The Bulldozer

We all have seen them, sitting by the side of the road, patches of rust scattered here and there, day after day after day…all alone at some apparently stalled construction project.

When I see one of these I cannot help but to think of the following scenario.

Setting: A small conference room table at a small, but growing, civil contractor’s office.

Ned – Owner: “Well guys, I have some good news! I just got back from our accountant’s office and it looks like we are going to be able to buy that new bulldozer.”

Sam – Foreman: “This is great, now we can price more, and larger, projects.”

—————-

Fast forward to the local bulldozer dealer and we see Ned and Sam looking over the latest models, eagerly asking questions, soaking in all the information and learning about all the latest features.

Hours go by and, buzzing with excitement, they finally pull the trigger on a new bulldozer!

—————-

Fast forward to the first day on the job for the shiny new ‘dozer: Ned, who rarely ‘gets dirty’ any more puts in a full 9+ hours running the new machine. He is thrilled!

The day ends and Sam and the crew help Ned get the new bulldozer situated back on the trailer to return to the shop where it will be hosed down and put under cover much like a prized thoroughbred.

From Showroom Floor to Forgotten

From Showroom Floor to Forgotten

Fast forward to today, where we see what was once a shiny new bulldozer, sitting on the side of the road so far removed from the ‘fresh off the assembly line’ look of days gone by. Sitting alone with just the elements as company.

I like to think about how many jobs that bulldozer did, how many weeks passed before Ned found his ROI, how many stories are now told because of this magnificent piece of equipment.

Then…what I like to think about is this: There was one day, one single, solitary moment, when Sam, after a finite number of projects and long days and much effort of guiding the new machine back on the trailer to return the shop finally said, “Ahhhh…fergit it, let’s just leave it out here, no one’s gonna do anything.”

And then…they left the bulldozer on the jobsite for the first time.

The day that happened, I wonder what Ned had for breakfast that morning.

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To Be A Sparrow

Though this is not always an annual event, every few years it seems we have a group of turkey buzzards stop and hang out here in the ‘hood on their way to wherever they are going. These birds are huge and for the most part don’t cause any problems unless they decide to congregate on your roof.

Turkey Buzzard I

Turkey Buzzard II

(Source: http://www.wikipedia.org)

So, each morning, out behind our house, anywhere from 20 – 40 of these huge birds begin their day by gathering in the trees, drying their wings on damp days but mostly, just hanging out before they begin scanning the ground for some breakfast.

Turkey Buzzards

(Source: My cell phone camera)

As I watch these enormous birds sit in the tree, chatting amongst themselves, I cannot help to but think how cool it would be if I was a tiny little sparrow and I flew amongst them, perched right in the middle of everyone, looked around and said, “So, what’s going on?”

I would just love to see the look on their faces when I did that!

An Open Letter To Christopher Painter of AFLAC

Christopher Painter
District Operations Coordinator
christopher_painter@us.aflac.com
http://www.aflac.com
Atlanta GA

Dear Christopher,

I just received, yet again, another email from you regarding the opportunity to work for AFLAC. Allow me to begin my response by saying I don’t know how many times I have contacted your company regarding your disingenuous approaches to me but I do hope this will be the last.

Now, I fully understand you are just trying to put some warm bodies in seats with the hopes of them making you money, I get that. However, I receive these emails from you/your company what seems like a few times each month and here is why I call them ‘disingenuous’.

You, Christopher Painter, state: “I was reviewing your resume today on the Internet”.

If you did indeed review my resume then I suggest you look into a reading comprehension course or maybe try this approach:

“I did a query of updated resumes on Monster and without looking at your resume, it did pop up because certain keywords matched and therefore, I thought I would spam you with this canned intro.”

Why the need for a reading comprehension course? Because the very first paragraph of my resume states:

HIGHLIGHTS OF QUALIFICATIONS: Over 20 years of business development, management, account management, operations, project and product development experience. My career has been built upon skills in, project management, strategic partnering, corporate development, building strategic alliances, consultative and relationship sales, sales & marketing, customer relationship management, mergers & acquisitions, research, project management, P&L responsibility, data mining & development and training. (NOTE: If you are contacting me to buy a franchise, sell insurance or ‘financial services’, then you did not read my resume very well.)

If you, Christopher Painter, are even a real person, which I doubt (No profile on LinkedIn which, for someone in your stated position, should cause any candidate worth their salt to further question your dubious approach.) then please inject a little integrity into your solicitation for new hires.

I fully appreciate you wanting to hire and grow your business and it is my sincere hope that you find the best candidates and they make a lot of money for themselves and for your company. AFLAC is a great company but your approach appears to me to be less than honest and since I am not a good fit, please do not contact me again.

