I manage properties for absentee owners in an upscale community. One client asked me to supervise a landscaping project and guesthouse remodel with a time goal. But he added, “As much as I like you, you don’t have a mean bone in your body, and frankly I don’t think you have what it takes to push these guys to make their deadlines.”
“I’m a Lemurian,” I said; “we’re taught to lead by example. Who will do his best work, one who fears reprisal, or one who respects you?” “You have a point,” he said, “but they may eat you alive!” I talked if over with my wife, knowing it would make many demands and I would need all the Lemurian virtues to pull it off. Then I accepted.
I hadn’t worked in home construction recently, and codes had changed. So when the cement contractors arrived, I asked a lot of questions and expressed interest in their work. They spoke politely in English, but Spanish comments in the background were somewhat less polite. Having lived in Mexico, I understood but ignored these, bringing out a table for their plans, and as it got hotter, a shade umbrella. The background comments slowed, and when I began handing out Gatorade, they changed to good-natured ones like, “Where’s the super? I’m thirsty!”
As new workers arrived, I told them, “We have a deadline no one thinks we can meet, so let’s make it easy on each other. I’ll do anything I can to make your job easier, so just work with me.” They did. I provided work areas, power, water, garbage cans, shade, fans and drinks. I jockeyed vehicles around so they could load and unload tools and material, ran to get parts and materials, helped carry things, learned their names, asked about their methods and thanked them for their good work. Soon, if I got back late from an errand, I’d find the fences had been put up and locked, the road washed and the site cleaned. They would tell new people not to park on the north side of the street and did many other things to help me out.
When the owner came to check on us, he saw over 60 people setting tile, hanging doors, welding, landscaping, painting, plumbing. He agreed my method worked after all.
I asked if I could use his refrigerator to keep cold drinks for the workers. He thought it was a great idea and reimbursed me for the drinks. That bill was over $1000, but it was worth it. It was fascinating to see all those people from different trades stopping together to enjoy a cool drink; like sharing a meal, it creates a level of camaraderie that is sometimes rare on construction sites.
Trying to juggle my regular responsibilities with this new one seemed impossible at times, but except for a temporary rise in blood pressure, it was a great experience, stretching my capabilities. I tried to stay calm, cheerful, and approachable, and never yelled at anyone. The job was completed on time to everyone’s satisfaction, a memorable demonstration of Lemurian principles in action.
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