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Buiding Strong Foundations

Thirty years ago I owned a beautiful house overlooking Candlewood Lake in Connecticut. The house sat on the top of a hill on a point that jutted into the lake. While we did not have any lakefront property we had a magnificent view from neary every window, of the lake.

Unlike many of the lakefront houses that were summer cotteges that would be closed up for the winter this was a year round house.

The stone foundation and rough hewn brown siding with yellow shutters blended perfectly with the environment.

Inside the walls were covered with tongue and groove knotty pine boards. Their warm amber glow made it feel cozy even on the coldest winter day. The stone fireplace in the center of the house went three stories up through the cathedral ceiling.

The ceiling…now that was the problem.

The ceiling was just the open roof beams covered by the roof sheething. There was no insulation which resulted in all the heat going right out through the roof. We were effectively heating the outdoors.

My father decided that it was time to take care of that problem and I volunteered to assist him.

My dad was an engineer. He approched every project with a plan. That is one of the reasons I became The Crisis Planner, as I too am a planner.

We arrived at the lakehouse ready to tackle the job.

We unloaded the truck with all the tools we would need for the job.

Next we needed to go to the local Rickles ( now I really am dating myself ) to pick up supplies.

I expected to bring home a truck full of insulation.

I was surprised to see my dad in the lumber yard picking out a massive amount of lumber.

12 ft long boards of many sizes soon filled the truck. 4x4’s, 2x8’s, 2x4’s and 1x4’s.

What in the world was my dad doing.

I didn’t say a word. I hoped that he knew what he was doing. I wanted to believed he knew what he was doing. After all, he did built the house that I had grown up in. I have to admit I was a bit confused as there was not even one bail of insulation to be found.

We arrived at the house, unloaded the lumber and went inside.

Once we were inside, my dad unfolded a piece of paper with a sketch on it.

It was only when I looked at the sketch that I understood.

We were to be working on a ceiling nearly 25 ft above our heads.

In order to do so we needed a platform to work on.

We needed a scaffold, a sturdy foundation that would be safe to work on for the duration of the project.

The planning and care that went into constructing that scaffold really was the most important part of the project. Without the scaffold everything would have been more difficult if not impossible to complete. Without the scaffold it would not have been safe to work so high up.

The foundation of the project was something I had never considered before we started. I never imagined a scaffold in my vision of the project. I am glad my father did.

How often do we embark on a new project without considering the foundation? We have all seen houses built on faulty foundations slide down mountains or be washed away by the sea.

There are essential foundations in every aspect of our lives and business.

Foundations that make the difference between success, frustration and failure.

The simplest foundation may be something that grounds us to our day.

How do you start your day? Have you noticed if your morning routine is disrupted your whole day can be off. If you oversleep, you may not feel put together all day. If a crisis distracts you, your reaction may surprise you and actually add to the chaos.

In that case, your foundation for the day needs a reset. The amazing thing is that it is possible to reset your foundation and get your day back on track. You just need to pause, breath and create a new starting point.

I’ve looked at the foundations of long lasting marriges. My parents were married for 65 years. They met during WWII. My dad a G.I. from Green Bay, Wisconsin and my mom singing at the U.S.O. were set up on a blind date, They fell in love, got engaged and my dad was shipped out to Europe. They were married shortly after he gratefully returned from the war.

My dad never forgot the foundation of their love, every year on October 12th a bouquet of flowers would appear commemorating their first date. My mom was always surprised, yet he never forgot.

At their grand-daughters wedding they were the last couple dancing the anniversary waltz, having been married the longest of all the attendees.

The MC asked them to share the secret to their long marriage.

My mother replied, “Never go to bed angry.” My father added, “Spend a lot of time in bed!” Everyone laughed. But there is so much wisdom and truth in their words.

It speaks to the foundation of relationships!

Mostly unseen and hidden from view foundations are the strength upon which everything else is built. Foundations are what you build your home, your family, your relationships and your business on.

· What is the condition of your foundations?

· Are they solid and strong, able to weather the inevitable crises of life?

· Are they serving you today as they served you in the past?

Foundations are not something that you build once and forget about. They need to be inspected, maintained, repaired and even rebuilt. Sometimes a foundation that has served you no longer does and it is time to move on. Is it time to build a new foundation to stand on?

Just as we built the scaffold to work on the ceiling of the lakehouse.

Subsequent trips to the hardward store filled the truck with insulation, lauan plywood, 2x4’s for decorative beams, gallons of paint and stain, nails, paint brushes, rollers, pans and poles.

We spent a week working on the solid foundation of that scaffold.

The job done, we disassembled the scaffold, our foundation for the work was no longer needed.

The completed ceiling looked beautiful.

It was time to move on to new projects with new foundations.

Life is like that.

Our foundations can change. That is all okay, as long as you recognize that with each change you will start with a new foundation.

Life can sometimes shake you off your foundation. When I lost my gentle giant, the love of my life three years ago my foundation colapsed beneath me.

I built a new foundation to replace that one, a foundation of gratitude, legacy and service to others that is solid once again beneath my feet.

I am standing tall on my new foundation knowing that all I do is solidly grounded in JOY and LOVE!

Take the time to build your foundations. Knowing that the time you spend building them will serve you well as long as they are needed...

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