How to Build the Business You Want

“Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones!” – Mike Dooley

How to Build the Business You Want

By Andrea Novakowski

What do you want? It’s a simple question, but it’s not always so easy to answer. Often, when I ask my clients, they honestly don’t know. It’s no problem for people to come up with a list of things they don’t want. But ask them to name what they do want, and they draw a blank.

Unfortunately, many of us spend much of our time and energy thinking about things that make us unhappy. As a result, that’s exactly what we get. As motivational speaker Mike Dooley says, “Our thoughts become things.”

Thoughts → Feelings → Actions → Results

Since that’s the case, it’s time to stop focusing on what we don’t want (or don’t believe it’s possible to have) and start creating space for what we do want. Here’s how I used this principle to help my client, Jolene, get what she wanted for her business.

Jolene, the owner of a health care company, confided to me one day that her front desk person wasn’t working out. “She’s spread too thin,” Jolene said. “She’s not fast enough. She’s really good with people but doesn’t accomplish the marketing and outreach projects I need her to do.” The list of faults went on and on.

“Instead of dwelling on all the ways your employee falls short,” I suggested, “let’s envision what you want your front desk person to be doing with her time and what you’d like her to be skilled at.”

Very quickly, we drew up a list of the employee’s desired abilities and attributes. Jolene had no trouble creating an ideal picture (typing 100 words per minute, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, moving faster than a cheetah while appearing calm, cool, and collected).

When we were done with the exercise, I asked Jolene to tell me how she felt. Not that I needed to ask. I could see the excitement on her face! When planning feels like fun and gets your energy going, it’s a sure sign that you’re on the right track.

Turning your daydream into a reality

Figuring out what you’re looking for is only the first part of the process. Here are the steps I take my clients through in order to identify and get what they want.

1. Make time to dream. Spend time thinking about what you want. Start to define it. Consider what you’re drawn to naturally, what comes easily to you.

2. Visualize. You can do this by creating a vision board, journaling, talking to people who are successful in your field, or watching how others do what you’re thinking about. There are many ways to gather information.

3. Check in with your energy. How do you think it will feel to accomplish your goal? Imagining success helps you to know, recognize, and be drawn to what you really want and to let go of things that don’t energize you.

4. Brainstorm strategies to help you get from where you are to where you want to be. Think about and jot down all the ideas that come to mind. You can do this alone or with a buddy. Have fun, be creative, be outrageous. Get your creative juices flowing!

5. Make a plan. Choose one or two strategies. Create an action plan with steps to take, due dates and who is responsible for the action.

Now that Jolene was clear on what she wanted from her employee, we were ready to move ahead and begin formulating a strategy to help her find the best person for the job.

Next month I’ll share with you how to put your plan into action and deal with possible roadblocks — like procrastination and fear of success — that might get in your way.


Do you have a recent hire whose performance hasn’t turned out to be as stellar as you’d hoped? Before you give up on them, consider whether they have a clear idea of what you need them to do and how. You may not be 100 percent certain yourself – maybe you were just hoping they would make your life easier! Ask yourself why you hired that person and visualize exactly how they can help your company. Now, take the time to share this with your employee and set up an improved way of communicating.