One Million Dollars, No Strings Attached

#Erased: My Review on the documentary Erasing Family

Image Credits: Akshay Nanavati on Unsplash.

Just about a year ago, I realised I was approaching a plateau at work. I had been working in retail for 4 years at the time. Each year I was promoted and if I continued to work hard, I could easily run my own store in 3 – 4 years. 

I would make well over 100 grand a year before bonuses and could even get my foot in the corporate world if I dared to. 

Several of my colleagues were on this path and I knew I could achieve the same results. The career ladder was secure, a tried and proven way to make a comfortable living. The only requirement from me was time and labor. The rest of the journey was already planned out. 

One Million Dollars, No Strings Attached

I think back to an interview I once bombed in 2016 where my interviewer Zak Slayback asked me, 

“If you had one million dollars, with no strings attached, what would you do with it?

I had no idea.

Desperately wanting to say something, my mind defaulted to looking for a pleasing model answer. Mustering whatever courage I had left for this interview I said,

“I want to start a business.”

And calmly he replies, “Ok… business in what?”

I had no answer and I knew I blew my chance. At the time I had no idea what I liked or disliked, let alone wanted for myself.  I just wanted a quick solution. I wanted someone to tell me this is the ladder to success, go climb it. And it was painfully obvious to him that I was blathering my way through this interview. 

Don’t get me wrong, it is a difficult question to answer. It took me 4 years to come up with something tangible of my own. Some people go through their entire lives without ever finding their own answer. 

Life is What Happens After You Make Plans

From 2019, to the time of writing this post, every dollar I saved went to my copy writing business. Whenever I was not at work, I was studying at home, learning the craft and inching my way towards my goal. 

In that time, I have burned out several times at work, got myself dangerously close to being fired, and sacrificed a great deal of time out with friends. I set goals that were met with ease and many others that were met with repeated failures. 

I planned to start full time copy writing in March of 2020. 

And then COVID-19 came around. 

Toto, I’ve Got A Feeling We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

Admittedly, I didn’t know how I was going to be able to navigate through the pandemic as a freelancer. I waited, read articles from those who were more experienced and ended up focusing my attention namely to my current job in retail. 

After all, it is easier to walk a path that is planned out for you. 

I realise now, I let my own fears kick in and spent two additional months working in a job I had outgrown. All for whatever security I could cling to. And while I could make a strong case for myself – I have bills, a mortgage to pay, and plans to see family across the world.

What good does it do me to continue to fear making that transition anyway? If I am not responsible for my own success, who will be?

But Andrew, if you make one too many mistakes, you won’t be able to pay your bills. You would fall apart. Your credit will tank. You could lose everything you earned! 

Well friends… beyond the yellow brick road is a man pretending to be a wizard. 

The true magic lies within ourselves. 

And it is worth more than a million dollars.

Andrew Folkler