Dream Big – Achieve more: What an old door taught me about getting things done.

Dream Big – Achieve more: What an old door taught me about getting things done.

I made a white board out of an old door. I love it.

Here are the before and after pics.










Here’s the story behind it and a question that changed everything!

(You just know I couldn’t resist including something that might just inspire you to dream big and achieve more.)


A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted a new white board for my office.

I don’t know what it is… but I love to have white boards around for brain storming, planning and dreaming up freakishly big stuff. At the same time… I didn’t want your typical white board… AND because I’m rather tight… I didn’t want to pay for a typical white board.

So… I asked myself a question.

That question made all the difference.

And it may just be a question that could help you as you go after one of your own big dreams or goals. Whether it’s something you want to do within your organization… but you don’t seem to have the budget. Or if it’s a goal of traveling somewhere… but you’re not sure where to start. Or it’s a big dream of launching a new biz or a non-profit… but it seems almost impossible most days.

This question could help.

Yeah… it’s that kind of question. Simple but powerful.

The 1st question:

What do I have access to… right now… that could help me have a cool white board?

Here’s how it played out with my white board.

I asked the question… and started to think through the things that I had that could function as a white board. I had wall space I could paint with special paint. I had glass. I had mirrors. I had older framed pieces of art that I could manipulate. But then I remembered that in the back of our garage… we had an old office door that my wife had found at a garage sale years ago.

It was one of those purchases that on an impulse… you convinced yourself you could work past the lead-based paint, the aged wood and the 700-lbs of old-school weight… so you could actually do something with it. (Yeah… I know you’ve done the same thing from time to time!) But… like you… we got it home, figured out it didn’t fit into any of our door-ways, and then it went out to the garage to be stored in the “someday” pile.

Well… I remembered it and things started to click.

(Note: I know I would have NEVER thought of that old door… if it hadn’t been for that question. I’m not sure what the “old door equivalent” is for you and your goal/dream… but I’m guessing it’s there… somewhere.)

The 2nd question:

Next… I asked the question again… with some modifications:

“If I wanted to make this door into a white board, what do I have access to… right now… to make it happen?”

I went out the garage again… and found paint thinner.

Granted, I wasn’t sure how old it was… BUT it was paint thinner all the same. And I found some stain. Now… I’ll admit that it wasn’t the stain color that I would have picked if I had all the options in the world. It wasn’t perfect! But… it was darn close. And it allowed me to keep my momentum and stay with my emerging goal of using the things I had access to.

So I went for it.

And after a crash course on removing lead-based paint (thanks Wikipedia and Dutch Boy Paint’s informative website!)… I was off and running!

So then I started to strip.


(Yow… that’s just funny to say!)

That’s right. I started to strip the old paint off. I stripped some nasty old stain off too.

It was hot that day. It was hard work.

But you know what?

It was fun. And there is just something about doing the work of the creative process that was just ohhhhh sooooo fulfilling. That’s right. Dreaming BIG is where we start. But there is something so so sweet about the DOING that is so satisfying… even though it might involve a whole lot of sweat!

(Can I get an amen?)

Next… I took my stain and started to apply it. And you know what? Even though I might have gone with something a little different if I was starting from scratch (and an unlimited budget)… the stain I had access to… looked pretty darn good.

And I would have never known that if I hadn’t given myself permission to just try it.

It was almost done… but it wasn’t quite right.

I have to admit… that after the staining… the door was starting to really look good. BUT I had a problem.

The glass in the door was clear. So when I went to do a test run of my door/ white board… it wasn’t great.

Sure, I could use my dry erase markers to make cool designs and long lists… but since the glass was clear… it was hard to read from a distance. I could have used it… but I think it would have been frustrating.

So I asked myself the question again… with some modifications…

What do I have access to… right now… that could take this soon-to-be white board to the next level?

I started to think… if the glass was actually white… then it would work much better. And then I started to think that if I painted one side of the glass white… the other side would be the perfect white board.

BUT… I didn’t have any white paint.

So… this is were I gave myself some flexibility and changed up the parameters of my question a bit. I figured out that a can of white spray paint would be around $4… and I knew I had access to that kind of budget. (hee hee.)

So I headed to Lowes to grab my can of white-goodness.

I taped up the door with some old newspapers and some blue painters tape (from all of our BIG Dream Gathering supplies and I took my clear glass door and transformed it into the ultimate white board!

So there you have it.

The story of how an old nasty door at the back of my garage… transformed into a white board that inspires me!

And really… this is simply the story of how a question (or series of questions) inspired all of it.

Now… here’s the most important question to ask…

How could you use the question?

Seriously. How could you use it…

At work?

