A couple of weeks ago my wife, Nina, and I were visiting her brother, Paul, and his wife, Sharon, on San Juan Island in Puget Sound north of Seattle. The weather was wonderful. Among other things, we saw some orcas (killer whales) off the west side of the island, which is where Paul and Sharon live.  

While we were there I walked from Friday Harbor (the “major” town), on the east side of island, to Paul and Sharon’s house, on the opposite side of the island. The distance is about 11 miles. The walk was mostly on 2 lane roads, without much auto traffic. As you get closer to the west side there is a mountain, Mt. Dallas, to climb. It is just over 1000’, not too high. However, the roads end coming from the east.

There is a patch where you need to bushwhack your way, while not attracting attention from the people who live in the few houses there are up there. I knew there was a road near the top of Mt. Dallas on its west slope so I worked my way over to that.

From there it was an easy walk down the private road on the west side and then across the road to Paul and Sharon’s house.


When running a remodeling business, oftentimes there is no road, no established route from where you are to where you want to go. Getting there involves taking advantage of what shortcuts there are such as talking with someone who has the experience you don’t have, taking a class, or reading a book. By gathering as much knowledge about what you don’t know you significantly reduce your risk.

However, what it all comes down to is charting your own course and having the courage to take the steps into the unknown which you hope will get you to where you want to be. The only way to find out is to take those first steps and to keep on going, adjusting your course as circumstances and knowledge gained suggest you should.

The result? You are more experienced and capable because you decided to go where you haven’t before. Keep looking for those opportunities, because as you accumulate those experiences you become a better and better remodeler. Plus, it is sometimes just fun to take a new path, even if it doesn’t exist! —Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, now  works as a facilitator forRemodelers Advantage, and as a consultant to remodeling business owners. Contact him atpaul@remodelersadvantage.com.