A Season of Growth (and a Father’s Day Tribute)

Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.
— Abraham Maslow

Ogonek Custom Hardwoods is in a season of growth. It started years ago and continues today as we work to grow from a custom lumber supplier into a timber frame construction company.

Growth is hard. Not like the apparent ease with which our son shoots ever upward in height (My mother to Danny: “You’ve grown an inch in the past week!”). Or the seeming simplicity of growing a summer vegetable garden (before you actually try to do it … tomatoes can get too much sun?!!!). Or the illusory reliability of equipment that starts up each morning with the turn of a key (except when you discover that someone has stolen the sawmill battery during the night).

Growth is uncomfortable. We ask ourselves to do new things we’ve never done before, or to do old things a bit differently, and we ask those around us to accommodate that newness and difference. We challenge our employees to think of themselves as responsible for the company’s success, not just their own. We challenge our customers to appreciate the process of care and detail that makes artisan-level work possible. We challenge ourselves to keep going in spite of setbacks, and to unflaggingly believe in our vision when others seem not to share it.

Growth can be slow. Danny was awarded a “Courage” badge at his preschool karate class this week. The Sensei had noticed over the course of several months his transformation from a boy reluctant to join in the class to a boy willing to overcome his fear and shyness to participate with joy and gusto.

No one hands Dan a “Courage” badge, but I would if I could. I see him every morning, lacing up his muddy boots, adjusting his signature outback hat, kissing us good-bye, and willingly shouldering all of the hard, all of the uncomfortable, all of the slow. I see him every evening, often quite late in the evening, returning to unlace the boots, hang up the hat, kiss us hello, and sit down at his computer to continue the shouldering deep into the night. There is no one and nothing between he and the outcome, to dissipate the risks, to soften the blows. But his courage to continue on the path of growth never fails … has never failed for the 20 years he’s been doing this work.

And so, a tribute to Dan on Father’s Day, for his courage, his commitment to the hard, uncomfortable, slow work of growth, and his example of these to others, especially our son.