Knowing you’re not the only builder going through challenges is a big help.
See the changes Duayne made to his personal life and business to turn things around.
Watch the video now, or read the transcript below.
It was realising that, “Hang on, I’m not the only one. I’m not the only builder, most builders are going through what I’m going through.”
Duayne, I know that for lots of our builder members, this whole idea of actually making that decision to get started, to improve yourself. You’re really busy, you’re pulled in a million different directions being a business owner, you can feel like there’s no ability for you to actually make the choice to start improving yourself. What made you actually turn around and decide, because I know it took a while.
What actually finally was the kicker for you, that made you decide you wanted to start changing things for yourself professionally and personally?
It was just getting to a point where everything that I had dreamt about getting into business for was all falling apart. So getting quality time with family, getting to have a good time away and not getting interrupted by work. And I guess, having a team that would help me, allow me to be able to do that, and it just got to a point where it was all too much. And it was “What the hell do I even have a team for? I’m doing everything myself, what’s going on? This is just crazy”.
Then you start to question yourself, “Should I not be doing this? Am I not good enough to be a builder?” There’s just so much that starts playing on your mind. Probably the number one thing is family. The one thing that most people will work hard for and get into business for, starts to fall apart.
It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? You see so many builders get into the business of owning a building business, because they feel it’s going to give them more autonomy, more flexibility, and be able to fund the lifestyle that they want to lead with their family. They end up instead getting trapped in this business that doesn’t work for them. Realising that they’re out of their depth, because they don’t know what they need to know to be able to run that business successfully. They’re then in a stressful relationship with their partner. It feels like there’s a lot on the line.
The builders we work with they’re mostly family run businesses. They’ve got their own finances inside the business. That becomes really challenging and also, if they’re working incredibly long days, they’re not getting to see their kids. It all just snowballs, doesn’t it? So I can imagine that was a really big turning point for you.
It is. And you get to a point where, and again, it’s just one of those things and I think it’s really important – don’t feel ashamed that you’re in this position. Because you do, you get into a position where you’re working incredibly long hours.
My kids were only very young when we had our hardest years. My oldest daughter, from when she was born through until about three or four years old, we really struggled. My second daughter is only two years behind her. So the first couple of years of her life, or the first couple of years of both their lives, I hardly saw them. I’d go to work in the dark. I’d work all day.
Occasionally I might get a chance to call in at home and quickly see them during the day, and they’d been napping or something. And then by the time I got home, my wife’s stressing out. She’s trying to do all the chores, feed, bath and all those types of things and nine chances out of ten by the time I was in a position to come home and see them, they’re in bed again.
Then you’re working six, sometimes seven days a week, and you’re not even making ends meet. You’re actually doing incredible hours, you’re under extreme pressure. There’s very little money in the bank. Cash flow is terrible. You’re picking and choosing what bills you can pay, because you don’t have enough to keep everyone happy.
You’re under more pressure because you’re having to make excuses to people on the phone and it just keeps growing and growing. You feel like you’re just drowning, like you don’t know how to get out of it.
That’s the point that we see a lot of builders go, okay building is clearly not for me. I need to step out. I can’t do this. I can’t keep doing this to my family. I can’t keep not making this work. What for you was instead “no, I’m actually going to double down, I’m going to make this work, I’m going to get this building business working”?
Again, it was family. I always wanted to have a business, but the main reason was so that I could have the life that I wanted to have. I could support my family. And I was failing at that. So for me it just got to a point where I just had to step up. I had to take responsibility, I had to own things.
It’s funny, there’s all these sayings out there, anyone that keeps doing the same thing and doesn’t get a different result, you know all of them. But that’s all I was doing. I was just on this hamster wheel of have the high, have the low, have the high, have the low. But I was doing nothing about changing that or making it any better. And my mental health really suffered.
It eventually got to a point where I would basically – I still managed to grow a big team and on the outside I was getting rewarded. People thought I was killing it. I had a big business, I had lots of staff, but I was drowning, I wasn’t seeing my family, I didn’t even get to see my kids grow up for the first couple of years.
It got to a point where I would literally just get in my truck, drive around, and I would end up hours and hours and hours away, out in the bush. No one knew where I was. But I still had service so people could still ring me. I could still make phone calls, and no one knew what was going on. It was horrible.
What did you do, because we see lots of builders get into that situation where their mental health is really hurting, and they don’t reach out. One of the amazing things that I love about our membership group is how much they support each other with those mental health challenges. And sometimes you do need external support as well.
You need to go and speak to somebody. Get some better tools, and access better information in order to support your own well being.
How have you found that and seen that with other builders in particular?
I think everybody, all blokes, need to talk, but builders need to talk. And I know, from the first couple of seminars we did, for me I got into a place where I thought I was, it was only me. I’m the person. I didn’t finish school. I don’t have a good enough education. I can’t run a business. I’m failing. I can’t put my hand up. These guys are going look at me and think, what the hell’s going on, you’re stupid or something.
I think getting to a point where obviously I realised that I had to do something otherwise I wasn’t just going to lose my business, I was going to lose my family and possibly even worse. So, it was realising that “Hang on, I’m not the only one”. I’m not the only builder. Most builders are going through what I’m going through. So having the courage to put your hand up and talk, and again I think that’s something we’re both very proud of with Live Life Build. We’ve created a community where people feel comfortable to actually have these conversations and put their hand up and ask for help and other members in the group get involved and help each other out.
It’s awesome, isn’t it?