Set a goal, work steadily toward it and the universe conspires to help you achieve that goal…or something even greater than you could have imagined.

This is a common theme I have read over and over again as I have spent two decades studying successful people from all walks of life throughout the ages. It is something I have seen happen in my own life as well. Last week I witnessed an amazing example that I would like to share with you. If you doubt the power of goal setting, I hope this story will convince you to change your mind.

Following my 7th grade son’s first track meet this year he told me that his goal was to break the 7th grade school record for the boys 1600M. His run that day was 5:48 and the record was 5:22. This was quite a stretch goal considering this was his first year running track, there were only 6 weeks in the season and he only had 3 more potential opportunities to do it.

He worked hard in practice and yet at the next qualifying meet he added a few seconds and finished with a 5:53. In his second to last meet of the season he did better, dropping to 5:30 but still 8 seconds away from the record. And then the bad news came. In order to qualify for the last meet of the season he had to have a 1600M time of better than 5:47. The problem was his coaches had to enter their roster by noon on the day of his 5:30 run and he finished that race at 12:05 in the afternoon. Therefore they had to use the 5:48 time and he missed being able to compete in the final race of the season by one measly second!

After he got that news I spoke with him. He was happy he improved so much in his 1600M time, and finished 6th overall in that race, but frustrated that he would not get to compete again to try and break that record. He told me that whenever he tells people about his goals he never achieves them. I told him I was disappointed too but next year he can come back and try to break an 8th grade record. I also told him that personally, I have found when I tell people about my goals I achieve them more often than when I don’t inform people because of the added pressure this puts on me.

So here we are, thinking his chances to beat a record this year are done…and then the universe begins to conspire for him. The sequence of events that happened next are hard to believe — let me outline them for you here.

  • The morning of the last meet (the one he was not going to be competing in) my wife asked him if we was planning to go to it to cheer on the team. He said he didn’t want to.
  • As he was leaving for school that morning, on an 85 degree day dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, my wife told him to go back upstairs and put on shorts and a t-shirt
  • During the day one of his coaches asked him if he was planning to go to the meet to watch it because he was welcome to go on the bus with them. He told him he wasn’t going to go.
  • As he walked out of school that day he was debating going to the meet. When he got to the car he asked my wife if he could go. She said yes, and that I would pick him up early from it, around 5:30, because I had a meeting I needed to get to by 6:30
  • On my drive to get him from the meet I got a text that my 6:30 meeting was cancelled
  • When I arrived at the meet and found him he was all packed and ready to go. I told him my meeting was cancelled so we could leave now or stay as long as he wanted. He decided to stay to watch the entire meet.
  • The meet progressed as normal
  • The final race of the night was the 4×400. Four 8th graders were set to run in that race. Three races before this is about to take place I see my son and his coach run over to the stands where we were sitting. The coach starts rummaging through his bag looking for a uniform shirt. He finds one, hands it to my son and tells him to put it on. I ask what’s going on and the coach informs us that one of the 8th graders slotted to run the 4×400 hurt himself in one of the field events and couldn’t run. On top of that, the 8th grader who usually fills in when needed gave it his all on the 800M and almost puked at the end so he couldn’t run either. Therefore they were putting my son in to be the 3rd runner in this 4-boy relay, a relay my son had never run in his life.

The runners line up. The first runner on his relay team takes off like he was being shot out of a cannon and gets a comfortable lead. As he finishes the second boy extends their team’s lead. This boy hands off to my son and he starts running faster than I have ever seen him in my life. He ends up finishing his 400M leg of this relay in 60 seconds flat. The final boy crosses the finish line at 3:56 — a full 4 seconds better than the school’s 8th grade record!

We laughed on the entire drive home that night as we recounted all the unbelievable coincidences…

  • He decided to go watch the race
  • He wore shorts instead of jeans to school that day
  • My meeting was cancelled
  • We decided to stay to watch the end of the meet
  • The primary runner got injured
  • & the back-up runner couldn’t run either

… that put him in the position to achieve that incredible accomplishment!

My little guy set a goal, worked steadily toward it and the universe conspired to not help him beat the 7th grade record as he originally intended but an even more impressive 8th grade record!

I have just one question for you — What goal will you set today?

Originally published at

Originally published at