Days after the wedding, Tommy appeared at my front door, bucket and brush in hand. “Wash your windows?” Tommy asked. “I just started my own business. Forty bucks.”
I said yes. My panes undoubtedly needed a scrub. But my real motivation was helping him out.
A week later I was having lunch with an older businessman who also knew Tommy. “So, did Tommy come by your house?” he asked.
“Yeah. I hired him.”
“He came by my house, too,” the businessman said. “But I told him no.”
I asked why. The businessman was known for his big-heartedness.
“Because Tommy doesn’t know beans about running his own business,” the businessman said, “and now isn’t the right time for him to learn. What Tommy needs right now is to buckle down and get a full time job.”
This man ran one of the largest building supply depots in the county. In those days, jobs could be had fairly easily at the supply yard, if only Tommy asked.
It took me awhile before I fully grasped this businessman’s strange strategy for ultimately helping Tommy succeed. Starting a business isn’t easy. You’ve got to master the disciplines of working for yourself, including building a clientele list, marketing to keep enough projects coming in, retaining a customer base, and much more.
Both the businessman and I wanted the best for Tommy, and we admired Tommy’s gumption. But the businessman was right. Perhaps if Tommy had started his cleaning business on the side and built it up, things would be different. But if Tommy’s only income came from a brand new window washing business, then there was no way he was going to be able to support his family.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar season?
You have good intentions in going one direction, but what you really need to do is go a different direction, a slightly more responsible direction, if you’re going to truly succeed.
My wife and I recently experienced a season like that. In the course of four months, we were swarmed with a barrage of unforeseen bills. Big bills. Crazy bills. Bills that bled through the mail. Lumped together, these bills equaled almost three months’ salary.
We tightened our belts, and cut out doodads. But enough was enough. I needed to do what I needed to do.
I cut loose my Kawasaki.
I should mention I loved this motorbike. I had dreamed about owning it for years before I finally did. My dear wife and I had agreed that having a hobby would be good for me, and I had owned the bike for only a year.
But at the end of the day, it just wasn’t the right season of life for me to have a hobby that took that amount of money out of the family budget. I posted my motorbike on Craigslist, and it sold within two days.
The decision came fairly easy after I realized sometimes a leader needs to take one for the team.
He voluntarily inconveniences himself for the sake of the greater good.
He buckles down and gets a full time job, even though he wants the freedom of working for himself.
He sells his motorbike, though he longs for the open trail.
Question: In what ways have you ever needed to buckle down, and how did it ultimately benefit you in the end?