Thanks,

Bobby Darnell
Principal
Construction Market Consultants, Inc.
3651 Peachtree Parkway
Suite E-275
Suwanee, GA 30024
770-887-4941 – Direct
770-887-5409 – Fax
bobbydarnell@cmconl.com
http://www.cmconl.com

Find Me On LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbydarnell
My AEC Marketing Blog: http://www.buildingnewbusiness.com

Business Development | Sales & Marketing | Social Media | Recruiting | CRM

Getting To Sleep Technique – One of Many

OK, if you ever have trouble falling asleep, which I do almost every night, here is a technique I use that helps.

Pretend you are Superman and the covers are hot molten lava with just enough Krypton infused so as to weaken you a great deal but not so much that the lava burns you.

Superman

Slowly pull the covers up to your neck and pretend that it is the lava, oozing towards you. Once you reach your neck, stop and then pretend that it hardens. Now, you are weak, tired and you cannot move because of the cooling lava. You try to struggle to break free but you lack the strength due to the ‘Kryptonian lava’.

Knowing that there is not a lot you can do at the moment, you might as well take a little snooze and try again later.

I hope this helps…

Happy Two

The oldest memory I own is the day we got our puppy, Mitzi. I was not quite three years old but I distinctly remember taking her to my grandmother’s to show her.

Mitzi was with us until I was 17. I was sick and home from school the day she passed away and that was my first introduction to the sting of death. She was the personification of why I believe every child should have a dog. She was sweet, loving and if it is possible, she was a humble creature. Mitzi was definitely an ‘outside’ dog and really did not like coming in the house except when it stormed and the 14 or so years we had her, she was definitely part of the family.

Fast forward to about five years ago when the idea of getting a dog for the girls started percolating and I received a call from a friend who knew the status. She called me and said, “I know you told me you are just thinking about a dog but there is a ‘Jackapoo’ at my vet’s office and she is up for adoption.”

Since I work from home, it was easy to sneak out and try to see the puppy on my own. However, for some reason, that did not happen. Lane met me at the veterinarian’s office and when they brought out Coco, she was shaking like leaf and before they could put her on the table, the directive was set. “We are not leaving this baby here.”

Since Mitzi was an outdoor dog, I grew up thinking that is where they belonged. I was never much of a fan of indoor dogs and was determined that Coco would carry on Mitiz’s fine tradition of keeping our back door free from intruders, twenty four hours a day.

To make a long story short, we brought Coco home and she went from being an outside dog, to a ‘she can be in the basement only’ dog to sleeping on our bed that first night dog. I caved like a house of cards all in about five hours.

Coco was a special dog in many ways. She not only melted my heart but renewed the love my parents had for our beloved Mitzi as well. I will never forget how Coco would greet me when I had been away on business for a few days. She would spin like a top until I could reach down and pick her up. I will never forget how she would love to share a nap with me, in my lap, on my big ‘Daddy’s Chair’ on Sunday afternoons.

Coco waiting for Lane and the girls to come home.

Coco waiting for Lane and the girls to come home.

We lost Coco a few years back and I still miss her terribly. I have a picture in my office of her sitting in the garage, looking up the road just waiting for Lane and girls to come home. I took it with my Blackberry on a whim and have no doubt it is one of the finest photographs I have ever taken. It has been said that ‘Dogs’ lives are too short, which is their only fault, really.’ and that was truly her only one.

I believe I made it about a week before I knew what I had to do. I had to get a new puppy. No dog could ever replace Coco but I knew that a new one could replace that new ‘dog shaped void’ in our lives. So, once again, I headed out the door just to look at puppies and once again, I was an easy sell.

Two years ago this week, Sophie moved in with us and the joy that little pooch has given me is immeasurable. Instead of spinning, she likes to stand up on her hind legs ‘reaching’ for me. Like Coco, she loves to play tug of war’ and chase her rope ‘bone’. She loves to chase any life form larger than a stick of butter and has successfully kept our home free from all direct chipmunk, squirrel, deer and/or bear attacks and for that, we are grateful. Like everyone else under this roof, Sophie is not without a nickname or two and I am so thankful God has blessed us with our little ‘Choochee’.

Sophie - Day 1

Today was a pretty tough day but now that it is almost over, I will try to bury that which I don’t want to carry over to tomorrow and I will spend a little time with Sophie before turning in. In doing so, I am reminded of the old saying that one reason a dog can be such a comfort when you’re feeling blue is that she doesn’t try to find out why.

Happy Birthday Sophie…

Not Quite The Road To Damascus

I love what I do for a living and am grateful that I get to work from ‘The Bunker’, my home office located in our basement. I also enjoy any time the phone rings and my caller ID displays a name I am not familiar with. The reason for this is that if it is a ‘first time caller’, then there is a chance it could be a prospect or new client.

