The Manuel Builders Blog

Category: Wellness

Think “Lean” to Enhance Your Life

Categories: Wellness | Posted: September 27, 2018

When you hear the word “lean,” most think of slim body shapes, but our team took on another kind of “lean” and went through a process called “Lean Week!”

We were not working out physically in the gym, but we were working hard to change our thinking regarding waste. The lean process trained our team and our trades to see our world with new eyes for waste. Lean is about running the most efficient operation, being good stewards of the time, talent and resources we have been blessed with. During Lean Week, we realized that much of what we think is normal or business as usual or simply unavoidable, are things we can change if we work together with great communication, systems and processes.


We realized, along with our trades, that we can see with different eyes and effect the cost of doing business for all of us, which translates into a better product at the lowest possible price. Together we realize we can make a huge difference that results in a win for all, including our customers!


We worked with True North Development who increased our awareness in so many ways. When we are made aware of something that can be improved, it makes it difficult to return to our old way of doing things. We now see extra phone calls, extra road trips, excess material usage that is unnecessary to accomplish a desired effect, and many other things with new eyes. We are creating a culture of people with an eye for and intolerance for waste of any kind. Inefficient practices are plentiful because of old habits, traditions, processes and how we are raised and trained. We see these things as normal and we have very limited ideas of waste. Our goal was to begin to learn to spot waste and begin to see with Lean eyes!


I wonder what our lives would look like if we applied these same practices to our personal lives. As I contemplate how to apply the lean principles to everyday life, I think I could make some major changes. When I think about how many separate errands I make instead of thinking through how to combine them into a single trip, my head spins. For instance, visiting the grocery store, cleaners, picking up cash at the bank and dropping off alterations all in one trip vs many trips.  My husband is great at this. His travel from A to B is a science based on traffic, quickest route, etc. Not only would I save time, but gasoline, too!


There are so many ways we can use Lean thinking to enhance our lives. For instance, asking for help when someone is going the way of one of your errands, organizing your kitchen for easy flow, decluttering your closet for timely assembly of outfits, and spending a little extra time thinking through tasks for the day can help tremendously. Spend a few minutes going through your refrigerator and pantry, thinking of what you will cook for the week before you head to the store. Just a few Lean principles brought into our lives and work can lead to great payoffs!  Sometimes a simple pause to plan well can translate to tremendous profit in time.


“Awareness is the greatest agent of change.”

– Eckart Tolle

-Written by Co-Owner, Missy Manuel

“Missy holds the official title of Director of Organizational Health & Leadership within our company. Her main goal day in & day out is to nurture the culture and values we hold by instilling this in our employees.”

How to Give a Little Each Day

Categories: Wellness | Posted: August 21, 2018


Service is a big deal to us at Manuel Builders.  One of our core values, a thread that is woven in all we do here is community.  We are committed to the development of our community not only by way of provision of homes and offices that enhance the family and work environment, but we seek to add value through outreach activities and active involvement in community affairs.  Recently we had the chance to do just that at St. Joseph’s Diner, as our team served on different days to over 200 homeless/impoverished people per day.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be

honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some

difference that you have lived and lived well.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

We feel that as a successful business, our responsibility is to do more than make money. We view success as a responsibility to give back, help others and have a real connection with our community.  Working side by side brings us closer together all the while connecting over a common cause. In addition, our team puts a human face on our company. They represent our business’ mission and values and show the community that our company is more than just the product we produce or the services we offer. Manuel Builders is made up of people who care about this community, so we show that to the world!

Giving our people a way to give back is important to us, boosts morale and builds a connected and more inspired team.  We know that in service to others is where we find our significance and we want to offer our team an opportunity to volunteer during work hours which is more fulfilling than just meeting for drinks.

We as humans are social animals, so it is no surprise that we are wired to help one another.  Both the giver and receiver benefit from the relationship. Neuroscience has demonstrated that giving is a powerful pathway for creating more personal joy and improving overall health. Giving back makes us happier and more fulfilled while also making a difference in the lives of others.

Small daily acts like opening a door, helping a stranger change a tire, donating money or time, and giving advice are all wonderful ways to give. Anytime we step outside of ourselves long enough to help someone else, our mood is boosted!

