Successful Construction Careers: Start with Intentional Growth

(The following is a summary of the Podcast S2: E1 – Successful Construction Careers – Start with Intentional Growth. To listen to the full podcast, click on the play button below.)

(Chris Jurin is the author of this post and podcast. He is a Certified John Maxwell Team trainer and coach. This series of podcasts are designed as toolbox talks. The podcast is kept short to help you quickly listen to the content and then get back to work.)

Are you considering one of many construction careers that are available to young men and women?

Are you looking to get started in construction careers but are not quite sure where to begin?

This is the first podcast in a series of 15 podcasts based on John Maxwell’s best selling book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. In this series, we are going to take a look at how these 15 Laws affect those who are looking to get started creating construction careers.

The Law of Intentionality

In this podcast, I am going to look at the first law.  This is the Law of Intentionality.  We are going to look at how someone who is new to the construction industry can use this law to start to build their career.

So if you are ready, let’s jump in and take a look at John Maxwell’s first law. We will look at how new members of the construction industry can use this law to get traction and build their construction careers.

As I said, the first law that we are going to take a look at is the Law of Intentionality.

Let me ask you this to start out our conversation.  Why are you considering taking a job in construction or home improvement? It certainly cannot be because you are looking for an easy job. Construction careers don’t exactly have the best daily working conditions. It is either too hot, too cold, too windy, too sunny, too rainy, too snowy.  You get the point.  There might be two perfect working days out of the year.

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Are you taking the job because you are out of all other options? Home improvement and construction careers are not easy jobs. They take hard work and constant learning. So if you are taking the job because you don’t have any other choice you need to realize something. You will have to work hard to keep your job.

If you want to find success, you need to be intentional about achieving that success. You cannot go into the job thinking that success will just find you. You have to be intentional about what you want to achieve – and then work to achieve success.

As John points out “Hope is not a strategy”. If you are just hoping that you are successful, chances are you are going to be left disappointed.

“Hope is not a strategy.” – John Maxwell

But how do you become intentional? You have to be intentional about being intentional! The best way to be intentional is to look out for the traps that John points out in his book. Work to avoid these traps so that you can continue to grow.

Successful Construction Careers – Avoid These 8 Growth Gap Traps

There are 8 growth gap traps that John points out in his book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. These 8 growth gap traps impact everyone who is looking to get into any one of the many construction careers available. Being successful requires you to work hard to avoid stepping into these traps! Let’s look at them and see how they affect folks just stepping into home improvement and construction careers.

  1. Assumption Gap – are you tempted to just get a construction job and assume that you should automatically grow just because you show? Wrong! Growth does not just happen. You have to go about your new job purpose.
  2. Knowledge Gap – do you find yourself thinking that you don’t know how to grow? Start right where you are at. Begin by asking your boss how you can best contribute to the team.  And then learn the job that he or she is asking you to do.
  3. Timing gap – are you thinking that now is not a good time to begin learning? The better question that you need to ask is why did you stop learning in the first place? Learning is something that never stops. All construction careers require continuous learning.
  4. Mistake gap – guess what, you are going to make mistakes! There is a saying that goes something like “the only thing in life that is guaranteed is death and taxes”. I would like to offer an amendment to that saying. Let’s add mistakes to the list.  You will make mistakes in your construction careers. So you better get used to it. As I tell my sports teams that I coach “The best way to correct a mistake is to not make it again.”
  5. Perfection gap – Growing up I would tell my parents that if they would buy me a certain tool that I could do better work. I had to be perfect – and they would always tell me to work with what I have at the moment.  If you wait for the moment to be perfect before you start building your construction career you will be covered in dust before you start moving.
  6. Inspiration gap – A lot – and I mean a lot of people get stuck in in their construction careers waiting for someone to tell them what to do. They feel uninspired. They give excuses. I don’t like my employer. I don’t make enough money.  I don’t see any future.  You won’t see a future unless you start to walk towards it!  Things tend to come into focus better as you get closer.
  7. Comparison gap – Others are better than you are at a lot of things.  It should go without saying.  You are not going to be the best at your job. That is because you are new!  Find a way to be around those who know more than you. Pay attention to your boss, your foreman and other mechanics on the job. Be quiet and listen! Soak in their wisdom.
  8. Expectation gap – Almost everyone has seen home improvement shows – HGTV, This Old House.  These folks make the work look. Guess what?  It isn’t.  It is grueling work.  It will be hard. You will have to work to overcome the hurdles in front of you. You would be served well by watching some episodes of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. What you are going to be doing is hard dirty work. At the same time it is very rewarding work.

Do you fall into any of these traps? The answer is yes. We all fall into these traps from time to time.

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Successful Construction Careers: Begin with these Tips

But how do you get yourself out of these traps – here are a few tips for you:

  1. Ask yourself some big questions. Why are you doing this? Where do you want this to lead you? What do you want to accomplish with your life? This is taking dreaming and going one step further. Growth comes from making a choice of where you want to go and then determining the steps of how to get there. Construction careers are numerous. But they all require you to be intentional in order to be successful.
  2. As Nike says – JUST DO IT! You will never get this same moment back again. Waiting for someone to notice you is not a plan. Your boss is busy. They won’t just stop what they are doing to build you. You need to show intentionality. Jump in – show interest. Talk with your boss and let him or her know you really want to learn something.  If they won’t teach you then learn it on your own. And if they won’t recognize your growth, maybe you need to look for a new boss! Choose each day to learn something new. Learn a new skill. Learn how to use a new tool. Learn how to lead someone else.
  3. The third thing is to face your fears and kick it in the tail.  We have all heard Franklin Roosevelt’s quote – “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Why do you think he said this? It is because fear controls. It keeps people from growing. It keeps people from taking risks and from contributing. Fear can be a good thing, don’t get me wrong. Fear keeps us from doing stupid things like walking off a tall building. But fear can also keep us from taking risks that can lead to our success and happiness.  Choose not to be afraid. Ask for opportunities and promotions. And don’t be afraid of feedback. Learn and take the feedback to help you focus on where to grow.
  4. The final tip is to be intentional about being intentional.  Wake up each morning and be intentional. Make sure that you are going to have a positive impact on the job or project you are working on to the best of your ability. It may simply be that you bring a great spirit to the construction crew. It may be that you have a special talent that you can share. Be intentional about growing – be on the lookout for learning at all times.

Be intentional about building yourself. As you grow and build your skills you will notice that others are taking notice to you. As you grow in your skills – whether they are technical skills or leadership skills – others will notice and will look to you to use those skills.

Success finds those who intentionally seek it first.

This podcast and this blog post are based on John Maxwell’s best selling book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. The author and speaker, Christophor Jurin is an independent certified member of the John Maxwell Team.

Maxwell, John C. The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential. New York: Center Street, 2012. Print.

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