In this episode, I’m sharing an amazing story by John Boggs. John is Mary Morrissey’s eldest son, CEO and faculty member Mary’s Brave Thinking Institute where I earned my DreamBuilder Coach certification. And all the faculty there practice what they teach and are living lives they love.
This is a story that John shared at a training workshop and I found it so compelling because it demonstrates the power of having faith, doing visualizations and taking massive action. He even took some big financial risks – some big leaps of faith.
There were synchronicities and seemingly miraculous events to be sure, but not until he started to take action.
Of course, he had Mary Morrissey, the creator of the DreamBuilder program and Master Coach as his coach…and she was unrelenting in her conviction that it was possible and that he could do it.
And that aspect of the story really inspires me as a coach, because it demonstrates the power of having a mentor who has complete confidence in your ability to manifest their dream.
Neither Mary or John had any idea how it was going to happen but she kept him focused on his vision and taking the next steps and he achieved his dream.
I hope this story will inspire you to make an unwavering commitment to yourself and your vision, and keep taking action.
John’s House Story
After John and his wife Dora got married, they began to plan their life together, like most young couples, and one of the first things they wanted to do was to buy a home.
However, they lived in Mexico and things were a little different there than in the United States. There wasn’t any mortgage financing available for buying a home. It wasn’t an option to put 20% down and start making mortgage payments.
In Mexico, at that time – and still primarily now, it’s customary to get a piece of land and then…with whatever resources you have, whether it be cardboard or plywood, to put up a structure to live in. And then as they continue to work over a lifetime they’ll begin to use cinder blocks, and things progress, and over a lifetime, they’ll build a home. Now, Dora wasn’t interested in cardboard or plywood so they were renting.
But shortly after they got married, a developer came to town who was going to build 13 houses and offer private financing. The developer would provide financing so you could put a down payment and move into the house. So they went down and met with someone about it. This was an exciting moment. They looked at the terms and they had about half of the money they needed for the down payment, this was in January, and they would have to complete the down payment in April.
They had to seriously consider how much they thought they could stretch, and if they were going to take the risk that they would have the balance by the deadline.
They decided to take the risk. They put down the half of the down payment they had and by April, they were able to come up with the rest of the down payment and move into the house.
Can you think of a time in your life where you had a moment like this and had to decide to take a risk? Well, that was a risk-moment for them.
The house was a little two bedroom, two bath with a den on a nice, little street.
It was an awesome experience and John felt like he was really in a great place. He was thriving. He was doing work that he loved. (He was in the hotel industry down there in Cabo) His wife Dora was thriving, Their son, Ricardo (from John’s previous relationship) was growing, and the house was perfect. Two bedrooms, a little den, with a little office it, and a little balcony that overlooked the bay in Cabo and the ocean. It was wonderful.
And… as life is ever seeking to expand, Dora wanted to expand their family. And bam they had twin girls. And… in trying to adapt to their new circumstances regarding the house, life had to change.
Life had expanded, their family had expanded, but the physical environment hadn’t changed.
So they added a drywall extension in the den and blocked it off and asked Ricardo if he would move into that den as his bedroom. It was really cramped. And the girls moved into the second bedroom, so it was pretty tight.
Life is always trying to expand through us, and there are times when the current circumstance or situation feels tight. Have you ever had that experience? That’s what John was experiencing.
He would come home, play with the kids, and they were happy, because they didn’t know anything different, so they were really happy. They were a happy family.
But when John would go into his son’s room, to read to him every night he felt sorry for him being in that cramped, little den. And the upstairs where the kitchen and the little living room were, was the only place he could play and run around and if John or Dora were trying to do something, it just felt super restricted in this house.
So John made a decision to start looking for a new environment. And he started paying attention to other people around him — other people doing similar things to what he was doing. And some of them had nicer houses, some of them had bigger houses, and he thought, “Oh, this must be a reasonable idea.”
So he went out and started searching and found that the situation hadn’t changed. There still wasn’t any mortgage financing available. And when he went and looked at some houses that he thought would be reasonable to make a move to, the difference between what he was paying as a monthly payment on his house, and paying cash for another house, was a gap with no way to cross. He didn’t know how to cross that gap.
