PDF Print

Contractor Tip of the Month

The Spankings Don’t Hurt Anymore!

The spankings don’t hurt anymore – at least that’s what my youngest daughter Rachel tells me when she gets in trouble now. Well, much like most of you, I have gotten my own share of spankings during the last few years of the recession. It’s like I have been the captain of a ship getting spanked around by the waves when navigating through a storm. What’s more, I believe I am lucky to have gotten them. What do spankings have to do with being lucky? Through those spankings, I am lucky to have learned, first hand, how to deal with inevitable issues that come with running a business. Hopefully, I have gained enough knowledge to deal with similar issues in the future. Although I love to read every business book I can get my hands on, no book could ever teach someone what it feels like to endure the pain the captain feels when the ship is taking on water.

When the economy dropped, like most other businesses, we had to make some painful management decisions. Having to do things like lay off people you know you will see the following Sunday in church sure isn’t pleasant. I always felt totally responsible for the issues the companies were facing. After all, I was the one who started the businesses when the economy was booming; therefore, I felt guilty for the many issues that came with the recession. We’d have just overcome one treacherous wave, and another one would be right behind it. There was a time or two when I wondered to myself what could happen next.

Then, a special little person (my youngest daughter, Rachel) helped me by putting a different light on her situation and mine. Rachel had gotten herself in trouble for something she’d done (I don’t even remember what it was), so I told her that she’d better stop or I would have had to spank her. She really surprised me by saying, “Go ahead, Dad, your spankings don’t hurt anymore.” I thought to myself how fearless this 10-year-old girl was.

There she was at 50 pounds, telling her 220-pound dad that he couldn’t spank her hard enough to hurt. I thought it was a great way to look at things. Why can’t I look at the difficulties I am going through in a similar manner? So I decided to focus on what the world would throw at me next, while telling myself that “the spankings don’t hurt anymore.” It really helped me to remove some of the fear and pain of it all.

Think of it like this: The captain has no control over how rough the waters will be, but each time he travels through them, he has an opportunity to learn from his experiences. In the process, he must make changes in preparation of sailing through the rough waters that his crew inevitably will have to sail in the future. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any spankings along the way, but, as he gets prepared for them, they won’t hurt as bad.  

If you are experiencing tough times, stay as positive as possible. And, when things look the grimmest, keep a steady disposition as you navigate the rough waters. If you show the fear you have on the inside to your people on the outside, they may panic and make mistakes. Worse yet, once they sense that fear, they may decide to launch the lifeboats and get out, thinking the ship is going down.

It isn’t easy and it isn’t fun, so be prepared to get slapped around a little. If you take the spankings as they come and learn from them, there comes a time when, like Rachel told me, the spankings won’t hurt anymore.


Damian Lang has a masonry contracting firm in southeast Ohio, along with three other companies. He is the author of the book “Rewarding and Challenging Employees for Profits in Masonry.” To order a copy of his book or to attend one of his seminars held specifically for mason contractors, call Sherry Wittekind at Lang Masonry, 740-749-3512.

Provided by Damian Lang, President of Lang Masonry Contractors, Inc., and EZ Grout Corp.