile, emotional.

  • People rate their ability to imagine each sensory experience on a scale from 0 (no image) to 10 (as vivid as real life).

  • Visual imagery tends to be rated highest, averaging around 8/10. Auditory imagery is also relatively high at 7.2/10. Olfactory and gustatory imagery are lower, around 6/10.

  • Measuring imagery ability shows people’s strengths and weaknesses across the senses. This allows tailored practice to improve imagery vividness in specific modalities.

  • The goal is to involve as many senses as possible in deliberate imagery practice. Vivid and controllable imagery in multiple senses can enhance performance.

Here are some suggestions for improving visual imagery ability:

  • Practice visualization exercises - Close your eyes and try to visualize objects, people, or scenes in as much detail as possible. Start with simple, familiar things and work up to imagining more complex, novel scenes.

  • Draw from memory - Look at an object, scene, or image for a short time, then try to draw it from memory. Compare your drawing to the original to see where your visual memory needs work.

  • Play memory games - Games like Memory or Concentration that involve remembering visual details and matching pairs can strengthen visual memory.

  • Imagine variations - Visualize something familiar like your home or workplace. Then make intentional changes - imagine it at a different time of day, decorated differently, with rooms rearranged, etc.

  • Guided imagery - Listen to or read a descriptive guided imagery script and try to visualize it in your mind. Scripts can walk you through picturing various settings, textures, colors, etc.

  • Mind movies - Recreate memories or imagine future events as a “movie” in your mind. Pay attention to visual details like lighting, camera angles, wardrobe, setting.

  • Photo manipulation - Look at an image and imagine changes or additions to it - a different color scheme, adding/removing elements, combining it with another image, etc.

  • Use visual cues - Have objects around you that prompt visual imagery and practice seeing them with your mind’s eye when they are not physically present.

The key is regular practice and pushing yourself to imagine visual details as vividly as possible. Keep working at it and your visual imagery will improve over time. Let me know if you need any other suggestions!

Here are some suggestions to improve your gustatory (taste) imagery:

Choose a food or drink that evokes strong emotions and memories for you. This could be a favorite childhood treat, a beloved family recipe, or a nostalgic food from a certain time or place.

Set aside time to mindfully experience that food or drink. Hold it, look at it closely, smell it, and slowly take a small bite/sip. Pay close attention to the texture, temperature, and flavor as you taste it. Notice how it makes you feel emotionally.

Over the next few days, try to recreate the full experience in your mind. Start with visualizing the food/drink and all its sensory details. Then imagine taking a bite/sip and experiencing the flavors and textures. Allow memories and emotions to surface as you do this.

You can make this imagery practice more vivid by doing it before or after actually eating/drinking the item. The real sensations will help activate your mental imagery.

Pair the imagery with deeper breathing and relaxation. Make the imagery immersive by also imagining the location where you often enjoyed this food/drink. Hear the sounds, smell the ambient scents, and feel the environment around you.

Keep practicing daily for a few minutes at a time. The more sensory details you can imagine, the stronger your gustatory imagery will become. Over time, just thinking of that food/drink should bring back a flood of vivid memories, emotions, and flavors.

Here are a few key points on improving imagery skills:

  • Visual imagery can be improved by elaborating on details and associating images with memories. Focus on colors, textures, lighting etc. to make visualizations more vivid.

  • For olfactory imagery, use the “Proust effect” - associate scents with memories and emotions. Spend time noticing and describing scents in detail.

  • For gustatory imagery, imagine tasting a food you crave in detail. Associate the taste with sights, textures and emotions to make it more vivid.

  • Tactile imagery improves by focusing on textures, movements and temperature when touching objects. Imagine the sensations in as much detail as possible.

  • Vestibular imagery involves perceiving movement and body position. Practice tracking and catching objects without looking directly at them.

  • Emotional imagery is enhanced by linking emotions to vivid sights, sounds and sensations. Gratitude exercises can help imagine positive emotional experiences.

