Marleen in Cartoon Form

What Imagination?

My imagination highlights what I am capable of and how others react. For example, I imagine my Wednesday appointment will lead to a new account. My son, John, will remember the upcoming birthday, or next month I suspect that new prospect will commit, or next year will be the year that leads to world harmony. You get it. Imagination can be fun, playful but also be a wishing that directs and guides.

Fifteen years ago, I imagined a regional business with high revenue and many customers and many employees, and the talk of the state. Today, we continue in our cleaning business and last month added another service. We are thriving at a slow rate and are happy to say so. We clean carpet in government buildings, corporate headquarters, and professional offices and are confident in our long-term relationships.

We added the service of power pressure washing, which means that now parking areas and sidewalks are being cleaned and the gum scraped by our employees.

I look back and read the notes of that 15 year ago imagined future (and who wouldn’t) of largeness in money, staffing, and recognition and compare it to today’s reality. And surprise! The supposed large business numbers are not there. Which leads to the serious question of what changed?

I want to say the economy, which would be true and a way to pass off honesty and transparency.

The actual answer, though: I changed, as the leader and owner of the business, the choices I made and decisions carried out made all the difference. What I imagined 15 years prior, I no longer identify as a success story. The large company with many employees and media recognition no longer appealed.

Here is what I did. I substituted significant business goals with goals of productive and value-driven relationships. These goals made more sense to me and aligned with my “why.” I was shooting for values and working with pleasant people who seemed as important as money or the largeness I imagined 15 years prior.

You ask what about the next 15 years? For the next 15 years, happy employees and honest relationships with every customer. Business success, as I imagine.



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Marleen Geyen

The best part of me shows up in my writing about business ownership, leadership, family, personal relationships, travel and what I learn from human interaction.