Close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself this revealing (albeit quirky) question.
"If I had a realistic magic wand, what is the biggest change I would make in my life, career, or business?"
I know it's a little quirky, but it works. The words “realistic” and “magic wand” contradict one another, yet, when combined, they perform a very intentional function. If the magic wand weren't realistic, people would respond by saying things like, “My business would make one billion dollars by the end of the year.” And if the magic wand were missing from the equation altogether, people would not stretch their imaginations enough; they would not be thinking big enough.
The realistic magic wand question generates an aha response from nearly everyone I ask. Here are some client examples and ideas upon which to base your realistic magic wand experience:
You're not thinking big if you put your dreams on hold.
Joan had an overly complex business model, and it wasn't working. She was losing money while sacrificing her health and precious time with family. When one service didn't make money, she would add another–and new personnel to deliver. The expenses were staggering.
When I posed the realistic magic wand question, she took a full minute of silent contemplation. “Honestly,” she said. “I want to make enough money in this business so I can give it all up in about five years and support my dream of becoming a ghostwriter. I want to sit on a beach while helping someone become a published author.” This may sound like she was thinking big, but not really.
Joan based her answer upon the assumption that she could not make enough money as a ghostwriter, as though it would be a hobby, which is not true. She was putting her real dream on hold because she didn't believe in herself.
We worked on her perspective, and within two months, Joan shut down her business. Almost immediately, she gained author clients and has made more money as a ghostwriter than she'd generated in the five-year lifespan of her previous company. All because of an imaginary yet realistic magic wand. Now she's living the life she has dreamed about for years.
Sometimes you need to restructure your business model.
This client answered the question by saying he wanted to spend holidays and six weeks of vacation time with his family every year. That's not a lot to ask for most entrepreneurs, but he's a doctor—an obstetrician, to be exact. Obviously, no one can dictate when a baby will be born, but you can dictate who delivers those babies. So David allowed himself to believe that he would never be capable of taking so much time away from his important work, but that didn't have to be the case.
To make his realistic magic wand wish come true, we spent the next six months restructuring David's business model putting money-making systems and best practices in place. With the increased revenues he hired a new employee, a second doctor to perform all deliveries. Not only does my client now spend holidays and vacations with his family, but he rarely has to leave the house at 2:00 AM or go into to the hospital on weekends. Like magic, his dream came true.
Change your responsibilities and culture as you grow.
My final example: A client who owned a software development company with her husband. Katie was the brains behind the operation, her husband the charismatic sales guy.
When I asked Katie the magic wand question, she identified an internal shift she would like to make. She told me that she let her husband do all the talking in meetings with potential business partners, investors, and customers because he is an outgoing, confident person. Her magic wand wish would help her adjust to the idea that he was the spokesperson and stop berating herself for her lack of confidence. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “We need to up Katie's magic wand's power!”
So, I reminded Katie that she had a realistic magic wand at her disposal and asked if her wish was the best-case scenario. I'll never forget her answer. “No,” she said. “I'd rather have the confidence to contribute to these presentations, but no magic wand has that much power.”
You guessed it. After this conversation, Katie's coachable goal was to boost her confidence, believe in her abilities, and overcome her fear of being an equal partner in these meetings. She shed her fears and within 18 months Katie and her husband sold their company and stepped into their dream life together.
Put a little magic into your life! What would you wish for if you had a realistic magic wand? What really and truly matters to you? Your dream is more accessible than you may believe, just make sure you are thinking big and asking the right questions!