The Perfect House No One Built

It’s guest post Monday! Today’s post is written by Ellory Wells. Ellory blog about leadership and personal development on his blog, Empowering the 80 Percent. He also coaches people on how to achieve their goals in life, and is passionate about helping others succeed.Ellory loves video games, playing golf, and spending time with his wife. You can connect with him on  Twitter. If you would like to feature a guest post on my site click here.

There once an architect named Sam and he had designed the perfect house. All the rooms were in the perfect place and of the perfect size. No detail was overlooked and the house was just right. The house was ready to be brought into existence! But Sam’s perfect house was never built. This is his story.

Perfect House Never Built

Note: This is a work of fiction. Names and situations either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Sam woke up with the sun shining through his window. The temperature outside was cool, and he could hear birds chirping in the trees. Today was the day that he put the finishing touches on the designs for the perfect home. Today was the day that he was done.

The project had taken him well over a year. He had gotten up early and stayed up late. Sam researched for hours, spending whole days at the library learning about all of the latest styles and techniques.

He toured homes too. Sam would go to open houses and real estate events all down the coast just to see how real people were reacting to each aspect of every home. Sam loved what he did. He was passionate about designing homes. This time, after putting his dream down on paper, he knew he’d nailed it. Sam had designed the perfect house.

And the house was perfect.

The kitchen was designed for a true chef, and the living space was laid out to be both cozy and spacious. Even the back porch was designed as an outdoor paradise! With its fireplace and shade elements, you could easily envision spending hours out there on the weekends with a glass of wine and your friends and family.

Sam really had designed the perfect house.

However, Sam had a problem. Sam had a fear.

Sam had a brilliant mind for architecture and design. He had the willingness to do all of the research and get all of the feedback necessary to create the perfect blueprint for the perfect house. But, Sam was afraid to tell anyone about it.

Sam was afraid that no one, besides him, would think that his design was perfect. Sam feared rejection, a rejection that might not even come.

Sam was also leery of promoting, advertising or marketing his perfect house. He had never thought of himself as a salesman. In fact, he did not like sales people. He thought they were always too pushy and manipulative.

But Sam knew, he just knew, that someone would come and ask him about his design. They would see his other work and just ask about his perfect house. It was an easy move from designing condos to designing houses; other people would see that too and ask him, “What else have you been up to Sam?” And Sam would respond, “I’ve designed the perfect house! You should see my blueprint!”

Yet, none of those things happened.

No one ever asked Sam about his perfect house.

No one even knew he’d designed it.

You see, Sam could have built and tried to sell this house for a dollar and no one would have bought it because they didn’t even know it was there. You can be the best at what you do, but if no one knows you’re there, you’ll never become all that you could be.

At least in the beginning, if you don’t market yourself and sell your personal brand, no one else will. Then, as a result, no one can buy it or invest in you and what you’re doing.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a salesperson, you are one. Every time you try to convince your kids to do something, you are selling them an idea. Each time you go into a job interview, you are selling a company on your skills and abilities, hoping they will buy your time.

The world needs what you have. We need your skills, your talents, your unique take one how to do things. But we can’t know about if you won’t tell us!

In the end, Sam finally sought out the help of another architect who helped him and coached him. Together they successfully marketed both Sam and his design of the perfect house.

Questions: What are you working on that you’re not sharing with us? How can I help you launch that idea/product/method and make it a reality?


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I love the way you use this story to lead to the point, Ellory. Although I do market and promote my books, I’m a little like Sam in that I don’t like to get overbearing with the marketing. But I’m doing it a little at a time.

    • Thanks Dan. I thought the story would be a different way to share, and a departure from what I normally do. I think a big challenge is finding the balance between enough marketing and too much marketing. However, I’ve come to realize that if I can’t or won’t promote myself, I’m not allowed to be be upset when others can’t or won’t either.

  • Hi Ellory
    I love the way you used the story to tell your point. It is so true for many people. I have always found it easier to market other people than myself and I have long history of doing that.

    As you said though “if you don’t market yourself no one else will”.
    An important message thanks.


    • Sue, I think that a lot of people feel the same way, that it’s easier to market other people (or things) instead of our self (or our own products for that matter). Why do you think that is?

      I’m really glad you enjoyed Sam’s story. I thought it’d be a fun way to share with you and the rest of Dan’s audience. Thank you for commenting!

  • This is a great illustration, Ellory. I used to be a lot like Sam, but writing a blog and assisting my wife with selling her cookbook have taught me that the fear lessens and confidence grows the more and more you put yourself out there.

    • Chris, thank you for sharing that about working with your wife. As others have said, it’s easier to promote someone else than it is to promote ourselves. If we can have a spouse and a partner all in one, we’re going to be that much better off!

      Comments like yours, Sue’s and Dan’s have inspired me to write a new piece on believing in ourselves. We’re not meant to live with a spirit of timidity. I’m glad the confidence of you and your wife is growing!

      Thank you for your comment Chris!

  • Great story, Ellory! I’m guilty of drawing up the perfect plans and then filing them neatly away in a notebook, afraid someone will tear them down or pick me apart.

    Personally, I’ve thought for years about starting several initiatives to serve young people and develop young leaders. Soon I’ll be shifting gears professionally and beginning to build the foundation for what I believe to be my life’s work.

    • Justin, I’ve found that in order to lead other people, I don’t have to be at the end of my journey – I only need to be a few steps ahead. The funny thing is, people will be more likely to connect with and follow you if they see you stumbling along the way.

      Good luck with your initiatives! Dust off those notebooks and get to work! Thank you for sharing and adding your comment.