That said, when my caller ID indicated “Joe Fambrough” was trying to reach me, I picked up the receiver with anticipation. I did not take long for me to realize that Joe was not calling to inquire about my services, but rather tell me about his. More specifically, Joe was calling to introduce me to ‘AlongsideHer’ and wanted to set up a meeting.

My first thought was, “Joe, you’ve got it all wrong. I make calls to get people to see me; I don’t take calls from people wanting me to see them.” However, I listened to what he had to say and have to admit, the very unique nature of his offering did pique my interest and something inside me said, “You need to meet this guy.”

Not much later, I met Joe and his lovely wife Andy and listening to them tell me about AlongsideHer, their ministry for widows and single mothers. As compelling as their presentation was, before the conversation was over, I had to tell them both that between our church and our girl’s Christian School; we seem to get three or four opportunities a month to support some new ministry, mission trip or fundraiser. Money was tight and I would have to discuss this with my wife.

I will admit, my modus operandi in such situations is to take their information, write a check and find a polite way to share with them their ministry is just not in our budget at this time. However, there was something persuasive about what Joe and Andy shared with me and while I make no claim to be a Bible scholar, I am well aware of the many directives to take care of widows.

The more I thought of all Joe and Andy’s story, the more AlongsideHer resonated with my heart and I knew that this was something that I had to become involved with myself. I knew my participation had to be more than any ‘obligatory’, “Well, I certainly will pray for your work.”

This past year my, my mother’s sister became a widow after being married to my uncle for 65 years. When we all get to Heaven, you may recognize my aunt Rena’s place as it will be huge! She is a dear soul with a heart of gold.

During their marriage, my aunt and uncle were foster parents to over 80 children and when I know I need some serious prayers, I ask my aunt Rena for help. Maybe it was seeing the transition in her life to becoming a widow that moved me. Maybe it was the truth, conviction and sincerity in Joe and Andy’s vision. More than likely, it was all the above with a great big dose of the Holy Spirit using them to move my heart.

AlongsideHer is more than just a ministry to help the widows and single mothers of a local church. It is a ministry to grow and equip other churches to have an established and focused response of their own. While my taking the call from Joe and agreeing to meet with him and Andy may not quite be a ‘road to Damascus’ awareness, it is for me close enough to know that God is using this wonderful couple to actually change lives.

I am so very proud to be a part of AlongsideHer. If you have a widow or a single mother in your life, please consider supporting this amazing organization. If you would like to hear the unabridged version of my ‘conversion’, feel free to contact me. If you are unable to financially support AlongsideHer, but have a skill, gift or talent that you believe would be useful, let Joe and Andy know. Finally, please share with your friends AlongsideHer’s story.

Taking that call from Joe may not have been a road to Damascus conversion, but it has proven to me to be close enough. In the most turbulent economic times of my life, I have learned to step out of my comfort zone to help grow this wonderful ministry as best I can.

Because of Joe and Andy’s vision, their willingness to follow the Lord’s calling, to put in countless hours to do for others has had an amazing impact on so many people’s lives, mine included.

——————

If you are even remotely intrigued and would like to know more, let me know or visit us at: http://www.alongsideher.org

Thanks

This is a little bit late as I am well aware that Thanksgiving was a few days ago. Each year, around the middle of November, one of Lane’s relatives sends out a list of things for which he is grateful. More than a few years back, I tried to copy his endeavor but with not quite the consistency.

2010 will wrap up being categorized as one of the toughest years of my family’s life, all from a business perspective. However, everything else has been good and getting better and while we had to pay more attention than usual to the budget, it has still been a blast participating in the animated contest of freedom.

That said, here is this year’s list:

My Family – Not just Lane and the girls but I love and am so blessed by the fact that at my age, my parents are nearby and doing well, my brother lives in the neighborhood across the street and we have had some opportunities to do some business together and my sister is not just churning the wheels of commerce with her business, she has been in overdrive!

Sophie – While I most certainly consider Sophie part of the family, she gets her own entry because of the miracle she has been to me. I have heard that empathy is our strongest emotion. When one of my best friends shared with me his feelings on losing one of his dogs, I truly could not understand the depth of his grief. That was until we lost Coco. I made it about two weeks before we got Sophie and her miracle is filling the void that Coco’s death created…something I never thought could happen.

Music – My first memories of music was falling asleep to stacks of Eddie Arnold LPs on my parent’s Motorola. I learned to play guitar while John Denver ruled the charts and there is not a day that goes by where I do not pick up a guitar and play it, if for no longer than the time it takes to reboot my computer. I have put aside my lust for politics and have been listening to more music the past few years. I could put http://www.pandora.com as its own listing but will include it here. I have learned of so many new artists and have enjoyed getting to know their music through this great website.

