The Long Way

This year has been a challenging one. Not only has it been a year with a lot of hurdles in our business (that we have overcome), but it has also had its own set of personal challenges. Mounting pressures of small business ownership and entrepreneurialism combined with a growing family, a desire to grow personally, and a responsibility to our fellow man can be overwhelming. Early in the year, I decided that one of the things that would be the most impactful for my own temperament is to focus on being more selfless in the year of 2015. Even writing a blog about this goal seems to contradict its intention. However, there have been some interesting insights gained that are worth sharing.

The notion of taking the long way has come directly from wanting to be more selfless.

There is a lot of angst built on the notion of how our society has become a disposable society. If it doesn’t work, throw it out and buy a new one. If they aren’t calling back, dump them. If the relationship is unhandy or inconvenient, or if someone happens to tell you something that you don’t want to hear, find someone who will. The disposability of our culture is alarming in that it doesn’t allow for the gift of redemption in our day-to-day interactions with each other or with our things.

When it comes to relationships, the long way represents the extremely inconvenient conversations that need to be had to restore them.

While we all try to live our lives in such a way that creates and enhances peace, it is difficult to have a world-class mentality every single day without offending someone. If good is the enemy of great, then mediocrity and settling is the enemy of progress. Progress is uncomfortable, and, therefore, relationships can be strained.

A few things that are helpful in how we interact with one another is to approach relationships that might be strained or called into question by looking at a few simple assumptions.

First, assume that the person you’re approaching is already busy with things that take up their personal and professional time in life.

Second, assume that there is something that you don’t understand about the situation. This person’s actions or settling were for very good reasons of which you are just unaware.

Three, be very specific about what you want the outcome of the conversation to be. Many times if a relationship is strained my only goal is harmony in the end. That outcome for me is typically far more valuable than any other type of gain.

One of the things that I’ve been inspired to do this year is to try to fix what I can myself as much as possible. Now keep in mind, I’m a suit. I have no intention of getting too dirty. However, a mini fridge, wood working tools, a compact utility tractor, a counter top, and a toilet are all things in which I have experienced victory in restoring.

Taking the long way with these projects certainly takes more time than simply calling someone, but there is something about working with your hands and having to learn a craft that is additive to an already stressful and busy life.

There will be several posts that are inspired by this year’s resolution to become more selfless, but taking the long way is one that I’ve learned early. I’m not sure that it is a lifestyle that will be adapted for the long run, but it is one that I enjoy right now, at least as far as maintenance goes.

In today’s day and age, I would encourage you to hold on to things a little more tightly. Be slow to dispose of the things that got you to where you are. Sure, it’s exhausting. Yes, it takes more time but doing things the long way harmonizes most with our restoration of self and redemption.