Better Communication Often Leads to a Shift in Our Thinking

It’s Really Not That Hard…It Just Requires a Change of Perspective

I’ve written about communication more times than probably any other topic. This is because I think it is as big or bigger than any other issue out there.

Miscommunication or no communication is due mostly to the fact that we get stuck in our own heads. It only makes sense that we would view things from our own perspective. Add to this that we’re all so busy that we rarely slow down long enough to listen and think.

Just a few weeks ago I wrote about how tricky communication can be (link to 9/27 post) and how a word like wonky can have multiple meanings. If I hadn’t asked some questions and done some research, I would never have realized there were other meanings beyond my own perspective.

I needed a paradigm shift.

A paradigm is a pattern, a model, or representation of the mental image you have in your mind. I first became aware of the term “paradigm shift” through a story in Steven Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

“I was on a subway in a very large metropolitan city. It was Sunday morning, quiet, sedate. When a bunch of young kids came running into the subway car and their father followed. He sat near me and the kids went crazy on that subway, running up and down, turning people’s papers aside, just raucous and rude. I’m sitting there thinking, ‘I can’t believe this, their father does nothing!’

After a few minutes…, ‘Sir, do you think you could control your children a little? They are very upsetting to people.’

‘Oh yeah.’ He lifted his head as if to come to an awareness of what was happening. ‘Yeah, I don’t know. I just guess I should. We just left the hospital. Their mother died just about an hour ago and I guess they don’t know how to take it and frankly I don’t either.’”

Can you say paradigm shift?

In Acts 10:9-15, Peter was up on a roof at noon praying and was getting very hungry. While the food was being prepared, he fell asleep and had a vision. He saw heaven open, and something came down like a huge sheet held up by its four corners. In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds. A voice said to him, “Peter, get up! Kill these and eat them.” But Peter said, “Lord, I can’t do that! I’ve never eaten anything that is unclean and not fit to eat. The voice spoke to him again, “When God says that something can be used for food, don’t say it isn’t fit to eat.”

Peter had to shift his thinking from what he had been taught and what he had always believed to be right. He pushed back and God told him three times. It’s more important to listen to what God tells us than what man tells us.

Peter just had a paradigm shift.

We need to be careful to not get too stuck in our own heads and be open to what God is telling us. At the same time, we need to be careful not to take everything we’re told by people at face value. We need to weigh it against what God says.

Like Peter, we need to be willing to shift our thinking if it’s from God. Acts 10:34-48

Why is it so Hard for Construction Companies to Stay in Business?

It’s Really Not That Hard…It Just Requires a Change of Perspective

It’s crazy the number of business that start and fail. Millions of businesses get started each year, but only a small portion survive. Why is it that 90% of all businesses fail? An article by Luisa Zhou is full of research-backed business failure statistics.

  • 18.4% fail within the first year
  • 49.7% fail within the first 5 years
  • 65.6% fail within the first 10 years
  • Only 25% make it beyond 15 years

There are countless reasons that businesses fail, but just because other businesses fail, doesn’t mean yours will too. Being aware of and understanding these statistics increases your chance of survival.

You can’t succeed if you don’t try.

If your dream is to own a successful construction business, you need to do your homework and then commit to it. Construction businesses do have a high failure rate, but that’s not to say you should avoid the construction business.

It just means you need to be aware and get prepared.

Listed below are five small business types with notoriously high failure rates.

  1. Restaurants – Independent restaurants have a failure rate of over 60% at the 10-year mark. The key to success is the ability to raise capital when needed. If a business owner cannot do that, there’s not much left but to close the doors.
  • Retail stores – Another business with intense competition is retail stores. Not only do you have to contend with other brick-and-mortar stores, but you also have online businesses undercutting your prices. Like independently owned restaurants, retail stores have a failure rate of over 60% at the 10-year mark.
  • Direct sales – Yes, it’s your own business, but if a friend asks you to become part of a multi-level marketing (MLM) business, say no. What you’ll hear are success stories. You won’t hear that, like a pyramid scheme, 99% of direct sales reps suffer significant financial loss. It’s the people at the top and the person who recruits you who makes money. 
  • Construction – Starting your own construction business is a tough gig. Construction businesses also have a failure rate north of 60% at the 10-year mark.

