My husband and I have been working on a longer-term goal for several years now. Whenever the vision of its accomplishment begins to fade, we have a conversation to check in on whether or not the goal is still important to us, and whether or not we need to refocus our efforts. We talk about how it will look when it is accomplished. We talk about how it will feel to be living what we’ve envisioned. We talk about how old the children will be at that time, and what they will likely be doing at that stage of their lives.
This recently happened. I had been feeling like we were drifting away from the path that leads to its accomplishment, so I took some extra time to envision it again, add some extra detail, and once again feel the feelings I expect to feel when it is achieved. I brought it up during our date night, and we worked on gaining some clarity on the picture in our heads.
I’ve learned that we don’t even have to be physically closer to its achievement; this exercise alone helps me feel on track and increases my belief that unseen things are happening to line up the resources and ideas we will need to see it through.
With a shift in mental focus, you can feel successful right now. And the longer you keep your mind in that place, the more energy you feel, and the more brilliant your ideas become. You become a genius in your problem-solving activities.
Dave Ramsey talks about having “gazelle intensity” – where you are locked on to ONE objective, and where you let NOTHING distract you from your focus on achieving it. I’ve had this kind of goal-achievement intensity before, and I know it works. It can be exhausting, but at the same time really energizing. I’ve had success with it often enough, that part of me feels like my goals cannot be achieved without it.
(Although, I know that’s not necessarily true, because I’ve also achieved some amazing goals by only having a brief but meaningful moment seeing and feeling it done, and then relaxing and living each day peacefully, working toward the goal at a healthy, sustainable speed.)
But since the goal my husband and I have been working on is already five years old, and since the visible progress is not very impressive, I found myself feeling like maybe this one won’t happen without gazelle intensity. So with a renewed determination to move the needle on this goal, I initiated one of those “checking in” conversations. By the end of the evening, we felt more on track, and ready to focus like a gazelle.
A few days later, he started talking about wanting a certain truck. He told me all about the size and style he wanted, and several ways that he imagined being able to make it happen. But I wasn’t inspired; instead I was troubled, because… hadn’t we just decided to be laser-focused on the other goal?
That his attention could seem to be so easily diverted to a completely different goal bothered me. He didn’t mention how he saw the truck purchase fitting in with the original goal, or in what order he planned to act on them both. It sounded like the first goal had just been forgotten. It kind of sent me into a depression for several days until we finally had a chance to talk about it. What came out of that talk was a brand new epiphany, which I felt might be helpful to someone else:
Even though he sounded like he was getting ready to make it happen in the next couple months, in reality, he was just trying it on for size, imagining “what if”, and allowing himself to feel it as if it was already done. He was exploring the possibility and seeing how it would feel, but he wasn’t 100% decided.
Well, he was doing such a good job of “acting as though” that he had me convinced that its purchase was next on his to-do list. He assured me he wasn’t going to let it to throw us off our other goals, and his assurance helped me feel much better.
That’s when I realized there are at least TWO kinds of dream-building. The first I will simply call “Day Dreaming”, because I think this is what most people do, most often. It is researching, shopping, imagining, trying the idea on, checking to see how it would feel if it actually happened. Not necessarily with a firm, resolved intention to MAKE it happen, but with a less-committed imagining to simply explore the possibilities.
The other kind is what I call “Staking Your Claim”. It’s the step you take AFTER exploring the possibilities (trying them on, checking to see how they would feel it they actually happened), and then DECIDING what you intend to accomplish, or what NEEDS to happen. It’s the QUALITY DECISION that sets the intention in stone. It’s mentally taking the arrow, walking up to the target, thrusting it firmly into the bulls eye, attaching a string to the end of the arrow, returning back to your current position, and then physically rolling up the string (taking the best actions you can think of) until it has literally pulled you to the goal.
When you’ve Staked Your Claim and start moving your feet, you might head off in the wrong direction, but it’s okay, because no matter what you do or where you go, the string will tug you in the RIGHT direction until you’ve reached the bulls eye. You will INSTINCTIVELY know what to do, and you’ll know when you’re off course.
That’s the power of a Quality Decision. That’s the power of Staking Your Claim.
So when my husband and I realized there was a difference in these two kinds of dream-building exercises, he was able to assure me that, in his mind, our first goal is still a done deal. The claim has been staked, and we are making our way to that inevitable result. As for the truck, he was simply “Day Dreaming”.
Knowing this, and knowing that he is conscious of the difference, helped me feel assured that he hadn’t given up on the original goal. There will likely come a day when he’s ready to Stake His Claim on the truck, too, but for now, he’s just Day Dreaming, and he knows it.
Both mental exercises are important in the goal-achievement process. Day Dreaming helps you get detail, and with detail, it is easier to “feel” it. Just don’t confuse Day Dreaming with Staking Your Claim. They are not the same. While both play a part in the process, don’t fool yourself into believing that success is inevitable if all you’ve been doing is Day Dreaming.
There are two kinds of Dream Building. What’s the difference?
Day Dreaming: envisioning yourself experiencing the goal achieved. You might envision one thing one day, and something totally different the next day. Whenever you entertain a dream, all that you’d need to accomplish it begins to gather. But when you change your mind and decide that you don’t need to achieve it after all, everything needed to accomplish it begins to dissipate.
Staking Your Claim: envisioning yourself experiencing the goal achieved, and committing yourself to seeing it through, no matter what. It looks the same as Day Dreaming but there is an added level of determination and commitment. It comes with a decision to reject all thoughts of failure. It’s refusing to give attention to anything that threatens to take you off course.
