Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sweet Dreams

This morning as I walked my dog Harry I noticed many houses decorated for Halloween. I love this time of year. The air is crisp and the leaves are changing colors. There are many families with young children in my neighborhood so the decorations can be quite elaborate. One house put up fake tombstones in their front yard. I had to chuckle when I read the inscription on one of them, “I told you I was sick.” Another house has a giant inflatable black cat in their front yard. As my dog approached, the cat’s head turned and poor Harry jumped a foot in the air.

Tonight will be my 16th year trick or treating with my kids. We will go house to house knocking on doors asking for goodies. It wasn’t always this way. When my oldest son was born we were living in NYC. We never walked the streets at Halloween; instead we took the elevator from one apartment floor to the next. I remember complaining to my wife that we were wasting our lives waiting for the elevator. We lived on the 21st floor and I was ready to move into a house. I wanted to raise a family in a neighborhood. My wife suggested I stop complaining and start doing something about it.

The next day I bought a big map of the United States and hung it in our hallway. Every day after work we would cross off a state we didn’t want to live in. Weeks went by and it was pretty easy to see we wanted to stay on the East Coast. After a month we had narrowed our dream places to live to just three states…North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. A hurricane rolled through North Carolina so we took it off the list and we were down to two.

I will never forget what happened next. I received a phone call from a man with a southern accent. He told me he wanted to buy my business under the condition that we relocate to Atlanta, Georgia to help him with the transition. What was very odd about this call was that my business was not for sale. He offered to fly me to Atlanta to visit and discuss the deal. I fell in love with the city and sold my business. The next thing you know we were trick or treating in the suburbs of Atlanta. It didn’t take long for our vision to come true.

This happens more often than you might imagine. Take for example the 28-year-old woman who fell in love with the book, The Color Purple. She bought a book for every one of her friends. When she heard they were making a movie she was obsessed about being involved. Her dream was to star in the movie but she had never acted before. Every night before bed she made a list of ways she could participate in the movie. Her list included actress, understudy, costume designer, caterer, and even cleaning lady. As she drifted off to sleep she pictured herself winning an award for her debut performance.

Then one day she received a phone call from a casting director asking her to audition. She was shocked because she had never even applied for a role in the movie. She went to the audition but she didn’t hear back. She thought she was too overweight so she went to a clinic to get healthy. While she was there she received another call. This time it was from the director, Steven Spielberg, who asked her to fly to LA for a second audition. It turned out that while Quincy Jones, the producer of the movie, was visiting Chicago, a woman on a local TV show called A.M. Chicago caught his attention. This unknown talk show host was Oprah Winfrey. She got the part in the movie, was nominated for an academy award, and her career was launched.

Far too many of us focus on what we don’t want in life rather than what we do want. Create a vision for the dreams you desire and start imagining all the ways they can come true. Don’t allow negative thoughts to spoil your vision. Doubting yourself is like rehearsing for what you don’t want. Knock. Knock. Trick or Treat. Choose wisely and you will enjoy sweet dreams.

Until next week…

Live Your Dreams

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