He had some business mentoring at that point in his life, and his business mentor was coming from a very logical, strategic standpoint. His mentor suggested that one of the ways that John could bridge this gap might be to look at a lease option. So John looked at some lease options, but nothing felt right.
And then, one day when he was on his way home, this was after about a year and a half of doing this process — struggling with it, and he’s thinking, that when he gets home, the girls would have some friends over, and they we’re going to be running around the house, and he was going to have to retreat to his bedroom to have any sense of calm. And Ricardo would be retreating in there with him so he would be stuck watching cartoons with Ricardo. And he just had this kind of sick feeling about the whole thing, and having no way out. He couldn’t see any way to fix this.
Then he thought, “Maybe, the solution is to somehow figure out how to get rid of the feeling of dissatisfaction with this, and just be okay with it.” I mean, look at all the blessings I have, I’ve three healthy kids, I’ve got a great job, I’ve got a wonderful wife, I’ve got things really good, and maybe right now is just not the right time. I don’t deserve it at this moment…maybe in five more years. I’ll keep saving and there will be a time and a place. And he made a decision in that moment to get okay with settling.
Have you ever had a moment like that? Where you decided to just get over it and settle?
John said he even felt a little guilty for wanting more because he had it so good, So, he made that decision, went home, and had a nice night. He got kind of numb to the things he wasn’t enjoying. He tried to bury them down, and just kind of numb them out.
Then, about four months later, he heard a quote that changed things for him. The quote was, “The enemy of great is good.”
At first he was a little confused by that statement, “The enemy of great is good?” but then he thought, “it does make sense because I’ve got it good and it’s easy to settle for good when what I really want is great.”
Some of you have it really good right now, and yet there’s a part of you calling you to more — to your version of great.
Now, just because John had the insight that he was settling for good, didn’t change anything – except that his awareness of what he was doing was a little clearer to him.
Then, about two months after that, Mary Morrissey, his mom, came down to visit the grandchildren.
And one evening they were sitting out on that little balcony overlooking the bay, and watching the sunset, and Mary turned to John and asked, “What’s next?”
Now in his current state of awareness and thinking, he thought to himself, “What does she mean “what’s next”? Like, we’re going to finish this evening on the balcony, and tomorrow morning I’m going to get up and go to work, and then I’m taking you to the airport?”
John’s mindset was, you work, you get promoted and you work your way up the ladder, and eventually you’ll work your way to where you want to be. He’d studied the traditional business strategies of success. He hadn’t studied brave thinking.
You may have heard it said that few people live 90 years? Most people live one year, 90 times. Well, that was where John was at the time.
You’re probably thinking, “Isn’t he Mary Morrissey’s son?” Well, like most kids, he rebelled. He moved to Mexico in 1991 to get away from all that woo-wooey stuff. So he was a little skeptical. It was like, “It’s great, mom, you’re doing the dream building thing. You have fun, I’m building a real career.”
So when they were out on the balcony, and Mary asked, “What’s next?” John said, “I don’t know. What do you mean what’s next? (he was primed to go around the same year 90 more times.)
And Mary said, Let me ask you differently. If you could do or have anything, what would you love?”
Now, John knew the answer to that question. He knew that he would love a new home. He really wanted a new home.
“I’ll tell you what I would love, I would love a new home.”
And she said, “Well, what would it look like? Describe it to me.”
And he said, “Big, and a place for the kids way over there, and my room way over here. I can go down there and visit.”
And Mary said, “Tell me more.” And she helped him begin… She was sneaking it in on him, the whole dream builder thing. She was sneaking it in under the radar.”
And she began to ask him, “What would it look like? How many bedrooms would it have?” And she actually asked him to go get a piece of paper and something to write with. And John grabbed the first thing handy in the kitchen which was a napkin.
He started drawing on it, and started to describe it, and he started to get excited as he was describing his dream.
Have you had an experience of beginning to design and describe a dream that you started feeling really excited about?
The problem for John was that he knew what he would love, but he had lost hope. He was thinking, it’s not going to happen. It was a dream home.
And then Mary began to qualify the dream. You do that by tapping into the intuitive side of your nature by asking, “Is this something that you are really in love with?” And the answer to that question for John was yes, if this were to be his reality, he would absolutely love it.
