In 1993 the construction firm I owned was working as a sub-contractor with an international refrigeration company. We had four projects in progress throughout the valley with a value of almost $1 million and I had forty-six employees. Life was good. There was money in the bank, new trucks in the parking lot of my new building and a promising outlook for the next two years. Then it happened. The curve ball right out of nowhere.
A phone call from one of my employees letting me know we had been locked out of the job site. My newest partner, the international refrigeration company, had just hung me out to dry. After speaking to my attorney for about an hour, I decided it was time to get out of the bad partnership immediately. So we cut our losses and moved on.
The next week I no longer had forty-six employees, bank account was almost empty and we were down to three used trucks. This is not the first time the business suffered a setback and would not be the last. People would ask what are you going to do, and I would answer right back, “keep working.”
Most of us remember Abraham Lincoln’s story and how many curve balls life sent his way. Failure after failure in both business and politics could not keep him down. With each failure he got right back up and kept working. Even with the death of two sons, and the weight of the Civil War resting on his shoulders, this great man pushed forward to bring freedom to all. In addition, Lincoln would deliver speeches that are still a must read today, over 150 years later.
The way we react when our curve ball comes, and it will come, depends on how well we have prepared ourselves. I have friends who never let the gas tank on their car get to the half full mark. Others who have a flashlight in every room of the house. Some that are prepared for evacuation emergencies with “go bags” right by the front door or in the trunk of their car.
So how do we prepare for that curve ball? Or even better yet, how do we prepare when we don’t even know what the challenge will be?
Seven and a half years ago when my wife Connie was diagnosed with breast cancer, our world was turned upside down. How could anyone prepare for something like this? We had decisions to make about how aggressive we would be with treatment and face the possibility that she might not make it. So what do you do?
We got up every day with a determination to beat this thing and not let it keep us down. Sometimes you just need to do the best you can and just not give up. Connie survived her fight with cancer, and we continue to wait for the next curve ball.
So when life throws you a curve ball, and it will, very few will remember how many times you were knocked down. What they will remember is how many times you get up and “keep working.”