“How hard could it be to install a new light switch?”

That is what I asked myself this weekend as I was going over my “Honey Do” list for the day. Lucky for me I finished all my other “chores” before I took on the daunting, but seemingly simple task of installing  new “3-way” light switches.

Here are the “IBB 3 Rules of Life” for changing a light switch…

  1. “The Beginning is the End” – I made the rookie mistake of taking off all of the light switches without marking where each wire was connected to the light switch. I then searched YouTube on how to install them. The first thing the guy says, “Always connect the SAME wire to the SAME spot on the old and new light switch.” I completely doomed myself!! DO NOT DO WHAT I DID!!!! This was the beginning of the end for IBB Handy Man, Inc.
  2. “Light Switch = Rubik’s Cube” – let’s say you find yourself in my situation. I was determined to make this work. I’m sure you will be too. However, I spent the next 4 hours changing every wire for every possible combination to only have HALF of the light switches work. I went back and forth to the basement to turn off the power, changed a wire, turned the power on and still nothing was working. The frustration was building!!! Apparently there are quite a few variations of how these light switches can work and in my case, not work
  3. “Unless it’s a hobby, hire someone with skills” – this is the MOST important lesson I have to share. Unless installing light switches, electrical outlets, etc. is something you WANT to be good at, hire someone. The 4 hours I spent could have been so much more productive on something I’m skilled at. I am not saying to give up when you get frustrated; however, let the specialists do what they are trained to do.

My fellow leaders please do not do as I did. Keep this in mind as you tackle other challenges and objectives throughout your life and career. Some things are not worth the frustration. Admit you need help and excel in areas of life and work that you actually enjoy doing.

Hope you had a “light bulb” moment like I did.

Enjoy the day!

— James Schleicher