“Nothing good has ever come from having a plan B. Nothing important or life changing, anyway. Plan B is dangerous to every big dream. It is a plan for failure. If plan A is the road less travelled, if it’s carving your own path toward the vision you’ve created for your life, then plan B is the path of least resistance. And once you know that path is there, once you’ve accepted that it’s an option, it becomes so, so easy to take it whenever things get difficult. Fuck plan B!”

I read this quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s book Be Useful, Seven Tools for Life this week and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I never thought I’d be as receptive to Arnie’s philosophies as I have been but it turns out that becoming Mr Olympia, the Terminator and Governor of California has some similarity to starting a prefab building business.

Regardless of what you think about Arnie, his story is pretty impressive. He has accomplished some of the most extraordinary things a human can do, and he didn’t stop once he ‘made it’. After becoming a world champion bodybuilder and helping to popularise the sport he set his sights on Hollywood. He didn’t just want to be in movies, he wanted to be the lead man. Once he mastered action movies, he hit comedies with Twins being one of the highest grossing comedies of all time. When he wanted to help the people, he became Governor of California. 

None of these achievements came easily. None of the big, important life changing achievements do so I was super interested in learning about how Arnie does it. Luckily, he has kindly reduced it down to seven useful tools as the book title would suggest. I am only half way through the book but the first half included chapters like, Have a Clear Vision, Never Think Small, Work your Ass off and Sell, Sell, Sell.

Having a clear vision about what we’re trying to achieve is something that Matt and I have taken a while to align on. You see, I’ve always been the worry-er so instead of seeing the vision of success, I get bogged down in all the possible things that could go wrong on the way there. This has limited my expectations and belief in what we’re truly capable of. It has honestly taken me about 5 years to clearly see what Matt can see. It was actually pretty scary at first - seeing the success that Matt can see for HUCX. 

Matt can very clearly see 1000 HUCX homes being made per year. 1000. Not 10, which is a reasonable amount. Not 100, which is an unimaginable number to me, but 1000. 1000 families per year would move into a beautiful, energy efficient home that has been produced as sustainably as possible. 1000 families.

Being responsible for that level of success is scary. Especially when it feels like we’re so far away from that today. According to Arnie though, we’re on the right track. You’ve got to think big. 1000 homes per year is massive, probably not by Arnie’s standards but it’s almost irrelevant what the big goal and vision is. You just need to be able to see it. You need to be able to imagine it in all its glory. Where are you? What are you doing? What does this success look like?

I see Matt and myself running multiple HUCX manufacturing plants across Australia and New Zealand. I see social housing going from being at the bottom of the rung to the top of desirable housing. I see clever and thoughtful design being accessible to average families like ours who are buying their first home. I see $0 power bills because homes are so well insulated that minimum heating and cooling is required. I see families like ours growing and thriving in homes that we helped to make. 

The clarity of the vision is so important to its success because if you can’t see it clearly, it’s easy to get distracted. It’s easy to think that we could do Tiny Homes for a while… Anything that pulls you away from the vision is dangerous, especially when it's shiny and new. The clarity of your vision is what will keep you on track. Keep you focused.  

Remaining locked in on your vision will also encourage you to keep working your ass off because that is what you’re going to need to do. When you think we’ve done enough, you’ll have to do more. This is what separates the people who get things done and the people who don’t. All great things require hard work. All of them. You’re going to have to work so hard that people think you're bonkers. 

At first they’ll think you’re crazy because people can’t see what you can see. It's your vision after all so it's easy for naysayers to pop up. You must ignore the naysayers. However if your vision is as big as ours then it's our responsibility to help others see it. Huge success is not a solo effort. It takes communities of people to bring huge ideas to life and it all starts with shared clarity of the vision. If we believe we can build 1000 HUCX homes per year then others will believe it too. And if they don’t, it just becomes an even better success story, without naysayers the dream isn’t big enough.

Our Plan A is to build 1000 homes per year and in order to do that we need a bigger factory. If you’ve been following along with our journey at all you’ll know our factory was sold last year and while I had avoided the inevitable ‘move’, we found a great factory at the end of last year that would be perfect for our next chapter. We sent in our application and hadn’t heard anything. Given the time of year this wasn’t surprising but I was starting to worry…

What if we don’t get it? What if we lose all this time waiting to hear back when we could have been looking for another factory? Matt and I had many discussions about it over the Christmas break. Matt would listen to my concerns (as they were his as well) but the conversation always ended with us imagining what it would be like when we moved in. Where the machines would go and how we’ll set up the new office. I even drove past it a few times imagining the best way to get there after dropping the kids at school. 

With less than 4 weeks before we have to move we just don’t have a plan B. We keep defaulting back to how great it will be when we're there… Finally this week we heard back from the real estate agent. He said that the factory was going to be leased to another business that was in a neighbouring factory. Matt asked the agent if he could reach out to the landlord directly because this factory is so important to us. 

After a quick facebook stalk he found contact details and rang the owner. After explaining who we are and how their factory was part of our plan she said they’d get back to us. It still wasn’t a No. Everytime the phone rang this week I looked to Matt to see if it was the landlord or not. It wasn’t until wednesday this week when I was driving to pick up the kids from a visit to Grandma’s that Matt called and said he’d just spoken to the landlord.

WHAT HAPPENED?!? I screamed down the phone. The landlord said they would consider us moving in, they just needed to finalise some other plans (turns out the landlord was the other business wanting to store stuff in the factory). We had a maybe! Not a yes, but further away from a No than before.

All I could do was scream down the phone ‘Fuck Plan B babe!’.

Video of the week
Matty Matheson and Ebon Moss-Bachrach share a kiss at the Emmys
Podcast of the week
Smartless: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Font of the week
Stifly: Font of the week by Namara Creative Studio

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