You Can Make Others Believe

You can’t make someone else want something as bad as you.

Or can you?

Flock of Sheep

Leaders cause others to see what they see, want what they want, and believe in the unbelievable. (Click to Tweet)

When you want something bad enough, it consumes your thoughts. You visualize it. You cut out pictures of what you want and put it on your bathroom mirror. You pray for it. You share your longing with others.

But you’ve been told that you can’t make others believe. If you are a leader, you’re told that no one will want what you want as bad as you want it. You’ve been told that you can’t make others see what you see.

You’ve been lied to

As a leader in business, at home, or anywhere you lead, you can help others to believe. You can cause others to see what you see, want what you want, and believe in the unbelievable.

I found proof in the ancient Scriptures.

In Genesis Chapter 30, Jacob makes a deal with his father-in-law Laban. But Laban was a shady punk, so the deal fell through…or so it seemed.

Jacob agreed work for Laban with his only compensation being that he got to keep all of the spotted, streaked, or speckled sheep and goats. I’m pretty sure those were the ancient equivalent of stock options.

Laban, the shady punk that he was, signed the deal and promptly removed all such animals, gave them to his sons, and ran away. Talk about classy.

This is the point in the story where, if I were Jacob, I would probably look at all my non-spotted/streaked/speckled sheep and goats, realize I had been cheated, and then curse God and start looking through the Help Wanted ads (they didn’t have internet, but surely they had a newspaper with a Help Wanted section).

The impossible made possible

But what Jacob did in response was curious and shows the power of visualization and belief.

Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them. Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, for that was where they mated. And when they mated in front of the white-streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted.

Every day, the animals looked at those stripes. Jacob made them believe. He believed first and then showed them the vision.

For those of you who are not agrarian geneticists, Laban made it impossible for Jacob to ever be paid. Streaked, speckled, or spotted animals were simply not born to plain animals.

Laban thought he had outwitted Jacob, but Jacob overcame being cheated, overcame his emotions, and even overcame known scientific limitations with the power of belief and visualization.

You probably aren’t a shepherd, but what worked for his animals can work for you and your team, too.

Do you believe enough for you and your team? Are you clearly showing them the desired outcome?

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  • Great photo – got my attention! (Sheep = wool = knitting)

    I’ve never understood this story about Jacob – how could patterned items in the water troughs change the genetics? This causes me to believe the only hope for my business is to pray for a miracle.

    Bet I missed the point because I had wool fumes going, fogging up my thinking.

    And “shady punk” is a cute way to describe Laban – I’ve always thought he was a lying cheating jerk!

    Thanks, Matt. Always enjoy your blog posts!

    • Thanks Jana.

      Praying for a miracle is one part. But what is interesting is that most people wouldn’t see a series of $100 orders as a miracle. But that might just be what happens.

      • Miracle to me is more of a supernatural event. If getting orders is a supernatural event, then my business would really be in a bad place.

        Perhaps a series of $100 orders is a gift, rather than a miracle.

  • I like the connection you’ve made between this story in Genesis and leadership – it is great to think of these familiar stories in another way.

  • Steve Pate

    This is a bit of a though one for me, not so much that I don’t believe in our team, its I don’t see three particular people not believing in that I do in the roll of a property manager. Its been a hard fight to make them believe that their old ways of doing things just doesn’t flow here any more. They hail from the land of committee members. board and volunteers.

    Its to a point I’ve given this place a two season warning, if we don’t see growth form both sides, I will move on. But the fight is worth it because of the possibilities this team and place can offer to those who come here.

    Thanks Matt

  • This can be an uphill battle for a seasoned team. As a “younger” leader in my organization where 1/2 the people in my department are “more experienced” than me, I find it challenging to shift the attitudes. I won’t give up though!

    • Been there, done that Jon…and yes it is difficult. But keep at it and try to change even just 1% in a month. That is a lot of progress in 2 years.

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