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By Greg Fullerton

I was once privileged to speak with Peter Vidmar, an Olympic gold-medalist and corporate speaker.

In 1983 he was a student and gymnast at UCLA. His workout companion was Tim Daggett, another famous gymnast.  

Peter was obsessed with becoming the best gymnast as possible. He and Tim were chosen to represent the United States in the 1984 Olympics.  

They would practice at least six to seven hours a day. Peter would always be the last one in the gym.  

He told me, "I would be so sore, I would have blisters. I would ache. It was hard. I would be tired. All I would want to do is go home, yet I would always stay."  

The way he got through the most difficult days, he told me, is that he would imagine performing at the Olympics.

"I could see it in my head. I would imagine myself getting up there in front of 50,000 people in the stadium, 2 million watching on television, and I would go through this scenario in my head."

The Chinese team is just ahead of the American team, he would imagine. He is the last American athlete to perform.  

If he gets a perfect 10 on the pommel horse, the U.S.A. men's team will win the all around gold medal in men's gymnastics for the first time ever in U.S. Olympic history.  

He said,  

"This is when I'm tired, and when I want to quit, and when I want to go home. I would go up to my routine and I would imagine the judge. I would wave to the judge and he would wave back to me.  

"I would get ready to do my routine. I would do my mount, I would do my routine. I could see myself doing it. I did it. I would do my dismount.  

"Bam! Perfect 10 –- I'd hold my hands up, the U.S.A. wins the all around gold medal in men's gymnastics."

"That's how I got through the hard part," he told me.  

Jump ahead now to 1984, it's the men's gymnastics. Would you believe it? It's the exact scenario he had been imagining during months of grueling practice.

The Chinese team is just ahead of the American team. Peter Vidmar is the last American athlete to perform.  

He has to get a perfect 10 and if he can do that, the U.S.A. wins the all around gold medal in men's gymnastics.  

I asked Peter, "Weren't you nervous?"  

He answered, "You know, I really wasn't. I'd done it every day. I'd done it every day for a year. All I had to do was go out and do what I was going to do."  

He got on the pommel horse, did a perfect 10, the U.S.A. won the all around gold medal in men's gymnastics for the first time ever.

I've drawn a few lessons from that story.

The first is that passion is absolutely essential to success. Why? Because it's what pushes you through the hard parts.

In the book Getting Rich Your Own Way, investment expert Srully Blotnick shares a study done about more than 200 self-made millionaires. The study sought to identify the commonalities shared by these millionaires.

The first characteristic they shared, Blotnick wrote, is that they were persistent.

"...it was the fact that they picked a field or activity and stuck with it, through good times and bad, which finally allowed it to make them wealthy."

Another trait was that "...they were willing to handle both the nobler and the pettier aspects of their job."

Passion is being able to sacrifice. You will never successfully navigate anything that gets hard if you're not passionate about it.  

With passion, you can endure anything. Without it, you'll quite when it gets hard.

The second lesson I find in Peter's story is the power of vision.

Cognitive neuroscientists tell us that the brain can't tell the difference between reality and imagination. In fact, imagine may be even more powerful.

As Wizard Academy founder Roy H. Williams writes,  

"Though our 100 million sensory receptors enable us to see, hear, feel, taste, and smell the real world, our 10,000 billion brain synapses allow us to relate new data to stored memories and ideas — to experience things that never happened."

Just think of all the fiction books you've read and movies you've watched. Have you ever felt fear, excitement, or sadness during a movie? Why would you feel fear, when you know it's not "real"?

Imagination, vision, visualization is a powerful thing.  

The third thing I've learned from Peter's story is that there is an intimate connection between passion and vision. They feed each other.

The more passionate you are about something, the easier it is to visualize success, and the more you visualize success the more passion is conjured within.

Learn from Peter's story.  

Connect with your deepest, most emotional reason why you're passionate about your business.

Let that passion carry you through the hard times, the rejections, the failures, the stupid things you do and say.

Use vision to fuel your passion.  

Imagine yourself approaching your family and friends. Walk yourself through dozens of scenarios and plan out responses to each.

Allow yourself to feel the pain of rejection, then envision snapping out of it and responding perfectly. Imagine yourself masterfully handling objections.

Passion and vision together are an unbeatable combination. They keep you on track, lift you when you're down, and inspire you to continue moving forward.

What are you passionate about achieving? Can you see, feel, hear, taste, and smell it?  

The more real and detailed your vision is, the more likely you are to succeed.

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