The Big 5-0, Trying To Find Balance – 2006
Welcome back for another week of moodyspeaks.com. Since I started this blog celebrating 25 years in business, the blog has been read in 27 countries. As much as this blog is therapeutic for me. I realized I need to make sure, as often as possible, that I write about some topics that the reader can takeaway something useful for them to use. I hope the takeaway each week is something a person can use in their life today and in the future. I want to share my experiences that touches, my childhood, family, marriage, business, faith and personal growth in my life to date. I really hope my blog is as helpful for you as it is for me.
In 2006 Karla and I both turned 50, 33 days a part. We had a big 50th birthday to celebrate the big event. I must admit turning 50 was the first birthday, where I stopped to think about that milestone. Age has never been a big thing, because as long as I am having birthdays, I am alive. Well turning 50 made me stop and think. I realized as my dad has said for years, “I probably have more road behind me than I have in front of me”. Turning 50 finally brought that statement to the fore front of my thinking. I thought wow, my kids have gone off to college, 50 years have passed and what do I want out of my second half of life. As my dad says all the time, none of us are getting out alive, so dying is a given. What I was focusing on now, was living. I realized if I worry about dying, I will miss living. I didn’t want to miss living my life to the fullest. This has nothing to do with how much money I can have in my life. I was more focused on what kind of positive impact I can have in my small world. At the same time I was thinking how do I keep building an excellent business and use the business as my vehicle to have a positive impact on other people lives. This is when I was learning the importance of balance. I was slowly learning I can’t be all things to everyone, solve everyone’s problems, and give every dollar we make to charity or education. I realized I can’t be on every non-profit board or speak at every event. In 2006, I was thinking how do I find balance and learn to say no? I found this to be a lot tougher than I ever realized, finding balance and saying no. It has taken until 2013 to get a better vision of this answer to the question of balance and saying no.
Turning 50 was my wake up call to my second half of life and what would that look like now? For me, the last 14 years had really been a blur. For me finally saying in 1992, I had been sexually abused as a child, and surviving panic attacks, and PTSD was more challenging than I wanted to admit. Turning 50 made me realize, I was missing the freshness of life, because my past still consumed me, with fear and worry. Even though I enjoyed my life, my family, my friends, my business and trying to serve my community. I still felt consumed with worry and fear. I decided in 2006, I would work hard to remove this from consuming so much of my life. I decided going back into some therapy would be helpful. It is kind of hard to explain, but for me, in the back of my mind all of the time, was the fear of having a panic attack or just worrying to worry. No matter hard I tried to rely on my faith in God and trust God. The trickster part of the brain kept messing with me. You know the part of the brain that tells you all of the negative stuff. Mastering that part of the brain is so important to happiness and success. We all have something in our lives that gives us pause and worry. It is just easier for some of us to handle than other people, based on our experiences of life. I am so thankful God blessed with me the desire to fight for my happiness and my desire to be totally at peace and rid myself of my past hurts.
In 2006 my business was running very well. I had gotten into the swing of things as a CEO. I allowed people to lead in their areas, and I had very little to no interaction with clients and architects as we chased projects. I wanted people to know there was more to our company than just me. I knew the only way we could really grow was for the clients and architects to be comfortable working with my teams and not me. I started that process in 2004 and by 2006 we had it going extremely well. We were winning projects and I was completely removed from the entire procurement process. We had internal strategy meetings, where I participated, but my folks were fully empowered to work the procurement plan and manage the clients and architects. I often told my folks if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, people have to know the company can continue without me. This is why I really stepped back from meeting with potential clients, existing clients and architects. I wanted and needed my folks to be empowered to lead and know they could do the job. My plan was going so well, that sometimes I felt I was not needed around the office, and that was an adjustment for me. The teams were winning and the clients and architects were asking for the teams and not me. This was a great time in business. When you start a business, you are the face of the business and often people always want to only talk to you. I was determined to make it where my teams were more important than me to the clients and architects. I was preparing for the next generation of leaders to eventually take over the business. Also I must confess a secret, I was a little tired emotionally from it all. Building a business from scratch and going through revealing my childhood trauma was draining. I wanted and needed a break from it all. I often wanted to just grab Karla and go off somewhere, with no noise, nobody knew me and just do nothing, but breathe the fresh air and feel the sun hit my face. I didn’t want to have to make one decision about anything. Unfortunately the time was not right for that break. So once again I kicked up my exercise routine, prayed more, and pushed though being tired. I knew too many people at CDM and my family were depending on me to keep going. I love the business, but I was tired. I call it hitting the wall. My mind was constantly going, either about business, worrying about my family or how do I shut down my mind and decompress. I will talk about it later, but it wasn’t until late 2012, I feel I finally understood how to decompress and start having internal peace from my past.