  • For those with aphantasia, imagery in other senses may compensate. Creativity can also come through experimentation rather than visualization. The condition is not limiting with the right strategies.

The key is to engage all your senses, elaborate on details, and connect imagery to memories and emotions. With practice, vivid and useful imagery is possible for most people.

  • The two scenes illustrate how motivational imagery can help someone push past the urge to quit when facing adversity.

  • The soldier in scene one gives up when faced with immense physical and mental challenges during commando training. He lacked techniques to manage his thoughts and motivate himself.

  • The soldier in scene two uses motivational imagery to distract himself from the pain and fatigue. He imagines his family cheering him on and focuses on his vision for the future. This helps him persevere.

  • Imagery can boost motivation and help people stick to their goals when things get difficult. The combination of cognitive imagery (mental pictures) and motivational imagery (linking images to purpose and meaning) is called holistic imagery.

  • Research shows holistic imagery increases goal achievement rates significantly. The British Army used it to improve soldier goal achievement by 44%.

  • To use holistic imagery, first explore your values, beliefs, attitudes and goals. Then strengthen your cognitive imagery skills. Finally, link motivating images to your purpose and meaning to stay focused on your goals through challenges.

  • Jonathan, a performance coach, interviewed three talented young fencers to understand why one began significantly outperforming the others.

  • He found the difference was not in their goals, abilities, or motivation, but in how they used imagery. Those who used more detailed, multisensory imagery were more motivated. Breaking big goals into smaller ones and mentally contrasting the current and future self also helped. Personal cues that trigger emotions and imagery are also important.

  • Based on these learnings, Jonathan developed the FIT model for imagery:

  1. Purpose - Use imagery to add details and tap into senses around your goal. This triggers emotion and motivation.

  2. Meaning - Compare negative and positive outcomes using imagery. This clarifies why the goal matters and whether it’s worth the effort. Set realistic targets.

  3. Action - Imagine taking immediate action steps toward your goal before doing them. This solidifies commitment.

  4. Cues - Create personal reminders to regularly activate imagery and loop back to purpose, meaning, action. Cues help you persevere.

In summary, the FIT model uses imagery strategically to turn motivation into committed action toward challenging, meaningful goals. The key is elaborating details, contrasting outcomes, and creating cues that reinforce the imagery practice.

  • Phase 1 involves using imagery to connect your fantasized long-term goal to a closer, familiar reality. This activates brain areas similar to actually achieving the goal and can be motivating if done regularly.

  • In phase 1, focus first on the purpose and meaning behind your goal before imagining yourself achieving it. Use multisensory imagery and elaborate details to make the scenario feel real.

  • Rate how important your goal is on a 0-10 scale after phase 1. A low score may indicate you need to re-examine your goal.

  • Phase 2 involves mentally contrasting positive and negative outcomes related to your goal through imagery. Imagine failing to reach milestones and obstacles that could prevent success. Then imagine overcoming those obstacles and successfully reaching the halfway milestone.

  • Contrasting positive and negative outcomes creates a sense of disequilibrium and motivation to achieve the positive outcome. It also allows you to prepare for potential obstacles.

  • Reflect on how imagery is improving for you and what you can refine. The phases are designed to increase motivation, energize you, and prepare you to take action toward your goal.

  • Phase 4 involves creating cues or triggers that remind you to engage in imagery and take action towards your goals. Practicing imagery daily is important to stay motivated when you feel like quitting.

  • Cues link your actions to your values and strengths. They allow you to prepare in advance by setting your intentions.

  • Cues trigger desired thoughts that can snowball and build momentum through elaboration and frequency. Repeatedly activating goal-centered thoughts with cues can actually change your brain connections and form helpful habits.

  • Cues are personal reminders that represent specific thoughts that can motivate you. They should be linked to your values and purpose.

  • Examples of effective cues could be setting a daily phone alarm, putting up visual reminders, or linking a specific action like making coffee to engaging in imagery.

