Innovation And Change

Here we are at the beginning of 2007.  All is possible at this time of year.  Leaving the past behind.  This is the year I will…

Working in the remodeling industry is certainly a good way to learn about new beginnings.  Change has been one of the few things we can count on!

As a high school student working summers starting in 1965 with a builder on Long Island, New York, I worked with a brace and bit, a Yankee screwdriver and other non-battery operated tools.  I never imagined how constant and unpredictable the extent of innovation would be.  Laser levels, battery operated everything, nail guns:  thirty-one years later it is impossible to imagine building anything without these tools.

When my wife Nina and I moved to San Francisco in 1974 we loaded everything we owned into and on top of (what else?) a VW van.  With a mattress in the back and our cat joining us we set out to discover the rest of our lives.  The sense of possibilities and driving to encounter the unknown were wonderful things to experience.  We had a place to move into when we got there but had no jobs and knew virtually no one there.  Taking that chance was a turning point in our lives.

Most of you have had a similar pivotal life experience.  Looking back over the passage of time you wonder what if I didn’t do this?  What would my life have been like?  That is the reality regarding change and choice.  You will never know.  However, I believe you are better off for taking the risk.

In 1978 I had a chance to build a house.  To do that I would need to be a licensed contractor.  I didn’t want to do that.  That would mean I was one step closer to being a businessman and that was something I never wanted to become!  As a member of the counter culture I wanted to keep at arms length anything that hinted at me selling out.

Needless to say, I did get the license.  The house was built and taking that chance gave me the opportunity to learn more about estimating accurately and building in an urban environment.  These good lessons I have capitalized on over all the years which followed.

I was often attracted to doing projects that were unusual and challenging but not always easy to be successful doing.  Money?  Profits?  Yes, they were important but life is short and it was going to be so cool to be driving 50 miles one way to do the library restoration or trying to figure out how to build a third story addition on a house with no parking in front of it.

Over time being a businessperson became more comfortable.  I still look for challenges but the change that occurred was that I decided to run a business that made money.  If taking on a challenge came with making a profit I was interested.

I got into this industry to shape reality, to bang nails and watch change happen in the world I was working in.  I did not start building and remodeling to become a salesperson.  Me, a salesperson?!  Never in a million years.

Then I realized that I already WAS a salesperson and my only opportunity was to become a better one.  Doing the same project for more than less money was a no-brainer.  So I decided to learn a selling system and develop my sales skills.

I think we resist a lot of what we know we need to do.  If you are lucky you realize that you need to introduce innovation into your mind set, your life, sooner than later.  Often times it is more comfortable to simply do what you did the day before, even if is painful or ineffective, simply because it is familiar.

As we move into 2007 each of you will be faced with new choices and challenges.  That is what makes life interesting.  There is no way to know what your particular life-changing events are going to be.  Do pay attention! Sometimes they are right in front of you and you don’t recognize them.

What have you been postponing?  What would you do if…..?  Make a pledge to yourself and your loved ones that you will introduce at least a little of those activities and experiences into your life now, while you have the time to enjoy them, instead of waiting.  Remember, all you can count on is that you never really know what the future holds.  Find your trip from Long Island to California soon.  Change your perspective and live your future today!

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