Thursday, August 26, 2010

Build a bridge

So, yesterday I was driving back home from the Quad Cities and I noticed that the bridge near Iowa City that they've been working on (seemingly forever) is finally looking like a bridge.  Traffic has been re-routed in that area for quite some time.  The base structure is in and the deck (the part we drive on) looks to be almost completed.  It got my mind thinking about many things (especially because I still had some windshield time), but I kept coming back to the bridge.
I thought about how long it takes to put in the foundation structure for a bridge.  And how much of the base starts out under water.  I considered how traffic changes while work is being done.  And how great it will be when all lanes are open over the bridge.  I thought about how many times I've driven past the project, and didn't notice much progress.  I thought about how quickly it seems that the structure goes in, the farther to the top you are.
This bridge is so much like leadership.  When you start, it seems like everything takes longer and often feels like you're under water.  You have to work to get yourself above water.  Sometimes, activities in your life are re-routed or slowed down during the construction.  The "building" part often isn't noticeable to those around you.  But once you have your strong foundation, it sometimes seems that you become an overnight sensation (after weeks, or months or years in your field).
It pays to spend the time building a strong foundation.  When the floods come (and they will) you must be able to withstand the storms.  If not, all your hard work will wash down the river.  And then you've wasted your time & rerouted those around you for nothing.
Do you have confidence in your bridge?  Do you inspire people around you to help you build?  Do they feel that together you can build the biggest, strongest bridge?  Will they be willing to go over your bridge, because they are confident in its strength?
Build a bridge - you have places to go.

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