  • The key is consistently observing cues to trigger intentional thoughts and actions. This creates neural pathways that support goals and desired habits.

  • In summary, phase 4 is about establishing personalized cues to regularly practice imagery, activating thoughts aligned with your purpose, and building momentum towards your goals through repetition.

Here is a summary of key points from Chapter 6 - The Reset:

  • The fight-or-flight response is an automatic physical reaction to perceived threats, but chronic activation of this stress response is unhealthy. We need to be able to reset mentally and physically after stress.

  • The parasympathetic nervous system, through rest and relaxation, can counteract the sympathetic nervous system’s fight-or-flight response. Controlled breathing and gratitude practices help activate the parasympathetic nervous system.

  • The reset process has 4 steps: reconnaissance (evaluate stressors), regulated breathing, gratitude, and goal imagery (envision the future self). This process elicits physical and mental relaxation.

  • Reconnaissance means honestly assessing stress levels and identifying any unhelpful thoughts or behaviors. Consider which stressors are controllable.

  • Regulated breathing techniques like 4-7-8 breathing activate the parasympathetic nervous system to counter fight-or-flight.

  • Gratitude shifts thinking away from stressors to appreciation, broadening perspective. Reflect on people, experiences, privileges.

  • Goal imagery means envisioning your best future self, which boosts motivation. Imagine in multiple senses and focus on progress and values.

  • Mastering the reset process takes practice but can help manage stress, boost motivation, improve sleep, and more. Make time for it daily.

  • The sympathetic nervous system triggers the “fight or flight” response. If left unchecked, this stress reaction can become a habitual way of responding, leading to chronic stress and hyperreactivity. This reduces performance, relationships, health, and joy.

  • It’s crucial to have tools to reset negative thinking and avoid burnout. Reset activities like walks in nature, calling a friend, yoga, journaling, etc. can realign your attitude.

  • When stressed, LAP imagery may not be enough. You need SLAPP - add Stop (or slow down) and breathe, and Park unwanted thoughts like “I can’t do this.”

  • Stop tells your mind to rebel. Instead, Park thoughts for later, giving your focus to what you can control now - your behavior.

  • Come back to parked thoughts later to process them, so they don’t reemerge unexpectedly. Reviewing them preempts future distractions.

  • SLAPP resets your thinking from destructive to constructive, managing emotions and regaining logical control. This allows shifting negative thoughts to positive for consistent performance.

  • FIT (Future Imagery Training) is a mental reset technique that involves Locate-Activate-Persevere (LAP) for daily practice and Stop-Locate-Activate-Park-Persevere (SLAPP) for moments of struggle.

  • SLAPP was tested on British Army recruits undergoing intensive physical training. Those trained in SLAPP had a 44% higher success rate compared to previous years’ recruits without SLAPP training. However, some recruits overused SLAPP and got injured.

  • Business executives applied SLAPP successfully for managing stress and improving performance consistency. Imagery training also improved their sleep, lowered stress, and enhanced relationships.

  • For students, goals and motivation were examined first before teaching LAP and SLAPP. Students customized SLAPP for taking exams by modifying the last P to “Perform.” This helped them manage stress, regain focus, and answer difficult questions.

  • Overall, FIT and SLAPP allow people to reset unhelpful thoughts during challenging tasks and improve focus, motivation, and performance. The technique is adaptable to individual needs.

  • Annie came up with her own personalized version of the SLAPP process (Supplemental Learning and Planning Process) to help her succeed on exams. She would mentally recreate the classroom where she originally learned the material and visualize herself answering test questions.

  • Other students also modified SLAPP to fit their individual needs, like imagining discussing the exam with family/friends or visualizing themselves in their bedroom answering questions. The imagery was brief, just a few seconds, but helped them prevent negative thoughts, reduce test anxiety, and improve performance.

