I read, almost exclusively, historical biographies and the classics. A few nights ago, my wife walks into the house with Chip Gaines’ new book titled “No Pain, No Gaines”. It was very uncharacteristic of her to buy me a book. On a whim, she explained, that I might like to read it. It wasn’t completely unfounded; Diane and I love watching Fixer Upper and Magnolia Table created by Chip and Joanna Gaines. We don’t watch any other shows, only movies on occasion. Also, incidentally, Magnolia Table (Volume Two) by Joanna Gaines is the only cookbook I treasure owning. As a Culinary Institute trained chef and former restaurateur (25 years ago) – I don’t enjoy watching cooking shows or restaurant reality shows. None of it feels real or uplifting. Not the case with Joanna’s show and her cookbook. She and the Gaines family are so adorable and fun to see thrive that it’s positively uplifting. We enjoy seeing the family fun crowned by Chip's chaotic humor. In the kitchen, Joanna’s smirky smile has this “I-really-have-no-idea-why-y'all-want-to-see-me” charm that reveals her beautiful humility and sense of humor. And Chip; he wears his sense of humor like a ten-gallon cowboy hat. However, what’s underneath is a seriously driven person with unshakable character. So I read Chip’s new book alright – cover to cover, immediately, without stopping. I have to say; I didn’t see it coming.
The book was speaking to me right from the start. As I previewed random pages thinking about how certain books have unexpectedly entered my life at the most perfect time, I wondered if this book could possibly contain such timely wisdom when, at that very moment, I find Chip quoting the old saying that “Books choose us, we don’t choose them”. I smiled knowing how much fun I was about to have reading his book.
Chip and I have much more in common than I ever thought. My friends are laughing at this comparison because Chip and I are nothing alike by personality and appearance.
I understand; he’s younger, very outgoing, construction worker gruff, funny and, yes, much better looking. However, when it comes to the built-in stuff, we share some common ground. Chip and I had similar experiences in life that shaped our mindset. We were both profoundly impacted by reading Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and we both, eventually, were moved (or saved) by Viktor E. Frankl's Man’s Search For Meaning. Those books chose us when we needed them.
As a youngster, Chip describes drinking the “College leads to the Private Country Club Membership Kool-Aid” and how it didn’t fit for him. He discovered his DNA was to build and grow things from the ground up and then do more. I, on the other hand, all during high school, drank the “Work for Yourself To Get Rich Kool-Aid” that scoffed at college and paychecks. I thought I could out-work and out-earn all my classmates heading off for academic colleges. I went to cooking school to learn a trade. I opened several restaurants and they consumed me. After a few years, I was thinking about all the other things I wanted to do but I was chained to my own ship. Thankfully my restaurants involved complex real estate deals and I discovered my DNA was for real estate. I made a two-year plan to get out of the restaurant business. I went back to college to earn my academic degree. Within a short time I had a corporate career that fed my DNA. I thrive doing it. Steady paychecks have allowed me to take on all types of enjoyable projects without the worry of squeezing my income from it. For me, this was liberating, and very productive.
Chip’s book gave me peace of mind and acceptance that I was meant to do everything I've done so far, even the restaurants. Chip's wisdom doesn’t preach his way as being the only way, or the best way – he simply imparts upon the reader to live true to thyself and to use that DNA to get thyself moving – whatever the path. Because Chip’s energy and personality pours off the pages of his book, I didn’t entirely escape wanting to do something new and entrepreneurial. I mean, you can’t help but get motivated reading Gaines.
I view my pending retirement from corporate life as the perfect time to do something very different. In his book, Chip explains his network of people as a way to do extraordinary things. This is not “networking” as he sees being very different. I was very happy to read his refreshing view. The thought of networking makes me want to hide away with my books. After reading Gaines' wisdom, I saw the value of my network. I also realized that I’m part of another person's network. Someone very important to me. Someone that has my entrepreneurial DNA and her own intense drive (and look!) and she's about to launch a wonderfully creative enterprise. Chip's book made me realize my place in her network. I didn’t see it coming. Thanks Chip, and Joanna.