The following article is based on a presentation by Ken Carfagno at the 2021 Maid Summit, hosted and organized by ZenMaid. Ken is the owner of Carfagno Cleaning, founder of the Smart Cleaning School and host of the Smart Cleaning School podcast.
Often, the business you dream of building isn’t the one you end up with. Instead, it’s bigger than what you ever imagined. When Ken Carfagno launched his cleaning business nearly 17 years ago, he never envisioned that it would lead to him start the Smart Cleaning School or host its podcast.
He credits his success and the evolution of his business with having a big why. Think of a why as a dream, aspiration, mission, or a big hairy audacious goal. Ken’s why is to run a business that supports his wife and five children.
Today, he helps other cleaning business owners discover their whys and achieve their dreams by understanding the cycle of thoughts and feelings around goals. Thoughts precede feelings, which lead to actions that produce results. The key is to steer your thoughts in a way that leads to actions that move you toward your goals.
Ken breaks down this cycle of thoughts and feelings into four stages. Keep reading to learn about each stage and how it can be a positive or negative influence on your achievement.
Stage 1: Hunger
“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Let’s say you have a $1 million dollar dream, but you have a $100,000 business. There’s a gap between your dream and your capacity. This gap is called positive dream tension and it’s a good thing to have.
Positive dream tension creates a hunger in your heart that powers your will to achieve. It’s why you wake up excited to get to work. Hunger is your fuel and motivation.
In this stage, focus on building your capacity. This could mean finding a way to grow your team so you can take on more business.
Aim to stay in this stage. As your capacity grows, make your dream bigger so that you’re always hungry. When you reach your $1 million dream, go after a $2 million dream. If you don’t uplevel your dream, you’ll move into Stage 2.
Stage 2: Comfort
As your capacity grows, eventually it becomes equal to your dream. Business is great. You’ve paid off your debt. You got the car you wanted. Your hunger has transformed to comfort and the tension is gone.
Celebrate – but don’t stay in this stage too long. After a short break, go back to your place of hunger by setting a goal beyond your new capacity.
If you stay in your place of comfort, you risk growing into the negativity of Stage 3.
Stage 3: Apathy
Suppose you’ve achieved your million dollar dream. Maybe you’ve even exceeded it and you’re continuing to make money. You now have plenty of time and you can travel wherever you want. But maybe you’re also sleeping in because you don’t know what to do with your day.
As your capacity surpasses your dream, a negative dream tension forms. This can lead to depression or apathy, which is a lack of interest or excitement for your business.
To exit this stage, you must grow a dream beyond your current capacity to get back to the positive stage of hunger.
Consider celebrities and public figures who reach the top of their fields. Despite money and fame, they’re unhappy. Why? Because they’ve become apathetic without a dream to strive for.
Stage 4: Hopelessness
In this stage (which could also be considered Stage 0), the gap between your capacity and your dream is so huge that it seems infinite.
Imagine that you’re a single cleaner with a million dollar dream. You’re working nonstop, but you’re still struggling to pay the bills. Your million dollar dream feels impossible – but don’t give up on it. Instead, grow your capacity. And keep in mind, you don’t have to keep your dream the same size.
If your original dream was to be able to travel whenever you want, consider aiming for Fridays off instead. Or start with every other Friday off. This shift gets you out of hopelessness and back into hunger. Eventually, as you’re consistently able to take Fridays off, you might add Mondays, too.
Keep aiming for a goal beyond your capacity. Once you reach it, keep going. You’ll be surprised by all that you can achieve.
For more tips on how to reach your business goals, watch Ken’s full talk below:
For more resources on how to grow and perfect your cleaning business, check out the replays from the 2021 Maid Summit, hosted by ZenMaid. The summit featured more than 60 presentations from other maid service owners who shared tools and strategies to help you achieve the highest levels of success in your business.
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