Surprisingly, you CAN achieve a goal by Day Dreaming without resolved intention, without Staking Your Claim. As long as there is a picture in your mind, and a feeling as though it is real, it can be accomplished without resolved intention, so long as you don’t throw the idea away before it’s realized. Day Dreaming without Staking Your Claim only becomes fruitless if you keep changing your mind, or when you allow yourself to doubt too much.
If the thing you need is urgent and important, you can achieve it by simply pausing to see it done, and feeling what you expect to feel when it is. This moves your thoughts up to a higher-level where the solution to that problem is already being broadcast. Take action on that new idea, and you’ll achieve the goal. You don’t need to stop to decide if it was day-dreaming or stake-claiming, because it really doesn’t matter. Sometimes the urgency alone turns a regular daydream into a staking-your-claim moment because you already know exactly what you need, and the purpose of your visualization is to find the solution quick. Sometimes you demonstrate resolved intention simply by stopping your efforts long enough to “see it done”.
(This actually just happened to me this morning. I had been spending the last couple days trying to balance my checkbook in one of my accounts, and no matter how many times I ran the numbers and double-checked each transaction, I was still $25.77 off. I gave myself a horrendous headache trying to find the error, and I feel like I wasted a whole lot of time with no progress. There was obviously a bug in the program, because I only had 42 transactions selected, but the total at the top of the page said there were 44 transactions selected. Customer support was closed, so I nursed my headache and planned to call them in the morning. This morning I woke up to an email notification, that one of our Mindset Mastery program participants had two experiments that proved successful all in the same day. I was reminded of the power of visualization, so I stopped and pictured the reconcile page with a green checkmark and a big “ZERO” in the discrepancy field. I kind of chuckled, smiled, and thought, “Okay, here we go.” I went back to the screen and thought that maybe I should expand the search parameters. And bam – in less than 30 seconds I found two transactions from over 6 months ago that were throwing everything off. It never ceases to amaze me. I had given myself a headache for two days, but when I finally stopped to picture and feel success, I had it solved in thirty seconds.)
The reason I’m writing this post now is because it’s something I wish I had understood 25 years ago. We had been taught how important it was to Dream Build. To imagine better circumstances, to see ourselves in happier situations. But I never understood the point. I never understood what it was supposed to do for us. So we’d go to the home shows, and we’d test drive cars. We’d imagine family vacations, and rich, rewarding relationships. But all it did was make me hate my life all the more, because it was only a constant reminder of how things WEREN’T. We were only Day Dreaming. We would imagine things, but didn’t know how to protect those dream-seeds. We envisioned, and then got frustrated. We pictured what we wanted, and then got angry that it wasn’t true. We planted seeds, and constantly pulled them back out of the ground. Now, when I picture what I want, I know exactly what I’m doing and why. I know that I’m planting a seed, and I know exactly how to let it grow.
I’d say that at least 90% of my mental exercises are Day Dreaming, and 10% or less are Staking A Claim. It can take time on some of the longer-term goals to figure out what you really want. It can take time to figure out whether the thing you want is good for you, or whether it will lead to pain. (There are enticements in this world that look attractive on the surface, but which can keep us from finding true joy, and fulfilling our true purpose. Seek for the things that will bring you the greatest joy, and which will last the longest. Trust me, seeking treasures in heaven can sometimes take just as much Rare Faith as it does to pay your bills when money is tight. The good news is that practicing Rare Faith in meeting your temporal needs can give you valuable experience and increased confidence to do God’s will in other areas of your life.)
So be honest with yourself:
When you imagine success achieved, are you only Day Dreaming, or are you Staking a Claim? If you haven’t experienced the results you want, maybe it’s time to step it up and bravely make that quality decision. It’s a scary thing to do; what if it doesn’t work? What if you fail? What if you put it all on the line and nothing happens? Scary indeed. But I promise, the principles are true. You don’t have to take my word for it, you can test it for yourself.
I’d like to help.
“We put [it] to the test for one week. I [did as we were taught] for $2,000 dollars… I had just lost my job the week before and our current balance in the account was $100 dollars… We had no idea where $2,000 dollars could come from but felt if there was ever a test this would be it. …As soon as a despairing thought came in my mind like ‘How can you get another $1,000 dollars in just one day, I would [do as you taught]…’ On the last day of the test my wife called me … the test was a success because, the goal was achieved and ‘…God is never late’. Thanks again for helping me learn the missing piece. Chris Pierson”
“My wife and I found Leslie … in 2006 when our lives were shattered. We excitedly worked through the 12 week program and saw immediate changes in our lives. We repeated the second half of the course to solidify the teachings. We saw success in many areas of our lives as we applied the principles we learned. We made $100,000 in a network marketing business. I used these principles to discover my true passion and purpose in life and against incredible odds was hired in my dream job competing with more than a thousand other qualified applicants. We used these principles to find a beautiful home that we now live in. We continue to achieve our dreams and goals because we now know how. Success is predictable!” Ken and Debbie Carroll, Sandy, Utah.
If you want help Staking Your Claim effectively, join me now in the Mindset Mastery Program. Currently, I provide one-on-one assistance at the midterm*, but this service will not be available forever. As more people join the program, I am less able to give that personal attention to every participant. Join me now while the assistance is still included, and you’ll be grandfathered in, even if you’re not ready to DO the program for a while.
*My personal assistance is only included with the PHYSICAL version of the program. It is available for purchase for those who choose the ONLINE version instead, but availability is subject to change. If you do not opt for my personal assistance, you will be provided with a special self-directed module, which outlines in detail the assistance I have given to others, and how to give it to yourself.