Sunday, April 6, 2014

President's Weekly Letter #82

A number of years ago, Sunrise Engineering was struggling to build momentum in the market place.  We focused on completing public works water projects for cities, towns and other public entities.  One of our clients was a large Irrigation Company in northern Utah.  That Company was unique because it delivered Utah Lake water to irrigation customers, on both residential and agricultural land and it treated and delivered drinking water to most of the customers in the city where it was located.   We had completed a number of small projects for the Company.  We also completed a large difficult diversion and pipeline project in rough, steep terrain that delivered water to their water treatment plant.  The projects were successful and we had developed a strong relationship with the members of the governing Board due to our farmer style common sense and genuine nature.

The next project on the schedule was a whopper, a pressurized irrigation system.  We would replace their entire ditch water delivery system with buried pipelines.  In the future, water would be delivered under pressure in pipelines to sprinkler systems instead of in ditches for flood irrigation.  The project included a raw water pump station, storage pond and a complete piping delivery system with about 30 miles of pipelines.  The project had a complex water rights component to allow water delivery to what previously had been dry lots.

The Irrigation Company bylaws required the Company to go out for proposals from competing engineering firms for this size project.  We had learned to play “hard ball” when it came to proposals because we could lose, and this project was a big deal for us.  We prepared a perfect presentation, practiced and roll played until our delivery was flawless.  It took a great deal of work and time.  We were scheduled to present the proposal one evening at a Board meeting. The President, Mr. Ennis, called the meeting to order, Mr. Mickelson took minutes and Mr. Ballard announced our scheduled presentation.  We set up our visual aids and, as rehearsed, I began with, “We are happy to be here tonight…”  I was then interrupted by Board member Williams.  Who said, “Mr. Chairman, I move we hire Sunrise Engineering to be our engineer for the pressure irrigation system.”  The vote was unanimous.  I could not believe what had just happened, but realizing we had received what we came for and further talk might only weaken our position, I gathered up our stuff, thanked the Board for its support and left the meeting.  Nobody ever heard our flawless presentation, but our celebration over the win was still euphoric.

Such life experiences and resulting lessons learned are really no different than serving as a missionary.  From the story above and my basic philosophy of living life that follows, try to pick out the applicable missionary lessons and metaphors of missionary life.  Some are easy to see and others are subtle and only one who has served as a missionary would understand.  I must also say I am not perfect and had my fair share of days of discouragement, frustration, bitterness and hopelessness as I faced my trials.  But as a rule, this describes my core come-from in life.

I have found that most of the best things that have happened to me during my life, happened after somebody said, “Yes.”  But, those moments of victory, like winning that project, are too infrequent to live only for that alone.  At Sunrise, I became addicted to the pursuit of victory.  Then finding and doing projects, strategizing, meeting and working with people, organizing, planning and doing were what brought me satisfaction.  The wins were great but the pursuit of the win was my focus because I learned to make it fun and interesting.  I truly felt driven every day to pursue more success and I loved the pursuit.

I tried to be grateful by always seeing what I had, not what I did not have.  Looking for the good every day does wonders for your productivity. 

19 And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more. (DC 78:19)

I saw the world as a place of abundance and avoided an attitude of scarcity.  Living in “Scarcity” is believing if someone else has something; there is that much less for the rest of us to have.  Living in “Abundance” is understanding that as more people have more things they want; that increases my opportunity to obtain things that I may want.

7 For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.  (DC 104:17)

I learned, up close and personal, the mine fields, pitfalls, and trials that must be overcome to take care of business.  Opposition came in the form of: taxes, suffocating regulations, lack of cash to fund growth, production challenges, personal stress, etc.  The difficult things in business and life were many but I viewed them not so much as sacrifices but as investments.  There is no pill, counseling or business maneuver that replaces the indispensable ingredient of willpower and hard work.

Christ healed on the Sabbath at Bethesda a man who for 38 years was one of the impotent, blind, halt and withered folk.  Christ’s simple command was:

6 …Wilt thou be made whole?..
8 …Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked…(John 5: 1-9)

I visualize the man knowing he could not get up for he had not gotten up for 38 years.  But, following the Savior’s command anyway, he attempted to rise.  The atonement takes away your ceiling and the Savior invites you to set aside your misery and do wonders in the stead thereof.

President Robinson

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