I remember being 22 years old and sitting in an auditorium with 160 kids on the stage. The principal had offered me a job as a music specialist in the esteemed private school in our area.

I had intended on saying, “No” to the offer but when I walked up to her, “Yes” came out of my mouth in such an unexpected way that I looked behind me to see who said that.

But alas, it was me.

I had said it.

Stacey, who grew up LOVING music and musicals and had become a professional musician at the age of 15, had now agreed to pass the love along to the next generation while she learned to herd children on a stage for a 90-minute production.

Oy vey.

So, living in my “Yes”, I was now the proud owner of almost 200 kiddos to prepare for a big musical.

I turned to the principal who didn’t appear to be sweating with stress as I was and said, “Mary. Ummm… How do I do this?”

And the three steps she told me that day — and some additional ones that I learned through the process — became the framework I have used for my business, personal life, family, community, and dream-building for last 28 years.

Begin with the End in Mind

For the musical, I wanted the kids to be able to sing and dance their parts to Godspell with confidence, joy, and skill.

The end was clear to me and I could see it in my mind because I had seen that musical a scrillion times as a kid and young adult. It was one of my favorites.

What about for your health, or weight, or my business ventures, or trips to Italy?

The same rules apply!

For my weight, I think not only about the number on the scale but about the feeling to be free of the extra poundage. Being able to move my body, fit into the boyfriend jeans without adjusting everything and holding my breath, and being able to express myself as freely as I want.

For my clients who deal with marriage issues or financial struggles or health challenges, sometimes they don’t have a vision for what it would be like to be in a good place. The current moments are so hard that It’s difficult for them to imagine there ever being relief or a goal reached.

So, I walk them through exercises to help them either gain a clear vision or to get present to the feeling it would elicit to have things be different.

You know why?

Because where we don’t have an EXACT vision, we can focus on the feeling of JOY.

I may not be able to see myself as unburdened by debt, but I know that if I were, I’d feel JOY.
I may not be able to see myself as skinny, but I know that if I were, I’d feel JOY!
I may not be able to see myself in a whole and loving marriage, but I know that if I were, I’d feel JOY!

So where we lack vision, we can focus on the good feelings we would feel if we had that good thing in our life.

Either vision leads to our joy or our joy leads to our vision.

We can get there one way or another.

Know What You Need

For the musical, I didn’t just need the kids to sing and dance and know their parts. I needed to order risers, have sets built, costumes designed, lighting cues prepared, posters created to advertise and tickets sold.

For my life, I’ve recognized that there is a bigger evaluation required than to just “lose weight.”

It’s about deciding what food plan I’m doing.
Shopping for the foods.
Getting buy-in from my family.
Planning for holidays and special events.
Considering mood changes and ways to discharge that.
What exercise I’m committing to.
What supplements I’m taking.
When is my bedtime going to be so I can set myself up to win and not eat from being tired or stressed.

So, while it’s important to have the vision and the joy, we also have to do the practical work of knowing what we need so that we have a clearer picture of what is going to be required of us.

Evaluate the Time Frame

For the musical, I had 12 weeks. In the first month I had one rehearsal a week and then, in the second month, I would have two, and in the last month three rehearsals a week plus some extras as needed.

Knowing that allowed me to take my vision, and the elements required, and break them up into digestible parts so that everything could get covered over the time frame.

If we’re talking weight loss and I want to lose 30 pounds in 3 months, I’m going to have to take on a commitment that supports losing 10 pounds a month.

If we want to learn a new language or for me, take my Italian learning to the next level before I leave for our Italian Retreat in October then, I have to pace myself for the next 3 months to work x amount of hours a week in order to reach my goal.

Same thing with debt free or saving for a house or teaching a new skill to your employees…


Does this feel like good practical advice so far? There is more that I will be sharing next week as this topic continues, but I want to pause here and let you digest this so that you can see where those three most important elements are present — or need to be present in your lives.

And let me add this…

I know for me, especially with a health condition, it can feel too loose to have no goals or structure (those are called wishes, by the way — a dream without a plan is just a wish, my friends.)

But it can also feel too tight if I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to get an unreasonable amount done in a short time.

Using this basic structure of:

Begin with the End in Mind

Know What You Need

Evaluate the Time Frame

Allows you to create the framework and structure so that what matters most to you can be realized in great and practical ways.

Sending you love and looking forward to sharing more next week.