However, John had a lot of conditions, a lot of circumstances in his life, and lots of evidence as to why things were the way they were and he gave Mary all the reasons why it was never going to happen.
He said, “Yes, I would love this but you don’t understand. Let me tell you all the reasons why this isn’t going to happen.”
It’s so tempting to look at the circumstances and the conditions… but the good news is that with training we learn to quickly notice what’s happening, and can put our attention right back on our vision. We call this Brave Thinking and it’s a daily, and even moment to moment activity.
But John wasn’t the experienced Brave Thinker that he is now. He was a “my conditions are so big” kind of person.
So Mary asked him if he would like some help. She said, “I understand there’s a lot of circumstances and conditions as to why you haven’t been able to achieve this dream but, would you like some help?” And John said, “Absolutely, I’m willing to try anything.”
I’ve tried everything I can think of, and none of it’s worked, I’m finally willing to listen to you.
How many times have you persisted in wanting to do things on our own. It’s called the Lone Ranger syndrome…”I can do this on my own.”
Well, John was finally willing and ready to take some instruction.
Mary then advised him to consider, “What could you do from where you are with what you have, John, “What could you do from where you are with what you have?”
This is the key to remembering that you always have way more than you recognize. You expand your thinking, to consider what you might not be taking into account — what you might have that isn’t in your awareness.
John realized that he had a piece of land. He and Dora had bought a piece of land. They didn’t know if they’d ever do anything with it other than sell it at some point, or maybe they’d build a house someday if financing ever came to Mexico.
They did have a piece of land in Cabo San Lucas. And Mary instructed him to take that napkin and begin to deepen his relationship with the vision of what he wanted — to continue to get more specific about the vision.
Then John asked her, “How often do I need to do this? Like once a week?” She said, “Well, if you have a new baby, how often do you feed it?” How often do you take care of it? How often do you think about it?”
So John made a decision daily go up to that piece of land with his napkin, and visualize — to spend some time thinking about what it would be like to pull into the driveway and notice the home, walk up and hear the kids playing inside, and how that would feel, and notice going into his son’s bedroom, and the feeling of what it’s like for his son, and the girls in their bedroom, and all of the space. Imagine that…put it on.
So John took the napkin and went up to that piece of land, and he visualized this experience and he began to adjust his vision. He was building a relationship with his vision.
This is a key piece. I encourage you to continue to strengthen the relationship that you have with your vision by focusing on it like this everyday.
John and his wife, Dora and the kids and a friend would all go up there, and visualize, and John would tell them this is where the house is going to be someday…not knowing when or how or any of that…no idea of how that dream would take shape.
It wasn’t very long though until they went to Oregon to visit family. And Mary asked him,”How are you doing, how’s your vision coming?”
And John said, “You know, I’m crystal clear. I know exactly where my bedroom’s going to be, I know exactly the angle of the living room so it faces the view. I’ve got it.”
Then the next question came, “Now what? What’s the next step? What can you do from where you are? What can you do where you are with what you have?
Do you think you could take that napkin and give it to a builder, and they would be able to build your house.”
John said, “No, of course not.”
What would you need?
And John said, “I’d need a real set of plans. I’d need the architectural plans.”
And she said, “Okay. Is that what’s next?”
And I said, “Yes that is the next step.”
And she said, “Okay, go get your plans.”
And so when John went home, he called an architect that he knew, and said, “I need a set of plans. How much does this kind of thing cost, more or less?
And the Architect said, “I’ll look at what you want, and I’ll let you know.”
They did that and he said it would be $15,000.
And John said, “Oh, I’m sure mom didn’t mean to do that. Let me call her up.”
He said, “Mom, he wants $15,000 for a set of plans.” And she said, “Well? Do you have the $15,000?”
And I said, “Well, yeah. It’s just about everything I’ve got.”
And she said, “Well, you’re never going to get the house built without the plans.”
And John said, “Why would I get plans for a house I have no way to build?”
And she said, “They’re never going to build it without the plans. Trust in the process, John.”