By 2006 we were building new stores for The Home Depot Company. Building The Home Depot stores was an interesting process of construction. The Home Depot Company has building their store down to a science. They know everything about building their stores, down to the number of nails you will need. It was an amazing process for us to learn. The interesting part was how fast we built the stores. We were smart enough to use the subs that had built plenty of The Home Depot Stores. We also learned the subs that work on The Home Depot stores, don’t work normal work hours. Most of the subs travel around the region doing stores, so they would work 12 or more hours a day, seven days a week. The subs were determined to get in, do a quality job and get out as quick as possible. We built two stores in the north Georgia mountain area. We also won a AGC Build Georgia award for excellence in construction for one of our Home Depot stores. We also built an administration building for Honda in Tallapoosa, Georgia. We were building parking decks and schools, and as a Joint Venture we were building the new world of coke museum. We were starting the new Maynard Jackson International terminal project. Our staff was growing and with growth comes things that have to be worked out internally. It still took me some years to learn, but you can’t put people in leadership until they have earned the people they will lead, trust and respect. They must be ready and properly trained for leadership. I wanted people in certain leadership position for the wrong reasons, to show we had people in those positions and I was tired and wanted to get some rest. I realized when you have to remove someone from a leadership position, it is better to release them with dignity, than try to demote them with dignity. I found it too hard for that person to accept a demotion. I will confess, you are always learning as a leader and boy do you make mistakes along the way. I made more mistakes promoting people than I like to admit. They were good people, but just not ready for a major leadership position and I take full responsibility for these missteps. The key for me is being honest with myself and the people you lead about your mistake in leadership. I found as long as you are honest, never lie about anything, and your walk matches your talk, people will trust and follow you. By 2012, I finally got the leadership selection thing right, I have a couple of people in key spots and I count on them and people respect them. We are building the right leadership team in 2013, and that is slowly. (I will talk more about the affect the great recession took on our company in a few weeks)
In 2006, Karla and I were starting to get comfortable with the kids not being at home. We were spending a lot of time in the evening doing our individual things at home we had put off for some time. We took a few evening classes together, when we could agree on the class. We were endowing more scholarships and doing our best to help others go for their dreams. I promised Karla and I asked God to help me find peace from my past and rid myself of the constant worry and fear I carry inside of me. I am blessed with the best wife and kids a man could have in life. They have been so patient with me in my journey. We laugh every day and I work to be free every day. In 2006 my new focus was achieving freedom from my past. That is why you will see I often take nature pictures. I love the freedom of the outdoors, the changes in the weather, and seasons. I can hike, ride a bike, or just sit for hours in nature. I feel so free outdoors. (Here is a secret about me; I would be a rancher out west if I could, and knew what do as a rancher, or an archeologist, being Indiana Jones.). I love architecture, construction, running a business and they are my passion. Outdoors is my freedom and peace.
I am so thankful my wife and I have never focused on how much money we could have in our lives. Not focusing on money has allowed us to make mistakes in business, give a lot away, and carry staff longer during a slow down in business. Sometimes I laugh and say if I was selfish, I could have retired and became a rancher, but that is not the way I was raised or the person I want to be in life. I want to help others go for their dreams, build great buildings, and ease the pain of others that they carry every day from their past. That is a delicate tight rope to walk, trying to ease everyone’s pains, this where I must understand I can’t fix everyone’s problems myself.
I hope and pray this blog is helping someone know they too can achieve their dreams, we can fight through fears and worries and live an incredible life with peace. May God keep blessing you in your walk of life.
I am attaching a link to an article written a few weeks ago by Maria Saporta on rebuilding my life and building a business after acknowledging childhood sexual abuse:
Enjoy this journey of life. See you next week. We are all stronger than we ever realize in life. Enjoy the pictures in the slide show of some projects and fun in 2006. I even got through a fear of hanging by a cable flying through the air.