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Week 8: Trusting my Gut

I'm sure you've all heard about instinct and gut feeling? Well, this week's act of self-care is for those of you who are skeptical of, or don’t take the time to listen to your inner self.

In May, Matt and I decided it was time to consider a renovation on the house. The main reason for the renovation would be to give the two older boys their own bedrooms since they've been sleeping in bunk beds in a shared room since Daniel was born. Secondary reasons for the renovation are to expand and update the kitchen, as well as open up the house for improved ergonomic flow. After interviewing several candidates, we settled on an architect and started working on getting our ideas onto paper. A few months later, we were ready for contractors to bid on the project. Everything about the process seemed wrong; it was slow and I always felt slightly out of the loop. Finally in early fall, the proposals started to come in and we were ready to make a decision on who was going to build out the plans. By October, the list was down to two contractors and we were feeling pressured to proceed because originally we wanted the project to begin before the holiday season. We settled on a contractor, but for some reason, in my gut, I wasn't totally confident with the decision.

From that point on, small hiccups in the process kept happening, making me pause in the moment and question my decision, but I was just so busy with work and family that I didn’t take the time to really listen to my sense of uneasinesss; we just kept ploughing forward. For example, I'd hear something through the grapevine regarding our contractor, such as, "oh I heard he was known in town as a low quality builder," or the fact he appeared to be taking an inordinate amount of time to submit the building permits; what was going on? Fortunately, I had not yet put pen to paper on the building contract; probably because subconsciously I was concerned that everything seemed to be moving at a snails pace, as well as my general sense of disquiet with the whole thing.

Jumping ahead to a couple of weeks ago, I was having dinner with my girlfriends, one of which was showing me building plans for their home and talking about her contractor. There was something about the quality of her plans, as well as how happy she was with her whole experience, that encouraged me to pick up the phone and call her contractor. At that point, I wasn't sure what I was looking to achieve, but made plans to meet with him the following Monday. From that point on, I knew I'd done the right thing because through our conversations, I started to expose more and more holes in my contractor's bid and the contract I'd almost signed.

The whole thing came to a head this week when I found myself turning into Town Hall and walking in to the Building Department; I'd not planned this visit, it was totally impromptu. I started asking questions about the permit process in general and then specific questions regarding my person application. Low and behold, my application had never even been filed! Here I was thinking it was "processing," but all this time there had been ongoing “issues” between my contractor and the town that were preventing him from submitting the application. I proceeded to explain that I was looking to change contractor and without really saying as much, the town rep I'd been talking with affirmed everything my inner-self had been warning me of this entire time.

I walked to the car and quickly ran a google search (shame on me for not doing that sooner) and there was swarths of negative press casting a shadow over the original contractor, such as lawsuits and even delinquent bills! My decision had been solidified and boy was I relieved that I'd never signed that contract!

The moral of the story is that it's not just at work we need to be diligent and trust our gut. There are so many people out there who will say anything and do anything to get our attention and business. With the internet, access to information, and all these do-it-yourself applications, just about anyone can throw together a website and eye-catching marketing strategies, so make sure you do your homework and if your "Spidey-sense" starts tingling, be sure to stop what you're doing, listen to it, and take action.

For the first time in a long time I'm actually comfortable about our home renovation; it's going to cost a little more, but at least I'm now confident we've made the right decision and we're working with the right team.

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