Are you working on something new at work… and you’re wanting to take a program or initiative to the next level? But are you coming up against budget constraints or time constraints? (Who doesn’t?)

What if you gave yourself permission to ask this type of question?

What do you have access to… right now… that could help you to get it done?

Sure… somethings won’t be perfect… but I’ve seen people who have set themselves free of the expectation of perfection… turn out some pretty incredible work. Because… they got creative and they kept moving forward!

Launching a dream business?

Are you longing to start something new? Have you always dreamed of owning your own business?

Well… how could you use this type of question?

Sure… things might seem a little impossible… but what is something you could do to get started? What do you have access to that would allow you to take that next step?

Is it a contact? Is it researching an idea? Is it building a low-cost prototype?

(Just as a side note, when we were first working on our idea for games series called Q… I (with the help of two amazing friends) spent 5 hours in the back of a scrap-booking store… using their templates… to create 50 prototypes of our first Q decks. We then used those prototypes to build buzz around the country for our upcoming game series. The total cost for those proto-types… $38.)

So… first… ask yourself the question.

What do you have access to… right now… that could help to make ___________ happen?


Give yourself permission for it to not be perfect.


Do something!

And just see where that creativity and forward momentum takes you!

Join in the convo…

I’d love to hear from you! Where might you use this type of question? How might you shape it to fit your situation? Click comments and let us know!

Keep dreaming big and helping others to do the same,

Mitch Matthews

  • Mark True
    Posted at 14:45h, 09 July Reply

    I’ve used doors for desks and credenzas, and metal tool boxes for their drawers, but never a desk for a white board. That’s brilliant!

    • mitchamatthews
      Posted at 08:38h, 10 July Reply

      Thanks Mark! I’m digging the metal tool boxes for drawers concept! Going to have to dig into that one! You rock buddy!

  • Lynda
    Posted at 08:33h, 10 July Reply

    Mitch, Thank you for sharing this. What a great idea for moving an idea/dream ahead. I will put it to good use….and the “white board” looks wonderful and unique! A great reminder on a daily basis to be creative.

    • mitchamatthews
      Posted at 08:39h, 10 July Reply

      You’re welcome Lynda! Thanks for your kind words. And yes… that white board stands at the ready to inspire some freakish creativity. Heck, right now… it has notes for a new book idea. So you NEVER know!! Thanks again, Mitch

  • Dee
    Posted at 09:28h, 10 July Reply

    What a great idea. You definitely think outside the box and therefore allow yourself to dream big.

    • mitchamatthews
      Posted at 10:22h, 10 July Reply

      Thanks mom! 🙂

  • Adam
    Posted at 10:16h, 10 July Reply

    Mitch, I “borrowed” your other white board idea from way back. Bought an inexpensive frame at Hobby Lobby and spray painted the glass with a really cool spray paint, then put the glass in with the smooth side out/painted side in the back. It ALWAYS gets comments when people see it in my office. When will we see you on Nate Berkus’ show? (or a show of your own for cryin’ out loud!)

    • mitchamatthews
      Posted at 10:21h, 10 July Reply

      Now THAT’s what I’m talking about Adam! I’ve seen your white board… but now the world needs to see it. I’m not sure if you can post it here or not… but post a pic of it on Facebook and tag me. You took the idea to the next level bro! The world needs to see if fo shizzle!

  • DrMollieMarti
    Posted at 13:57h, 10 July Reply

    What a coolio idea.

    Melissa knew that door was a treasure when she picked it up at that garage sale! 🙂

    Serious inspiration on the power of asking better Qs…and taking immediate action. Well done, Mitch!

    • mitchamatthews
      Posted at 14:36h, 10 July Reply

      Thanks MM! Yup… my wife has an eye for seeing cool stuff that most people miss! (I think there may be a joke in there somewhere about her finding and marrying me… but I’ll leave that alone for now.:) You’re awesome! Thanks for checking in.

  • Robyn Byrd
    Posted at 22:12h, 11 July Reply

    After reading Ingite and spending the last month or so just letting that information gel in my mind I figured out what my big dream is…these questions will help me continue to refine that idea, gather resoures and prepare the proposal. Thanks Mitch as always for the awsome ideas!

  • Pam Jordan
    Posted at 13:04h, 17 July Reply

    I love this idea. If I find something, such as a quote or a picture hat inspires me, I will write it where I can see it…once, I painted the “prayer of Jabez” on my living room wall…not as art, but just because it inspired me so. I also will write things, with a Sharpie, on my hands to encourage myself (sort of a temp tattoo),during triathlons or half marathons I am competing in, to kepp myself motivated and ush through the pain/boredom. I am going to find a way to make myself a white board (or a DREAM/VISION board). Thanks for the idea, inspiration, and motivation!

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