Letters to my child. Leadership, Business and Kaizen.

The Success Principles: Sleepless

The Success Principles

Hi Ender,

My favourite part in the book was the little story about the guy who wrote Sleepless in Seattle. Let me share something with you… before your grandpa decided to move to Canada with the family seventeen years ago, the initial plan was to go live in Seattle.

We flew there to see if we liked the town and even visited some universities. We drove to Whistler and I learned how to ski… I bought a full Seattle Supersonics uniform, along with the jacket and an official Shawn Kemp game jersey (I still have it).

You are not going to know Blockbuster, but back when your dad was young it was the main place where people went to get movies. I rented Sleepless in Seattle without knowing it was a love story. At the time I was all about basketball… but I watched anyways.

Sleepless in Seattle

I cried.

Not where you would expect most people would cry. I cried when they say “magic” on screen. I really connected to that line and the scenes in New York really stayed with me.

Fast forward several years. I am walking with your mom in New York. Our first time hanging out as friends. When I saw the Empire State building I thought about how I would propose to your mom one day. That day I knew.

Meeting your mom was like magic. It was like living in a movie. We also had to deal with long distances like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, so it seemed suitable to plan a proposal at the top of the Empire State. My plan was to stick “Will you marry me” on the coin operated binoculars and get on my knee as she went to look… or hang a big sign on a window across and show her on the binoculars.

What I am trying to say is that I knew from the beginning. Every day I did something towards getting to that goal. Just like Canfield explained… every day do 5 things towards your goal.

When we were apart I wrote your mom every day. Sometimes more than three times a day. I was passionate about reaching my goal. In the end the proposal was completely different… her initial response was NOTHING like I ever imagined… but that is a story for another time.

What matters is that we got married. We are happy. All my hard work paid off and it didn’t even feel like work. Just last week your mom told me she saved all the messages I EVER sent her. She still reads them sometimes.

Now here is the interesting part. It is possible that I would lack the conviction to date your mom long distance if not for the movie Sleepless in Seattle. Except for family, everyone I knew and everyone she knew told her it would not work.

That movie gave me the spark of hope that it can happen. When people are meant to be together, the universe conspires to make it happen. Jeff Arch almost gave up on his screenplays. At 38, he was working as a teacher and owned a tae kwon do school. One day he simply decide to get serious about writing. He received rejection after rejection.

He kept on trying and Sleepless in Seattle finally hit gold. It was sold for a quarter of a million dollars and went on to be nominated to an Academy Award. I did some extra reading on him and he truly believes that his martial arts background made all the difference. He believes attitude determines success or failure.

Martial arts definitely made a difference in my life. To borrow from a popular show now, that’s how I met your mother (we were at a martial arts tournament in Detroit). But that is also a story for another time.

I know my letters to you get convoluted at time. I don’t really structure or draft. I just sit here and write. Sometimes I don’t proofread. I hope to be able to organize everything for you one day before you have a chance to read this.

Your mom may want to edit some parts or make her own comments before giving all this to you. I don’t know if she is reading this blog… the other day she said, “I am going to be nicer to you.”

Maybe it was something I posted back then.

When she reads this post maybe I am going to get a big hug and a big kiss.

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