Work on our much awaited extension began a few weeks ago. Very exciting times. Anybody who has undertaken any kind of building project will know that it is a steep learning curve.

And it sure is.

I now know more than I ever wanted to know about the required size of soakaways, planning department requirements for raising a kerb (I know, everybody else wants to drop them but we need to raise one) and the pros and cons of concrete infills in retaining walls.

We seem to have lucked out and found ourselves an incredible team of builders. Perhaps we are still in the honeymoon period and things will change but so far so good.

What has surprised me though is that in addition to acquiring random construction facts there are a few lessons on how to lead a good life well lived being thrown in as well.

Here is what I have learned:

Life Lesson 1 – You Need To Have a Vision

This is something that I talk about a lot. If you want to have a good life well lived you need to know what you want that good life to look like.

Sounds simple but there are SO many people who struggle to identify what they want to get out of life.

When my builders arrived they already knew what they were here to do. The architect had drawn up a set of plans and it’s their job to construct the building that has been designed.

This made life incredibly easy for them. They could get to work straight away and take action to make that vision a reality.

If you don’t know what YOU want out of life then you won’t be able to take action to get it.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • What accomplishments am I most proud of?
  • If I already had all the money in the world that I needed how would I spend my time?
  • Who do I most admire in the world?
  • Who do I least admire and would not like to be like?

And if you are still struggling to come up with your Good Life Well Lived Vision then it’s worth taking a look at this advice from Oprah.


Life Lesson 2 – You Need To Have A Plan

It’s one thing to have a grand vision of what you want your life to be like but you are not going to get there overnight. In which case you need to have a plan that breaks down all of the steps to get you there.

Our builders know the overall objective is to build the extension that the architect has designed but they have had to break the project down into various stages.  Then then need to work out exactly what they need to do at each stage.

A degree of flexibility is required (snow in the middle of March, who would have thought?) and they may need to flex the order in which they do the work but they know the steps they need to take to get to the final destination.

The same goes for creating a plan for your good life well lived.

Perhaps you want to make a career change or move geographical location. Realistically such a big change is not going to happen overnight. But you can make a plan of how to get there. And you can take steps each and every day to get you there.

Remember they don’t need to be big steps.  Tiny actions all add up.

Ask Yourself

  • What do I need to do to make my vision a reality?
  • Do I need to complete these steps in a particular order?
  • What is going to be my first step?
  • What am I going to do TODAY to take me closer to my vision?

Once you start to take action and see that it is possible to make progress this will help to motivate you to keep taking action, every single day.


Life Lesson 3 – No Man or Woman Is An Island

As the saying goes ‘No Man Is An Island’.  Time and time again human connection has been proven to be one of the key components of happiness for human beings.

I have been struck by just how much fun the building team are having. Despite a very early start, they make the effort to have breakfast together at the start of the day.

There is a genuine sense of camaraderie and mutual respect. They know what they are here to do, they work hard to get it done and they have fun along the way.

Our lives are now so busy it is easy to slip into the ‘I’m too busy for small talk’ mindset. But sometimes taking a few minutes to interact with another human being is exactly what you need. And you never know the difference you might make to somebody else’s day by taking the time for a chat.

Ask Yourself:

  • Am I spending time with the people that matter to me? If not, what can I do to change the situation?
  • How can I fit in a few more minutes of human connection into my day?
  • Who do I know that might benefit from a couple of minutes of my time today?

For those of you that run your own business, I’ve also started to scribble down some business lessons from living on a building site but that is a post for another day!