Seven Steps to Create Lasting Change

“This morning, my sister left the toilet seat down! Women make men miserable.” – The Little Rascals

Earlier this week, I found myself browsing Netflix late into the night. Oddly enough, I was searching for inspiration, something funny. I nearly woke my husband and three sleeping children by laughing when Buckwheat announced to his woman-hating man club that his sister left the toilet seat down. I laughed…because of perspective. Naturally, my whole life has been, “Ugh, men leave the toilet seat up.” I laughed because both breeds are annoyed! Perspective. And until that moment, I never realized that men might be annoyed with me, too! Perspective.

Perspective ultimately leads to success or failure in your life.

I love summer. How could anyone not love summer? For all of you HVAC friends, you’re in your heyday, the phones ringing off the hook, and you can’t get to all the calls on the board. But then again, you’re either loving it…or hating it…perspective.

And it’s that perspective, that ‘positive’ perspective which seeks success, that begs the question, “how do we create lasting change, so we can keep this heyday from ending?”


Seven Steps to Creating Lasting Change

Ditch the excuses if you don’t have enough money, time, or friends. The excuses won’t bring them any closer. Tomorrow is always tomorrow, and one year from now is always a year away. Be specific with measurable and realistic goals…tied to a time-stamped day.

And if you really want lasting change and a more successful business next year, manifest your dream. Act with these steps:


  1. VISION – Clarity is Power

Are you being hypnotized by TV, Facebook, texting, emailing, and staying ‘busy’ but not productive? Choose to be fully present in life and your work. Take a day and count out loud how many times you have the urge to reach out and grab your phone, even when it isn’t ringing. Every time you do, you’re pushing your goals another moment away from you. Control your vision! With that measurable and realistic, time-stamped goal you set, ensure that everything you do is one bite-sized piece that gets you that much closer to it. In the end, if you are a victim, you’re the author of it. Every step you take will determine your success, and if your vision is clear, you’ll know immediately if your day-to-day actions are aligned with your goals or not.



This is where your excitement, passion, and emotion live! Your state of feeling good attracts that which you desire. Happiness is a choice, and more importantly, the ability to reach your goals is a choice—if you truly want it and aren’t just setting your goals as an obligation, you are more likely to achieve them. And seek to master what you desire – mastery doesn’t just happen – mastery knows very little about most things – they focus their attention on areas of expertise. Focus on the strengths that are most likely to help you get what you desire.



Recognize your limiting beliefs; for example: “I don’t have the family business family last name, so I’ll never be a leader in the company.” We have all heard that famous Henry Ford quote: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” Earn your place. Prove your abilities. And encourage yourself with positive self-talk. The Mayo Clinic says that positive self-talk can decrease depression and increase your lifespan. So even if you don’t believe that it increases your ability to do better, wouldn’t more time in your life alone help you get there? What are your limiting beliefs?



Start by accepting yourself first. Accept your belief, acknowledge your limiting belief, and then counter it with its opposite truth. Flip the narrative! “I don’t have the means to do this” can be flipped to “creativity and ingenuity come from desperation!” “I will be a leader in this company because I’ve worked hard and have mastered my skill; I am worthy.” Tell yourself your affirmation at least once a day until you believe it and until it’s the only thing you can hear.



Will-power goes a long way. You can want something in life but not intend to have it. Will-power is developed from adding the hope to have something plus the intention to do anything necessary to get it. But don’t confuse it with work ethic – it’s not just work ethic that will get you where you want to be; you must be intentional and laser-focused. No matter what happens to you in life, you redirect your focus towards what you intend to be.



Is your behavior in alignment with what you wish to be? Take small, reasonable steps each day that pushes you closer to your goal, and remember that there is more than one way to arrive at your destination. If you come to a bump in the road, look for ways not just to go over it, but through it, around it, under it, or take a different detour altogether. And go back a step to recognize; sometimes it’s not an action, it’s a belief issue.



It takes a tremendous amount of effort to hold onto an expectation—efforts that could be spent getting you to what you actually want. If you want love, don’t hold onto it; be love. Have intensity for what you want with no expectation that it has to happen.

Small shifts in perspective can turn you around from dreaming to achieving.

It’s perspective. In our niche industry, our trades, let’s stop being a big fish in a small pond. Be a small fish in a big pond, so you have room to grow! It’s perspective.


