I stumbled into construction because I knew somebody. I knew less than nothing about construction, but I knew somebody. The old cliché, it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know. That has been true for me more times than I can count, but it has manifested in more unique and diverse ways than I ever envisioned.
Sure, knowing somebody opened the door for me to fall into construction when I was at my lowest. Knowing somebody gave me a chance when nobody else in their right mind would have. I had no discernible skillset, other than the desire to work as hard as I possibly could to avoid getting fired. So, that somebody I knew gave me an opportunity to earn my place. They opened the door just enough for me to show if I was worth the risk. I didn’t let him down.
I have been exposed to opportunities I had no business being a part of because people gave me a chance. More often than not, those experiences came because I knew someone. The quality of my life has grown exponentially because grace bestowed upon me by others, grace that has taken shape as the opening of doors.
But the real quality and value of my life, the measure of my worth, I believe, is in the people I share this life with–even if we only walk the same path for a brief time. I know that I am nothing without the people around me. This is not because they open doors for me, either. It is because they are the connections that make this life worthwhile. They add depth and a richness to my life that I can’t possibly put into words.
I chose self-imposed homelessness and isolation because I couldn’t stand human interactions with my family and friends–or anyone else, for that matter. My life got worse, quickly, when I had pushed everyone away. I was alone. And my suffering grew.
I’ve found that I need connection. I need it almost as much as the air I breathe. It is a vital component of my foundation and my personal sanity. It was suggested to me, however, that I must exercise caution in choice of friends and companions to walk through life with. I inherently want to give my fellows the benefit of the doubt and trust that they are good. In so doing, I am increasingly likely to allow myself to be vulnerable with them. I’ve learned that vulnerability and trust can be misplaced and put me in a position to be harmed. So, it falls on me to put in the work to develop relationships, which takes time and energy and effort, to discover who people real are, while also giving them the opportunity to discover who it is that I really am. In this process of building trust and accountability, we actually build a foundation of a true friendship.
I can number the true friendships of my life in single digits. They have all taken considerable time to develop. They are constantly evolving and each play an incredibly important role in my life. I cannot imagine where I would be without each of them. They have shown me, in unique ways, that it isn’t what you know, but who you know. I am rich beyond measure because I have the opportunity to share life with these people. My life today is better because I know these men and women. I want to be a better man today to be better for these men and women.
Please share your experiences of building deep, lasting connection with those around you. We can develop a shared understanding of the critical benefits that are inherent with human relationships. We can develop an understanding of what is good in people. We can grow together, rather than apart.