The power of being positive – part one


I’ve just finished writing the sample chapter of my book (working title One in Ten – How to Survive Ten Years in Business). I’ll soon be sending it to some publishers to see who wants it.

In the meantime, here’s a section from the chapter, which is all about how to stay positive.

Dream your dreams

Without dreams and goals you will never be able to create and sustain a successful business. Goals will give you the motivation you need to get out of bed in the morning, to keep working towards what you want and to overcome the obstacles that get in the way.

In July 2004 I attended a goal setting workshop with my friend Gill, a fellow business owner. On large sheets of paper, with coloured pens, we drew and wrote where we wanted to be in three years time. My sheet showed a red brick house with an office building in the garden; it has stables and a big brown horse in the paddock. I wrote ‘July 2007’ by the image. And then I went home and put the drawing into a cupboard and didn’t look at it again for about three years. The only thing I did was tell my friend, an estate agent, that someday I wanted to live in a three bedroom house with an office and a horse at the end of the garden.

Fast forward to September 2005 and my estate agent friend brought me photos of a house not yet on the market. Just three miles from where we lived at the time, the house sat in good horse riding country. It had three bedrooms, an office and stables at the end of the garden. And then she told me the name of the house – Appletree Cottage. How much closer could you get to a business called Appletree? Through fate I knew I would live and work there.

“It’ll be too small,” commented my husband, Grant on first seeing the photos. “Let’s go and see it anyway,” I persuaded him. The first view of the house in its valley moved me that day; it is a sight that still moves me nearly every time I turn down the lane, heading for home. The view from each window within the house took our breaths away and I knew my husband was interested.

“We can’t afford it,” objected Grant after seeing the house, as he already had a strong opinion of what our house was worth. “Let’s get it valued anyway,” said I, ever the optimist. To our delight the valuation came in much higher than we had expected, so we could afford Appletree Cottage and we put in an offer, before it was officially for sale. Instant rejection – the owner hoped someone else would offer more. When the house eventually came onto the market, we again offered the full asking price. Despite having a mortgage and the ability to move straight away, again we were turned down. To keep our spirits up, we looked at a few other houses on the market; none of them had the magic that we’d felt every time we’d been to Appletree Cottage, so we waited.

During that time, my husband came close to giving up the house. He saw the obstacles in our way – the stubborn owner, the other viewers with more money. My frustration grew as I worked hard to keep our dream alive; and because I desperately wanted to grow my business. Working in a bedroom, using our dining room for meetings put limitations on its development. There was no room to take on staff and I did not want to always rely on freelance support. The building in the garden at Appletree Cottage would make a perfect office, with room for an assistant. Plans were already underway for future members of staff – account managers, copywriters and designers. Without the space into which to expand, the business was trapped.

Eventually, nearly a year after first seeing Appletree Cottage, we made a rash decision. We asked the estate agent to present our final offer to the owner of Appletree Cottage, for a firm acceptance or refusal within a week, before we went on holiday. I would not wait any longer and wanted to go on holiday knowing the future. Rash? Definitely and as soon as we sent our ultimatum I wondered if we had made a huge mistake. That week crawled past so slowly until, the day before we left, the call came from the estate agent. It was the answer I so desperately wanted and had been dreaming of for so long. Appletree Cottage was ours! My friend laughed when she realised I was crying at the other end of the phone.

When we finally moved into our new home, Grant told me that my determination and positive attitude had kept the dream of Appletree Cottage alive. When packing my office for the move, I found the picture I created three years earlier – the red brick house, the office, the stables and paddock. Appletree Cottage had it all. The date on the picture was July 2007; we moved there in January 2007.

What dreams do you dream about your life and your business?


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