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Hank is a singular individual who has a wealth of practical skills and is great at problem-solving. He now lives in ‘off grid’ on a small piece of land in Tennessee, tucked away out of sight. Hank earns a small income doing DIY and building work for people he likes, who are happy to put up with his idiosyncratic ways in order to get quality workmanship. This case study illustrates how he turned his wishes and dreams for an alternative life into reality.

Smoking vintage worker man with long gra
Read Hank's Story Below

Hank's starting point 

After a life changing event, Hank decided that he wanted a very different life moving forward.  He wanted to work less, live his life in his own way, and rely less on others. 


Hanks firm and unshakeable intention was to be as self-sufficient as possible. Unlike Natasha, Hank was in the lucky position of having both a deep sincere desire AND a strong belief it is possible.  This magic combination manifests your intention rapidly.

step 1: Initiate intention


Hank took out a pen and paper.  He listed all the things he wanted in his life moving forward.  The list included:

  • Being as self-sufficient as possible.

  • Space for workshops

  • Spending as little money as possible

  • Using recycled materials whenever possible

  • Doing paid work only for people he likes, and only when he needed money

  • Building his own home using recycled materials

  • Collecting rainwater and generating electricity


He then made a list of things he did not want, which included:

  • Not having to rely on others

  • Not living too close to other people

  • Having to work for other people more than two days a week to finance his lifestyle


He made a list of things he needed, which included:

  • A minimum of 5 acres of land

  • Road access to land

  • A van that was easy to fix yourself with cheap spares

  • Tools and equipment

step 2: Distil, test and refine


Hank looked at his list and identified his core intention as ‘being as self-sufficient as possible, living on my own land’.  Hank always trusted his gut instinct - and this really felt right for him.


With his core intention identified, he looked at his list again and distilled it to four nested intentions that felt ‘right and solid’ to him.

His nested intentions were:


  • Spending as little money as possible

  • Using recycled materials whenever possible

  • Doing paid work only for people he likes, and only when he needed money:

  • Not having to rely on others

Step 3: Embody and embed


In preparation, he started to amass building materials being thrown away.  He collected used doors, windows, roofing, wooden timbers, and anything that might just be helpful in the future.  Piles of materials accumulated around his converted van – much to the dismay of his friend whose land he was living on.  His friend's patience started to wear thin.

step 4: Take Action and grab opportunities


One day Hank met up with a friend, Jon, whom he had not seen for some time.  He told him about his plans moving forward, and his hunt for land. Jon introduced Hank to his father in law Grant, owned a small farmstead around nine miles away. After a lengthy negotiation, involving lots of beers and discussions which allowed Grant and Hank to get the measure of one another, a deal was struck. 


Hank moved onto his eight-acre plot.  He now had land, but less than $40 in the bank. He had no option but to continue living in the back of the converted van.  He towed it onto his land, locating it in the quietest area, some way away from the road access.  


He moved his accumulated building materials (which his friend called junk) onto his land and stacked them neatly into an area of the field he called ‘stores’. He used a battery bank to power the few electrical essentials he needed.  He recharged the batteries by running his generator.


His grumpy exterior and dislike of small talk made it difficult to pick up work.  After living on beans and toast for some weeks, with his last few dollars of fuel in his car, he was offered some work on a neighbouring farm building a chicken shed.  Clearing away at the end of the job he saw a pile of wood on top of an old rusty wind generator.  The farm owner said it was broken, but he could have it for free if he took away the wood and some other junk too.  He mended and cleaned up the wind generator which he used to top up his batteries on windy days, saving him the fuel it cost to run the generator.


People got to know that he would take away junk and gave him things that were broken or no longer of use.  In this way, he accumulated a wood burning stove, water tanks, wood and metal sheeting.  He did a job helping a friend move warehouses.  In return, he was given all the redundant wiring, plugs, sockets and connectors removed from the building. Each item arrived in his car at the gate and was carried all the way to his ‘stores’ located some distance from the gate down a mud track.


Hank never had much money, but his intention to be as self-sufficient as possible led him to notice and grab each and every opportunity that helped him to sustain his chosen lifestyle.


Hank laboured away to build somewhere to live using the recycled materials he had gathered plus a few nails, screws that he needed to buy. Sometimes Hank could go days without seeing anyone, only venturing out for the basics of life – bread, bacon, tomato ketchup, pork, potatoes, rice and dog food for his dog.


Each day Hank set a micro intention to help him keep on track towards his nested intentions.  Sometimes the micro intention might be to fit a water tank, contributing to a nested intention to collect as much rainwater as possible.  Sometimes it might just be to have fun whatever he was doing that day, turning up the radio loud and dancing away to the music as he lifted, carried, sawed, stacked and walked.  Hank swore, laughed, laboured and boogied his way through the months until eventually, he had built a small wooden house to live in, and workshops to earn a living from.


Hanks intention was to have as much autonomy as possible in his life and enough money to eat and survive.  He did not dream of being rich or have lots of money, and that’s exactly what got.  Whenever he was down to his last few dollars, something always came up to either provide just enough income or unexpected ways of getting just what he wanted.


Life was not easy.  No electricity on tap, no running water, no heat without chopping wood, but it was what he wanted, and he was content.  


Hank continues to live there to this day, slowly adding rooms to his house, building more workshops, and upgrading equipment as things ‘come in’.


His wooden house includes a fully working wood burning range to cook on and heat water, a fully functioning shower which uses rainwater, TV and other electrical devices run primarily from solar and wind power.


On the few occasions that Hank leaves his land he sets a micro intention for the day. An example of this might be an intention to have as much fun as possible that day (after all, fun is free!)  An example of this is Hanks trip to IKEA (see Intention Matters Chapter 4). For Hank, other people’s junk are a constant source of excitement and opportunity. On average Hank works two days a week, the remainder of his time spent developing and cultivating his land.

Unlike Natasha (read Natasha's story here), Hank had a very clear idea of what he wanted and an incredibly strong belief that he could achieve his intention.  Unlike Natasha and Helen who moved backwards and forwards between steps 2,3 and 4, Hank moved rapidly through steps 1 and 2.  He spent a lot of time in steps 3 and 4 embodying his intention, noticing and grabbing each and every opportunity.  Hank set daily micro intentions to motivate himself and keep himself on track

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