After nine years of building my business to $1 million in sales, I thought, "Now what?" I couldn't envision growing the business beyond Vancouver.
So, one day, I sat on the dock at my parents' cottage and said, "Rather than all this negativity, what if my business could be much bigger? What would that look like?" I wrote down all these bold thoughts on two sides of a sheet of paper, which I called a "painted picture." I didn't allow myself to ask how or even whether I could do them.
I wrote down things such as: "In five years, we'll be in North America's 30 biggest metro areas and I'll be a guest on Oprah." Then I shared my painted picture with everyone in my company. That separated out the people who thought I was crazy—whom I told, "Great, there's the door."
The painted picture wasn't "This is where we'd like to go," but "This is where we will go." Everyone focused on achieving it; and if we didn't know how to make something happen, we'd sit down and find a way.
We achieved all of it, including a show in which Oprah helped families declutter. I had told everyone "I see myself giving Oprah a hug"—and in the green room before the show, I hugged her. It was just what I'd seen in the painted picture.
Photograph by Jennifer Roberts