Not only do you have to be good at your craft, but you have to become a full-time salesperson, accountant, administrator, bookkeeper, and part-time counselor.

If you have a passion for building and offering unique touches that buyers can’t get from another builder, you’re off to a good start. The thing that’s usually missing is a business plan and the right business tools.

  • Insurance sales – Insurance agents face the same challenges of construction…wearing too many hats. They must be a master of administrative work, sales, and an ever-changing insurance scene.

If you’ve been in construction for any length of time, or know someone who has, you’ve become aware of how hard it can be to operate a successful construction company. Understanding the things that are needed to achieve this is one of the BUILDing blocks in a solid business foundation.

NOW WHAT? Now you need to change your perspective.

Perspective is a particular way of looking at something. This doesn’t mean it’s right or the only way. It just means that it’s our perspective.

Rather than assuming you’re the only one in construction dealing with issues you need to understand that this is not the case. These struggles are common across the construction industry. But changing your perspective is just the beginning.

Real change requires action. You’re going to have to do something.

So, what is the something that you need to do?

You need to lay the next block to BUILD the foundation of your business. This block is INFORMATION, INSTRUCTION, and IMPLEMENTATION. This is the third block in our 5-step Business BUILDing Process. Check back next week, and we’ll take a hammer to this building block to see what it’s made of.

It can be really frustrating trying to figure out how to build a successful construction business. But you don’t have to do it by yourself.

After owning and operating a construction business for more than forty years, I’ve developed business tools and systems that we are now making available to construction companies to give you an advantage over the competition.

If you would like to learn more about BUILDing a successful construction business, you can schedule a free 30-minute consultation here.

How Do I Change My Perspective…Because I Want to Know the Truth

Our Perception of Things Depends on What Lens We Chose to Look Through

How we see things is too often something that we don’t give much thought to. We drift through life assuming things we hear and see are reality, when in fact they may not be.

Doug Miller made a statement in Sunday School once about people in Ireland dying after eating potatoes.

There was a time in the 1700s when everyone that ate potatoes in Ireland died.

What’s your first thought after reading this statement? If you’re like most people you’re wondering what was wrong with those potatoes.

The rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say, was this. There was nothing wrong with the potatoes. Because…everyone who lived in Ireland in the 1700s has died whether that ate potatoes or not. That was more than two hundred years ago, and no one lives that long. The point of the story is this…

A true statement may not be the truth.

It’s easy to make assumptions based on what we hear or see. But is it the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Being aware that we make prematurely make assumptions about situations is where we begin to understand this problem.

So, what do we do about it?

We are intentional about what lens we use to look at things. We need to ask questions like a little kid and keep on asking them over and over, seeking the truth.

In Luke 4:14-30 Jesus was preaching in His hometown and what He was saying was not what his childhood neighbors expected. He was a carpenter’s son after all. He shouldn’t be saying that He was the fulfillment of the Scripture. That He was God come to earth.

This preconceived perception by people was what lead them to take Him to the edge of a cliff to throw Him over. Verses 28-29

Then Jesus leaves and goes to Capernaum (Luke 6:17-27) There He does preaching and healing and people came from all over to listen and be healed. It was an amazing thing that was happening. These people didn’t want Him to leave.

He told those who were following Him that things were going to be different than they seemed. What they thought was backward.

  • People who are poor will be blessed
  • People who are hungry will have plenty to eat
  • People who are crying will laugh

God will bless you when others hate you.

  • You rich people who’ve had an easy life will have struggles
  • You well fed people will go hungry
  • You who are laughing now will be crying and weeping

The Pharisees and teachers of the Law didn’t like this. They were feeling their power and authority being threatened by Jesus and they began to look for a way to get rid of Him. (Luke 6:6-11)

This is not to say that if you have money, food and are happy that you can’t be blessed. Look at King Solomon. God says is that our blessings come from what we believe and where our focus and loyalty is.

Are we looking at things through a worldly or Heavenly lens?

You can choose to build your life on the solid foundation of Christ or on the shaky one of the world. (Luke 6:46-49) Seek the truth and look at things through a Heavenly lens.

