2017-06-29 / Columns

‘To Get There, You’ll Have To Build a Blueprint’

Think Outside, No Box Needed: Advice for Growing Your Business
By Jim Plouffe

We were having lunch with our friend, Sally, a while back. She is about 20 years younger than us. Sally has never quite gotten her life on track. Don’t get me wrong, she is responsible, but every time we get together, she is always working on or starting the next big thing or opportunity in her life. The last one never seems to have worked out because of something she believes is beyond her control. It’s always someone else’s fault. Do you know anyone like that?

We all make excuses for ourselves. We all hate to think that we could be the cause of our problems and failures, myself included. Sally isn’t unique in this, however, when you keep hearing the same outcome and keep seeing the same patterns over and over again, and the only common denominator seems to be the individual, like in Sally’s case, then maybe it’s time to do a self-assessment. Some people never consider the reality that they could be the root cause of the issue or problem. I’ve run into this with both bosses and employees.

This has happened so often with Sally, that I suggested she start a business that allowed employees to tell their boss what a horrible job they were doing communicating and managing; anonymously, of course. The smaller the company or organization, the harder that would be. Now that I think about it, I think employers would like the same opportunity, but the reason that wouldn’t work is because it would be impossible to remain anonymous.

Sally never took me up on my idea, even though it might have been the perfect business for her. What Sally needs to do is ask herself four questions:

1. Where are you right now?

2. Where do you want to be in the future?

3. Why do you want to accomplish this?

4. What step are you going to take daily to move you in the direction of the future you want?

That is how you build a blueprint of what you want out of life. There is no secret to it. There is nothing magical or mysterious about it, but you do have to answer the questions.

I was showing my Rolls-Royce to a new friend of mine, Ron, the other day. Ron is from Texas. I was showing it to him because he had heard I had one, and also because he asked to see it, otherwise I would have never brought it up. He kept saying, “This is so cool, my dad would love to see this car. He loved these cars, but we never had money.”

I had to tell him that I never had money growing up, either, and actu- ally I don’t feel like I have much, compared to many other individuals I know.

There are a few lessons to be learned from that story. The first one is: The fastest and shortest way to get what you want or the support you need is to ask for what you want from someone who has the capacity to provide it or teach you. The second lesson from that story is: You don’t have to remain where you are. There are always opportunities to grow and be more, but you can’t expect those opportunities to find you. You have to create a plan to find them by using the four questions above. Nobody gave me my Rolls-Royce. It was part of my future plan, 25 years earlier. The third lesson is: Someone is always going to have more than you, no matter how much you have. That is why it is so important to know what you want.

Sally may have missed the biggest career and business opportunity of her life because she didn’t follow through with creating a business out of what appeared to be another failed opportunity. We’ll never know.

Unhappy with the status quo and direction of your business? Jim does one-on-one business coaching and consulting. He is also available for speeches and training presentations to your company or organization. Call (906) 643-6643 or e-mail jim@ThinkOutsideNoBoxNeeded.co m.

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