Over the last few months, I picked up and put down Jon Gordon's book, The Carpenter, more than a few times. Why I didn't buy it the first time I looked at it, I can't tell you. Dumb on my part as I fell in love with Gordon's best-selling book, The Energy Bus
. I have now fallen in love with The Carpenter. It is a fabulous read - a story on how to achieve success in one's life as only Jon Gordon can tell it.
The story is centered on a carpenter, J. Emmanuel, who goes by J. In coming to the aid of a man who collapses while jogging, J has the opportunity over the weeks that follow to share his wisdom with this man on how to achieve success, both personally and professionally. Many of us can relate to this man, Michael, and the challenges that life brings our way. Achieving success, and life in general, is not easy. Thus, I hope many of us will truly appreciate and put into action the message of success that J. Emmanuel lays out on the table (or, in this case, words he carved on a wooden heart - love, serve, care).
The first leg of the "success" stool is love. Gordon, through J, reminds us that if we truly love, then such an emotion will root out "fear, busyness, and stress" that we all feel at one time or another. This makes sense whether you have started a business, are doing volunteer work, or lending a helping hand to someone in need. J comments to Michael, "Do not fear failing. Do not fear losing clients. Do not fear that you won't be successful. Do not fear that things won't go your way. Instead do everything with love and you will cast out fear" If we love what we are doing, then the passion that emanates from that love will be on display, not the "fear, busyness, and stress" that is often seen. Followers will then be drawn to one's endeavor.
The second leg of the three-legged "success" stool is Serve. Gordon begins the chapter on serving with J requesting Michael pick up a shrimp burrito from a popular spot in town for his lunch. It seemed odd to Michael as it was mid-morning - it was no where near lunchtime. However, J's objective in making the request was to teach Michael the importance of serving, "Because we love, we serve. And when we serve others, we fill up their cup with love and our own as well." In today's society where "selfies" are the norm, perhaps we should consider this before patting ourselves on the back - "Always remember that your greatness as a leader will not be determined by how much power you accumulate. It will be determined by how much you serve and sacrifice for others to help them become great."
"Care" is the third leg of the success strategy told by J. Webster's Dictionary defines care as "to feel interest or concern." J tells Michael in the story that "when you care, you not only care about the work that you do, but you also show people you care about them." A question: how can one become successful without actually being concerned, and exhibiting such, for his or her employees, or care group, or students, or electorate, etc. We all want to be cared for by someone. As J states, it means something "when you go out of your way to show people they matter."
This small book speaks volumes on how to treat others and to ultimately enjoy the success that comes from such. The strategy that Gordon lays out for success - love, serve, and care - is the recipe for making a positive difference in someone's life. After you begin putting these three into action, you show "you value others and, in turn, your value to the world increases." Isn't that what success is? Isn't that what we should strive for? As this book points out, success should not ultimately be equated with the size of our career, the money we have, or the size house we live in. As J states in the last chapter, "you aren't a true success unless you are helping others be successful. Success is meant to be shared."
Go buy this book, read it and apply it to what you do. Be courageous - make that positive difference in someone's life and ultimately yours.