When worlds collide, get up and get going
Full Contact Project Management
It is amazing to me: Each month, as I sit down to write a column, it doesn’t turn out to be exactly the topic I originally intend, which is about embracing – or at least considering – how software can make a huge difference in your business. But two recent experiences have just shed light for me on an age-old topic: the battle of good versus evil, pushing software off of my main stage.
Why? It’s hard to ignore the horrific event in San Bernardino, with the huge loss of lives and severe injuries. It has to affect you, at least in some small way. I know it affected me.
Just a few years ago, working as a project manager, my company did work for different public agencies in that city and county. Yearly, almost every one of the active construction members of MCAA finds himself going to the various city halls and building departments, seeking needed permits that allow us to pursue the actual building of construction projects.
We contractors aren’t the only people who go into public buildings. Almost daily, nearly everyone enters some kind of a fast food restaurant, supermarket, or big box store – you name it. And, we know from similar experiences, just last month in Paris, that you can be out with your family and friends, even in another country, enjoying a concert, an athletic event, or sitting at a sidewalk café, and find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Let me say this another way: Pure evil does seem to lurk out there, in public and personal spaces, and certainly is not limited to only being found in a far-away battlefield. These days, it is quite the contrary.
Just three days prior to this, also near my home, I met Jessica Cox. She is an accomplished young woman who just about knocked my socks off. I use that metaphor advisedly, because it fits so well. You see, Jessica was born without arms. She is a talented person, having learned to use her legs, feet and toes to do the same things we do with our upper limbs, including brushing her hair and teeth, dressing and cleaning, and applying makeup.
She regularly drives a car, using her feet, and she earned the 2014 State Championship title from the American Taekwondo Association. She’s a certified SCUBA diver, along with being a paraglider and skydiver. She also plays the piano.
There’s more. Jessica is an FAA-certified airplane pilot and holds the 2011 Guinness World Record as the first woman ever to pilot a plane using her feet. Plus, she’s a terrific public speaker.
These kinds of accomplishments don’t happen in a vacuum. Jessica freely admits that she had all kinds of support from family and friends. She says her dad has never shed a tear over her birth disability, and her mom never allowed her to feel sorry for herself, enrolling her in tap dancing classes and fostering a love for performing. Jessica even picked up a couple of beauty pageant titles along the way.
As I said before, this is a look at the classic battle of good versus evil, and two completely different world views. One is that the world, itself, is unfair, I can’t do anything, and it must be stopped at all costs. The other is that I can do anything if I want to badly enough, and I am prepared to pay the price and make the sacrifices necessary.
Jessica could have spent her life feeling sorry for herself, blaming circumstances, blaming others, and blaming anything and everything for all that stood in her way. But her approach was completely different. She figured out ways to accomplish things that were necessary for her to move forward. For instance, she learned to tie her shoelaces by using her toes, which is problematical when your toes are inside your shoes! So, she developed a work-around.
Flying a plane solo requires the pilot to buckle the harness. How did she do that? She learned how to buckle the harness, using her feet, and then wiggle her way into it – not very easy to do, unless you are totally committed to succeeding at something. For Jessica, failure was not an option, so she found a way. This begs the question: How much do you want to accomplish something, and how important to you are your goals?
Technology is neutral. It can be used for those with visions of good or evil. GPS, for instance, can just as easily be used by a madman with criminal intent as it could – and was – used by Jessica to fly around the skies. While I refuse to further talk about the bad guys, I will say that technology did help to make Jessica’s dreams come true.
Software is in that mix of technology, probably in the forefront. This is why I’d ask you to consider something as we now move into another new year. Which technologies have you become aware of over the last couple of years? What types of software have come to your attention, and could any of this make a difference in your own business? I’m going to make a wild guess here that it could, and, at the very least, you should take a look at what’s available to propel your business to greater heights.
MCAA has taken that position, devoting a chunk of this month’s magazine to that issue (visit the table of contents to reference several software articles). Thinking of GPS, a few years ago, an earthmoving company I did some work for used it to control its heavy equipment. Imagine the operator of a motor grader having the equivalent of a set of plans in front of him in a heads-up display, with the cutting edge of his moldboard moving up and down to accomplish the precise elevation required at that exact spot. This is technology for the good guys.
A couple of months back, I did a webinar for MCAA entitled “Cutting Edge Marketing”. In it, I offered a guide to the technology that, today, makes a huge difference in the ability to market your business. If you email me at the address below, I’ll send that Resource Guide to you. This year, pick something relevant to help your business grow. Consider the involvement MCAA has in providing this information and support to you.
Evil says we must be stopped. Good says we can do anything. Software allows us to tackle some of the nearly impossible.
This year, set some nearly impossible goals for yourself, and figure out a way to make them happen. When it seems too tough, just remember Jessica.
About the Author
Gary Micheloni is a working project manager, speaker, author, consultant and coach. He has severals years of industry experience, including a background as a licensed general engineering contractor. For further information and insight on the Full Contact Project Management approach, write Coach Gary at FullContactTeam@gmail.com.