      • Thanks for the encouragement, Ellory! You’re absolutely right about where we need to be to lead. If we ever reach the end of the journey…well, I hope the funeral is nice. :-p.

  • I’m quite familiar with that world, the other world of getting a book to market is another story, but I’m learning. I like your straight forward approach, Elroy. If we don’t sell it no one else will.

    • Floyd, have you thought about self-publishing, or posting your chapters as blog posts? Thank you for your comments!

      • I have thought of self publishing. If it comes to that I will, I just want to exhaust all avenues otherwise and I have thought of doing some excerpts when it gets closer to a publish date one way or another I will. Thanks for the thoughts, Ellroy.

        • Your doing one thing right about building your blog/platform. That’s huge when it comes to getting a book deal(So I’ve heard from all the pro’s:)

          • Thanks, Dan. And thanks for helping an old dog learn new tricks!

            • My pleasure. Thank you for helping a young dog learn new tricks:)

  • Good story about getting the word out and marketing your brand Ellory.

    I have a small ebook written and need to get it out into the world. I’ve had it sitting for more than a year. For me, it’s not so much that I don’t want people to know about the book as much as it’s a book about a very personal part of my life. It required me to access a place of great vulnerability so I’m a little afraid of putting it out. And of course, once I get it out there, marketing it is part of the strategy:)

    Thanks for reminding us that the world needs to know about us, our story and our products.

    • You’re very welcome Vishnu. Writing is a very personal activity. Whenever fear comes up, as yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

      Thank you for commenting!

  • Great story…struck a cord with me. I want to be have my novel published but I hate marketing. While I’m a bit braver than Sam, I still need to DO more to let the literary world (agents and publishers) know that my story is worth investing in.

    • Thank you TCAvey! Some of the most talented people I’ve met are not interested in self-promotion whatsoever. My suggestion is to start small and build over time. While I’m no expert, nor a publisher, I have seen the benefits of building slowly and getting my legs under me. If you’re not already keeping up with Jeff Goins, he’d be a great person to read in regards to self-pub’ing vs traditional.

      • Slow and steady…
        Thanks for the tips!

  • Loved the story. I am a lot like Sam in so many ways. I fought against myself for awhile before I launched my blog website last year and ebook this year. Getting over the fear of rejection and not good enough is a constant struggle. I have ebook project that I am working on now and I am fighting through the fear and fatigue to get it done. Most of the messages I have posted as blogs and received good comments.

    • Bernard, it’s interesting to me how many of us can relate to Sam. I think too often we are our own first obstacle. I’m glad you launched your blog, published your ebook and faced your fears. I love hearing success stories!

  • Hi Ellory,

    This was a wonderful post, indeed and Dan, thanks for connecting us with Ellory.

    Ellory, I could relate to Sam and his fear about selling. I used be the same when I first set up my coaching practice. I always liked helping people. However, when the thought of charging people came into my mind, I would feel guilty. My business mentor soon set me straight. He told me that I needed to learn how to sell, and get over this mentality that I shouldn’t charge. And when I did this, I began to make sales.

    Thank you.

    • You’re welcome! I’m glad to have had the opportunity to share Sam’s story with you and Dan’s other readers. You know, charging for our time is something a lot of us aren’t used to. However, if we can make money doing what we love, and help people in the process, we can spend even more time doing it. It is encouraging to hear that you’re working as a coach and have become comfortable talking about the value you bring to the table.

      It looks like you’re a fan of the word “empower” too! Thanks for sharing Hiten.

  • Powerful reminder about our need to put ourselves out there and move past the fear of rejection!

    • Jason, you’re right. I have to remind myself all the time to get my posts out there. Thank you for your comment!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for stopping by Jason.

  • Beautiful story Ellory. I love the analogy of the blueprint.

    I think planning is a legitimate form of procrastination. I’m all for making sure you have your ducks in a row before taking a big leap, but too much planning is clearly just avoidance.

    Taking the next step on anything is terrifying. It’s get real, fast. Going from blueprint to full-fledged home requires a lot of steps. There will tough times and plenty of stress. But it can be done.

    That’s how it goes with art. You have to create it and put it out in the world. Other people will decide what they think. As long as you give it to the world, that’s all that matters.

    • Thank you Kevin! I’m happy that so many people are relating to Sam’s situation. You’re definitely right, planning is often used as a form of procrastination. Instead of going forward with what we have, we trick ourselves into thinking that a little more planning will make us more successful.

      I appreciate your comments!

  • Great story, I think that a lot of people, especially those in the more creative fields are just not used to promoting their work. I think a lot of it stems from not want to brag and then also from the stories of countless people who were just found out by sheer luck.

    It took me a long time to get used to sharing my accomplishments, not to brag, but to let others know who might be interested. For all Sam knows, someone might be miserable at home wishing they could have his dream home and unfortunately they’ll never know about it.

    • Ryan, such a great comment! You’re absolutely right about someone searching for Sam’s blueprint. We just have to apply that same belief to our own work- that someone out there could benefit from what we have to offer.

  • I like you how ended with Sam seeking counsel from a coach…something near and dear to my heart for sure! This is a great, and memorable, reminder of what happens when we keep our gift to ourselves. No one is going to come asking!

    • You’re right Tom. Just as we’re instructed to let our “light” shine, we need to let our gifts be known. Thank you for commenting!

  • Hey everyone, I wouldn’t promote a new post on a guest post like this, but after reading so many of your comments, I wanted to offer some additional encouragement.

    Tomorrow, August 7th, this link will be live on my site: For my What If Wednesday series, I hope you’ll join me in asking, “What if you believed in yourself as much as we believe in you?”

    Thank you again Dan for this fantastic experience!