Last week, I had the pleasure of sharing our detailed 2017 plan with True Value’s extended leadership team. During the Q&A that followed, one of our leaders asked how confident I feel in our ability to deliver on these plans. As I said in my response, for me there are actually two considerations in that question: what you know and what you feel.

True Value finished 2016 exceptionally strong. We had a record year in new store performance and remodeled more stores than in any prior year. There were certainly opportunities to learn from 2016, and we took those lessons to heart and used them to solidify our 2017 plans. Hard facts like these drive the qualitative assessment that becomes what you know.

To answer the second part of that question – how I feel about our ability to deliver on these plans – I indulged my inner sci-fi fan. Other fans of The Matrix will remember the final scene of the third film in the series, The Matrix Revolutions. (Spoiler Alert – though if you haven’t seen this 2003 classic by now, you’re not likely to be bothered by me revealing the ending.) In that scene, The Oracle, a clairvoyant seer who is a strong character throughout the series, is approached by one of the other characters, Seraph.

“Did you always know?” Seraph asks, referring to the fact that a human race-ending crisis had been narrowly averted.

“Oh, no…No I didn’t,” the Oracle answers. “But I believed…I believed.”

Like The Oracle, our command of the facts doesn’t fully reveal the future. But our beliefs give us powerful leverage in shaping it.

I know that True Value’s 2017 plan is our strongest yet, and what I feel is an absolute belief in our people’s ability to lead it and achieve it. That’s why I’m so excited about 2017.