When most people think of giving, they may have too narrowed a focus. All giving works wonders, not just cash given once or twice a year. How can you help others? Is there a cause you support? A friend that needs help? A stranger that needs a random act of kindness? When we set our intention to fill every day with small acts of giving it becomes a habit that is an effective way to bring happiness to ourselves and others. Even just smiling at someone is an act of giving and will brighten both of your days.

So, while service requires a sacrifice of something, time, energy, money, love, effort, or focus; you gain so much more. Giving is Good for the Body and Soul!!

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

– Helen Keller


-Written by Co-Owner, Missy Manuel

“Missy holds the official title of Director of Organizational Health & Leadership within our company. Her main goal day in & day out is to nurture the culture and values we hold by instilling this in our employees.”




Finding Your Purpose, No Matter What Stage of Life You’re In

Categories: Wellness | Posted: July 24, 2018

When asked what they want most out of life, almost everyone will eventually mention that what they really want is to find PURPOSE and meaning. Most want to know that their life matters, and they have contributed to this world with the gifts God put within them.  Purpose is paramount in living a fulfilled life.  Knowing your purpose is something worth spending some time defining.  So, this month we will spend some time talking about the word purpose and explore what it is, how we find it and even provide you with some examples of how our team at MB find ways to walk out our purpose and help others do the same!  One’s purpose is that for which he is created, the reason for which something exists.  Purpose is timeless. It never changes.

Often when individuals are asked if they have a purpose statement they usually stammer and say “hmm, I am a Mom, or I am a builder.” People give you what they do instead of sharing what they were designed and created for in a broad stroke of words.  So how do you even begin to discover your purpose or perhaps even complete a purpose statement?  Knowing our purpose begins with reflection.  Ask yourself questions such as:

What gives you satisfaction? What makes you feel great about yourself?
What are your favorite things to do in the past? What about now?
When you are at your best, ask yourself, what am I doing? Who am I doing with? Where am I or what setting am I in? What does it feel like? Take time to pause to and really think on this.
What are you naturally good at? (skills, abilities, gifts, etc.)
What do people typically ask you to help them with?
If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
If you had unlimited time, resources, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do?
These are just some of the questions to ask yourself when seeking to define a purpose statement.

At MB, we know our purpose is to make a difference by building. Not just building homes but generally creating and growing homes, people and businesses we work with.  We do that through many avenues such as building quality homes for people to do life and make memories. We strive to raise the standard as a business in the way we do things, grow leaders and change lives.  We also fulfill our purpose through outreach activities, mission trips, etc.  One purpose but different ways we fulfill that purpose.  And personally, my purpose statement is, “through my love of people, growth, and passion to see others thrive, I will inspire, empower, equip, and train youth, adults, and organizations in order that they may live a fulfilled life and walk in their potential, to be all they were created to be.”
Through the years, I have done different things staying true to my purpose and I continue to be fulfilled.  I worked as a counselor, consultant, coach/trainer, all the while continuing to walk out my purpose.  Purpose never changes but the avenue in which we walk it out does.  Same goes for our company. We have many things that we do, all while continuing to be true to our purpose!

This month we highlight one-way MB walked out our purpose and helped an employee to walk out his more fully.  MB sponsored a local 5K run for a non-profit, called Camp Refuge.  However, this was not just any non-profit, it was a non-profit that our lead architect, Kevin Stewart recently initiated as he felt called to start a family retreat center in Acadiana.
Kevin for years has had a dream of building a retreat center and last year decided it was time to step into walking out his purpose in another way by launching Camp Refuge.  We have made provision for him to stay on and work part time with a flexible schedule to pursue his passion and purpose.  Kevin thrived for years as a leader at MB, growing and nurturing his team.  He led well, and many were grown and changed because of him.  Now he will step into another role and that is of nurturing and growing others, helping them along with their families and marriages in a retreat setting.  Rebekah Lyons says that, “Your purpose and calling is where your burdens and your dreams collide.”  That is so true! Kevin is a great example that purpose is key to fulfillment and jobs are just some of the ways that we fulfill that purpose, but not just one thing can be fulfilling.  Many jobs could be satisfying and rewarding as they all help us walk out our purpose.  Jobs will come and go.  Your purpose will not.  Whether it is mothering, mentoring, teaching, nursing, building, pastoring, counseling, it is not what you do but that you do what you were made for vocationally or recreationally.  You are not too old to figure out your calling, and you’re not too young to have already had multiple expressions of it.  Jobs change but purpose stays the same.  One purpose can be expressed in lots of ways.  Explore them.  Work on your own puzzle of purpose.  At times we work in a profession that is only a piece of the bigger picture.

