Perspective: Foundations – part 2 of 4 (Strength to Build On)

Posted: January 2, 2016 in Perspective
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Foundation - StrengthIn Foundations – part 1, we discussed the importance of building good foundations, not only in the construction world, but also in our own lives.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, discovered as a young man venturing out of his Harvard dorm room into the rough country of Silicon Valley in 2005, that he faced intense public scrutiny. Not only was he viewed as someone who lacked business intelligence, but many saw him a socially awkward nerd who was not to be trusted with your personal data (or your friend’s). Others saw him as an eccentric genius; a boy CEO not capable of running a real company, even on Silicon Valley’s relaxed standards. To his credit, Zuckerberg recognized that although his vision for ‘Facebook’ was technically sound and he believed he was creating something that would change the way people used the internet, he also realized that he needed to work on himself. He knew that as the ‘face’ of Facebook and the leader of his company, he needed to build solid ‘foundations’ within himself in order to increase the likelihood of Facebook’s long-term success. In response, he hired an executive coach and systematically studied the leaders he admired. In 2009, he wore a tie everyday for a year to signal his seriousness about the company (and to shed some of his ‘hoodie’ image). He began holding ‘all hands meetings’ in order to rally his growing troops. He focused on recruiting the brightest talent and created a unique enabling culture, which carries on today; as he continues to bring on new talent of people who share his vision for Facebook and bring skills that compliment his own. (Rookie Smarts, pg. 134, Liz Wiseman)

Mark Zuckerberg, early on in the development of his career, grasped the importance of the ‘foundation’ phase being probably the most significant ‘phase’ of his growth, both personally and as the head of Facebook. He understood  what we all need too – that creating healthy ‘foundations’ in our lives is vital to the strength, vitality and longevity of living purposefully and successfully. In light of the storms that he faced personally and the ever increasing demands of a start-up company, I’m sure that he and Facebook would surely not be where they are today (if even made it at all), if he had not laid these foundations early on.

Building strong foundations in our life is certainly not a new concept. In a time, pre-dating Facebook by about 2000 years, Jesus tells a contrasting story in Matthew 7 about the importance of building on a solid foundation.

These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

“But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” – Matthew 24-27 (MSG)

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