Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why Don't they Just Rebuild?

Ravaged by a series of missteps, bad luck, or a combination of the two, the remnants aren’t enticing.

All that work for nothing, he thought. The most well laid plans, a perfect entrance and exit strategy if there ever was one. Then something spectacular happened. Or perhaps not a single cataclysmic event, only a series of well orchestrated incidents that totaled up to failure. Why me, he asks. I’ve always tried to do people right; treat with respect and kindness. Tried to help others reach their goals.

I remember as a child riding through Panama City with my parents, enjoying the water of the gulf rolling in, then back out like clockwork. Opposite the beach stood rows of houses and businesses, some new, a few old and battered, others nothing more than a foundation, with debris still covering some. The remnants of a violent storm a year earlier, still leaving a trail of evidence. As a young child, maybe eight years old, I looked at this stark reminder with wonderment. With youthful innocence and no predetermined ideas of why it couldn’t be done, I remember thinking, why don’t they just rebuild? Got the water right here, it’s a great spot, the others rebuilt, why don’t they just do it?

Life’s heavy weights had not yet begun to pull on me, one negative thought at a time, a sharply spoken word by an authoritative figure, well meaning people that simply had no ambition to do anything and could only teach what they knew. In my youthful bliss I simply couldn’t understand it.

Why do some choose to rebuild, while others seem to vanish, leaving behind a trail of debris and unfulfilled dreams?

The debris field may be the most prevalent deterrent to recovery for a failing enterprise. Storms will come and go, taking with them a fair share of dreams and hard work. A solid foundation will stand the test of a storm, despite the destruction of the main structure. The foundation, upon which everything of substance began, is still there, waiting to be rebuilt upon, better this time, correcting a few mistakes along the way. But to rebuild, the debris field must be dealt with. Painful and overwhelming, the cleanup takes time. Credit takes time to re-establish, memories are sometimes slow to fade. It’s tough to see over the pile of reminders.

Lying in the debris field, bleeding and full of despair, a half wall remains, reminding of what once was and could have been. A painful reminder of the failures of one’s past. Dwelling on the remnants will not entice anyone to move forward, but only to feel despondent. What’s the use? I’m a failure, I can’t do anything right.

Cleanup is essential. No rebuilding is possible until it’s complete.

On your back, looking up at the overwhelming scene, a swift blow comes across your head, a piece of lumber from your dismal failures. So expected, yet so unexpected. Could be a creditor, with others lined up waiting their respected turns. Could be a family member, full of venom, waiting for the opportunity to rub salt in your wounds. Perhaps it’s that good friend you thought you knew so well. Definitely a naysayer.

If only they could walk in my shoes……

Sadly, some never build it back. Better than before, off the same foundation they have already worked hard to establish. One day in the not so distant future, a savvy investor will walk by the field of debris and say, “If they aren’t going to rebuild, it, I am.”

Start with an unshakable foundation and mix with determination. Nothing can stop you now.

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