If our job does not look like we thought it would look, we can still bloom there, learn all we can and begin to pursue what we really feel called to do.  Many say they are too old to go back to school, etc.  But guess what, the years will pass regardless! Wouldn’t you rather have them pass and end up with a degree or extra training, experience, etc.?

If you are not sure of your purpose, sit some people down and ask for help, to tell you what your strong points are.

Purpose is a winner all around!  Take the time this month to REALLY find your purpose. You won’t regret it!




-Written by Co-Owner, Missy Manuel

“Missy holds the official title of Director of Organizational Health & Leadership within our company. Her main goal day in & day out is to nurture the culture and values we hold by instilling this in our employees.”







Take Moments to Pause

Categories: Wellness | Posted: June 13, 2018

Summer is here and so is the Louisiana heat! As the season arrives, our homes generally get busier with kids coming and going more throughout the day. While this time tends to remind us to take vacations and schedule outings, we also need to keep a rhythm of “pause” in our lives.

Life in general, especially these days, is so busy. Cell phones buzz and ring, emails come in at a dizzying pace, and activities abound keeping us running. We can be reached anytime, anywhere. This leads to being overstimulated, unfocused and disconnected.

We know it is important to be intentional about consciously stepping back to pause both periodically throughout the day and for longer times to really refresh us personally and as families. Some of the things the Manuel Builders team does to practice pausing is taking breaks for five-minute walks together, weekly meditation times to slow down and clear our minds, downtime as a team outside of the office and fun games planned for the entire staff. Vacationing with family and friends periodically throughout the year is also recognized as being important.

Research confirms how invigorating and refreshing rest and recreation time is for our brains and our bodies. It is proven that this down-time makes us mentally sharper and more creative. Rest increases our performance and increases our sense of fulfillment at work and in life.

We would ask that this summer you intentionally take time out to pause from all the busyness and practice some self-care. Take time with family and friends to slow down and focus on one another.

What do you do to intentionally slow the pace of your life down? What are some ways you reset and do a reboot that refreshes? Pausing does not have to be complicated. It can be getting in nature together, having personal discussions at the family dinner table, couch time as a couple, hands-on activities, cooking or boat riding. The ideas are endless. These are such great ways to refresh, build connections and slow down to experience some fun.

Try this simple exercise at the dinner table to focus and connect device-free. Instead of the usual “How was your day?”, a question that mostly results with “good” and just a little more, try one of these open-ended sentences to spice up the conversation. It is a fresh way to slow down, connect, and share thoughts, experiences and feelings. It also can provide great insight on what is actually meaningful to the ones closest to us.


1. Start with: “How would you finish this sentence?”

2. Then, listen. This is a great way to help every family member feel valued and heard, if everyone gets their turn to speak and listen.

3. Choose one sentence for your turn or create your own.

  • Today was a good day because…
  • I am excited that this summer I…
  • I am proud of what I did about…
  • Something I really like about myself is…
  • Something I’ve done for my family that I am proud of is…
  • Something I’ve done for someone else that I am proud of is…
  • My favorite ever family vacation or activity was….
  • Keep the excitement & freedom of summer alive and fast-paced but remember to take time to pause, slow down together, connect and make great memories!!

These are some local activities that may help in planning some fun this summer. Enjoy!!

Lafayette Moms Blog – The Ultimate Guide to Summer Camp

Louisiana Travel – Fifty Ideas for Summer Fun



-Written by Co-Owner, Missy Manuel

“Missy holds the official title of Director of Organizational Health & Leadership within our company. Her main goal day in & day out is to nurture the culture and values we hold by instilling this in our employees.”