Do You Run the Risk of Always Thinking Small (In Business)?

Are you in search of a new goal, a new way to shake the foundations of what you know and push you into the realm of what might...

Three years ago, I found myself in a peculiar position. I had just reached the biggest goal I had ever set in my life: to make over $100,000 in less than 12 months. I was thrilled. And also confused.

I didn’t know where to go from there. I asked my mentors what I should aim for next. Honestly, I don’t even remember what they told me. Nothing stuck. So I did the only thing I knew how to do. I aimed lower. Specifically, I aimed for working as little as possible and maintaining my revenue goal.

I was able to do it too. And this year, when I did my end-of-year bookkeeping and realized that I had achieved yet another year of stagnant revenue, I found myself no closer to achieving a new goal. Sure, it’s great to work 20 hours a week and bring in $150,000.

But I wanted more.

I just didn’t know what that “more” was.


Creating New ‘Money’ Goals

Before I continue, let me explain: I’m not in it for the money. Yikes, that sounds like a humble brag. Yet, money is a key way I create plans for growth, efficiency, and product development. Not having a new money goal was holding back my ability to plan.

I got it into my head at some point down the line, the kind of work I could do was worth about $40,000 per year, maximum. This thinking is why I stomached working 60 hours a week for $28,000 per year at the Borders b0okstore I managed for nearly 5 years. Having a 6-figure business was inconceivable at 25. Yet, with over half a million dollars in revenue between the ages of 28-31, I’ve achieved it over and over again. But I began to ask myself, more frequently, where to go from here?

The obvious answer might be a million dollar business. But when “what’s possible” doesn’t jive with what you can conceive, you can’t set the goal.

I confess . . . I have a very difficult time seeing big leaps forward—new possibilities—in terms of the kind of revenue my business can generate. And small jumps just don’t motivate me. More work than it’s worth, right?

So I’ve spent the last three years in search of a new goal, a new way to shake the foundations of what I know and push me into the realm of what might be possible.


How to Envision New Possibilities

We are all raised with different capacities for envisioning what’s possible. Some of us have a great capacity for seeing what’s possible with money. Others can see what’s possible with social change. Others can see what’s possible with new inventions. While some can see what’s possible with organization or logistics.

If you don’t expose yourself (intentionally) to those who see possibilities in areas other than you, you run the risk of always thinking small.

You can uncover new possibilities in lots of ways. You can hire a business coach, spend time with a business mentor, or read lots of entrepreneurship books. But the place I’ve had the most new possibility “aha! moments” has been at conferences or live events when lots of people with different capacities for possibility thinking gather in the same place.

For instance, I attended the inaugural Pioneer Nation in Portland, an event hosted by entrepreneur and author Chris Guillebeau. I realized that it had been over a year since I was part of a big event. And I was so glad I went and fully engaged with what the event had to offer. And sure enough, new possibility thinking abounded.

[After learning from others, how they discovered new possibilities], I’m happy to say that I had aha moments, as well. I’m already hard at work on those plans and you’ll see the fruits of them soon enough.

But if you aren’t intimately connected with what’s possible, new plans won’t pull you out of your hibernation. You’ll ooh! and ahh!, but you won’t act. Because it just won’t seem real. So, today, I invite you to connect with new possibilities. Maybe it’s with a new business coach, a new friend, or a new community. Or maybe it’s just simple and targeted Google research.

Take the time today to find out what new possibilities are waiting for you and your business.


This article has been edited and condensed.


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