OK, so I’m reading the new book by Chip Gaines, called Capital Gaines. That’s right. I’m reading a book by the man who made Waco ridiculously famous. I have reasons (which I will share below).
He spent much of his younger days flipping houses, and during that time, he managed to put together a great team of guys that he kept for years (some still work with him). He even tried to go to Mexico to learn Spanish by immersion so he could communicate better with them, because they shared work ethics and were fun. However, he also ran into some folks in his career that disappointed him, didn’t follow through, etc. He even told a story about some young workers from the less fortunate side of town who were great until one day they just walked out with all the cash in the store.
It’s how Chip reacted to these experiences with people that gave me an aha moment. He’s far more advanced in dealing with disappointments in workers, contractors, and customers than I have been. He talked a lot in the book about how he makes a conscious choice to focus on the good in other people. He chooses to assume that people are going to be ethical and treat him as he treats them. And when the inevitable disappointment occurs, he doesn’t spend a lot of time blaming, name-calling, and seething about it. He acknowledges the issue, but then reminds himself that there are things going on in other people’s lives that he doesn’t know about.
Perhaps the young people who took the cash in the drawer at his store had an emergency come up, and felt the immediate need for money was more important than keeping their job. He said that he’d have given them the money, if they’d have asked, but that probably wasn’t even an option in their minds.
Reading that chapter in Chip’s book gave me a big push to remember my own ethics and views about people. They are just like his, only lately I’d been letting some negative experiences color my views on people I’ve worked with in this business, and that’s to my detriment. I have a sneaky feeling that the reason Chip attracts so many loyal and hardworking people around him is that he expects them. If I’m dwelling on how folks let me down, I may well be projecting that expectation on new people I bring in.
Chip also pointed out that sometimes these bumps in the road forced him to look to other options or different ways of doing things that worked out for the best. He’s right about that, too. His positive mindset seems to lead to good things.
How I Reacted
We recently brought in someone to work on a project. This person seemed really motivated and ready to do the work. They did a small job for us quite well. But then, something happened and they didn’t do the work. I, and other team members, were rather irritated and disappointed. We had to bring in someone else. BUT, that person truly needed someone who would trust them to do work, is very motivated to do well for us so we will hire them for more work, and is honest about how things are doing.
Hmm. It all worked for the best, so thanks to Chip’s attitude, I am going to choose to believe the first person had things going on that led them to let us down, not through malice, but by poor decision making skills, fear of the amount of work we wanted, or some other reason that made sense to them. I’m not seething about it or resentful anymore. I am taking the option of seeing people around me as good, even if flawed.
That’s just one example. Chip got me to look at a couple of other big personal issues differently. So, that book was definitely worth $14.28! And I’m not even finished yet.
Why I Think Chip Gaines Is OK
It’s getting to be popular in my circle of friends to find reasons to poo-poo the extreme success of Chip and Joanna Gaines, of the fabulously successful television show and Magnolia retail extravaganza. They’ve certainly done interesting things to the real estate and commercial markets in Waco. I hear people go on and on about shiplap (me, I did that). People make fun of their spiritual beliefs, their folksy ways, etc.
Well, I think they are fine just the way they are, even if I am not going to decorate my house all in white and pieces of old stuff. Here’s why I respect Chip:
- Chip is a hard worker. He didn’t just buy and sell things; he has worked right alongside his teams for most of his career (I have no idea if he does it now; he seems a bit busy).
- Chip genuinely loves his wife and family. You can’t fake that. You could TELL Tarek disliked Christina on their show. I don’t think Chip is faking when he says his children are his greatest source of happiness, and he truly loves working right beside his wife every day.
- Chip has had many setbacks and “failures” and freely admits it. He also points out that he learned a lot from them and they helped get him where he is today.
- Chip knows he is quirky and not “wired” like other people, but he turned his personality and intellectual challenges into strengths. He knows what he’s good at and what he is not, and is willing to bring in help for his weak areas (thus Jo-Jo).
- Chip comes across as someone who actually likes himself, just as he is. I think that makes some people uncomfortable, but I love him parading around with his belly hanging out, talking about his gray tooth that got fixed, and worrying about his crazy hair. He really seems to have a healthy self esteem, and that’s so rare these days that it looks sort of weird at times.
- While Chip is deeply Christian, he doesn’t quote verses at you nonstop. He lives his life according to his beliefs; that’s obvious. He doesn’t deny that he feels like God is involved in his life. But he doesn’t act like he expects everyone else to believe exactly what he believes. He just expects you to be ethically and morally strong. I don’t argue with that, from my agnostic perspective.
- And I have to admit it. I think he is hilarious. He’d be hard to live with, but wow, he’d be the perfect funny uncle.