Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Bouncebackability (06/05/14)
TITLE: Going It Alone
By Steve McClure
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An acquaintance came to me with a thought. I used to direct a large company, and he was looking for some advice on how to bring his thought to fruition. I responded just as I would when I was a director: gave him some pointers, provided a few contacts to start with, and sent him on his way. It was his idea; he’s now the “director” of the project.
He was back in a few days. Would I consider helping him “direct”? He had been a laborer all his life (a fine and needed profession) and hadn’t acquired the skills to coordinate a project like this, small though it was. I’m retired now; my coordinating days are long over. But he was right – I had the skill he lacked. And his idea was good. The challenge for me was I no longer had the backing of a large company. I was on my own.
So we started. I raised a little money, got some backing from a few former colleagues, cajoled a land-owner into donating some property, hired an architect, and began sizing up a children’s playground and teenage clubhouse in a nearby underserved area. For his part, Dave would find the laborers to do the construction. This was his former neighborhood; he had always wanted to give kids here more than he had growing up.
We finally broke ground and had the lot cleared (an abandoned apartment building). We had the underground utilities upgraded to meet current specs, and paid the utility inspection fees (the county wouldn’t forego those). The foundation for the clubhouse was laid, and the playground design was finalized. Then the money ran out.
My backers began to dwindle. The laborers Dave rounded up began to scatter. The land-owner threatened to reclaim the lot unless the project was completed. I missed not having a company to turn to when the going got rough.
I confided to a friend that I was failing in something I used to be good at. It was a shame, too; I was letting Dave down. He was really enthusiastic at the prospect of a life-long dream coming true. But I guess I just couldn’t do it alone.
My friend’s response shocked me. “You’re right. You can’t do it. But God can.” He fell silent and just looked at me.
I pondered for a long time. My friend had things to attend to, so he left. I headed for my study. On the way, a verse I hadn’t thought of in a long time came to me: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13). I sat down behind my desk. I’d closed many a deal from behind this desk. …At least, I had been the mouthpiece.
I said a quick prayer, picked up the phone, and made a few calls. No…I made a lot of calls. I pulled out my old contact list and called people I hadn’t talked to in years. Old colleagues, former clients, even former competitors. Soon, it was just like the old days. A lot of no’s, and some call-me-later’s. A few maybe’s and a couple of hesitant yes’s. A promise or two – with strings attached. Some weak support, and a bit of solid support…. It was coming together.
I called Dave and told him we we’re back in the saddle. He was elated. By week’s end we had equipment back on the lot, and laborers back on the job. And some of the new backers stopped by to see the progress.
I kept calling, kept talking, kept dealing…even pleading. And kept praying. I wasn’t alone anymore.
As the weeks passed, the playground took shape and the clubhouse was fitted out. Kids began to stop and ask what this was all about. Dave was more than happy to tell them. Opening day was flooded with kids. The mayor even dropped by for a photo op.
I asked Dave to come by my house. I opened the project ledger and showed him the bottom line. He gasped. We had enough money left to do it all again somewhere else.
“How did you do this?” he asked in amazement.
“A friend gave me some very good advice.”
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