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The Perils of Building (Anything)

Founder and Host, Chuck’s Global Entrepreneurial Roundtable

For those who know me and have followed my exploits, you may have heard through my stories that I have just undergone what is euphemistically called “a home improvement” project. For any of you who have shared similar renovation experiences, you know how difficult, frustrating, and energy-and-spirit zapping the adventure can be. You know that it is more time-consuming and expensive than you imagined, even when you knew from the get-go it would be more expensive than you wanted or budgeted.

I describe being in “month-twelve” of a “nine-week” project. If asked in the future if I would rather do another home renovation, or say, have all of my internal organs involuntarily harvested or be mauled by grizzlies, I would have to pause and think about which would be the least unpleasant.

But my project is nearly complete, or as complete as it’s going to be.

I discovered, as it is wrapping up, that the final product is not precisely what I had envisioned. Sure, it is nice, but it is not exactly as designed on paper, and things that looked like one thing on the blueprints turned out to be quite different in real life. There were delays beyond my control and unfulfilled promises. Some things that the contractor did were flat-out wrong, but would be even more disruptive to change. I was frustrated by people who did not do what they promised or did not have the same drive and commitment as I had to do it right.

There are flaws in the final construction and mars in the workmanship that I can clearly see, although no one else probably ever will.

While I am generally happy with what I slogged through, there are some things that are disappointing.

And so it also goes, not only for anyone in the throes of home building, but for any of designing and building our own entrepreneurial ventures. We have a vision of what it will all look like and how the process will flow. But real life and people (and circumstances) you cannot control will get in the way.

So what do we do?

When we cannot change these blemishes, we have to live them. Work around them. Make peace with their presence.
We can try to camouflage them so they do not get in the way or divert others from seeing them. (This is what artists and painters often do. When working in ink, you cannot erase, so if you put down a bad line, the only thing you can do is add other lines that cover or absorb the mistake or make it less visible. We can do that in real life too.)

We can adapt, pivot. Entrepreneurs who succeed know how to side-step a charging bull.

We can figure our how to use these flaws to our advantage. This is where creativity, vision, open-mindedness become our salvation. Maybe there is a silver-lining. Maybe the obstacle can be a springboard for something you never thought of.

Yet, we may also find there are changes, whether in home or venture construction, that were unanticipated, maybe initially disappointing, but that turned out serendipitously to be not-such-a bad-thing. Some may be even be better and get you to step back and say, “Hmmm, this could work.”

In the end, oh-so-many things come out not-according-to-plan. Some will be just fine and in the end, we may even celebrate them. Others, we just have to accept and keep build

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