Competition Is a Part of Life, But Not the One and Only Thing

When Everything is Just a Competition There’s No Room Left for Celebration

Competition is a problem when it’s the thing that gets all our attention. When no matter what we’re doing we’re trying to be better than them, whoever them are. This won’t end in a true celebration.

Keeping up with the Joneses” was a popular saying when I was growing up. It refers to comparing yourself to your neighbor. It was a benchmark for how you measured up in social class or the accumulation of stuff.

When some of the super-rich throw parties it becomes a competition to see who can spend the most. It’s all about doing it bigger and better. There are times when these events will exceed one million dollars for a one-night party.

This seems like taking competition a little bit too far.

It’s the level of importance we give to it, whatever it is. If in everything we do, we want to beat everyone…everyone becomes the enemy. Making everyone the enemy is not a good plan.

In Luke 14:1-14, Jesus tells a group of people who are having dinner at a Pharisee’s home, to be careful to not set yourself at the head table, presuming that you’re the most important. This is a problem when someone more important comes in and you are moved to a lower place.

We need to keep our egos in check and not let them rule us.

When competition becomes our one and only focus things get out of balance. Everything else begins to take a back seat to our being first and best.

Being competitive isn’t a bad thing in and of itself.

Healthy competition helps us grow and be better. Competition in the right way helps us grow past mediocrity.

Why are we competing? Who are we competing against? Where is our focus? What is the cost?

There was a couple whose life dream it was to own and run a restaurant. After years of working and dreaming, it was coming true…they were just days from the grand opening of their new restaurant.

And then everything changed when a hurricane came through town.

Their building was still intact, but there was a lot of devastation and damage in the area.

One of the existing restaurants, one of their competitors began taking advantage of the situation and raised their prices.

The couple saw this and were shocked. They decided to compete in a different way. They had a freezer full of food and no electricity, so they started sharing it with their neighbors.

Then a strange thing happened. Those neighbors began bringing food and giving it to the couple. The restaurant was full of people. Then neighbors began cleaning tables and helping out.

Who do you think was the winner in the competition between these two restaurants?

Too often competition comes from the perspective there is a limited amount to go around and if we don’t take what’s ours, someone else will get it.

This is the wrong perspective. There is plenty to go around. If we approach things from a scarcity mentality, we will never win. We will always be battling to take. This will leave us feeling empty.

If our focus is always on winning, we will never have time to celebrate the things in life that are truly important.

How Can I Help People Understand What I’m Saying?

It’s Hard to Get Others to See Things from My Perspective

This sounds a little self-centered, like my perspective is more important than everyone else’s.

That’s not what I mean by “getting others to see things from my perspective”.

I’ve been hearing from marketing people for a long time about the difficulty of getting people to understand what we’re saying. This is often referred to as the “curse of knowledge”, which is when we’re sharing a message with the assumption those who are hearing it have as much knowledge and familiarity with a given topic as we do.

The fact that I’ve been hearing this for a while and am still trying to figure out how to implement it, is exactly what I’m talking about.

This issue resurfaced in a few different places over the past couple of weeks.

First and closet to home is my struggle with getting construction companies to see the value of my Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal system.

The value of this proposal system makes perfect sense to me, but then I developed it more than thirty years ago and have been using it almost daily since then. My “curse of knowledge”.

I’ve shared this proposal system idea with construction companies without much success. It’s frustrating, having been where they are and knowing that it would likely help them.

Why wouldn’t they want to start using it immediately?

The second place that this issue came up was in a discussion with my friend Shep Jordan. He’s in the process of writing a memoir of his experiences with six role models when he was growing up. He hopes to help others see the negative impacts resulting from a lack of good role models in today’s world and the need to do something about it.

It’s critically important for boys to have good role models and for men to be good role models!

The problem is…how to get others to hear what he’s saying? They may hear him and agree, but how does he get them to embrace and implement the ideas that are in his book?

The third place this got discussed was in our mastermind. One of the members is working on a new program and was asking about pricing. As we discussed it, I asked for clarification. With further discussion I realized that this is that same common problem. He was crystal clear about what he was saying…the rest of us not as much.