  • Research with 122 students across 3 schools found those trained in imagery scored 0.4 grade points higher on average compared to other students. This could mean the difference between a C and a B grade.

  • SLAPP supplements LAP (Learning and Planning Process). You need to first establish a LAP routine before adding SLAPP. SLAPP is where you tweak and personalize the reset imagery method until it works best for you.

  • It’s important to know when not to use SLAPP - like pushing through pain and injury. Realign regularly to ensure goals still fit with values and purpose.

  • Now it’s time to go beyond personal performance and use imagery to foster collaboration, innovation and connectedness in teams and communities.

  • Jonathan, a graduate student working on his thesis, met with Bryan, who offered to pay Jonathan if he could help Bryan’s soccer team get promoted out of their league by the end of the season.

  • Jonathan accepted the challenge as it could provide material for his thesis. He started working with the team the next day.

  • Over the season, Jonathan delivered 19 customized sessions focused on values, vision, stress management, individual identities, and group belonging. He also did 82 hours of individual and small group work on imagery and communication.

  • After the first session, the team went on a 14-game undefeated streak and placed in the top 3 in their league, earning a promotion.

  • Jonathan became the club’s director of research but doesn’t take full credit for the success. The players, coaches, and Bryan’s leadership were critical factors.

  • The team changed its culture, challenged beliefs, and used imagery to find solutions and reset under pressure. Shared goals and teamwork became their edge.

  • Since then, Jonathan has adapted his approach into a 5-step model called Applied Imagery for Motivation (AIM) to work with other teams. The steps are: Team Calibration, Define a Shared Goal, Team Imagery, Get to Action, and Review Progress.

  • AIM has been similarly successful to the individual FIT approach in promoting behavior change and achieving results. The shared goal is the focus, and imagery enables motivation and commitment.

Here is a summary of the key points about vulnerability in creating trust within groups:

  • In 2008, Jo Koy visited Central High School in Miami, one of the city’s worst high schools, as a guest speaker for an LGBTQ student group. She expected it to be a one-time event but it turned into a 4-year journey.

  • The school looked more like a prison than a school, and the students felt neglected and had deferred dreams. Jo felt very out of place and tense at first.

  • Despite her doubts, Jo opened up and was vulnerable with the students, sharing her own coming out story. This helped the students connect with her.

  • Over time, Jo built trust and deep connections with the students through consistency, structure, and vulnerability. She let them choose the group name “Strong Teens.”

  • Allowing herself and the students to be vulnerable helped break down barriers. For example, a previously silent student named Estrella eventually opened up about her story, became a leader, and gave others permission to be vulnerable.

  • In Jo’s work, developing vulnerability and deep connections took months. In corporate or military settings, they use quick vulnerability exercises like singing karaoke to help teams bond faster.

  • Vulnerability helps team members relate to each other and ask each other for help. It is key to building resilient, high-performance cultures.

Here are the key points about defining a shared team goal:

  • After establishing foundational elements like values and purpose, the next step is to define a broad, shared team goal.

  • The goal should align with the team’s values and sense of purpose/meaning.

  • At this stage, don’t get into specifics or imagery, just define the goal at a high level and discuss why it’s important.

  • Shared goals are often long-term (1+ years) and can range from improving capabilities to becoming carbon neutral to winning championships.

  • Organizations need employee buy-in on shared goals. Avison Young developed a carbon literacy course so employees could choose team goals related to sustainability.

  • Goals that are self-administered by teams tend to become infectious when culturally connected within an organization.

  • The key is getting employees intrinsically motivated and committed to working towards the company’s overarching targets. Defining a shared goal and purpose is an important step in this process.

  • Organizations with a shared purpose and goal tend to have that purpose extend into the personal lives of members.

  • In corporate workshops, lessons can be applied both inside and outside the workplace, but the focus remains on developing high performance in the workplace.

  • The Three P’s method (perceive external threats, plan route of progress, be present when completing tasks) helps teams achieve shared goals through collaborative imagery.

