A Tale of Two Electricians

A Tale of Two Electricians

After many years I decided to buy a new car, and embracing my southern California lifestyle, I made the choice to buy an electric car. I was feeling really good about that choice as I watched gas prices here soar above $4 a gallon!

Now, I rent my apartment, and I have a small, one-car garage. Before I completed my purchase, I made sure I had electricity in my garage. There was an outlet. I plugged in my hairdryer and it turned on. The outlet was a little loose (or as I like to say, squishy), but I didn’t give it another thought, that is, until my car got offloaded after its journey from Maryland. (I bought my new car from my client/friends/family at Pohanka of Salisbury.)

The first time I went to charge my car, I plugged it in, and a HUGE, red triangle with an exclamation point showed up with the word FAULT! Maybe squishy wasn’t ok. You can imagine the stories that I immediately started to write such as “What if I just bought a fully electric vehicle and I had no way to charge it?” However, I quickly shut down those stories because I was clear they wouldn’t benefit me.

To discern where the issue was, I took the charger into my house and plugged it into another outlet. It worked fine. It was definitely the garage outlet that was the problem.

I asked one of my neighbors for an electrician reference, which he sent over the next day. I sent that electician a text and didn’t hear back right away, so I went on-line and booked an appointment with a service. The electrician from the service was coming the next afternoon. In the meantime, the first guy called me back. He was unable to come sooner than the service, so I told him I’d get back to him if I needed him.

The next afternoon, electrician #1 showed up right about 5 pm. I took him to my garage and explained the situation. Without even looking at the outlet, he told me it must be a breaker, and that I needed a dedicated circuit. He asked me where the panel was, so I took him into my apartment to show him. Well, the panel is a long way from the garage, and after pondering the situation, as well as some work I knew my landlord would never approve (Remember, I’m renting), he informed me it would cost at least $2000 to do what he suggested. So much for the gas savings by going electric. Something didn’t feel right about his proposal, and I would have needed my landlord’s approval anyway, so I sent him on his way telling him I’d be in touch if I wanted to move forward.

So, I called back the other electrician, who was the referral from my neighbor. He called me the next morning saying he could be there around 10 am. True to his word, he arrived. Loved this guy! He’s a local surfer who is also a ski instructor up at Mammoth and supports his habits by being an electrician.

I took him into the garage and explained the situation. He took a tool out and put it into the outlet. He said “Yep! It’s wired backwards and you really need a GFI outlet,” which he had on hand. He installed the new outlet in less than 10 minutes and the charger worked perfectly. His price? $105, which I joyfully paid. My lesson? Stay focused on the outcome.

The first answer is never the only answer. There are many ways to solve problems. If we only accept the first answer, what are we missing and what is it costing us (I’m not really talking about dollars here)?

I’ve shared this story with a few people. Most of those people have gotten angry over the first guy taking advantage of me. I honestly don’t believe that he was. I believe that he believed it was the solution. And, you know, it might be a better solution. However, it wasn’t going to work for me. I don’t have to make him wrong. I just get to see what else is possible.

I challenge you this week to look for multiple solutions to any issues you might have. When you don’t stop at your first idea, you will likely be pleasantly surprised with what else comes up. And even better? Ask others for their perspective because they will see things that you can’t see.

I’m happy to report that my car is fully charged, and so am I with the lessons I continue to learn!


Has the success you’ve achieved in your life not brought you the joy and happiness you thought it would? I know that feeling, and I had some help seeing a different perspective that led me to authentic joy along with the success. I would love to pay it forward to you! Let’s talk. It’s free. Email Barb at barb@high5leadership.com to set up your call!

High5 Choices lead to High5 Moments to create your High5 Life!