I walked into the local Applebee’s, eager to meet new people, citizens of Missouri. As is my custom, I went to the bar. It always provides an open atmosphere with a family feel. And it’s guaranteed to provide lots of fodder.
Shortly after Melanie took my order, a couple entered and sat next to me. They were about my age and we instantly struck up a conversation. Since Elise is the shipping and receiving manager for a very large retailer, we had a lot to talk about.
She’s been with this company for over thirty years. I marveled at that since with my sense of adventure, I can’t imagine being in any one place that long. But I became completely captivated when she told how this company got started.
Over forty years ago, a guy named John loved fishing and made his own lures. People who fished with him noticed he always got the catch and encouraged him to sell them. So, he made up a batch and put some in the only “store” he knew of, his uncle’s bar. They sold more lures than drinks and the bar finally had no more room to increase the inventory.
John decided to start his own business. He worked at it, not because it was a business but because he loved it. People flocked to his store because it was one place in town they could get a really great experience, quality products that worked, and be waited on by someone who loved what they did.
Apparently, that is what people were looking for back then because John’s business literally boomed. He took a few lures he made in his garage and sold in bars, and turned them into a multi-million dollar industry.
Elise beamed with pride as she told me the story of how her boss, John L. Morris, turned his modest beginnings into the overwhelmingly successful Bass Pro Shops. She’s been a part of growing that company for three decades. Throughout the conversation, she never once referred to the company by it’s name. Instead, she said, “we…”, “our”, “us”. Their entire supervisory staff has a minimum of fifteen years of service and most of them well over two decades.
As I walked back to my truck, I was struck by the fact that John did not set out to be a successful business man. He didn’t have a business plan and didn’t have a business degree from Harvard. He didn’t have a five or ten year plan. Instead, he literally took what he loved to do- fish- and found a way to make a living at it… and a handsome living if I do say so.
I’ve heard hundreds of people who say things like this can’t happen to them. They say success comes only to those who were born into certain families and dwell among the elite. I disagree and I’m sure John would as well.
Any one of us can be wildly successful if we find what we love to do and figure out a way to make a living at it. Don’t you remember the last time you went to a business and the person genuinely loves what they do? Sure you do because it’s that memorable.
What do you love to do? I love adventure. That’s why I can’t be tied down to one place. An office–even the corner office–feels like a prison to me. So I live on the open road. I’m at home. Like me, there is something that you LOVE to do. A place in this world where you feel at home. It’s where you fit into the puzzle called life.
Find that place. Your place. Pursue it with gusto and passion. You may just find that that small beginning might just become a huge success.