You’re Going to Believe This

Have you ever felt like your goal was just a dream? It’s something you want, and on some level you know you can do it; it just feels a little out of reach. It’s not something you’ve accomplished before, or maybe it’s been a long time since you did, and there’s an element of doubt.

So this time, how are you going to make that dream really happen? I’ll tell you what my daughter Micah did once. She was unhappy in her job and needed a change. She said she had been looking for something else but just wasn’t finding anything that paid as well. She knew she needed to find her next job before she could leave the situation she was in.

So I helped her work on a vision statement. She wrote it as a vision, not as a goal, because goals are worded as though you don’t yet have the thing you want. Vision statements speak as though it has already happened. She put feeling into it and wrote all the details about her new job: what kind of job it was, what skills it was helping her build, what it paid, and the date by which she started—she wrote down a date that was only a month away.

Micah was diligent about reading her vision statement every day, morning and night. I saw the paper; it was well worn. Within about 10 days, she landed a fantastic job in an entirely different industry. Not only that, but it was a job normally reserved for existing employees within the company. She had actually passed over that requirement to get the position.

The key to my daughter’s vision statement working was her consistency in reading it. She kept it at the top of her mind and was committed enough to it that she believed it.

I have an amazing friend, Richard Brooke. He’s a leadership coach, public speaker, and author who teaches how to achieve a plan. He says that if you keep reciting your vision to yourself, your subconscious mind will hear it and begin to feel as though that vision has actually happened.

“The amount of time it takes is different for everybody,” Richard teaches, “and it depends on what we’re looking to take on, but somewhere between 30 and 100 movements, that powerful part of us starts to believe what we’re telling it is true, and so it starts to dance in alignment with it.”

Keep focusing on what you want. Do it over and over again until you believe it. Even when you have thoughts like, “Oh, this is ridiculous. I’ve never done anything like this,” keep feeding your vision. Write it down. Say it out loud. Your creative mind will start to listen.

Before you know it, your vision will feel so real to you that you will feel like you’re already there. You will naturally act like you are, and you will start to perform at a higher level. That’s when that thing you want happens.

Your goal is not a dream. Now is your chance to dismiss whatever disbelief in yourself you’re hanging onto that’s keeping you from already having what you want. Envision it, believe it, and make it happen.



Minding Your Ps & Qs

Jackie and I went to Boston a few years back to see the all the history and enjoy a Luther Vandross concert. She loves that guy. (I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say I gave a little sigh of relief when he went on to sing in the choirs of heaven.) Anyway, one of the many amazing historical sites we visited was a place called Buckman Tavern.

John Buckman was a member of the Lexington Training Band. In those years the tavern was a favorite gathering place for militiamen. On the morning of April 19, 1775, dozens of militiamen gathered in this tavern to await the British troops. Word of their arrival came just before sunrise, and the men left the tavern to assemble in ranks. Both armies gathered. A single shot was fired. To this day, no one knows for sure who fired it, but that shot began the American Revolutionary War.

The original tavern is very small; they’ve now added a store. When Jackie and I went inside, we saw a large fireplace and a few tables. I remember our tour guide pointing to a wall with knife scratches in it and saying, “Here’s where they kept track of their Ps and Qs.”

My mother used to use that phrase. “Mind your Ps and Qs,” she would say. I knew it meant to be good. I thought it meant I should remember to say please and thank you—there’s a P and a Q in that, right? Or maybe it meant that a lowercase p and a lowercase q mirror each other and you need to be careful to use the right one.

So I asked, “Ps and Qs?” She said, “Yes. Pints and quarts.” The knife marks helped patrons keep a running tally of their bills.  If someone started to get out of hand, the bartender would shout, “Mind your Ps and Qs!” to keep them in check.

I’m not sure if the origin of minding your Ps & Qs really came from bars. Maybe it did. I guess it doesn’t matter. I still like it.

Minding your Ps & Qs is really just a way to keep us in check, whatever your own Ps and Qs are. Don’t buy more than you can afford or manage. Always be polite. Be careful with what you’re doing.

If there’s one thing this world needs a little more of, it’s kindness and self control. Just think what could happen if everyone in the world, right now, decided to mind their Ps and Qs.

Saying please and thank you wouldn’t be awkward. People would get out of debt. We would all be kinder to each other. We would work harder. Maybe spend less time in front of a screen.

Let’s start our own revolution and bring back Ps & Qs. We can start in our own families, with our own selves, spouses, and children. Then branch off into other weird places like school, church, ball games, and where we take our dry cleaning.

Even the biggest doors swing on small hinges.