How can we help people understand what we’re saying?

The other thing we need to realize is that it’s going to take some time to get other people to understand what we’re trying to say.

There’s so much going on in our own minds and the world around us, that it takes a long time and a lot of repetition to break through the noise. It may take years and repeating the message hundreds of times before they even know that we’re saying anything.

Add to that the importance of aligning your message with their need and you have a big hill to climb. The thing to remember is that the hill can be climbed.

As noisy as things are right now it’s amazing that we can get anyone at all to listen to what we have to say.

The thing to remember is…if what we have to share is in alignment with God’s plan then our part is to keep on sharing it over and over knowing that if even one person is helped it was worth the effort.

Putting ourselves back in the position of our target audience and repetition is the way to get them to hear and understand what we’re saying.

And most importantly…don’t give up, keep on sharing.

Life Happens…The Question Is, What Are You Going to Do When It Does?

I Think Flexible Rigidity Is the Best Plan

I am an organizer and planner by nature. I like having a clear direction. A system in place to expedite those wonderfully crafted plans. Knowing what I’m going to do today.

But then…’life happens’.

You know what I mean. You’re going along, following those well-organized plans and then out of nowhere…something comes along and messes the whole thing up.

Just because I’m a planner doesn’t mean that I can’t be flexible, because I can. Sometimes maybe too much. It has always been pretty easy for me to make adjustments when something unexpected happens.

The problem with this is, getting derailed by distractions makes it hard to stay on task. Then of course that plan, that wonderfully crafted plan, is all messed up. For years I have worked to be better at balancing the plan and flexibility.

You may be on the other side and have the gift of doing. The ability to make a decision and move on it. You find it frustrating when the unexpected happens and you struggle to deal with it.

Knowing what character, personality and gifts you have is critical to being prepared in your own way to handle the unexpected.

I first wrote about this topic of being flexibly rigid back in 2016. It’s interesting that the instigation for that post was a brake line leaking on my truck. Now I’m writing about this again today, six years later.

Today’s situation involves brake lines and a whole lot more.

As I was turning into the church this past Sunday morning, I was rear ended. The accident knocked the rear axle out of the truck as well as causing some damage to the truck bed.

First and foremost, I’m grateful that neither I or the other driver were hurt…the vehicles didn’t fare so well.

Looking at the blessings is a great way to put things into perspective.

I’ve had this truck for twenty-two years and have put 523,000 miles on it, toward my goal of a million miles. People who know me, know that I like my truck…but ultimately, it’s just a truck.

Now, let’s look at how flexible rigidity works.

I need to start with considering my options –

  • Is the truck repairable?
  • If so, what’s it going to take to repair it?
  • If so, is repairing it worth the cost?
  • Is the insurance going to total the truck?
  • How much is insurance going to pay?

After I get the answers to these questions and others. I will weigh the options, ask God for His thoughts and make a decision.

He is the Master Planner and it is important for our plans to align with His.

We need to determine what our priorities are before the scheduling fiascos happen. Figure out who we are and what we want, so we are ready when the unexpected happens.

This doesn’t mean that everything will go perfectly, but as we search for clarity and work through each schedule disruption…

We will get a little closer to being who we were designed to be.

Being flexibly rigid is the balance of staying on task while handling things when life happens.

How do You Know When You’ve Reached “Rich” Status?

That Depends on What Your Definition of Rich is

If we aren’t careful, we can get caught up in chasing the “almighty dollar”. There’s nothing wrong with money as long as it doesn’t become the only thing you’re focused on.

We can also go too far the other way and see money as evil. It’s not. Money is a tool that make ministry possible. It’s much easier to rebuild a home damaged by a storm if there’s money to buy the building materials.

One definition of rich is specific to money, but another is plentiful or abundant. What is it that you want to have in plenty and abundance?

Love and joy are the kind of things that makes us rich.

Here’s an excerpt from a story about being rich from Eddie Ogan:

I’ll never forget Easter 1946. My dad had died five years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to raise and no money.

A month before Easter the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family.

When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering.

We thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn’t listen to the radio, we’d save money on the electric bill.

My sister and I got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could.

