“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
Had I not read this first in A Tale of Two Cities, I may have used it to describe what life was like for me a couple of years ago.
I had spent the year prior putting together a proposal for a book that I was sure would change the entire landscape of recovery and personal development. By 2018, I was in possession of a polished proposal, and a head full of dreams.
Every morning, I got up hours before I had to be in the shower, and sent query letters to literary agents. Many of these queries led to permission to send my proposal. The excitement began to wane as I received email after email, all basically saying the same thing: “No, thanks.”
To paraphrase Jen Sincero in her book, You Are A Badass, when you reach that point where you cannot imagine continuing to try another minute, you are almost at the point where you will succeed. I can attest to the fact that she wasn’t kidding.
Almost immediately after I left the hypnotist in Woodstock (yes, I did go to a hypnotist to erase all the negativity of the rejection letters), I received the email that changed everything. Someone believed in my project enough to sign me.
Even after that victory, I continued to receive rejection letters. This time, they were from the best publishers in the business. After about the 15th or 16th one, I began to become convinced that my dreams were unrealistic. I’d google things like, “How many authors with agents don’t get book deals?” I wanted to crawl into a hole when that search revealed to me that many authors with agents, in fact, don’t get deals.
I had a life coach, at the time, who convinced me to put together a vision board consisting of a picture of my book on the shelf at Barnes and Noble, a check for an advance from my future publisher, logos for podcasts I wanted to be interviewed on, and just about anything else I could think of. I’d do cardio on my rebounder every morning, staring at that vision board until those images were seared into my brain.
If you are not familiar with my story, then you might not know that Kickass Recovery was released in March 2020, and my advance was not too distant from the dream check I had placed on my vision board.
This, however, is not the conclusion of my story.
Never being one to be satisfied with making the impossible come true, I began to try to find my dream partner.
In the process of writing the book that I was given two months to complete, I used some of my advance to join Match.com, OkCupid, and Zoosk. When I needed to blow off some steam, I would scroll through the numerous profile pics and strike up conversations with a variety of women I had no business talking to. I was armed with the idea that I had just accomplished the greatest thing, and I kept running into people who would’ve been more impressed if I had a ride-on mower and a paid-off mortgage. It was frustrating, but I was convinced that when my book came out, I would find my person.
I was right, too. Not two weeks after my book hit the shelves, the universe gifted me with a woman I wouldn’t have even had the guts to imagine last year. It’s difficult to describe the depth of my feelings for this lady, except to say that the fact that we live on opposite coasts of the United States was a minor obstacle. The fact that we are in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic is also just an obstacle. She and I knew right away that nothing was going to keep us apart for long.
Last month, I purchased tickets for her to come to New York in September, primarily because that month seemed far enough away to feel safe. As it happened, things began to get intense between the two of us, and she suggested that I print out a calendar page for June and put it on my vision board. I agreed, but I was completely unsure how that could happen given our current situation.
Honestly, I forgot all about having printed that out until I was walking out the door to work the other day and it caught my eye. As it turned out, I had requested two weeks off to go on a book tour (when book tours were still a thing). She and I decided to use that time to, instead, drive cross-country and begin our life together. The fact that this is taking place during the first two weeks of June might be considered a coincidence and, then again, maybe it isn’t.
It’s quite possible that on some subconscious level, our life together is beginning in June because that is the month that I have been unconsciously staring at for weeks as I drank my morning coffee, prepared my lunch for work, talked on the phone, or shut the lights out before bed.
I don’t consider this magical thinking, because I have seen it work too many times already. My book is on the shelf at Barnes and Noble. I am getting interviewed on podcasts. I did get the advance I dreamed about.
The gifts that this life has in store for us come not only from hard work, but also from faith; and when you create a vision board, you are making space for faith. As a man who has manifested his wildest dreams, I can vouch for them. They are an important tool in the process of turning vision into reality.