For What It’s Worth

Three and one-half months ago, my wife Debbie and I moved into our newly-built home, a perfect combination for a “country boy” and a “city girl.” We say “we built it” because we initiated the process and were involved in so many aspects of building our home “from soup to nuts.” If you’ve ever been in that position, you can identify with all the little decisions that have to be made that finally come together to create an intricate masterpiece. And by the way, while the whole process is exciting, it is also stressful. I didn’t know there were so many colors of “tan,” “taupe,” or whatever, and I surely didn’t realize that “white” siding isn’t the same as “white” garage doors. Jeez. It’s enough to make you crazy. Fortunately, we had a superior builder and they walked us through the process one day and one step at a time. So while we proclaim that “we” built our house, in reality we owe our thanks to the skilled workmen and women who put the hard work in day after day to meet and even exceed our expectations.

Without the expert coaching from the builder and his hand-picked vendors along the way, we’d still be looking at a hole in the ground wondering what to do next. Instead, we had the wonderful experience of celebrating a successful end to the project with some of those who made it all possible. On the day of closing and taking possession of the keys, the builder and support staff all joined with us in their conference room to toast the transition from our being vagabonds to new home owners. Later, we invited the whole staff over for a gourmet blackened Alaskan salmon lunch that Debbie and I prepared, during which I was surprised – and saddened – to hear that many other clients have promised such a thing after building with them, but that only one other client before us actually did so. I was touched by their genuine thankfulness for being remembered, and it got me to thinking about how we often forget that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, forgetting that if it were not for their commitment, dedication, hard work and perseverance, we would not be where we are today.

The truth is, I don’t think about those people often enough myself and I realize I have come to take them for granted. Like many others, I sometimes fall into the trap of believing that I am where I am because of my own hard work and effort. Sure, unless I put in the time, effort and hard work, and unless I am willing to step out and take a risk, nothing is likely to happen – at least nothing I would hope for. But the greater reality is that I can do nothing on my own. By the grace of God alone am I even able to take a single breath, so I am persuaded to look around myself and consider all that I can yet do by working closely with the giants who have plowed new ground before me. And who knows? Maybe in doing so, I will get to join with them to create something new and exciting in the future.

So the word for today is: relationships. Everything we are or ever hope to be is wrapped up in this idea of relationships. It is at the very center of the Universe itself. Everything and everyone exists in relationship to something or someone else. When we attend to our relationships, when we honor and nurture those relationships, we become greater than ourselves, stronger than ourselves, and more enduring than ourselves alone. And one day, others will stand on our shoulders as they strive to achieve greater things than we and just maybe they will remember us in the process. But whether they do or do not does neither enhance nor diminish the value of the lessons we’ve learned and the people we have become in the process. Relationships: they’re worth fighting for.

About the blogger:

About the blogger:
John E. Trombley, organization development consultant and training with The Village Business Institute has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and a Master of Management degree from the University of Mary, Fargo. Prior to founding his own organization development company, John served as a Command Pilot, Squadron Commander, and senior staff officer in the USAF and Air National Guard—he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with over 6,200 flying hours.

With over 16 years of experience in providing consulting services and training programs, Trombley has a passion for group process facilitation and corporate training in areas including leadership development, change management, leadership transition processes, managerial coaching, and personality assessment workshops. He is registered with the Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota as a Qualified Neutral mediator, is trained in Critical Incident Stress Management Group Crisis Intervention, and is certified in Internal Investigations by the Council on Education in Management.

For more information, contact The Village Business Institute at 1-800-627-8220 or

2 Responses

  1. Carol

    About the blogger, I think the University of Mary is in Bismarck? Enjoyed the article. Relationship, what God created us for. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. Dan Anderson

    People who have a contractor or developer build a house for them, Really draw the ire and disgust of those people such as my wife and I and a whole bunch of others who have actually built a house. DO NOT EVER say you are building, or have built your house unless you have personally done the majority of the work on it. It really ticks us off, as well as make you look stupid for claiming credit for something you did not do.
    There! I got that off my chest, but it still doesn’t feel any better. LOL

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