This is one of the reasons that this story really inspires me so much. Mary told him to “trust the process” and he invested $15000 without any idea how the house was going to get built! Now that is trust!
As John said, when he shared this story at a DreamBuilder workshop, “One thing I have learned is to trust the masters. If I want something, I find somebody that has done what I want to do or has gone where I want to go, and I do what they say to do. And I learned that early on, and in this moment she said, “Trust in the process.” And I know well enough when that’s what she says to do, I’m doing it.
So he went down there and wrote that $15,000 check for plans for a house he had no way, no understanding in any way, shape or form how he would build it.
Then Mary said, “As you’re doing these plans, I want you to incorporate this practice, notice what you’re noticing.
Now that you’re taking your vision to the next level pay attention and notice the plans. Continue to put yourself inside your vision.” And notice…
John had to write a check for $7,500 to get the architect started, and then when he went to pick up the plans, and pay the other half, he said, “Walk me through the house.” And as the Architect was walking him through the house plans, John was noticing what he was noticing.
As you continue to work with your vision, pay attention to the parts of the vision that really feel expansive and the parts that still feel even slightly constrictive.
John noticed that there were parts of the house that still didn’t feel quite right, but he had given the Architect a budget — the amount of money he would want to spend on building the house if he ever got to build it.
And he noticed this…he thought, “if I’m never going to build this house anyway, I might as well get a really cool set of plans.”
So he said, “Here’s what I want you to do. Push this wall out a little bit, expand this area, give me an office back here. What would that add to the cost?” And the Architect says, “It’s probably about another $50,000.” And John thought, “Well, if I’m not going to build it anyway it’s not even a real $50,000 and my plans will be really cool. So he said, “Make those changes.”
And now he had a set of plans he was in love with
This was an important moment of stretching and expanding. He had paid close attention to the question “What would you love?”
When you think about your dream, your vision, build a vision you’re in love with, really in love with.
So John had the plans…and then Mary said, “All right, you’ve got your plans, what are you going to do next? What can you do where you are with what you have?”
John thought he had done everything that he could but he stayed with the question. Mary had said, “Stay with this question. Trust the process. Notice what comes up.”
And what came up for John was a big idea…actually a scary idea, and that was to sell his house…and this idea made no logical sense. Sell his house and have nowhere to live. It’s not really a good idea, but he thought, “if we sold the house we’d rent something and use the money to start construction.
So he went down to the builder and said, “If I sell this house, how much will I have to start building this new house?” And the builder said, “You’ve got about enough for the foundation.”
Remember how people in Mexico build houses? John said, “Can I do that? Can I just lay the foundation? What happens if I don’t keep building?” And the builder said, “Nothing, you can do that.”
All of a sudden, something that John was seeing as a problem was actually an advantage.
The lesson here is to be open and curious. Some of the things that you might be thinking are problems, or challenges to your vision, might just hold a blessing for the success that you’re looking for.
In John’s case, it allowed him to say yes to that move. They sold the house, and started construction.
And… are you ready for this? When they were selling the house, a man walked into John’s office one day, and said, “I heard you’re selling your house and I’d like to go see it.” John said, “I’m leaving for the airport in an hour.” And the man says, “Let’s go.”
The realtor wasn’t even there so they drove to the house. The man walked around, looked at the house, and said, “I’ll take it.” And they shook hands.
Then John asked “When do you want to take possession?” And the buyer says, “Well, when do you want to move out?” And John says, “Well, I don’t really want to move out.” And the buyer says, “Well, that’s funny because my wife and I are buying it as an investment. We’re planning on retiring down here in five years. If you want, you can just stay in the house. So John was able to sell the house and didn’t even have to move. Say What!!!!?
John called Mary, and he said, “You’re not going to believe this.” And do you think she believed it? Of course she did.
So they started construction, they’re building the house. Do you think John was on fire with this dream? Absolutely!
They had just enough for the foundation, and the garage. And he’s still going up there every single day but now he’s got the real plans, and he’s watching the construction, and he’s meeting with the construction supervisor, and the supervisor has his for looking at the plans, and he’s telling John where things are going to be. Everyday John’s going up there, and he’s on fire with this dream.
