Friday, November 8, 2013

Do What You Love; Love What You Do!

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, November 7, 2013

The title of this Nugget has been a mantra for me when teaching classes over the last 32+ years.  I don't know where or when I first heard it but it obviously struck a nerve.  Sadly, no one ever suggested such a notion to me in my formative years like Junior High, Senior High and even College.  By the way, the reverse is also true, Love what you do; do what you love! 

What kind of a life would you be living today if your parents and/or a career type counselor asked you:

·         What do you really love to do?
·         How can you make a career out of doing what you love?

How would you answer that question?  In my early years parents thought that their children should attend college.  In my case I gave it a shot.  But in the two years I attended college I found myself taking all sorts of courses that I had absolutely no interest in and my grades reflected that disinterest.  I just couldn't get into what was being taught except for one course - U. S. Air Force ROTC; that course I loved.  It planted seeds of the military in my subconscious mind.  Then when I found I was one of the lucky 10% of active college students who received draft notices while Viet Nam was increasing in severity, I immediately looked toward the military for my next career move and found myself in the U. S. Coast Guard - I loved it. 

The U. S. Coast Guard gave me the opportunity to do what I love and love what I did and my career clearly showed that love of work as I progressed up through the ranks rather quickly.  I say that not to brag but rather to make a point.  When you truly love what you do, you tend to do it well and constantly look for ways to do it even better.  The same was true for my real estate career that followed my military service.  I loved sliding the keys to a new home across the closing table to a first time homebuyer - it was and would still be a very good feeling.

Having explained that will hopefully lead you to the same conclusion about Mr. David G. Murray who I met in Biloxi, Mississippi this afternoon.  I was wasting time waiting for my wife to exchange something she purchased when I spotted the most unusual business in the Biloxi Edgewater Mall.  "Puzzles USA"  My first thought was:  "Can't be!"  How could someone possibly have a profitable business just selling puzzles.    What would you have thought?

My curiosity got the better of me and I went in.  But before I actually entered the establishment, there was an easel outside the entrance with a rather large and beautiful matted and framed picture of a New Orleans street scene with street musicians doing what they love to do, play music.  You could almost hear the music coming forth from within the picture.  Needless to say, that got my attention.  Upon closer observation you could see that the picture was actually an assembled puzzle.  It was the lines between the pieces that gave emphasis to the picture as if it were something special and it was.

The business contained wall to wall framed pictures all of which were assembled puzzles, small, large and in between.  Sitting amongst these wonderful puzzles sat a fellow who let's say turned out to be both a character (in a good way) and a very colorful individual; David Murray, the owner of Puzzles USA.  (For those who are reading this and are not familiar with my background, I have been in sales for the past 32 years.)  To say that David is a very effective salesman would not be doing him justice.  He may be one of the best salesman I have ever encountered.  After all, he was selling puzzles so would you not admit that for him to be in the business of selling puzzles for the past 18 or so years, you would have to not only be a good salesman; he would have to be a great salesman and that he is. 

What made him so good at what he does?  You could immediately tell that he loved what he was doing and he was doing what he loved.  He was NOT selling puzzles; he was putting smiles on the faces of his customers.  He actively engaged the customer rather than just asking, "Can I help you?"  When you can put smiles on your customers' faces, you are well on your way to making a sale.  By the way, he not only made a sale with me today, he also made a friend and an admirer. 

If you have not seen a colorful puzzle that has been matted and framed, you are missing out on something you would be proud to have displayed on any wall in your home.  The initial visual attraction was only the beginning.  David then displayed his knowledge of not only what the pictures of the puzzles represented, he could also discuss the artist and/or location and even some of the history of the picture and/or artist.  There was one puzzle that was built from, are you ready for this, 24,000 pieces and it hung proudly on his wall over his work area.  By the way, you can purchase this puzzle in his story and as you will see, he will happily frame it for you.

We talked not only about the various works of art on his wall but also his business of selling puzzles.  He asked me the nagging question that I had been wanting to ask him; how do you stay in business just selling puzzles?  He then volunteered the answer - he does all his own framing.  He can also create a puzzle out of your photographs and that is something special.  He explained that he has created a solid white puzzle for weddings where he breaks up the puzzle into large pieces.  Each guest to the wedding is then given their own piece to the puzzle to sign their wishes to the bride and groom.  Then when the puzzle is reassembled it is still all white but each piece contains the wishes from their friends and family.  That is thinking outside the box.

I discovered that David is actually NOT in the business of selling puzzles, he is in the business of selling memories and individual creativity.  People remember assembling puzzles but then the puzzles are typically dismantled and put away to never again see the light of day.  David encourages his customers to assemble the puzzles and then have them framed to be proudly displayed in the customer's home and of course he does the framing.

I would describe his business as a frame shop thinly disguised as a store that sells puzzles that puts smiles on the faces of his customers.  Customers, I would guess, who would happily return and refer their friends just as I did in this Nugget.  If ever there was a poster child for doing what you love and loving what you do, it would be David Murray.  By the way, Puzzles USA Inc is believed to be the ONLY exclusive puzzle shop in America; maybe even the world.  If you happen to visit or call David, tell him Gymbeaux sent you!

The BIG QUESTIONS:  What do you love to do that you could be turning into a career?  What are you currently doing that you may actually be loving but not realizing that you are loving doing it?  What would have to happen regarding your current work to create work that you would love doing?

Puzzles USA
Edgewater Mall
2600 Beach Blvd, Ste 56
Biloxi, MS  39531

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