About a year ago, my husband and I bought a beautiful antique rug to display on the wall of our bedroom. We had a sleeve sewn on the top, threaded a piece of lumber through it and attached the lumber to the wall. My husband hung the rug while I was out of town, using a length of wood that protruded about three inches from either side of the fabric. “It was such a pain to get that thing up there,” he said when I pointed out that it looked a little rough. “You won’t even notice the wood after awhile. If I’m wrong, I’ll change it in two months.”
He was right. By week two, the lumber no longer caught my eye, and by week four I barely even noticed the rug itself. But the lesson has stayed with me.
Since that day, I periodically go into the various rooms of our house and imagine I’m seeing them for the first time. Sometimes I picture that I’m showing the space to an important guest—a city council member, perhaps—and I look at our home through their eyes. Suddenly, every flaw is brightly illuminated from the sticking-out lumber to the crack on our living room wall.
I started applying the concept to other areas of my life—business, personal, even my hair and clothes. The results were the same. For some reason, imagining that you are showing something to another person makes you see it with greater clarity.
With that in mind, I invite you to try the idea in your own remodeling business, starting with your showroom, if you have one. Imagine a prestigious marketing consultant looking over the place for the first time. What would they think of the exterior? Slowly walk around inside with the consultant by your side, explaining the reasons for each display. Would they advise any changes?
For some reason, imagining that you are showing something to another person makes you see it with greater clarity.
Next, imagine the marketing expert is joined by a brilliant business advisor. Turn on your computer and begin explaining how your company is structured. What are you proud of? What feels slightly embarrassing? Does anything feel very embarrassing? Picture the consultant asking tough, probing questions about why you run the business the way you do. What would those questions be? How would you answer them?
Mentally introduce the consultant to your team, one by one. How do you feel as they meet? Is there anyone you know needs more coaching, but have been putting it off due to time constraints? Are there people in the wrong job? How about employees who shouldn’t be there at all?
There are many aspects of ourselves and our lives that are less than ideal, yet we are so used to living in the day-to-day moment that we no longer see them. We don’t question the problems, or if we do, we procrastinate making any fixes and mentally move onto another topic.
Hiring an actual consultant can be helpful, but before bringing anyone on board, use an imaginary consultant as a motivating tool toward making changes you know you need. That way, you’ll address low-hanging fruit before the real consultant arrives.