And on one of the days, they’re standing there getting ready to shut down construction because they’ve just about spent all the money, and they’re discussing what can be done with the money they have left and when they’re going to have to shut down, and a guy drives up in a car, takes a look and pulls over.
He comes up and says, “Hey, what’s going on?” And John says, “We’re building a house.” And he says, “Really, tell me about it.” So John shows him the plans, and how well do you think he was able to explain that house to him?
There’s a Law of Specificity — you want to be able to clearly articulate the smells, the touch, the feelings, the tone, the places. Like, I’m going to travel the world versus the exact places where you’re going to go. That sort of thing. That’s a key element.
John was able to clearly describe his vision. And the man says, “Wow, this is awesome.” Then he said, “ I’m actually down here with Lehman Brothers and we’ve got a new program we’re coming up with where we’re going to start offering mortgage financing so let me know when you’re finished.
And John said, “We’re not going to be finished. I only have enough money to finish this foundation and the garage.
And he said, “You know, we really want this program to take off, and this is a really unique house. This is an awesome project. I think I know somebody that might…if you can qualify…he might be willing to give you a bridge loan to get you from where you are to the finished construction so that you can get qualified for financing. Would you like to talk to him?”
So John met with the guy, and got qualified for the bridge loan. They continued to build and they were waiting for the 80% mark which would qualify him for finished construction financing. You have to get the house 80% done, then the permanent financing will kick in. So they’re working on the house, trying to get it to 80% and when the inspector comes out, he says, “No, it’s only about 70%, you need to do this, this, and this.” And they’re so close!
This was all happening in the year 2007 and one day John gets a call from the broker. Do you remember what was happening in 2007? Do you remember what happened to Lehman Brothers? They went bankrupt.
And they called John and said, “John, the market has crashed. Lehman Brothers is going out of business. They’ve gone bankrupt. Some of the funding money did make it into Mexico, and any of the loans that we close by Friday…this is on Wednesday…will still qualify. If the house doesn’t close by Friday, the money is gone.” Do you think you can get it qualified by Friday?
John said, “I don’t know, but we’ll try.” He got the inspector back out there on Thursday and the inspector was to inform them on Friday whether it made the qualification.
John gets a call from the broker at 10:00 a.m. on Friday and says, “The inspector just handed in the paper work, your house has qualified.”
John ran down to the broker, on Friday afternoon and, as he was signing the stack of paper for his final mortgage, the broker says, “Man this is crazy…this loan is the very last loan for the entire country of Mexico on this program?”
- And in that moment, John was so grateful to the part of him that was willing to act without knowing what was going to happen.
- The part of him that was willing to step into brave thinking.
- The part of him that was willing to put on his vision…that sat on the deck and drew it on the napkin and started the process.
- If it had been just a fleeting desire, like “man, wouldn’t it be great if I could find a bigger house…it wasn’t out there. It was inside him.
And the process of getting that house from 80% to 100% was the key. It was those brave thinking steps that created that difference. Because the difference between 80% done and 100% done is the difference between a dream you can’t live in and a dream you can live in.
And while John was so grateful for the house, he was even more grateful for the process of becoming that had happened for him — becoming a brave thinker…the new learning and the understanding of how to dream, and how to really be a dream builder
And not just for him, but for the others that he would impact…his family. his kids, business associates. (And the DreamBuilder Coaches like me that he would encourage and inspire years later.)
In closing, I invite you, whenever you see a napkin to remember John’s Bogg’s story and remember
- the importance of having a blueprint and of
- treating your vision, your dream, as if it were real. And to
- always do what you can, with what you have, knowing that you always have more than you are aware of.
Everyday, visualize yourself living in your dream like John and his family.
Take a stand for yourself, take a stand for your dream and tell yourself often, “I do what I can, with what I have, knowing that I always have more than I’m aware of.
And then take action.
I hope you will and let us know in the comments below this podcast, how this story has made a difference for you.
If you have a burning question you’d like me to answer on a future podcast, let me know in the comments.
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Now as you go, remember…you absolutely can have a life you absolutely love! Dream big, take action and live with all the joy, purpose, prosperity and fulfillment you deserve.
Thank you for listening, it’s my joy and privilege to serve you.
Bye for now!
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