My wife and I have an issue outside of our house. Our mailbox keeps getting taken out by errant drivers who can't figure out how to negotiate this turn on our street when the roads are wet or a little icy. They end up going to fast, missing the turn, and ending up in our yard. Sometimes they take out our mailbox, as the image below shows.


My wife's idea was to buy a new type of mailbox, plastic, and have it cemented into the ground. Initially it seemed like a good idea until the guy who put it in for us said that the cement was still underground, so that wouldn't be enough to stop anyone from hitting the new mailbox, let alone stop them from breaking it. He came up with an interesting suggestion; buy a boulder & put it in front of the mailbox and let people hit that instead.

It sounded like a brilliant idea to me, and my wife agreed. So I've set out on a quest to buy a boulder, and I'm finding that it's harder than I thought. The thing is that it has to be two things. One, it has to be heavy; two, it has to be high enough to completely stop cars.

I think I've found a place where I can buy a boulder and was telling my wife about it. She then looked at me and said "don't even think about putting it into the car and bringing it home yourself." That threw me because it's exactly what I was thinking about doing. I asked her why and she said "do you really think you'll be able to just lift a boulder and set it down where you want it to go?"

Actually, yes I did think that, but that was without much foresight. I'm not a weak guy, but I's getting older every day. Things that used to be easy aren't feeling as easy these days. I used to lift weights in my 20's and 30's, but I was never a power lifter.

Many of us are stronger than we look but after a certain age, we start exhibiting physical issues that we're just not going to overcome. The last time I did something like this was at the gym I'm a member of. I was able to lift the weight and didn't think anything about it. Two days later I couldn't move, pain everywhere but especially in my shoulders and back, and my wife had one of those "you knew better than that" looks on her face as she massaged my shoulders and back trying to help me remove the pain.

You'd think it would be a lesson I'd have remembered but it wasn't; at least until my wife mentioned it. It put me in a slightly mental quandary and yet reminded me of some of those principles of leadership and teamwork that I remember often when applied to business, but maybe not so often when I need to apply it to my personal life.

Lesson number one, you don't always have to do everything yourself. My vision of one day not having anything outside and the next having this big boulder sitting there seemed cool in my mind, but the realization is that I now know I can't do it by myself. As a matter of fact, the company I believe I can buy this boulder from has moving costs built into the price; I'd ignored that little fact.

Lesson number two, team thinking really can help to make better decisions. Initially I wasn't even going to mention the boulder thing to my wife, but "track record" told me that I probably should. I'm now glad I did; can you imagine my trying to tell her later what I might have done to myself?

Lesson number three, always get and listen to the perspective of those who have more experience at something that you do. Leaders don't know it all and can't do it all, but sometimes they think they can. That's why we not only have employees but we sometimes hire consultants or other experts to do things we should know we can't do. I can see myself now telling these people I hope to buy the boulder from that I could handle it myself, and their thinking "moron" as I left with a boulder in my trunk.

I wonder how low the back of my car would drag with a 300 pound boulder back there?

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