By Mark Andrew Beach
The assignment I took on was the completion of a home improvement project – installing a pull-down attic door. I am not a handy man with carpentry and mechanics. I had started this project in November 2010 with high hopes of just following the written directions and thus successfully installing this door. Unfortunately, I quickly got in over my head and realized I could not finish the installation by myself in spite of my ability to follow the instructions. I needed help from someone who knew more about the subject than I did. Hence, the mid-term assignment I gave myself was to attract someone who would help me finish installing this door, or better yet, do it for me.
I made this the focus of my effort for several days and when no one appeared, I returned my focus on making a living and that meant making money. I considered thinking of a different, perhaps less “difficult” assignment, but I felt like that might be cheating, or least “selling myself short”. So I refused to lower the bar. Even so, I stopped thinking about the unfinished attic door project and I began to feel guilty that perhaps I was not doing the lesson right. I refused to move forward in the course because I needed to successfully complete the mid-term assignment and not just blow past it. But if I could not attract the person to help me finish the door project, no, finish the door for me, then how could I finish the course?
Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, and there I sat, with a conundrum turned into an impasse. My guilt and self-anger began to mount, but just a little. I decided I would “wait this out” and continue to focus on improving my financial life. As the assignment required, I stopped focusing on the problem and focused on something else instead.
Then it happened. About the first of March, my continued efforts to land a consulting job for a certain project paid off and I began working full-time and with a small but adequate salary – Can we say a “paper bag with a sandwich in it sufficient to give me the energy to carry on”? With my first paycheck, I called a general contractor neighbor of mine and said, “I don’t care how much it costs, but please come finish installing my attic door!” He came over that same morning and had it installed beautifully in a couple of hours. I very gratefully and happily paid him $100 dollars for his time and the assignment was over. Or was it?
During the (over 10) months I was trying to land this consulting “job”, I was really struggling financially. I had lost my cell phone due to no money to pay the bill. We had miraculously been able to buy a used truck for transportation, but it was all we had. The same week I landed this job and completed my mid-term assignment, the company I was working for provided me with an Android phone, new laptop computer and another modest used car (much more economical on the gas) all for free! And as if that was not enough, I received my first tax refund in over 20 years amounting to several thousand dollars!
As of this date, I am still working on this consulting job and anticipating another modest raise. The road has not been easy, but I have learned so much about myself along the way. I am investing a portion of this money to re-invest into another home-based business. Both my consulting job and this home-based business are “jack rabbits” that I can attract and which will allow me to put all of these principles to the test in my life.
These lessons ARE affecting my life according to plan.