Walt Disney once said "It's kind of fun to do the impossible". That quote has never been as profoundly clear as a story that has mystified me for years, concluding the most obvious truth: With a clear business plan and the power of visualizing, anything that seems impossible can truly become a reality.
As part of my job to research the behavior and patterns of successful people, I have read and re-read closely the memoire of Richard Prince, the father of Venus and Serena Williams, as well as researched most of his interviews.
The part of the book, Black and White, that really fascinates me is when he starts to talk about the day he became infatuated with the game of tennis, having never played the sport before in his whole life.
“One Sunday, we were all watching television and I asked [my stepdaughter] Yetunde to change the channels. We didn’t have a remote and she turned from one channel to the next and waited for my approval.
Something caught my attention. It was a tennis match. I will never forget standing there in amazement, watching the tournament director present a twenty five year old professional tennis player from Romania a forty thousand dollar check for winning the tournament.”
He goes on to write “Without hesitation, I said to myself ‘I’m going to have two kids and put them in tennis’.
I found myself fantasizing about my as-yet-unborn daughters playing tennis.
If one woman could win that much money, I wanted two daughters to play the game. Double the winning!”
So Williams first imagination was two children, and more specifically, two daughters. I find this fascinating that you can visualize your future, and get extremely granular in who and what you see in it.
Williams continues to write “Yet, with any new venture, there is always skepticism."
He started doubting himself:
‘I don’t know anything about tennis’
‘How am I going to teach a game I can’t even play?’
Setting the doubt apart and fully visualizing what he wanted, he became even more determined. "I was determined that my children will be set apart from the rest of the tennis players just like a star. They will be distinguished because they are going to dominate the game”.
How did he proceed to make his vision a reality? Through a well-defined plan.
"I always believe in planning ahead. My motto was 'When you fail to plan, you plan to fail'. I went into my office and began to plan for the day my daughters would dominate the game of tennis. My plan was a seventy eight page typewritten document covering every aspect of tennis training for my daughters.”
During some of his interviews Williams mentions that before his daughters were born, a lot people used to think he was crazy because he used to walk around with a sign, ‘number 1 girls in the world’.
And he went off to groom two of the greatest athletes of our time.
What is in this 78-page typewritten "business plan" is a mystery, and I have searched across all documents to find out what the details in it include. Why do I care so much about this 78-page document, especially since I have no interest in the game of tennis for me, my kids or my clients?
Because close to two decades later, Leonard Francois, the father to Naomi and Mari Osaka, followed the same blueprint and business plan to get his two daughters, Naomi and Mari Osaka, involved in tennis.
Francois then took the training plan of Williams and began to apply it to his own daughters. He said during an interview “The blueprint was already there. I just had to follow it.”
Now, Osaka is considered to be one of the top stars in the women’s tennis universe.
I’m obsessed with this story because it shows the power of visualizing what you want, even when it seems completely impossible. For Richard Williams, he visualized his daughters (especially two of them) becoming world champions, before they were even born. Without a proper plan, they may have never started on the court until they were teenagers.
His plan defeated the impossible.
Now could there have been others who followed this same process and didn’t make it? Of course. Talent, skill and luck definitely have something to do with it. He could have had two sons, he could have been not able to have children, or many other challenges.
But given his well thought-out plan on his execution process (starting with teaching himself the game of tennis), he probably would have improvised to make his dream of two children (even if they were potentially adopted) a possibility.
As a leadership and sales coach, I work with so many executives who lower their standards and upside potential as it seems impossible for them to achieve, or it seems way outside their league to pursue what you truly want.
If you have a vision and it seems overly impossible, map it out, document it with a clear business plan, and take the right actions, believing that the universe will help you bring it to reality. With a plan that is well-documented, well thought-out, well researched, and fully executed strategy, any idea, business, dream can become a reality.
Amy Parvaneh is the founder and CEO of Select Advisors Institute. Since 2013, our firm has worked with executives, CEO's and all of their employees to focus on their goals and find tools and strategies to achieve them. To learn more about how we can help you build a roadmap and execute, please contact us by filling out the form below.