Winning Ways

Celebrating the construction zones of life

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We all know that feeling of entering a construction zone while we are driving, don’t we? Whether it is a major highway or just a single-lane road that gets shut down, we are either forced to find a detour or accept the delay and ride out the traffic until we get past the construction that is currently underway.

Although we know that when the construction ends, the improvements made will make our commute easier in the long run, we can’t help but feel a little frustrated and inconvenienced in the moment.

The other day I found myself on such a road. It was a beautiful scenic drive and then suddenly, the orange and white, yellow and black signs started to appear: Construction Entrance; Begin Construction; Road Work Ahead; Road Construction Ahead; Entering Work Zone; Construction Zone Begins; Entering Construction Zone; Slow Down Construction Area Ahead Trucks Entering. Well, maybe I didn’t see all of these signs on this particular drive, but I am sure I have at some point over the course of my life. And I am fairly certain you have as well.

I decided to ride out the traffic and just accept the delay. And then the other signs started to pop up as I began to resume the normal speed limit: End Active Work Zone; End Construction; or End of Construction. And as I approached those signs, I realized I had a great appreciation for the men and women who are out there each day building, rebuilding, or repairing our roadways so that we are safer, and our future drives are made so much easier. Kudos to all those who work so hard to make our lives better in the long run. And maybe we can all do our part in being a little more patient so that we can keep them safer each day too.

Here’s the thing, aren’t we all a living and breathing construction zone in some way? Some of us are working hard every day to improve our physique or build strength and endurance. Others of us are students and working on our education or skills-based training. Many are taking up hobbies, learning a new language, learning to play an instrument, taking dancing or singing lessons, participating in cooking classes, and so many other “Under Construction” possibilities.

And while we are “Under Construction,” and committed to the end result that we are striving for; we learn to be patient with ourselves as we know it will take time to achieve our goals. We also hope our family, friends, co-workers, and anyone else who knows us, and who is supporting us, that they will be patient as well. To complete our construction, we need to stay on the path even if the road is harder and slower, only taking a detour when absolutely necessary. Detours are okay, just as long as the detour we take isn’t an escape route, taking us farther away from our goals and dreams.

A beautiful life lesson came for me personally several years ago as I visited the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. While we walked the grounds, we came upon the gravestone of Ruth Bell Graham, Billy Graham’s wife who passed away in June 2007. On her tombstone, under her name and the date of her birth and of her passing, were the words, “End of Construction - Thank you for your patience.” It reminded me that each day, until the day we are called home, we are all always “Under Construction” in some way.

The next time you are welcomed with a bright orange and white sign that says, “Begin Construction,” will you be reminded that you are also a work in progress? Will you stay the course and be patient as you go through the building, rebuilding, or repair process? I would love to hear your “Under Construction” story at mnorton@tramazing.com, and when we can celebrate the construction zones of life, it really will be a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.

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