  • Team Imagery results in setting milestones and improving communication to support perseverance and increase likelihood of success.

  • Three ground rules foster the right learning environment: collaboration, autonomy, and mastery.

  • Perceiving external threats involves perspective-taking to understand competitors. But beware of perception bias.

  • Diversity of perspectives and a growth mindset help counter perception bias.

  • By taking the perspective of competitors, teams can better anticipate threats and generate internal opportunities.

  • Teams should use “Team Imagery” to envision possible outcomes and create plans:

  1. Imagine the desired outcome (Plan A) in depth, like a story.

  2. Imagine the second-best outcome (Plan B).

  3. Imagine the worst-case scenario (Plan Z).

  • This process reveals milestones and tasks needed to reach the goal. Document responsibilities and deadlines.

  • To stay focused during challenging times, use techniques like the “roundtable” to reconnect to goals and the “pause point” to refocus attention and motivation.

  • Act on tasks, live by values, expect ups and downs. Review progress at milestones.

  • If goals aren’t met, reset with a more realistic goal. Learn from failures.

  • Be loud and proud sharing goals and successes. Openly discuss failures to foster curiosity and collaboration. Continually set new challenging goals after achieving current ones.

Here is a summary of the key points in the passage:

  • Teams inevitably face challenges that can lead to conflict, stress, and poor health if left unresolved. These problems negatively impact productivity.

  • Four common team challenges are:

  1. Here-we-go-again syndrome - feeling like nothing will change despite management’s interventions.

  2. Disconnected goals - when the team’s goals are misaligned.

  3. Burnout - exhaustion from overwork.

  4. Clash of the titans - interpersonal conflict between team members.

  • AIM (Assess, Imagine, Move) helps teams overcome these challenges through imagery exercises and promoting a shared vision and accountability.

  • To overcome “here-we-go-again,” everyone must buy into the vision and goals. Feeling included leads to harmonious passion.

  • “Disconnected goals” happens when sub-teams have mismatched goals. The overarching goal must align.

  • AIM promotes planned accountability - team members solve problems proactively.

  • Burnout is characterized by exhaustion, cynicism/negativity towards work, and reduced professional efficacy. It is caused by chronic workplace stress.

  • Burnout negatively impacts individuals and spreads through teams like a social contagion.

  • Role clarity is important - friction can occur when new team members join and roles overlap or are unclear. Proper onboarding of new members is crucial.

  • Imbalance between workload and resources leads to burnout. Setting boundaries and managing expectations is key.

  • Autonomy over one’s work and ability to say no is important. Leaders should promote discussions about task allocation rather than dictate.

  • Togetherness, social connections, and support networks help prevent burnout. Vulnerability and companionship build bonds.

  • Work-life balance expectations must be set organizationally and individually. Promoting overwork culture creates imbalance.

  • Burnout was exacerbated during COVID-19 pandemic when work-home boundaries blurred. Routines suffered.

The key is open communication, role clarity, reasonable workload, autonomy, work-life balance, and social support systems to prevent burnout.

Here are a few key points on managing teams and overcoming challenges like burnout and clashes:

  • Give team members autonomy and let them volunteer for tasks rather than assigning them. This prevents burnout and promotes ownership.

  • Build a culture of support and empathy, where team members look out for each other’s needs and goals. This prevents isolation and promotes collaboration.

  • Address conflicts by focusing on understanding different personalities and communication styles. Reframe clashes as opportunities for growth.

  • Encourage self-management through work-life balance and self-care. Burnout often stems from poor boundaries.

  • Foster imagination and innovation in teams by promoting autonomy and empathy. This takes pressure off the leader to solve everything.

  • Use tools like motivational interviewing, surveys, and personality assessments to build self-awareness. This prevents conflicts and promotes healthy communication.

  • Model vulnerability and openness as a leader. This builds psychological safety for the team to take risks and be creative.

