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Failure is NOT the Best Option

Failure is NOT the Best Option

 “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
 ~Henry Ford

Recently I set up some forms to pour a well needed sidewalk in front of home.  It has only been 5 years since we removed the old sidewalk, why rush?  With a little encouragement from my family, I set to work.

The sidewalk had to follow a curving, sloping contour.  I knew I needed a flexible material to use on my forms.  I had seen contractors use a flexible thin 1/8” tempered hardboard.  It worked great…well at least at first. Remember, I am a landscaper, not a contractor.

As we installed the tempered hardboard, I noticed the boards begin to get small waves in them.  They were losing their form.  Even I knew this was not good for pouring concrete.  And then, the next night it rained, the waves magnified and the boards seemed beyond use.  If I poured the concrete now, the sidewalk would be wavy and inconsistent.

Incorrect Forms

I had several negative reactions inside my head.  One, forget this, we don’t need a sidewalk.  After all, we had done fine for five years!  Two, this is too difficult for me.  I will just call in a contractor and let them do it.

Then I remembered one of the famous “Mom Sayings”: “No child of MINE would do something like that!”  Okay, then – what to do next?   I knew that using the tempered hardboard for the entire length of the project was a mistake, I just wasn’t sure how to fix it.  So, I called in a guy I respect and who works with concrete a lot on campus. His name is Denny.  I asked him questions, listened, made notes.  He gave me some great ideas and suggested several little tricks to save me some time and money.

I implemented the changes Denny suggested.  Set up a time for the concrete delivery and then worked like crazy to pour the concrete.  It looks amazing.

Here are the 3 quick lessons I learned:

  1. Always seek out good advice from several sources. Listen, write it down, follow the advice.
  2. When you mess up, stop. Start again more intelligently and fix it.
  3. Be patient. No matter how quickly I wanted to get the sidewalk poured, if I would’ve poured the concrete into the wrong form, I would see it everyday, reminding me I did it wrong.  I might disagree with Nike on this point:  Don’t just do it…do it right.

I love my new sidewalk.  It was worth the wait.

Forms Done Right

Keep cultivating your Greatness,

Jeff

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