“An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees just the red stoplight… The truly wise individual is color- blind.” Albert Schweitzer
I learned a really difficult life lesson this month. I, the eternal optimist and consummate positive thinker were blinded by my medicine. It’s a powerful personal story and yes it dawned on me in the middle of recounting it to my entrepreneur group the reason is lesson is amazingly applicable to business.
Here goes. My husband and I just built a home. At the final accounting ending up in our builder, it stumbled on the light we were a significant amount over budget. More than is commonly expected. While I won’t enter into detail about how we stumbled on learn this so late in the game (that is a separate issue that people also was required to cope with) imagine the impact this costly news had for us. After our initial panicked reaction, and process with our builder, something suddenly became specific in my experience. The house cost us what exactly a property on this size and specification should cost. How could this have happened I wondered?
When I originally got estimates from local builders, they told us just what the house we planned to build would cost. The number was greater than we wanted to pay. Then, along came our builder who in his exuberance about our project and want to meet our budget optimistically told us he could build our home within the range that worked for individuals. Of course, we were delighted and made plans to break ground.
This is when the problem began. His unrealistic optimism meeting my unrealistic (and) optimism took over as perfect recipe for broken expectations, and ultimately a bigger than an anticipated mortgage.