In it to Win It!
Words: “Coach” Gary Micheloni
“Ordinary Heroes—All In… & All Together”
Our 2020 Vision
It’s just weird—at least to me! How can I explain it to you? Let me try a poor analogy: imagine you just woke up today after being in a coma for several months. As you look around, listen to people, maybe turn on your favorite source of news, and while you consider all these things you have taken in, you will have to conclude that either you are crazy—or the world is!
I mean…half the people in the country appear to be missing! You walk over to someone and ask, ‘What’s going on?’ and he quickly backs away from you. You hold out your hand, say your name to introduce yourself, and the person recoils in horror, pulls out from his pocket a small bottle of hand sanitizer, and douses his own hands with it. What the…?
It strikes me as funny that I am writing this column just hours before April Fools’ Day because my friend from the coma story might think he is being pranked. It looks around him, expecting video cameras recording everything. Admit it: right now, the world is just too crazy or, as I just boldly stated, ‘weird.’
Also, as I look a month into the future, when this column is finally being read, I’m hoping that the weirdness is gone by then, or at least less weird. My gosh… May it not become even more weird!
Okay then, back to the reality of the present, and how all of us can, and should, deal with the issue and threat of a pandemic in our midst, as well as our certain recovery from it. I am certain of this fact: we’ll get through it, as we’ve always done, and we always will. You know why? Of course, you do. Say it with me: “We’re Americans!” That’s right. That’s all you need to know. That’s the way it’s always been, even before the founding of our nation. That’s the way it can continue, on, into the future, but that future is largely dependent upon you. Yes, you, your family, your company, your employees, your industry: we are all shareholders in the American Dream. May sound corny, but it’s the absolute truth.
How do I know? For that matter, how do you know? I’ll speak for myself, but I’ve got a front-row seat and can tell you how this plays out. Let me try.
I work as a project manager for a successful construction company whose primary mission is public works construction—doing civil work, including masonry, roads, streets, underground, everything but the building like a lot of you.
The reason I have a front-row seat is that our industry, probably like yours, has been deemed as ‘essential’ to the functioning of the country. The government can’t really tell people to ‘shelter in place’ if they don’t have shelter, so our crews are not restricted to their homes. [NOTE: Plenty of other industries and occupations are also essential—including many others that don’t have that designation—but are truly just as essential!]
The unfortunate thing is a huge portion of our population has been forced to stay at home while being paid to do so. What will be their reaction when it is time for them to return? I hope it’s good, but I don’t know for sure. However, I do know one thing for certain: going forward, leadership will be more important than ever.
Let’s make sure, let’s commit—that we will do even more than our fair share. This is a time to not only ‘talk the talk’ but resolve to get things done.
Our country has faced adversity throughout most of its existence. Almost everyone reading this column can remember the horror of 9/11. Unthinkable and unimaginable pain and grief—although I only witnessed it on television from the other side of the country. But let me ask you what you remember from 9/11. What stands out to you—right to this very day? Terrorism?
No! For me, it’s the heroics of the first responders running into the buildings and up the stairs, attempting to save lives, and helping people. Who can ever forget the passengers aboard United Flight 93, hearing the cry, “Let’s roll!’ and then bringing down that plane before it could crash into the White House, its likely target.
Three days later, President Bush went to Ground Zero. He saw the devastation. Who was he addressing? Construction workers and first responders who were there searching for survivors and clearing the debris. The President used a bullhorn to address the crowd, telling them that America was praying and that our nation stands together. The crowd had a hard time hearing him. Then came his famous reply, “I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon!… Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud, and may God bless America.”
We got through it. America is a nation of survivors, yes, but we are also a nation of doers and achievers.
We get through the darkest of times. It is my belief that the spirit of American Exceptionalism allows, no— causes it to happen. Our nation has experienced these dark times so often that it just can’t be a coincidence:
Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, mass shootings; too many to name
The assassinations of Pres. John F. Kennedy; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Bobby Kennedy
The bombing of the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building
Apollo 1, Challenger & Columbia Space Shuttle disasters
Vietnam War, 58,000+ KIA
Korean War, 54,000+ KIA
Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, thousands killed & the U.S. Fleet ravaged
World War II, 405,000+ KIA
American Civil War 750,000 KIA est
Revolutionary War, 25,000+ KIA
We’ve gotten through all those horrible things—and more. Always have & always will.
For 15 years now, it’s been my privilege to write this column. Interesting to note, the first couple of years were all about the ‘science’ of project management. However, in late 2007/early 2008, our booming construction economy began to drastically slow down, prompting me to change the focus of my writing to that of offering encouragement, to “…hang in there…we’ll get through it…” Guess what? We did. Of course, we did!
The simple teaching is this, looking back now… We’ve gotten through all these bad things. People are still hurting over some of it, but we survived.
The American economy is the wonder of the world (despite any negative comments to the contrary). Love it or hate it, our economy is responsible for lifting more people and nations from poverty and rescuing them from oppression, helping to aid more countries in more horrible situations, never requiring anything in return, than any other nation in the world.
Think of it this way, if you lived outside of the U.S. and were facing something big/evil/terrible, which country would you want most to provide the help you needed? There is only one answer for thinking people, and you know what that answer is!
The fact remains that it is our economic strength, prosperity, and the faith of our people that allow us to reach out to others. The fuel for these great abilities and functions and mercies can only come from your efforts and those of other like-minded leaders.
COACH GARY’S TAKEAWAY: We are getting ready to start a very important race. Prepare yourself, your team, everyone you care about. Right now, get yourself up to the starting line. Be prepared to jump out in front—you and your team. Lead others and work with the economy. Drive it. Drive it hard! I’m told that a good horse loves to be ridden, and a good car is meant to be driven. Same with our economy. Be a huge part of the incredible recovery which is about to launch.
The times may be weird, but the race is very real. If you’ve been shut down, prepare for the race to start. Whatever your situation, ready yourself, your community, family, and company and get set to take off. Go lead! Because we’ll get through this. Of course, we will!
“Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud, and may God bless America.” Pres. George Bush, Sept. 14, 2001
Copyright 2020 Gary Micheloni