For 15 cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make three pot holders to sell for $1. We made $20 on pot holders.

That month was one of the best of our lives.

Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we’d sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them.

We had about 80 people in church, so figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that.

The night before Easter we were so excited, we could hardly sleep. We didn’t care that we wouldn’t have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering.

We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn’t own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn’t seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet.

When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front. Mom put in a $10 bill, and each of us kids put in a $20.

As we walked home after church, we sang all the way.

Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand.

We asked what it was, but she didn’t say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen $1 bills.

Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn’t talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash.

We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn’t have our Mom and Dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly.

I knew we didn’t have a lot of things that other people had, but I’d never thought we were poor.

That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn’t like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed–I didn’t even want to go back to church. Everyone there probably already knew we were poor!

We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much.

Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn’t know. We’d never known we were poor.

We didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn’t talk on the way.

At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, “Can’t we all sacrifice to help these poor people?”

We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week.

Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope and we put it in the offering.

When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn’t expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, “You must have some rich people in this church.”

Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that “little over $100.”

We were the rich family in the church! Hadn’t the missionary said so? From that day on I’ve never been poor again.

I’ve always remembered how rich I am because I have Jesus!

You can read Eddie’s full story here.

When money is our focus, it doesn’t matter how much we have. If we don’t have our priorities in the right place…we’re poor. Money is an important tool to be able to build God’s Kingdom…but it shouldn’t be our focus.

Fulfilling our purpose with Jesus is what makes us truly rich.

Why is it That We Don’t Think What We Have to Offer is Worth Anything?

Even The Smallest of Things Can Make the Biggest Difference

Feeling that we have nothing to offer is the perspective of most people. God has given each of us a purpose to fulfill and when we don’t…we’re letting Him down.

We have this mindset that if we aren’t doing some huge earth-shattering thing that it isn’t important. This is s a lie.

This self-defeating perspective is something that Satan uses to keep us from fulfilling our God given mission.

The importance of small actions used for the right reason is made clear in Mark 12:38-44. Here Jesus explains this to His disciples when they watch the poor widow give everything she has to God, while the rich leaders, teachers and lawyers make a big spectacle by giving only a small portion of what they have to God. Their focus was on the wrong place.

This is about priority…not quantity.

In Matthew 6:19-24, we’re told that we cannot serve two masters. Where our focus is, that’s what is the most important to us. A priority is only one thing…not multiple things. It’s up to us to decide what that one, most important thing is going to be to us.

If we are faithful in our giving…God will use it to do amazing things.

Oseola McCarty was born in March of 1908 and moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi as a child. When she was in the sixth grade, her aunt (who had no children of her own) was hospitalized and later needed homecare, so McCarty quit school, never to return. She later became a washerwoman, like her grandmother, a trade that she continued until arthritis forced her to quit in 1994.

McCarty’s grandmother died in 1944, followed by her mother in 1964 and her aunt in 1967. McCarty never married or had children.

What she earned from washing clothes for others was not much, but she was faithful with it. Her focus was on the right thing.

Even before dropping out of school, McCarty was taught by her mother to save money. Over the years she opened several savings accounts at various area banks, eventually she appointed a trustee of her trust and executor of her estate.

With the assistance of a local attorney, for whom she had done laundry, and the bank’s trust officer, McCarty set out the future distribution of her estate. She set aside 10% for her church, 10% each for three relatives, and 60% for Southern Miss. University.

She stipulated that the funds should be used for students, preferably those of African American descent, who could not otherwise attend due to financial hardship. When news of McCarty’s plan was made public, local leaders immediately funded an endowment in her honor. The amount was estimated at $150,000.00, a surprising amount given her low paying occupation.

This small thing that Oseola did…made a huge difference in other’s lives.

God can make big things out of little one…if we’ll just give them to Him.

We all have talents and gifts. Give them to God and prepared to be amazed at what He does with them.

Big things are built out of small pieces.


It’s Time for “Hot Chocolatey Mornings and Toasted Marshmallow Evenings”

This is a Great Perspective for the Season of Autumn

Some people like the season of autumn…some not so much. Some people find the shortening of the days and the cooler weather depressing.

