Proceed with Caution
For the past few weeks, my office has been in the heart of a construction zone. The entire building is getting renovated. The process of reaching my office has become an exercise in head to toe physical dexterity. I have walked a series of narrow planks over drainage ditches, climbed creaky scaffolding, slalomed through re-bar and avoided sand and gravel raining down from the heavens. There is currently no door to my office and I have nearly made the mistake of rushing out my office door and falling 12 feet onto a freshly built concrete retaining wall (don’t worry, there is second “safer” door to my office). It is noisy, busy, dusty, and a general inconvenience. However, as I have come to learn in both my work and personal life, as painful as it can often be, sometimes creating a horrible mess gives us the opportunity to build something new and beautiful.
As I write this, the parallels between life and a construction project are flooding into my brain as fast as I can write them down. We are creatures of habit. When faced with something new or something familiar, we usually opt for the latter. Think of how apprehensive people are when faced with moving to a new city, or heaven forbid, having to learn a new phone operating system… Oh the dread!!!
It Might get Messy
Perhaps one of the most pervasive fears of change has to do with relationships; people keeping friends or partners despite their abusive or toxic nature. If and when we develop the nerve to make necessary and fundamental changes in our lives, it may get messy. Once the dust settles, though, something new and spectacular often reveals itself. What’s important with any major building or life renovation is to develop a plan and be diligent and brave when seeing it through no matter what difficult obstacles lie ahead or are encountered. Starting a renovation is one thing, but having the endurance to see it through is another thing completely.
No Appetite for Dynamite
If you asked me prior to this renovation started if it was absolutely necessary, I would have said no. The building has had multiple additions and has been revamped and tweaked to meet the needs of whatever its purpose has been. Over the years it has been transformed to serve many different functions – a home, a bed and breakfast, and most recently a sober living facility/office building. Has it served its purpose? Sure. However, over the course of time it has lost its continuity. While it has survived and been useful throughout, it is no longer a cohesive structure, but, rather, a collection of individual components that no longer work together in unison. Unfortunately, this same sort of steady and slow descent can happen with people as well.
Facing the Facts
This building can teach us much about life. Sometimes it’s difficult to say goodbye to something that is familiar even if it no longer working for us in the way it had. The things we surround ourselves with in this life should allow us to fully flourish and not merely just survive. At some point, when considering whether or not to start a renovation (structure or life), we must ask ourselves one difficult question and do our best to answer honestly no matter what the implications might be – “Is this still working for me, or is it time to build something new?”