Our House – Lane and I built this place as our first home, as newlyweds. It was to be our ‘starter home’. Almost 17 years later, I have lived here almost twice as long as I did in my childhood home. The house is definitely starting to show it’s age and the honey do list is getting longer but we have a pond out back where I go fishing with my girls, a screen porch that is surrounded by hardwoods and has become my favorite space in the entire world.

Phil Keaggy – No surprise here but I recently had the pleasure of being able to spend a little time with Phil after an intimate show at Nashville’s famous Blue Bird Cafe. Phil is not only the epitome of musicianship but a for real believer who exudes grace and love for those around him. His walk is an inspiration.

Coffee – Especially at 3:00 PM! (www.threeoclockpot.com)

Facebook – Yes, Facebook. I started out on MySpace when it was the bomb and did not really care for Facebook at first, mostly because I did not ‘get it’. My high school class had our 30th reunion a few years ago and it was a blast! I have been in reunion mode ever since.

Laughing – In spite of it all, I believe I have laughed more, on average, this year than the past several years. A lot of it has to do with our girls getting older and making their own contributions to the family humor stew.

No doubt there are tons more and maybe I will add to this list but a wife and a naked Christmas tree calls.

Politics and Religion

Politics and Religion – Are these two topics not the ‘poison’ of agreeable and delightful conversation? I am not sure what it says about me but these are two of my favorite topics to discuss.

I won’t delve too deeply into controversy here as I believe the two points I want to share here are pretty close to being ‘offense-free’ as any that would fall under this potentially polemic category.

Politics – I use to be consumed by politics. By that, I mean I use to study, research and read all the latest goings on in government. Spend countless hours online debating and discussing the issues of the day. I would call, write and visit my representatives in Washington, DC. Then I decided to become ‘blissfully ignorant’ (See blog entry below by the same title)

Several years ago, our local school board did something that I believed was wrong. I believe they violated Georgia’s ‘Sunshine Law’ and put an item on their agenda that was hidden in its meaning in how it would affect the parents and students.

This was enough to make me truly realize the value that ‘all politics should be local.’ I set up a meeting with the School Superintendent to discuss what I though was an unfair tactic on the part of the school board. This got me no where.

This led to my getting involved in creating a community awareness group that focused on monitoring what the school board did and helping keep local citizens more informed.

Before long, an opening on the school board came up and we knew we needed to end the years and years of unanimous voting by the school board, basically, ‘rubber stamping’ the Superintendent’s agenda.

This lead me to meet and get to know an incredible man named Mike Dudgeon. Mike stepped up to the plate and ran for the open seat. To make a long story short, Mike won and has served us proudly over the past four years on the Forsyth County School Board.

Now, Mike is running for the Georgia House in District 24.

I am so very proud to call Mike a friend and would like to take this opportunity to whole-heartedly endorse Mike’s campaign. You can learn more about Mike on his site:

www.votedudgeon.com

Religion – of the two ‘taboo topics’ religion is definitely the more sensitive in my opinion. My entry here is to share with you about a meeting I recently had with a couple, Joe and Andy Fambrough. Joe and his wife Andy have been a part of a ministry at our church for right at ten years. Their ministry is called ‘Alongside Her’ and it supports the widows of our community.

The Bible is very clear on how we should take care of the widows and hearing Joe and Andy’s story was not only touching but inspiring as well. The amount of love, blood, sweat and tears they have put into this is not only an inspiration to me and Lane but also has prompted us to do what we can to help.

You know me, I am not big on asking for anything or pushing an agenda but I would like for you to prayerfully consider doing what you can for Alongside Her. In the short amount of time Lane and I have known Joe and Andy, we already consider them to be very special friends and their passion for what they do has proven to be infectious.

To learn more, visit their site or let me know.

www.alongsideher.org

The site is new and we are working on upgrading it ‘as we speak’ but if you have any questions, just let me know.

Christmas Cards

As the year coasts to a stop, I am happy to find some ‘alone time’ early on a Sunday morning. I have some fresh coffee, a delightful fire roaring and Sophie is snoozing next to me.

This will be the first time in my adult life that we did not send out, en masse, Christmas cards with either a picture and/or family letter…no one to blame other than a hectic schedule and maybe Facebook.

Christmas is less than a week away and I have yet to venture out to one single retail location. I am proud to say that I should have four large boxes awaiting me at my business address full of goodies via the wonderful Internet.

Nonetheless, I still feel compelled to share with everyone the one thing I have put at the end of every family letter since I have had my own family. In spite of the fact that Thanksgiving gets ‘robbed’ each year with the Halloween displays being replaced by Christmas ones the first day of November, Christmas still holds some magic for me and I attribute it all to the following:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And that’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.” – Linus Van Pelt.

Merry Christmas everyone!