At the beginning of the year Mary Stovall, a digital strategist whose activities focus around semantic search, created a spreadsheet to track all her different goals. She broke everything down by specific goal and made sure she gave herself reasonable yet challenging times for completing each one. To make sure she kept it all current and stayed on track she developed a new habit. Every day she visits the spreadsheet and marks achievements to indicate progress.
She says: “I'm currently using it to track pre-work for a code school application, re-branding myself and tracking mind, body and spirit goals that keep me healthy and happy.”
The idea that we would need a spreadsheet to help us do what we should be able to do without any kind of aid at all: stay focused, motivated, healthy and happy – attributes that are part of life, is gaining ground because we now know more about the brain and its interconnectedness with the body. We have the tools that shows us exactly what happens when we help each focus correctly and how the two, together, can become an incredibly powerful means of achieving what we want provided we can train them and help them sync.
I spoke to Mary because she was reading The Sniper Mind and I was curious to know how she was using it. A book always comes alive when it becomes a springboard from which readers launch themselves to greater heights. On the basis of what works for one, can easily work for others I asked Mary to share what changes she’d made along the way as she was reading the book.
She said she started: “Setting better boundaries, planning what I need to do daily, weekly and monthly. Keeping up with my spreadsheet, working when I know I am most effective, going to the gym when my brain starts to fade, taking short naps.”
"I'm reading a book called "The Sniper Mind". It teaches you how to think like trained snipers, Navy Seals and elite athletes. I'm using the book to help me achieve more focus, set a higher bar for myself, and accomplish new goals. It's helping me be more confident in myself, my talents and how I can better my contributions to the world.
“As I read the book, I realized it is a book for the ages and that I will be using this book as a framework for becoming a better human professionally and personally. In my next pass of the book, I highlighted text that was meaningful to me, copied "in this chapter you learned" sections into Google Keep, and made notes in Google Drive. Revisiting again, I tabbed the hardcover version to mark the acquisition lists and the science behind the chapters. I did this because these are tools I will come back to often, and I hope to incorporate as a consistent practice until it becomes second nature. I also purchased the Kindle version of the book so I could use wherever I am and made notes there and the audio version to listen to during workouts and sometimes in the car.”
Planning for Work and Working the Plan
Now that she’s finished reading the book Mary is keen to maintain the momentum it gave her. “I plan to keep using the book, I find new nuggets that are helpful each time I read or listen to it. I want to build on my notes and create a more structured plan of action to accomplish more.”
Mary is no stranger to effort, discipline and persistence. Having suffered from low level depression since childhood she’s aware of the need to monitor her own mind and work to make it function at its peak. The Sniper Mind, she says “addresses many of the treatment recommendations, ie: setting realistic goals, exercise and mind body connections.”
She also intimately understands that nothing worth having comes instantly or easily. She says she is “Still a work in progress, I will be using this book for years to come. Every day is a new iteration of myself, my obligations and my hopes and dreams. There is always room to grow as a human.”
We all struggle with work and life all the time. What The Sniper Mind makes obvious is that we can all deal with it better if we learn to apply specific techniques that elite performers learn to apply. The beauty of the book is that not only does it help change one’s perspective but, as Mary says its real power lies in “Knowing that I can achieve a sniper mind regardless of my background, and without military training.” That’s empowerment to both understand ourselves better and then change the way we operate to help us achieve what we want.
Good news is always worth sharing. Empowerment doesn’t just allow us to change ourselves. It changes the way we connect with the world which then affects both our perception of our place in it and our understanding of how we fit in the world in relation to others.
Mary’s description of her recommendation resonates with the kind of quiet, assured confidence that comes from deep within: “I'm reading a book called "The Sniper Mind". It teaches you how to think like trained snipers, Navy Seals and elite athletes. I'm using the book to help me achieve more focus, set a higher bar for myself, and accomplish new goals. It's helping me be more confident in myself, my talents and how I can better my contributions to the world.”