Take a Break to Focus on What's Important

The beginning of summer means change for remodelers and not just school kids, says Doug Dwyer

April 30, 2009

Doug Dwyer
Contributing Editor

In preparing to write my column this month, I asked myself, what is the most important thing I could share? Then I realized that for most of us, the month of May signals that our children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces are about to be out of school for the summer.

That thought put things into a healthy perspective. As entrepreneurs, most of us have been very focused on making sure our businesses successfully weather the current economic storm. For some, the economy has only been a factor for six or seven months; for others it’s been 15 to 18 months; and for a few, it started as early as the middle of 2005, if you can imagine that.

All of the challenges that have come our way can take tremendous effort and time to navigate successfully. This is no news flash, but what it should do is prompt us to ask if we unconsciously have lost sight of other areas of our life: our family, friends or faith. As entrepreneurs, we are leaders who are typically very passionate and committed to our calling or trade. This is a great asset to our companies and teams, yet can blind us because of our drive to succeed.

At DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, we have a written Code of Values that is the foundation to how we operate and interact with one another, and it serves to keep our company firmly rooted in a positive direction. One specific value that comes to mind is, “We believe in counting our blessings every day in every way.” It reminds us to stop and take inventory of what we do have.

This is good to remember while we are living with the reality that most of our companies have changed significantly over the last six to 18 months. This could cause one to feel less than successful, thus making it easy to focus on what we don’t have or have lost.

My suggestion is to take a break from your business or job and find a place to relax with a pen and paper. Make a list of the blessings you have in your life. Writing this list will create balance and a renewed outlook, and it will provide encouragement for what you do have to be thankful for.

When you do this, work hard not to take anything for granted. Let me share a short story to clearly explain what I mean. On a trip to Bangladesh, I visited many foster homes. The children in these homes either had no living parents or only a single parent who was unable to provide for them. The sleeping areas had bunk beds — many of the beds had a board with a sheet on it to serve as a mattress. Others had more “luxurious” mattresses that were a pad about half an inch thick. I’m guessing you are like me — neither of these qualify as a mattress by our standards. Yet that is all they had and it was much better than the alternative.

My intention by sharing this story is not to make any of us feel guilty, but rather to provide contrast. This story points to the blessings of having loving relationships and a safe place to live.

Maybe some of the things on your list of blessings include a committed and loving spouse; precious children, nephews or nieces; parents; a best friend; your church family; a group or association; great employees or coworkers; your faith; a safe and comfortable place you call home; food to eat (I think most of us have an abundance in this area); a pet; a chance to improve someone else’s life and the joy and satisfaction that comes with doing so; or a hobby you get to enjoy. For most, relationships of some type will be at top of this list. One of life’s greatest blessings is to have someone you deeply care about or who cares about you. You can’t buy genuine and authentic care or love — it is a gift someone else chooses to give.

In these times, it is more important than ever to invest back into these relationships in order to keep them strong and healthy.

My hope is that you are refreshed by investing the time in this simple exercise, and as you are encouraged, that your rejuvenation will build others up.

Author Information
Doug Dwyer is president and chief stewarding officer of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, one of the nation’s largest remodeling franchises. He can be reached at doug.dwyer@dreammakerbk.com.

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