I went to a conference down on the Cape about 12 years ago. It was for all school counselors on the East Coast. I was looking forward to it as I would be with some like-minded people and hopefully take back some new techniques that I could use in my counseling of children. There were some really good speakers–one in particular changed my life. He spoke about a man, Dr. Richard Gardner, who invented a counseling board game; and from the royalties generated by the game, he was able to put his three daughters through college. Upon hearing those words, inspiration was born inside of me. You see, I was a single parent and didn’t know how I would put my children through college. I said these exact words to myself, “If he can invent a board game, well, so can I”.
When I returned from the conference, I went shopping and purchased markers, poster board, and anything else I would need to create my game. I didn’t know what the game was going to be; all I knew was that I was going to invent one, just like he did. So I started drawing and came upon a concept that I thought might be creative and acceptable. I made ten prototypes and sent them out. Long story short, I received ten rejection letters.
I needed the right idea and just hadn’t hit upon it! Quite honestly, that obstacle didn’t deter me. I can’t describe the knowing that was inside of me. It made me more determined than ever to invent a game. I could see it in my mind and knew I would be holding it in my hand. I could see it as a teaching tool for school counselors and maybe even parents.
I put the drawing of the game up on the wall in the kitchen. That was my vision board. Although, at the time I didn’t realize that that was what it was. Every morning when I came downstairs to make breakfast for the children, there it was for me to see and think about. In the evening, it was the last thing I saw before putting out the lights and going to bed. It kept the goal in the forefront of my mind.
One day I was out on the playground during lunch duty and one of the teachers was complaining about the aggressive and bullying behavior that her children were exhibiting. I suggested that I could come into her classroom the next day and give and I-Messages lesson. I-Messages teach kids to speak to each other in an assertive rather than aggressive manner. The statements attack the deed and not the doer. Later that evening while I was working on the lesson, I looked up at my designed game on the kitchen wall and it hit me. I could create an I-Messages game. A picture flashed in my mind of a concept for a game that was so simple. I wondered how no one else thought of the idea. Would I have thought of that if I didn’t have that vision board of the game right there in front of me? I will never know but I don’t think so.
I made a new prototype, sent it out, got an interested publisher, and have been receiving royalties for some years now. It is called Use Your I’s which is featured in the Creative Therapy Store, a store where counselors and therapists buy games to supplement their work with children. No, I wasn’t able to put my kids through college with the royalties, but I had achieved my vision. It taught me the secret. I had a vision in my mind, I put it on paper, and I made it become a reality. If I can do it, so can you. What is your vision?