  • Reframe team challenges as opportunities to grow and learn. Shift the mindset from complaint to collaboration.

The key is to build trust, communicate authentically, and help each member feel valued. This creates belonging and shared accountability. With the right culture, teams can overcome almost any challenge.

  • Next-level team imagery involves using imagery to make a positive impact on the world beyond your own goals or your team’s goals. Examples could include tackling issues like climate change, education, mental health, etc.

  • There is often a “Gray Rhino Effect” where people know action is needed to address a global issue but they don’t act with enough urgency. This may be due to not feeling the issue affects them personally or feeling their efforts wouldn’t matter.

  • Motivation to act on global issues can be understood through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs - people focus first on basic needs before transcending to self-actualization and making a broader impact.

  • To motivate teams to take on global issues, leaders should connect the issue to the team’s purpose and values, make it personally relevant, leverage peer motivation, and use imagery techniques.

  • Imagery can help teams envision solutions, see how they can contribute, imagine the future result, and be inspired to act. It moves the issue from abstract to emotionally compelling.

  • Taking on a global cause requires teams to stretch beyond their day-to-day goals and priorities. It takes commitment but brings immense rewards.

  • With inspired leadership and purpose-driven team imagery, organizations can drive progress on the world’s greatest challenges.

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs places self-actualization and fulfilling goals at the top. But research shows happiness comes more from social connections than self-actualization.

  • You are happier when those around you have their needs met. Ignoring others’ suffering diminishes your quality of life.

  • Imagery fosters connection, allowing us to relate to others realistically. It helps create a flexible, winning attitude to find solutions.

  • Companies are making visionary changes towards sustainability, like Ford’s recyclable cars and Starbucks’ green stores.

  • On climate change, the Gray Rhino Effect has put humanity on the verge of catastrophe. Many feel it’s too late, but human-created solutions are needed.

  • AIM teaches imaginal skills to overcome inertia and take action. It connects people to persevere through challenges.

  • Teams can use imagery to envision negative outcomes of inaction, sparking motivation for change. Then they can develop plans to implement solutions.

  • Timing is key - people only change when ready. Forcing change fails. But imagery creates motivation and solutions for the right time.

  • For people to sustain change, their personal autonomy and self-determination must be fostered. Assessing someone’s readiness for change on a scale of 0-10 allows for reflection and discussion about their motivations.

  • Change requires creativity throughout the process of planning, starting, struggling, and succeeding. Imagining success helps motivate change.

  • Timing is crucial when implementing change. Importance and readiness are not always aligned. rDiscussing ratings of importance, confidence, and readiness helps teams find the right goals and timing.

  • Having shared goals turns lone wolves into a wolf pack that can drive change through aligned purpose, urgency, and accountability. Diverse thinking and collaboration are key to a high-performing team.

  • Creative solutions require bringing together diverse perspectives in a supportive environment. Expanding our minds and collaborating across differences is essential to address today’s complex problems.

Overall, the chapter emphasizes the power of imagination, diverse collaboration, and finding the right timing and goals to motivate personal and collective change. Fostering autonomy while building urgency and accountability can help teams come together to drive impact.

  • Diverse thinkers who challenge our views are essential for solving problems, innovating, and achieving goals, even though our natural tendency is to prefer hanging out with like-minded people.

  • Good teams recognize the importance of diversity in thinking, personalities, and backgrounds. Differences enable people to find their unique contributions and think creatively as a unit.

  • In the military, soldiers with diverse preferences (e.g. directing vs following plans) all contribute unique skills to developing and executing strategy as a team.

  • Imagery training through AIM improves flexible thinking and creativity in groups as they develop new ideas together. AIM provides an equal platform for diverse thinkers to engage in planning.

  • Sacrifice and developing new norms are often necessary to achieve demanding goals, whether as an individual or a team. This can involve giving things up or changing behavior to support your identity and purpose.

