Peak Your Profits: Breaking barriers and raising ceilings

Jeff Blackman

While the changes around you come fast and frequent, you might not adapt to them with the same sense of urgency or speed. While a key to your successful adaptation to change is physical, the actions you take because of change, it’s first mental: your mindset.

The silhouette of a passenger plane flying in sunset.

You and I may look at the world differently. We’ve each assigned to “our world” our own sense of order, or “how things should be done.” We perceive our world based upon our set of assumptions or rules, which we usually take for granted, and when the world doesn’t agree with these rules, we normally dismiss those ideas as being absurd or foolish.

How you interpret your world has a profound impact upon your future, and you see your world with your unique paradigm. The word paradigm comes from the Greek root “paradeigma,” which means a pattern or model.

Thomas Kuhn’s book, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” explored the phenomena of scientific paradigms. Kuhn studied how scientists never saw the world in its entirety, but instead in little pieces. Their paradigms acted as filters on reality. Scientists used their own paradigms or perceptions to either distort information until it fit their rules, or they simply dismissed the data.

Joel Barker, a futurist, also did extensive studies of paradigms in his book, “Discovering the Future: The Business of Paradigms.” He defines a paradigm as, “any set of rules or regulations that describe boundaries and tell us what to do to be successful within those boundaries.”

Paradigms – whether they’re business, social, global or local – influence our attitudes, actions, beliefs, and behaviors. Examples of paradigms include:

  • “Man will never walk on the moon.”
  • “Women shouldn’t vote.”
  • "Television will never replace radio.”
  • “There’s nothing left to be invented.”

Paradigms can be very positive. Speed limits and parking spaces, for example, give us a sense of order or understanding to our daily lives; however, they can also trick us, trick us and block us into believing our way is the only way. As a result, paradigms can thwart creativity, achievement and profitability. Marcel Proust once said, “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new land, but in seeing with new eyes.” Therefore, you must begin to explore markets, products and people not only for what they are, but for what they can become.

Raise your ceiling

Paradigm is a great word, but it’s too fancy. Let me introduce you to another word, with the same meaning: ceiling. Why ceiling? 

Several years ago, I left my home in the Chicagoland area for a three-week speaking and book tour throughout New Zealand and Australia. The first leg of this journey took me from Chicago to San Francisco. The man sitting next to me was Al Wilkerson. I had never met him before, yet I’ll never forget him.

Al told me about a trip that happened several years with his then three-year-old daughter Alycia. Al and Alycia had never traveled together before, let alone on an airplane. Alycia couldn’t wait to get to the airport.

As they walked through the terminal, Al clutched her hand. He sensed her excitement. As they walked down the jetway, her eyes grew bigger and her heart pounded louder. After they boarded, Al took Alycia and plunked her small body into the great big leather seat that surrounded and engulfed her. Then he turned her face to the window so she could see the world from a whole new perspective.

As the 747 took off and started to climb toward 35,000 feet, Al stared at his daughter as her expression changed from fascination and glee to fear and panic. She kept look looking up and then to him, up and at him, up and at him until she finally exclaimed, “Daddy, daddy, when do we hit the ceiling?”

I’m here you let you know there are no ceilings, no paradigms, no parameters, no rules and no boundaries, unless YOU place them there.

One of my clients has actually placed an 8-inch by 8-inch ceiling tile on the desk of each employee in his company. Emblazoned on each tile are these words: Raise your ceiling.

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Jeff Blackman is a Hall of Fame speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” If you hire speakers, contact Jeff at 847-998-0688 or And visit to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff’s free e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff’s books include “Stop Whining! Start Selling!” (an Amazon Bestseller) and the revised 4th edition of the best-selling “Peak Your Profits.” You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults.