I’m very fortunate. In fact, I’d say I’ve always been fortunate. Now, I should clarify that I don’t consider good fortune to be defined by convenient circumstances, sudden windfalls or lucky breaks. As I see it, good fortune has more to do with being able to do the work that overcomes each day’s challenges. Doing the work allows you to continue forward in the direction you want to go. The part that makes this hard is that each day seems to present a new, unknown problem to solve.
As a balance to this, I’ve noticed that the things you need to overcome those challenges usually come around at just the right time. Most often, they come in the form of people who have something to teach you. That’s precisely where I find myself fortunate. As far back as I can recall, people have arrived on the scene with lessons to teach me. Some teach by providing an opportunity for observation, and some by directly investing in your effort. The lessons are as endless as the thoughts we think, but we’re richer by far when we include the input of others and allow ourselves to be shaped in a positive way by their influence.
One such person is my wife Maaren. She’s about the most wonderful person in the entire world (I confess I’m biased) and full of insight, even when she’s not paying attention to it. I often hear her reiterate to our kids the phrase, “Just do the work that’s in front of you, and it’ll get done.” I can’t think of a better way to express the type of thinking that is needed to creatively overcome the tasks that we face.
In fact, this seems to be the attitude shared by the all the entrepreneurial folks I’ve been privileged to learn from. They simply get on with the work that is needed. They’re not going to wait for some imagined permission from an outside authority to get to work; they simply go about the business of doing what needs to be done. It reminds me of a distinction I read somewhere that a professional knows what they need to get a job done, but an entrepreneur uses what they have at hand to get the job completed.
Bob and Kurt are two people I’ve been deeply privileged to spend time with and learn from. They’ve spent, and continue to spend, hours, days, years attending to the tasks in front of them, overcoming each challenge in order to stay moving in the direction they want to go, which is building a great guitar company. For decades, they’ve worked side by side, focusing on the diverse jobs in front of each of them in pursuit of one central purpose: to design, build and sell instruments that are fundamentally aligned with the way musicians use instruments, and to do this in a way that provides the most good to our forest resources, suppliers, employees, dealers and musicians. It’s a tall order, broken down into innumerable individual jobs over a lifetime of work. But what great work it is to do!
As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved doing the work of making guitars, whether the mundane chores or working through the novel challenges of each day. For nearly a dozen years now, it’s been a joy to do this work alongside Kurt and Bob and see how their efforts complement each other. It’s as if each task accomplished fills in one more pane in a larger paint-by-numbers picture. They’ve generously included me in their work, and I’m grateful for their effort and teaching. I’ve been thrilled to share in this work and contribute my efforts toward our common goal of making great instruments for musicians to use, while also using those efforts as a means to share with those around us. These are great days at Taylor Guitars, and we’re happy to share them with you all.