A Firm Foundation

Think of the last time you drove by a new construction development.  Whether it was a neighborhood of new homes or a high rise near downtown, each project began in the same way – from the ground up.

Prior to beginning a building process, land surveyors and contractors will test the land on which the property will be built.  Surveying the land is arguably one of the most important processes of a construction project.


Because it’s the land that will help support the foundation of the building.  It’s the foundation that will give rise to something great.  The different properties of the soil will determine the feasibility of constructing a two story home or a twenty story office building.  Without a doubt, the developers do not want to begin a project on an unstable surface.

It’s a firm foundation that will allow a structure to remain grounded, to stand tall, and to withstand the exposure to the elements.  And, if all of the research is done properly, and the architects, engineers, and contractors are doing their job, and barring any natural disaster, the structure will remain standing for years to come.

In many ways, this analogy is a direct representation of the life we live.  To grow, we must be rooted in something strong – something that allows us to grow and develop from the ground up.  Our life must be grounded in something more than values – something permanent that doesn’t go away.

Just as the foundation of a structure allows the structure to remain grounded, so does the foundation of our life allows us to remain humble.  A home or a building will stand tall when built on the proper foundation; our lives, too, provided they are built on solid ground, will stand in confidence knowing we serve a purpose.  Lastly, having the right foundation helps a building to withstand exposure to the environment – just as the correct foundation helps us to overcome the obstacles, challenges, and frustrations that we experience.

But, what happens when the surveyors and developers don’t perform their jobs?  How can things turn out when the foundation can’t support the structure?  I think it’s safe to say, we all know what the outcome could be.

The Types of Foundations

tommyefirmfoundationsIt’s possible that different structures will require different types of foundations – different soils to be built on.  What’s important to remember, though, is that the foundations might be different.  What is important to remember is that the foundation needs to be specific to the structure being built.

Our lives?  What kind of foundation should we build them on?  Again, it’s going to be different for each person given our personal strengths and characteristics, but it must be firm and it must allow us to grow from the ground up.

It’s possible that some of us have lived a life that was built on a poor foundation.  For whatever reasons – family hardship, missing values, poor decisions – these all contribute to an unsteady surface.  This doesn’t mean that our entire lives have been on unstable ground, but it’s possible our lives were unstable for a  certain period of our life.

The Sandy Foundation – It allows us to appear rooted, grounded, and even firm at times.  It’s able to withstand the environment to a certain extent, until something happens that is just a little more than it can withstand.  Then, it falls as though we expected it while we slowly watched it deteriorate as it was challenged by life.  Think about a sand castle on a beach.  The way the solid beach provides a foundation for the tightly packed sand to remain together to create a ‘castle’.  Then, as the day progresses, the tide moves in, and with each ebb and flow of the water, the foundation slowly begins to erode.  Eventually, the time will come, and each granule of sand will break away, returning to its original state.  Has this ever happened in your life – felt as though everything was great, and then it was wiped out from under your feet?  Something was slowly eating you away, until one day it just became too much?

The Rocky Foundation – This foundation type has us appearing as though we are always on the edge.  It’s always at the will of the environment and its surroundings because at any moment rocky foundation could give way, causing a drastic shift.  Living on a rocky foundation is one in which your movements must always be subtle because the wrong movement will cause a chain reaction from which it is difficult to turn back.  Often times, there isn’t enough time to think until it’s too late.  Beneath and between the crevices of the rocks, there isn’t any additional support to help keep you stable.  Does this sound like your life – always living in a state of nervousness?  Unsure what the result will be of your next step?  Missing a supporting cast beneath your feet to help keep you grounded?

The Firm Foundation – This foundation type keeps us rooted.  It is the one that can endure the exposure to the environment.  It is the mechanism that prevents us from wavering, faltering, and stumbling.  Oh yes, and collapsing.  When standing on this foundation, it helps us to see hardship as opportunity.  Each step made is a step of progress.  Every passing day is a chance to root ourselves deeper into the foundation – firming our stance so that we can stare the world in the face and say, “You can come at me as hard as you want, but damnit you’re not going to knock me down because I’m rooted in something strong and surrounded by people to help keep me standing.”  Have you ever been standing on this type of ground?  How did it feel to know that you were somewhat ‘unstoppable’?  What was it like to know that nothing was going to conquer you, but rather you were going to conquer it?

Sandy, rocky, and firm.  Sounds a little elementary, but that’s because it is.  It wouldn’t surprise me of the responses you might get if you asked a group of second or third graders where the best place would be to build a house – a beach, the cliffs, or flat ground.

How Do You Get to a Firm Foundation?

There’s a good chance that for certain people, our lives are not yet on a firm foundation from which to build – and others have found this place.  So, how do you get there?

You start today.  You start today by taking a deep look at yourself and evaluating the surface where you stand today.  Is it constantly shifting, not providing you with the stability you want?  Do you feel as though you are walking on egg shells – all the time?  Or, do you feel confident with where you stand?

The next step is to decide where you want to be tomorrow.  Next week.  Next year.  In five years.  Once you determine this, then work towards the foundation that will help you get there.  Honestly, it may require a stumble, a little erosion, or a sharp edge on a rocky surface; but when you finally arrive at the firm foundation, I’m confident that you will stand tall, full of self-assurance.

Within the past couple of weeks I heard someone say, “We tried something, and it worked okay for a little while, but then we realized it wasn’t what we wanted long-term.  And with that we made a change as we are constantly evolving, changing, and growing.”

My point is this:  If you have constantly tried living dependent on your current foundation and it hasn’t helped you get to where you want, then it’s time to make a change.  Change something, do something different.  Whatever it is, don’t do the same thing you’ve always been doing and getting the same results – that’s called insanity.

Take a step onto solid ground and begin the journey of growth into the person you desire to be.

3 Comments on “On Which Foundation Have You Built Your Life?

  1. Pingback: Embracing Adversity, Part One: Vision – Embracing Adversity

  2. Pingback: Humble Beginnings – Embracing Adversity

  3. Pingback: What’s Your Life Manifesto? – Embracing Adversity

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