An example of this is the lady that noticed her husband becoming grumpy as the days got shorter and overcast. She noticed his mood was sulky and sullen and he was continuously pouting. It had been raining the last two days and she noticed him just standing there looking through the window.

She realized that if something didn’t change, she was going to have to do something. That’s when she determined that if it was still raining tomorrow, she would have to let him back inside.

We all have seasons that we like better than others. Some like the warm sunny days of summer. Others like the new beginning of the spring. Of course, there are those of us that like the slowing down that comes with the cold days of winter. And don’t forget the beautiful colors of the leaves in autumn.

Everything needs a season and there’s a season for everything.

Seasons are part of God’s plan as shown to us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

Christopher Robin gave Winnie the Pooh a calendar as a way to track the days, weeks, months and seasons. The calendar stopped at each season, which lead Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit and Owl to explore the world around them and noticing the changes. Among them: the water in the pond becomes hard and slick to skate on when it gets cold in the winter and becomes refreshing and fun to swim in when it gets warm in the summer.

As is typical of Winnie the Pooh, he found the positives rather than the negatives in the changing of the seasons. This is evident in his statement about autumn.

“It’s the first day of autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!”

Every season of the year and life has good and bad things about them. It’s up to us to choose which we’re going to focus on in each season.

We would all be happier if we looked at the seasons and everything else in life more like Winnie the Pooh.

Everything is always moving and changing.

The changing of the seasons is a way to physically see the movement of time.

It’s up to you to decide what your seasonal focus will be on.

It’s Hard to Remember That Not Everyone Gets It Like I Do

We Have to Look at it From Their Perspective

We are so close to who we are and what we know that when we’re communicating with others, we assume they understand. This is not the case. Most of the time when we’re talking about that thing we do…they’re overwhelmed.

We need to sperate ourselves from our calling if we’re going to communicate clearly.

We forget, or don’t even know, that what seems so basic and simple to us, isn’t to them. We’ve all been made with a specific unique gift, one that only we have. Sure, as many people as there are, there’s overlap. I’m not the only construction contractor in the whole world. I am however, the only one who does it the way that I do it.

This situation has become evident in several different situations recently.

Last week I wrote about my preparing to work with Bryan Switalski with Clarity Consulting. After our meeting I was feeling more overwhelmed than before. I was questioning if I had what it was going to take to do the digital marketing thing.

The next day was our weekly mastermind meeting. As I listened to the others in the group share their frustrations in connecting with the people who they knew would benefit from their knowledge or products. In my mind I was saying “Amen, preach it.”

Often before when listening to the group I would feel overwhelmed and inadequate. Listening to them I thought I was in way over my head. They would use terms that I didn’t know or understand. What struck me the most this day was how I realized that they’re struggling with the same struggles I am.

Then the light bulb came on. They, like me, were too close to their calling.

Their struggle, like mine, is the need to step back and look at this from the customer’s perspective. Over the years I’ve figured out how to do this with my construction customers without even knowing I was doing it.

This was confirmed the next day when I met with some potential customers for the third time. As we reviewed the floorplan of the remodeling project, they had questions. As we discussed the project more, I became aware of additional information that helped guide the direction of the project. Now we’re heading in the direction moving them toward their dream.

Too often contractors wouldn’t meet this many times or listen this much. Too often customers would just presume that the first plan was the only plan and this is as close to their dream as they’re going to get.

Now if I can learn to do this same thing with coaching and consulting customers.

After meeting with the construction customers, I began to think about my meeting with Bryan. As a customer I didn’t feel that I had given him enough information to do his job. I was feeling that “lost and overwhelmed customer feeling”. I sent him an email apologizing for my earlier rambling when we met.

Later that same day I received a response with a 10 minute recorded video explanation of the plan and how the parts will fit together, more details, a reiterated short list of what he needs from me and the reassurance that this project will be great when we’re done.

I’m sure Bryan was thinking, this is so simple and easy, but he never hinted to that. That’s what we professionals do when we’re working in our called vocation.

It’s hard to remember that they don’t get it like we do and to view the project from their perspective.

Now I need to separate myself from my calling and come up with a list of reasons that construction contractors need to make better proposals.