The Wonder Founder Sarah Robinson and Jenna discuss the power of belief and how to elevate your own, including a 3-minute exercise that will help you "operate like you believe the cards are stacked in your favor." We also chat about our collective need to revitalize our sense of community and simple actions we can take to feel more connected.
How This Founder Designed A Life Around Having Fun
When Sarah Robinson was growing up she could recite all of the lines from her favorite movie, BIG. As a child, Tom Hanks' job as a toy tester at a toy store sparked an early awakening for her that work and life should be fun. So, she spent her childhood on a quest to answer a very important question: How can I stay a kid forever?
Last week, Sarah launched The Wonder: A first of its kind, "absurdly fun" community space for families in NYC. With programming that includes light-saber training and disco dance parties, she's proof that childhood dreams really do come true.
What's more impressive is how Sarah makes fun and laughter the focal point of her life in a way that's contagious to everyone she meets. We had a blast discussing the power of belief and how to strengthen it as well as our collective need to revitalize our sense of community. These are the habits on mindset and connection I've been most excited to apply since our chat.
Lean into moments of belief
"There is the tiniest sliver of difference between making it and not making it and that's belief," Sarah says. I love her mantra "Believe in yourself with a capital B" and the realistic way she keeps the 'B' uppercase: "Fear will always be there. So, you have to lean into the moments when you hear the voice that says you can do it louder than the one that says you can't."
Create your own luck
One way to elevate your sense of belief, especially in moments of doubt, is to "operate like you believe the cards are stacked in your favor."
Sarah shared a simple yet powerful exercise to prime your brain to do so: Imagine your best case scenario.
For 3 minutes imagine that the best case scenario of any future situation, especially one you're stressed about, has happened.
"In difficult situations, until the outcome actually happens, you don't know what it's going to be. So, for 3 minutes, live in the one where you've succeeded and whatever you're worrying about didn't happen."
This exercise is a particularly valuable way to reduce stress because your body can't tell the difference between the mental images and feelings you have visualizing a situation and the ones you'd have if it were actually happening. The same psychological changes happen in your brain. "In just 3 minutes, you can trick your brain into thinking your best case scenario has happened and harness that positive energy to get into a state of flow," Sarah adds.
Create more analog memories
One of the catalysts that led Sarah to launch The Wonder was a watercolor activity she did with her mom growing up. Years later, when she did it with her own son, it felt like the most fun they'd ever had. She was inspired to found The Wonder to help other families have similar experiences more regularly and also emphasizes that these memories don't require special circumstances to create. They can be enjoyed daily with conscious attention and presence.
"The moments you're truly present with loved ones are the ones you'll cherish for the rest of your life," she says. "By disconnecting for even 20 or 30 minutes and wholly committing to an experience you can create a memory you'll have forever."
One simple tip to have more of these experiences is to leave your devices in a different room when you're spending time with family and friends, or doing any activity that is important to you. You'll be surprised by how often you reach for your phone and how free you feel without it, Sarah adds.
Commit to more small acts of kindness
A few years ago, Sarah and her husband moved from Manhattan to a small neighborhood in Brooklyn with the hope of finding the kind of community that many of us grew up in; One where you know your neighbors, gather often, and kids are always outside playing. While explaining how special the move has been for her family, Sarah shared that when her daughter was born one of their neighbors dropped off a delicious apple cake and another a warm pot of soup. "It was the most delightful thing — Human kindness in the analog way," she reflected. "So many of us crave that right now and we don't even know it." Sarah's neighbors reminded me how impactful these acts of kindness are in making our friends and family feel cared for, thought of and supported. If you have a chance in the coming weeks, follow their lead by doing something kind, no matter how small, for a person in your community.