When we view films like the story of Nick Yarris, who survived decades on death row for a murder and rape he didn’t commit, it is easy to reflect on the fortunate lack of extreme drama in our lives. Most of us run our businesses, do our work, live our dreams, and have the usual ups, downs and traumas coupled with many month or years of routine circumstances.
And there’s nothing wrong with this rather stable pattern.
If we’ve built our businesses conventionally, we’ve generally had to make a few crucial decisions (like to start out, or buy out a partner, or change direction), but most of the process happens quite gradually and naturally. There’s security and practical advantages in stability, routine and repetition. Old customers return, and we make incremental changes, but the story remains the same.
These qualities are of course quite okay for maintaining a business — but how to we grow, or (if things get rough) survive really hard times? Here, we are thrust into more risky and daring decisions and choices, and these are the circumstances where we can rebuild and re-engineer our course of action.
Appropriately, when I think about these decisions, I recall my second epiphany. (The first, oft told, occurred in Africa in 1980.) It was 1991. My then-very-new business was failing and it looked like I was heading towards personal insolvency. I was single, 38-years-old, and certainly hadn’t accomplished month in my life.
And then I let go. Releasing any blame, anger, hostility, or hate, I set out to take total responsibility for my life, remembering the good fortune of the story behind my first epiphany. It took just two years to turn things around, and marry the woman of my dreams. (We’ve been together 23.5 years now and have a 19-year-old son.)
Nick Yarris’ story tells me that quite a few people have had lives far harder than mine, but individuals with lesser problems than I have experienced somehow have more bitterness and hostility and less self-reliance than others.
If there is a secret to construction marketing success, I think you can find it by accepting responsibility and capturing the opportunities for change when things don’t seem to be quite right. Then we can return to our relatively normal and stable lives.