Danielle Putnam is the President of The New Flat Rate.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Goldfish and Business Myths

My dad went to the pet shop and purchased 15 goldfish over the summer. He doesn’t have an aquarium; he’s never been into ‘fish,’ but he thought his grandkids (who happened to be spending a lot of time at his house over the summer months while out of school) would enjoy swimming in the hot tub with the fish! As you could guess, in Georgia, in the summer, the family hot tub becomes a cold tub and is used more for a grandkid splash pool on the deck. 

I saw a few Facebook posts of him showing off the goldfish and watching certain grandkids with goggles paddling around in the tub – heck, it looked like fun – and naturally, I couldn’t wait to get my two girls (ages five and three) over to visit for their turn of fun. 

Their turn of fun came, and at the end, the tantrums began. Who would want to load up in a car to go home? Who would want to obey their mother and leave a ‘swimming pool filled with fish?’ Sigh—the exaggerations of a child’s mind. 

Grandpa quickly gauged what was happening and swiftly chimed in, “Oh no worries, girls! You can each take a fish home with you!” as I dramatically shook my head ‘no!’ in the background. 

Naturally, I sent the two fish immediately to the “other grandparents’ home” so when the kids were there after school, they could spend time with their fish – and the other grandparents fed, cared for, and kept the fish alive until one day, one died.

But there was still one fish left – a goldfish, and he or she, I’m not sure which gender, was white. And quite ugly at that. 

Fast forward, the other grandparents went out of town, and somehow, the solo white goldfish ended up at my house, in its bowl with pink rock pebbles decorating the bottom. 

At first, I refused to care for the fish – I told my daughters each day, “Feed your fish!” 

I taught them to simply use one small pinch of their fingers to drop the food in the bowl each evening. “Careful now, not too much; if you overfeed a goldfish, it will die; its stomach will explode.” And then, each week when the water was too thick to see through, I’d set out another bowl of water overnight and move the fish to the new bowl the next morning – why? I don’t know. Somewhere along the way, I’d heard as a child that it would kill a fish to put them in cold water immediately, so you had to let it sit overnight to achieve ‘room temperature water’ before transferring the fish into the clean ‘tank.’ 

I don’t even recall owning a pet fish as a child, so how did I have such opinions as to its care? 

And of course, I knew the myth we all know: “Goldfish can only grow to the size of their fishbowl.” 

Want a bigger fish? Get a bigger fishbowl! 

Sound familiar? 

“Want a bigger company? Just hire more techs!” 
“Want to be at $100 million in revenue? Easy! Just get a bigger building; be a bigger company!”


Myth busters, according to a goldfish, would laugh in our faces. 

What really stunts a goldfish’s growth is not the size of its bowl but the poor water quality and improper care. 

There’s more than meets the eye. Under the right conditions, goldfish are a fantastic species of fish to keep. They are hardy, adaptable, long-lived, and have an extensive and interesting history, just like us service providers. 

And they’re smart, too. Goldfish can be taught to pull a lever for food! In a lever experiment involving goldfish, they were even able to realize within an hour that if the lever stopped producing, it wasn’t worth pulling anymore. 

My non-fish owning years as a child also taught me that goldfish don’t have memories – no big deal if they have dirty water and die easily; they don’t remember their day-to-day. Wow, what airwaves was I listening to? In my research today about goldfish, I’m learning their memory lasts up to three months – so swimming around in a fishbowl all day, lapping circle after circle is indeed very boring. 

In a matter of weeks, I went from being a cold-hearted, busy working mom with an irritation towards goldfish to a mother who enjoys sitting quietly by the fishbowl in the mornings. Not only do I now call the fish my own, but I turn the lamp on above his or her bowl in the mornings when it’s quiet and the children aren’t pulling at my hem; I nestle in while it’s still dark outside underneath the lamp on a grey couch in my den, and slowly sip my coffee. I’ve become obsessed with keeping the fishbowl clean, and in those mornings, I’m noticing how pretty the ugly duckling actually is. In fact, I think I’ve actually named the fish—Ginger.

And wouldn’t you know it, I’m starting to know when Ginger is hungry! When I walk by, and she gives me those eyes while opening and closing her mouth, I’m reminded of feeding time. 

I’ve changed from a fish hater to a fish appreciator – I now have the habit engraved in my morning schedule to spend time with my fish. 

As business owners, how much of our marketing, our management, our day-to-day, is run out of the myths from our childhood? 

Hear me out— this is really deep stuff here, no fish-bowl-deep-water pun intended. As the daughter of a contractor, how many perspectives did I gain because of my father that were good? How many habits for running a business did I inherit that was priceless? And on the other hand, how many myths did I also receive by generational pass down? 

Dirty water and poor filtration stunt a fish’s growth because it affects their health – an unhealthy fish becomes deformed and dies young. Healthy goldfish have been known to live for up to 49 years. 

Goldfish can grow big even in a small fishbowl if the water is clean, filtrated, and the fish is properly nourished. Is the nourishment of our business based on myths we believed as an early manager or young owner? As Charlie Greer says, “Evolve or Die.” 

So, in case you are fishing for a few simple takeaways, here’s the list:

1. The health of your business is only as good as its environment. 

2. The only way for your business to stay alive or grow is for you to nurture it and take care of it.  

3. The things you have always been told about being in business or about the industry might actually be myths; don’t be afraid to research, change, and grow when your business gives you “those eyes,” telling you it’s hungry for something more.

4. Try to re-see your business as you did on the first day, stuffed to the gills with those childlike exaggerations and dreams in your head again.


P.S. I’ve got a bunch of extra coffee cups—I’m serious—from a recent over shipment – can I send you one? Shoot me an email requesting a cup, and you’ll receive it in the mail along with a one-page myth-buster report on Goldfish, simply because it’s cool. Looking forward to hearing from you. 


Written by Danielle Putnam, President of The New Flat Rate and Immediate Past President of Women in HVACR

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Am I A Bad Parent?

By Danielle Putnam

A friend of mine is about to open her first restaurant. Well, not really. She’s a long way from being ready to open the doors. But the framing for the kitchen and bar area has been set. Now, for all of you entrepreneurs out there, I’m sure you can agree with me…that’s progress, right?

So earlier this week, before the sheetrock was mounted, she texted a group of friends and asked us to come write words of blessings on the frame boards. Naturally, on a Monday night after a long day in daycare, my three-year-old did not want to go with me to some other location away from her toys and her room to write words of blessing on someone’s skeleton wall. In attempts to appeal to my three-year-old, I said these words, “Palmer, please come with me to a really cool space, and then afterward we will come home and play with your toys!” She happily walked toward the car.

As we approached the building, which was an old brick warehouse if you can imagine the type, my daughter, Palmer asks, “Mom, may I have a purple one?” Purple is her favorite color, she always wants a purple one…but a purple what? “Mom, may I have a purple space helmet?” I thought to myself, “Oh isn’t that cute, she’s so imaginative, she’s pretending she’s an astronaut!” To which I responded, “Yes, of course you can have a purple space helmet!”

Fast forward a few steps as we entered the building, and she instantly cried aloud in terror, “Where are they? They’re not here!” I didn’t know what she was talking about, so I quickly handed her a purple marker and sent her toward the 2×4’s to make her mark.

Thirty minutes later, after she’d colored every board she could find, we attempted to leave, and a tantrum broke out. My sweet Palmer was screaming in hysterics with tears streaming down her face and all the other moms stared at me as if to cast blame because I couldn’t control my child. But wait a minute, why was she crying?

It still hadn’t occurred to me, the words I had spoken to her. I had said earlier, “Let’s go check out a cool space.” She had said, “May I have a purple space helmet?” Wait, what? It was all coming together now; I began to see why she was crying as she kept hollering for her purple space helmet. The purple space helmet I had promised her when we got to that really cool ‘space’.



How often do we spend our precious hard-earned money on marketing and market the wrong message?

We have good intentions, but good intentions do not clarify the message nor the expectation. When we market a new product, service, or discount, are we also asking ourselves, “How would my customer receive or interpret this message?”

Going back to the basics is hard. Stepping outside of our busy lives is hard. Our phones are ringing, texts are dinging, technicians are calling, office staff is calling, everyone wants to push their agenda onto your plate, but to make sure it’s not all in vain, to make sure we’re reaching our target, we must step outside of the busy noise and ask ourselves to first:

  • Clarify the message
  • Simplify the message
  • Maximize the message
  • Multiply the message

More than likely, you’ve heard this before. I live and breath this, and still I get it wrong. We fail forward daily, but in our failing, we also succeed when we slow down and say, “Hey, wait a minute, ‘what’s the message I need my audience to understand and how does it benefit them?’”

Marketing fundamentals were established for a reason, just like parenthood. Listen to your child and don’t promise without understanding what you’re promising.

So of course, I’m off to find the latest and greatest space helmet so I can redeem my child’s faith and confidence in her mother, so she can TRUST that I do what I say…just as we all want our customers to trust that we’re providing what our messaging promised.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area!