Construction Leadership Insights

Three Things I Learned From Contracting a Pesky Virus

I’ve been sick. I contracted a virus that basically knocked me out for the past month. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t the end of the world, but it was inconvenient, frustrating, and humbling.

I’ve began to feel myself this past week, and I thought about three things I learned when I was sick:

  1.     Life is unpredictable.
  2.     Time is limited.
  3.     It helps to have people who love you.

Life is unpredictable.

We all know this, but we tend to go along in our little routines oblivious to how one slight change in our circumstances can impact us. My illness left me unable to do much work. At one point, responding to a client’s email required a Herculean effort. Man, it was frustrating.

What are you doing to account for changing circumstances?

One practical consideration is that illnesses can often hinder our ability, directly or indirectly, to generate income. I was only out for a month, but I realized that having a solid financial foundation is indispensable to taking us through the challenges of life.

I wasn’t planning on getting sick.

And as often happens when we get sick, I was confronted by my own mortality and the limited time I have. In a certain way, the past month was wasted. I had plans, personal and business, that were disrupted. I spent most of my time in bed or on the couch, and the most I accomplished was watch the San Francisco Giant’s season go down the drain.

I was made aware of how precious time and energy is. It’s easy to waste time when you have energy to burn. Being ill highlighted for me the value of time and the importance of using it well.

Since getting back on my feet, I’ve been using a timer to keep me focused. I block out time to work on projects and tasks, set the timer for 90-minutes, and get to work. The timer helps to keep me productive instead of being distracted with emails and goofing around on the internet.

Because life is unpredictable and time is short, it really helps to have people who love you.

I’ve been married for 15 years, and this past month was easily the sickest I’ve been during that time.

I was struck during my illness by my wife’s kindness, patience, and willingness to take care of me. She embodied the commitments (“in sickness and health”) we made to each other on our wedding day, and her practical love was a deep encouragement to me.

Sometimes, we take our relationships for granted and even neglect them. Think for a moment about the long-term commitments you’ve made to people in your personal and professional life and make sure you are fulfilling your duty to them.

Planning intentionally for the future.

From a business perspective, an illness like I’ve experienced brings to mind the importance of succession planning. Regardless of your current circumstance, you don’t know what tomorrow holds, and one day, your involvement in your business will end.

Succession planning is the process of intentionally preparing for the future. What steps have you taken to prepare for the future? A possible first step is to take a short assessment that can bring to the surface areas that you need to pay attention to.

Click this link to access the assessment.