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July 10, 2018

It’s All in a Day’s WOOP!

It’s All in a Day’s WOOP!

Claudia is a vivacious Preschool Director from Venice, Florida. Together we are participating in the 3-day Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) sponsored Mind in the Making Training. I do not ‘know’ Claudia, but with her spontaneous laugh and her natural enthusiasm for life, it does not take long to feel like I do.

Her lighthearted, easy demeanor most certainly does not convey the hurtful, discombobulating, and completely unexpected obstacles that came her way this year. In fact, her laughter is steeped in an incredulous wonder as she matter-of-factly offers up her story of “the day my life changed forever.”

“It was September 23, 2017, when my 31-year marriage was put on an indefinite pause, and I found myself looking down a road I never expected to go down. I would be walking this path of life alone now. I was caught completely off-guard in every way. I had never balanced a checkbook or paid a credit card bill much less handled utilities or home maintenance. That just wasn’t the way we did things at our house. I had my responsibilities, and he had his. Nothing about operating my life on my own was in my frame of reference, at all.

I was stunned, hurt, confused, and deeply afraid. There was no discussion about working things out. There was no discussion about anything. Only what needed to be done. Like we needed to sell the house, immediately. All of this was immediate. ‘This is the way it is,’ was the way it was conveyed.

My life fell completely apart.

I didn’t know who I was, and I still don’t,” Claudia says laughing.  “Nor do I know who I am supposed to be.  I have always been someone’s mom or partner. Who AM I to my kids now?  All of my ‘identifiers’ are gone.

So I went into survival mode. There was no other choice. A lady at church had a house she would rent to me for $1000.00/month, but where was I going to get $1000 per month? I knew it was too much money, but I took it anyway because I had to have a place to live. Very quickly, I realized it was too expensive, and I had to do something.

Meanwhile, in January, I started toying with the idea of buying a house. Interestingly, I also signed of up for a Mind in the Making course offered to members of the Venice community. I am a perpetual student, and it looked interesting.  It was also in my ‘comfort-zone’ timing-wise, which made it a natural choice.

On the very first night, I was introduced to WOOP by Jenifer Johnson, our cohort leader trained in Mind in the Making and immediately knew that I too wanted to be a “Jenifer Johnson” in my community.

With WOOP freshly in my mind and a homework assignment to create my own and share at the next class, I started mulling over the possibility of being able to buy a house. Out of curiosity, I searched Zillow and all of the real estate sites, and nothing was in my range.

Meanwhile, my landlord expressed her intention to raise my rent to $1500/month on March 1st.  What was I going to do?  I knew I couldn’t find cheap rental properties that were suitable for my 11-year-old grandson and me.

So I considered the WOOP assignment and went for it!

WISH:  I want to own my own home and pay a mortgage vs. rent

OUTCOME:  Save between $600 and $800 per month.

OBSTACLE(s): Lack of knowledge regarding HOW to even move forward with this idea. Fear of making such a massive commitment by myself emotionally and taking on such a huge responsibility. Not being able to find a home in Venice that I could afford.

PLAN: Find Support. Seek out people that DO know what to do. I love my church so I asked two women that are in my Sunday School program and a gentleman at church who I knew was a Realtor, to help me get started.

Buck jumped right in and called me that Sunday. “How much money do you have?”  He asked.  He gave me a number to call for pre-approval on a loan. I called the very next day. On March 23, I was pre-approved for a loan. I was blown away.

That’s when I went on the WOOP App and entered my WOOP WISH on it also. I knew it was working and that the App would keep me moving forward.

Over the next two weeks, I did walkthroughs in nine little houses that were falling apart. I was discouraged and over it.

The very next night, Buck sent me a text: ‘Check this house out. It just came on the market.’

At 9:00 the next day, I was looking at the house. At 9:30 I was putting in an offer.

On April 2, we started the closing process.

I prayed for any issues with the house to be revealed during the inspection, and the well was found to be inoperable with high bacteria levels. The owner agreed to replace the old well. Two additional delays popped up, so we extended the closing by six weeks. Buck told me then that we would close on June 15, but I have to admit, I didn’t believe him.

Today is June 21. I am proud to say that we closed on my new house three days ago at 3pm…AND, I am here, in the training program to become a ‘Jenifer Johnson!’

The day we closed I was so excited that I grabbed my phone and showed Buck the WOOP APP. I just jumped out of my chair and said ‘Now I’m going to do the WOOP dance…I’ve been practicing it in my mind for a while now!’”


Joyfully, hilariously, and completely unabashedly, Claudia jumps up from her seat where she has been sharing this amazing story with me and throws her arms in the air.  “WOOP-WOOP!”  She sings out bodaciously as her feet dance and her hands pulse to the sky.  “WOOP-WOOP!”

WE are both laughing hard, and it is hard not to jump on my feet and join her as I experience the purity of her joy.

Waving her phone in the air and still grinning dancing she exclaims, “The APP kept me on track. I truly do not believe I could have done this by myself without WOOP.  I feel like a different person. In such a short period, I have learned to live for MYSELF vs. living for everyone else. I wish I had known about WOOP when I was raising my kids. Now THAT would have been FUN to experience!”



SCGLR sponsored a Mind in the Making training from June 19-21 and approximately 27 very fortunate and very excited members of our community are now ready to share the science with YOU. Parents, families, caregivers, educators, churches, groups, and interested members of the community are all welcome to express interest, help set up, and most importantly participate in cohorts in Sarasota, Manatee, Desoto, and Charlotte Counties.  Mind in the Making is made possible by the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading with funding provided by The Patterson Foundation.



What is your most important wish or concern? Pick a wish that feels challenging but that you can reasonably fulfill within the next four weeks.





If your wish is fulfilled, where would that leave you? What would be the best, most positive outcome? How would fulfilling your wish make you feel?

Identify your best outcome and take a moment to imagine it as fully as you can.






What is it within you that holds you back from fulfilling your wish? It might be an emotion, an irrational belief, or a bad habit. Think more deeply—what is it really?

Identify your main inner obstacle and take a moment to imagine it fully.





What can you do to overcome your obstacle? Identify one action you can take or one thought you can think to overcome your obstacle.

Make the following plan for yourself:




“WOOP is a practical, accessible, evidence-based mental strategy that people can use to find and fulfill their wishes and change their habits.”

Over twenty years of research shows that WOOP works. Known scientifically as Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions, the approach has proven effective across ages and areas of life, helping people achieve goals dealing with health, career/academics, and interpersonal relationships.

Based on twenty years of research in the science of motivation, WOOP presents a unique and surprising idea: The obstacles that we think most impede us from fulfilling our wishes can help us to realize them. WOOP instructs us to dream our future dreams, but then to imagine what obstacles inside ourselves prevent us from achieving these dreams. In research studies, WOOP has helped people reduce stress and increase work engagement, find integrative solutions to problems, and improve time management. It has supported adults in losing weight, drinking less alcohol, and sustaining healthier relationships. Children and adolescents using WOOP improved school attendance as well as effort and achievement in school.

“The solution isn’t to do away with dreaming and positive thinking. Rather, it’s making the most of our fantasies by brushing them up against the very thing most of us are taught to ignore or diminish: the obstacles that stand in our way.” – Gabriele Oettingen, Rethinking Positive Thinking





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