The Shocking Truth About Getting Shit Done

by Amy on March 5, 2013

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(a house down to the studs)

I remodeled a house once. Yep me, the “general contractor.” I got the hair-brained idea to buy the rickety bungalow next door, take it down to the studs (I didn’t know what that meant either) and start fresh.

I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

I had to find a team of contractors which meant interviewing at least three service providers per category–3 architects, 3 structural engineers, 3 plumbers, 3 electricians, 3 framers, 3 HVAC mechanics, 3 insulation installers, 3 hard wood floor’ers, 3 dry waller’ers, on and on and on…

This brought up a series of other problems– what’s a fair bid? What’s the additional cost for supplies? How long does each thing take?

As I had never remodeled a house before, (I had a doll house as a kid, does that count? Probably not, my sister and my mom put it together… I just decorated.) I had no idea who needed to start when. I knew things needed to be demoed… but did the plumber go before the electrician? When did the HVAC guy need to come? Did the framer need to be done first or could they all work at the same time?

Then there were all the choices… I picked toilets, tile, insulation, light fixtures, paint color, brick, everything…down to the last knob and pull.

It was a massive project.

And I did it.

And it was glorious. It sold for above the asking price (a bidding war even!). The buyer worked at an international design firm. She wanted to know if I was a designer…

Nope. Just a naive person who had a hair-brained idea.

The moral of the story?

In the end, I learned I would not be quitting my day job. General contracting was not for me.

But I proved to myself I could rise to the challenge.

And you can too.

Here’s the shocking truth about getting things– epic, brazen, and/or just plain hair-brained shit — done:

You don’t need to have a clue what the hell you’re doing. Each step forward in the dark will reveal the next step.

You don’t need to have a clue what the hell you’re doing. Each step forward in the dark will reveal the next step.

One of the most insidious excuses I have ever heard (and I’ve heard a lot) is “I need to know how.”

You don’t.

Just begin.

No, my friend, I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t guarantee you success.

But if your heart says yes, get moving on that project, hair-brained or not.

I leave you with a quote from my dear friend Sarah Seidelmann’s latest book, Born To Freak: A Salty Primer for Irrepressible Humans:

“Experts say the statistical chance of being born into a human body is about as slim as stepping in rocking horse feces. If that’s true, then this your moment! You’re here. Do something!”

So….what hair-brained project is your heart telling you to begin? Please leave a comment below. Because I LOVE that!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Adriane March 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Amy, I heart you. Thanks for being so clear. I often think home construction is a great metaphor for how stuff gets done/how life works. I mean, no matter how adorable you make it, there is always something to do, a little update, a broken this or that. Might a well accept and enjoy that.

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Sally March 9, 2013 at 5:07 am

Hi Amy, I love reading your stuff; and you send a very powerful message regarding one’s ‘ tribe’ . This has helped me enormously in the past months since I first read your stuff.
A lot of people don’t ‘get me’, I use the f word when I’m annoyed, I am emotional, impulsive and feel very strongly about certain issues; all types of abuse in particular. I have learnt to treasure those who appreciate me, and i ignore/spend less time with those who don’t. I am not going to waste time trying to ‘explain’ or justify myself, seek their approval whatever. I don’t have to !!!! Very liberating!!!!

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Amy March 18, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Oh I just love this. Yes it is true… You must treasure those who appreciate you for all that you are. And leave the rest to their own devices. Thank you Sally for the reminder.

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