Patio Pondering (or, The Value of Your Network)

Sometimes I get inspiration and ideas from the strangest of places…

I’ve been spending a couple hours a day for the past week and a half building a patio in my backyard.

It’s something my wife and I have talked about doing for quite some time…our backyard has ZERO shade in the afternoon, so when our kids want to go out and play it is absolutely miserable for Lacie and I!

So I’ve been digging up sod, clearing out extra dirt, filling it in with sand for the foundation and today or tomorrow I’ll start laying down patio tiles.

Here’s evidence of my love for my wife (and the soon-to-be patio):

I’d be lying if I said it was fun…but I did have a realization about developing your network the other day while I was working on the patio!

So I wanted to share it with you.

It took about 3 cubic yards of sand for the foundation (18’x10’x4″ — if you’re interested).

At first I figured I’d just go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and buy a few dozen bags of sand…until I saw the price.  $500+!!

That was the point that I decided to see if I could find a friend that had some sand that I could come take (I live in a farming community and much of the farmland is VERY sandy…).

So I called several friends.  Finally I found a friend that not only said I could come take all the sand I wanted…he ALSO had a tractor I could use to load the sand (yaaaay!!! No shoveling to load the trailer!).

It was as I was driving home that I had the realization of how much value you and I get from our networks without even realizing it!!

I had just saved over $500 and a ton of manual labor because of a relationship I had developed over the past several years!

As I started thinking about it, there was other monetary value I’d received in this patio project (it also led to the cool “value ticker” you saw at the top of this page…).

Here’s just a quick snapshot of some of things:

  • Sand (value $500) – FREE
  • Trailer (borrowed; $200 to rent for 10 days) – FREE
  • Plate compactor (to compact sand; $150 to rent for 3 days) – FREE
  • Various tools ($100 to purchase) – FREE

All in all in the past 10 days my network had saved me almost $1,000!!!

Think about that the next time you think you don’t have time to grow or maintain your relationships… would you pass 10 crisp $100 bills if you saw them on the sidewalk??  I doubt it! 🙂

Action Item:Spend some time this week thinking of the value you receive from your network…I’ll bet it’s more than you realize!!

Patio Update —

I DID finish the patio a few weeks after I wrote this post.

Here’s what it looks like finished (I forgot to take a picture of it…but you can see it behind my daughter playing soccer!):


….and I’m still very grateful for the money I was able to save by utilizing the relationships I had built!

Try it! I promise you your network is worth MUCH more than you realize!