Welcome back for another post to Moody Speaks. As you have read from my previous post, life has been very interesting to date. Last week I spoke about suffering panic attacks and trying to build a business. One thing I have learned, childhood, family, and business are all intertwined, the good and the not so good things in our life.
Fortunately many people have a normal childhood and early adult hood with the basic challenges of life. They can move past these challenges and never look back. Then there are those of us, that will live with a trauma forever and we have to fight internally to not let that trauma control our lives and not interfere with our day to day living or our dreams.
I want to emphasize, even with the trauma I have lived through and live with every day, by the grace of God, I am living a dream life. That is what motivates me every day, to not waste the grace God has given me.
The year is now 1993 and the fog is very slowly clearing in my life from panic attacks from disclosing my childhood trauma. I went into 1993 more determined than ever before to recover and build a great construction company. We had won the Olympic stadium project as a joint venture with Beers and H J Russell Construction Company. I was hiring more people and still running on very minimum cash flow. The important thing to remember about a joint venture project is that a separate entity is created among the joint venture partners. Each partner puts up their bond, and cash infusion based on their percentage of the joint venture. We bill the joint venture monthly for the staff that we put on the project. The key thing to know is that there is no profit or cash flow given to each partner until the job reaches a point that the partners agrees to release a very small portion of profit until the project is completed. Depending on the length of time of the project, and this project was 3 years in duration, each partner has to be able to be profitable on other work and carry their business for quite a while before ever receiving any profit.
I learned so much about running a construction company on the Olympic stadium project. One thing is always have enough work to carry your business that is not related to joint venture projects, and basically be able to stand on your own financially. One thing I forgot to share, I came very close to selling part of my business in 1991-1992 to a major pro athlete that is known as one of the greatest of all time in his sport. I was meeting with his financial advisor and we had a deal. At the last minute I backed out. I felt that they were going to take over the business so I decided that I would just keep struggling on my own and keep saving as much I could and watch cost. I remember when I decided to say to no. His financial advisor said I was the first person to ever reject his cash and he was proud of me for making that decision. He said they really wanted in on my business because they could feel I was going to do big things. All I have from that experience is an autographed picture from this athlete that says good luck to our construction company. I keep it framed and hanging on my wall. I often think what it would have been like to be his partner. I must admit, I almost got caught up in his celebrity status and thinking, boy it would be nice not to worry about having enough money to run this company. I also felt they would take over and eventually they would push me to side. I am glad I made to the decision to reject the offer.
I switched to my new bonding agent John Genet in 1993, and I still work with him today. His picture is in this week’s photographs. He recently told me in 20 years together, he has written over a billion dollars in bonds for me on projects. I didn’t even realize I had done over one billion dollars’ worth of work in 20 years. I never really kept up with those numbers. I have always just been trying to be the best builder I could be and be the best father, husband, and person at the same time.
I had a pretty nice size company in 1993 and we had moved into our new location. We are still located on the same site today. The building we bought was an old farm house on 3 1/2 acres and within one year added a new addition to the property (pictures are in this week’s photos). I got my first 2 story project and I was scared to death. I never want to mess up any project or have anyone get hurt. Doing a project that was two stories high, meant that there would be an increased safety risk. My biggest fear on a project and even today is coming out the ground correctly and getting the structure up without anyone getting hurt. I know I drive my folks crazy because I triple check safety and accuracy all the time. I am a real stickler for preparation and being organized on a project. I prefer to lose money on a project, than sacrifice safety or quality on a project.
I was still struggling in 1993 and getting counseling to deal with panic attacks, and PSTD from my childhood trauma. The panic attacks are not as often ,and I was starting to sleep again. I still had some tough days. As I write this blog and reflect back, I realize even more how blessed I am in my life and the desire in me to live life to the fullest and be one the best contractors in the country. I love walking a job site, seeing the action, hearing the noise, seeing a building coming together ,watching all of the people on site working together, reviewing the drawings and making someone else’s dreams come true in building a great project.
It is always interesting the first time you build a project for a new client. They look at you and wonder, can you really do it. I always tell a client, the one thing I can promise, we won’t let you down. By now we have quite a few employees, doing our own concrete work and running 6 projects at one time. I hired some excellent folks but I also hired some people thinking I could give them the chance they needed to make it in life. One thing I have come to realize about myself over the last 20 years, because of my hurt in childhood, I subconsciously always wanted to prevent anyone else from hurting. I think I can save everyone or fix their problem for them, and it has cost me a lot emotionally. I am pleased to say I finally get it; I can’t save everyone or fix everyone’s problem in life.
Even though I was still working to regain my balance, the company was growing and buzzing with excitement. The summer of 1993 we broke ground on the Olympic stadium and the city of Atlanta was going all out getting ready for the Olympics. I was pinching myself and saying we are building the Olympic stadium. There was a lot of pressure on this project as the start date couldn’t be pushed back, and the Olympics would start on time.
The excitement of the Olympics coming in 3 years and all of the work we were doing in 1993, was very relaxing to me, even while getting through panic attacks. I thrived on the excitement and action. I also made a decision that my family would always be first in my life over the business. I made almost every event at the kid’s schools and was even a chaperone on class field trips. Karla and I would do a pizza party for the kid’s classes and we were really involved in their school and home life. Karla by now had started working as a hospice nurse. She saw firsthand how the hospice nurse helped with her mother’s transition and she decided then that she too would be a hospice nurse. I have always admired her for working to help others pass away as comfortable as possible and be there for the families of the terminally ill patient. One thing she knew, I was never going to surprise her at work.
My dad talked me into going on an economic mission trip to Africa. I really didn’t want to go because I was so worried about having panic attacks on the long flight or that far away from home. I went because this was my dad’s way of trying to help me through this situation. My parents had a tough time dealing with what I was going through and it all fell on Karla to get me through it, and she did a great job over the last 20 years, She never wavered or said she couldn’t handle it, even though I know it was exhausting for her to handle it all by herself every day.
I had the best time I could on the trip to Africa. I was surprised by the number of people who attended, and how many important leaders that were present . My friend Mike Ross attended and a friend from first grade Stephanie Williams also attended. Their pictures are in this week’s photos.
I will always be grateful to my dad for asking to me to go on this trip and doing his best to help me recover during the trip. I pushed myself through my fear and went and enjoyed myself and saw some friends that I am still close with today and built some new friendships. I want to go back some day because now I can enjoy the trip free from worry of panic attacks.
It was great year in 1993. I accomplished a lot despite the challenges I was overcoming internally. My family was healthy and happy, the business was growing and doing exciting projects and I was on a slow but steady journey of becoming stronger than I had ever been in my life.
Each week you will learn more about each year in business and eventually a peace I now have in my life, free from my past hurts that consumed my every waking moments of my life. I will always live with the trauma, but I understand it and know how to handle it and what are the triggers that bring back the bad feelings .
I hope someone out there is finding my story helpful in some way to pick themselves up, never give up, be happy and never give up on your faith.
Life is good and may God keep blessing you.