Growing up the third of three children, we knew the life of typical family in the 70’s and 80’s; a working father and stay at home mom. My father was a self-employed contractor and landlord. We were never the family who had everything but we did pretty well at least when I was in my teens and after. That is about the time the family business started doing pretty well. My dad always had a laborious job. Even when he had a number of people working for him you would see him doing hard labor on the landscaping in the yard on Saturday afternoons and Sundays or helping out the crew when they were shorthanded. The man was never far from his toolbelt.
Growing up, my dad taught me many things. Some are things I wish to never experience and stay far away from. But others like the one I want to focus on here stay with me and I hope to pass them along to my children. It has to do with hard work. I don’t mean hard office work. I know hard office work and the stress it brings. My career path put me behind a desk and I am very happy I do not have a back breaking job. The “working hard” he taught me was physical labor that nobody else wants to do. Let me clarify…What happens when your sewer is backed up in the basement? What happens when an animal finds itself in your chimney and you have to get it out? What happens when you move into a new house and the previous owner stuffed garbage and other stuff under the front porch? The answer to all of these questions is that somebody has to hold their breath, put on gloves, and find a way to get it done.
So many people become paralyzed when a dirty job has to be done. They literally cannot figure out how to get to the finish line. An example was when I had to lift a refrigerator about four feet in the air to get it onto a loft in the garage. There were three of us. The answer was that we had to all lift and just move it. One of the other two people stood there staring at the situation trying to find an easy way to do it. They were putting 2×4’s all over and envisioning levers. I wanted to scream “just lift it!” I don’t think people do this because they’re lazy, uneducated or afraid of work. For some reason they were raised to get help for everything whether it is another person or a tool. Sometimes you just have to ask yourself who’s going to do it?
You’re not going to hire someone to do something tiny like cleanout on your front porch. Get it done. I have a house of my own and a family with four children and a fantastic wife. My home was built in 1905 and requires a lot of work. We live on almost 4 acres in the woods and because of that we had mice problems for the first 2 to 3 years we lived here. It’s under control but I can’t tell you how many mouse traps I had to clean out. It just had to be done. The bricks in my driveway need to be rearranged from the many years of cars parking on them and creating large divots. Who’s going to remove the bricks, lay down gravel and get them flat? It’s me. Dig in and do it. Yes, sometimes I hire out a little bit of work when I can, but the lessons my father taught me about getting it done stick with me and rarely do I hesitate to start a project. My dad was not into gimmicky things, but he always had the Nike sign in his office. When his employees complained about getting a project done and were whining and complaining, he would point to the swoosh on the wall and remind them to Just do It.