Whether you think you can or cannot, you are probably correct

I often reflect back to quotes that have meaning in my life and this one, the title of this post, is one that holds a special place for me.  I can think of many instances where it has held true and there is one in particular that I will share with you today.

The key thing to remember is not the quote.  The more important aspect is that if you don’t have a goal or a direction, you will flounder or be less successful than you think.  Let me share more of the story behind this quote.

In 1990 I was living in Springfield, TN and was a Quality Manager in a Japanese-American automotive startup enterprise.  My wife and I had been married a little less than 10 years and we had one small son and another on the way.  I decided to get involved in the community and was placed on the recreation committee of the local chamber of commerce.

Our committee was given two goals:

  • Investigate the feasibility of building a public golf course in the community
  • investigate the possibility of bringing the YMCA to our community

Springfield was a sleepy place that had been passed by the interstate system on the east and west sides.  The Nashville area was just starting to gel, but most of that activity was to the south in Rutherford and Williamson counties.  Springfield had a 9-hole “goat ranch” private golf course and nothing that came close to offering what a full-facility YMCA might offer to families and youth.

Our committee split up and one group took the golf course project and I stayed with the YMCA project.  We called the YMCA of Middle Tennessee in Nashville and invited their CEO, Clark Baker, to meet with us for lunch.  I suspect Clark had never been to Springfield before and thought we would go away when he told us we would need to raise $10,000 to fund a feasibility study to see what the interest in the Y might be.  I know he was surprised when we called back a few weeks later to tell him we had the money and would like to get the study done ASAP.

Winfield and Associates of Atlanta, GA came to town and began conducting their study.  What they found was that the level of interest in the YMCA in our community came back stronger than in any community they had surveyed to that point.  We were not too surprised, but this got the attention of the Y staffers in Nashville and they assigned a wonderful gentleman by the name of George Goyer to work with us.

This is when things started to get interesting.  The next challenge the Y set before us was to raise $1 million in our community to fund the construction of a full-facility YMCA.  They pledged to match our funds with an equal amount.  When many people in the community heard the size of the challenge they immediately said it would never be done.  The Y had experienced a short life in the 1960’s and 70’s in Springfield in an undersized and low quality storefront and that was the vision that many of the long-term residents had.  To make matters even more interesting we were also competing with the local hospital and their goals to raise funds in the community for a new building.  All of this in a region where there was virtually no history of significant giving other than with churches.

julie diane y 1996

We had a dream, and with God’s support and the help of many across the community we raised over $1.5 million dollars.  Springfield and Robertson County got their YMCA and I got a new career when I switched horses in 1994 and joined the Y as a staff member and left the automotive industry where I had just been promoted.

jody cindy dan 1996 ymca

We knew we could be successful in this plan and with God’s grace and support we reached our goal and actually surpassed it.

What goal are you putting off?

What would you like to be doing?

In most cases, if you think you can, you will.

If you think you cannot, you will not.

Pray hard and work hard.

Enjoy the journey.

Have a Super weekend!