  • AIM helps teams like Olympic athletes establish norms and accountability around their unified goals. This commitment often inspires sacrifice and spreads through “talent hotbeds” as contagious norms.

  • Corporate teams can also use AIM to shape norms (like Zoom-free Fridays) that improve conditions while making necessary sacrifices, boosting autonomy through meaning.

Here are a few key points from the conclusion:

  • The goal of the book has been to help readers tap into their inner power of imagination. This can help them focus on the big picture and achieve their dreams rather than getting sidetracked by small setbacks.

  • Readers can now consciously choose where to focus their attention. They can focus on negative emotions from a setback, or take a broader perspective and see the positives.

  • With practice, readers will become more aware of their inner self-talk and “choice points” where they can steer their thoughts and actions towards their goals.

  • Imagery skills will become more vivid with practice. Readers can use elaboration and mental rehearsal to constantly refine their vision and purpose.

  • Change happens gradually through many small, conscious choices towards one’s goals and values. Readers now have tools to steer their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in a meaningful direction.

  • The journey begins with self-reflection to clarify values and purpose. Once connected to deeper meaning, there is motivation to maintain commitment and momentum.

  • The ultimate goal is to tap into one’s inner power of imagination and focus. This allows achieving dreams rather than getting sidetracked by obstacles.

Here are the key takeaways from the passage:

  • Live according to your values. Your values are your “wild card” that can help you overcome any obstacle. Know your values and use them to guide your choices.

  • Attitude is more important than beliefs. You can hold limiting beliefs but still make progress with the right attitude. Be curious, flexible, and willing to try.

  • Elaborate when using imagery. Engage multiple senses and emotions to create vivid mental experiences. This prepares you for future challenges.

  • Practice imagery daily. Set cues, like your morning coffee, to trigger positive imagery about your desired future. Reset unhelpful thoughts with cues like deep breaths.

  • Apply imagery in teams via AIM - Anticipate, Imagine, Motivate. This aligns people to values and goals.

  • Keep practicing imagery to gain mastery. Refine your personal style. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes.

Here are the key points from Chapter 1:

  • The brain constantly switches between two distinct modes of thinking - the “imagery network” and the “default mode network”. The imagery network is active when we visualize or imagine something, while the default mode handles more analytical thinking.

  • We can get stuck in default mode, leading to overthinking and lack of motivation. Shifting to the imagery network through visualization exercises can boost motivation and help achieve goals.

  • Research shows imagery enhances motivation in areas like weight loss, academic performance, sports, and overcoming addictions.

  • Imagery helps by making goals more vivid and attainable. It activates the brain’s reward centers.

  • Everyone has the ability to leverage the power of imagery. With practice we can get better at switching between analytical and visual thinking modes.

The key is becoming more aware of our thinking patterns, and purposefully activating the imagery network through techniques like Functional Imagery Training. This book provides practical steps to do this.

Here is a summary of the key points from the references:

  • Motivational interviewing is an effective counseling technique developed by William Miller and colleagues to help people overcome addictions and other problems by eliciting their own internal motivations for change.

  • Elaborated intrusion theory proposes that desires and cravings involve vivid mental imagery, which can be targeted through interventions like functional imagery training.

  • Mental imagery activates similar brain regions as actual motor actions, and imagery vividness can be measured through questionnaires. However, some people have aphantasia and lack voluntary visual imagery.

  • Functional imagery training combines mental imagery with implementation intentions and has been used to enhance motivation and perseverance (grit) in domains like sports.

  • Mindsets influence learning and performance, with a growth mindset supporting resilience and effort. Imagery can help instill adaptive mindsets.

  • A person-centered motivational imagery approach tailors imagery content to individual values, goals, and needs.

  • Intrinsic motivations like purpose and autonomy are more sustainable than extrinsic motivations like money. Imagery can make values and passions more salient.

  • Beyond basic needs, self-actualization motivations help people achieve their full potential. Imagery facilitates creativity, flow states, and peak experiences.

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About Matheus Puppe