Building a Barn with unwarranted optimism

As most of my clients know, we have been helping our friend build a barn. I have limited (pronounced “zero”) experience with building a structure from the ground up, but I’m still a welcome team member (right, guys??).  I arrive at the job site with what we are calling unwarranted optimism, but few technical construction skills.

First a definition of unwarranted optimism: optimism that is larger than reality could support.  As in, “Wow, I think we can crank out this whole floor this weekend!” … and in reality it has taken the better part of January. I suppose I could have said some pretty negative things (This is taking forever!  Why is it so cold?) but with the unwarranted optimism option, I said things like, “This looks amazing!  You are really going to love this space.”

To successfully pull off unwarranted optimism, you will also need a dose of self-advocacy and carefully worded realism.  For example, I regularly announce, “I need a snack” and wander off. I don’t ask permission, I just take care of myself.  (And sometimes I hear, “Where is Rachel??” – but sometimes I’m too far away from the barn to hear that!!) I also suggest that we ALL break for lunch.

The realism comes with the understanding that whatever I thought was going to happen will happen, but on a revised timeline.  Maybe flexibility is what I’m thinking here. The floor will be completed, but not in a weekend.  And honestly, not even in January, because it is cold out there!

Ultimately, I will be taking these skills (optimism, realism, flexibility) to other projects in life.  I’ve already done a few of things that were beyond my perceived skill set (3 books, a driveway, a pandemic puppy). Given that, I think I can use my unwarranted optimism to get at some other life goals, and so can you????

Share this...