Dropped the ball? Pick it up.

A few weekends ago, I stood at the front of a young man’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor (ECOH).

An ECOH is the celebration of a young man’s effort (and his family’s booting him in the keester) and persistence (ditto the boot) in completing the requirements for the Eagle rank in Boy Scouts.

It takes 21 merit badge (9 of those have to be certain ones), a bunch of community service hours, time, and work. Plus a big community service project that the boy must come up with, plan in minute detail, organize, get approved, manage and execute with the help of other Scouts, community members, etc.

In some ways, it is an exercise is “how to deal with adults”, but the goal is a first, substantial taste of leadership and the demonstration thereof.

Quite often, it is also a taste of “Plan B”…


This particular young man had moved to Columbia Falls in as an older junior high school student – a difficult task. My family moved numerous times when I was a kid. I spent time in 3 high schools in 3 states. Not an easy thing. I don’t recommend it to anyone, but it was all for the best in the long term for my parents, plus I think it taught me a lot about human nature and getting out and meeting people.

The young man stumbled here and there during his first few years, and as I spoke at his ECOH, I reminded him of those times. I didn’t speak long, but one of the things I made quite clear to him that those stumbles wouldn’t be his first – and that life doesn’t care so much about how many times you stumble, it cares about how many times you get back up and keep moving.

Years ago, I had a home built in Missouri by a guy who came with amazing references and an outstanding reputation. Our experience with this guy was less than ideal. It seemed like every step of the way was a disaster, but we finally got the place built and it was very nice. I asked him when we were done how he managed to have such an incredible reputation, yet this build was a disaster until the day he was done.

He told me that most of the time, his builds were far better than anyone’s. Less trouble, less of all the things that annoy the owner – much less the builder. BUT, he said, every 10-15-20 homes there is one like this. So bad, so annoying, so much trouble that you just cant imagine how the guy manages to stay in business. He said it happens, he tries to prevent it, but the nature of subs and weather and so on just battle against him. But he gets up and builds another.

We’ve all had situations with a client where we’ve stumbled. Yep, even me. As a matter of fact, I’m in the middle of fixing one right now and I think it’ll turn out fine – but man, sometimes you just can’t imagine how your houses get built based on the one you’re building right now.

What’s important is that you get back up, fix the one you’re building, don’t quit and get the next one done right after that.