What I learned from Joanna Gaines (well from her book)
I just got back from a wonderful vacation in beautiful Northern Michigan. Despite chasing two lively toddlers around, I was able to read a book. Yes, a real book. For enjoyment. Consider it a summer miracle.
Before hitting the roads, I grabbed “The Magnolia Story” by Chip & Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino. I got the book fully intending it to be just an easy read for the beach. Little did I know that Joanna would teach me some important business and life lessons…
Joanna and Chip’s story taught me that you need to let go in order for life to work its wonders. Joanna was conservative by nature but she let go when she met Chip and it made all the difference. Caution is important but there is something to be said for just going for it.
The Road May Take Many Turns
Chip & Joanna’s entrepreneurial story took many different twists and turns. Just because you do something now, doesn’t mean you are stuck with it and that you can’t start doing something else later. Chip was a serial entrepreneur and all of these little business adventures helped him refine his skills and identify his true passions. If you don’t know where you are going, just start. You are never going to get to your destination if you never board the train in the first place.
Make the Most of It
Joanna and Chip had numerous mishaps and obstacles throughout their journey. No matter what life threw their way, they always seemed to make the most of it and actually end up a little bit better off than when they started. For example, if it weren’t for Chip getting duped into buying a dilapidated houseboat, they would likely never have their show on HGTV. The same show that gives them the opportunity to impact and inspire millions of people across the world. I’m a huge believer that your attitude creates the outcome. You can choose to be the victim or you can choose to overcome. Chip & Joanna overcome.
Do What is Right for You & Your Family
It was so refreshing to see that Joanna struggled with the decision to close up her first shop and stay at home with her babies. That is a very personal decision and something that only you can decide for yourself. The lesson is, do what feels right at the time. If that means to stay in the workforce, stay. If that means stay at home, stay there. Ultimately, she heard a voice tell her that it was time to stay home and that is what she did. And that is cool because that worked for her. Do what works for you.
Be Kind to People
Chip & Joanna just seem like really awesome, really nice people. There are stories scattered throughout the book of Chip & Joanna helping someone out in need whether it be giving a homeless man a place to sleep in the middle of the night or keeping a couple kids out of trouble by giving them some work for the night. I wholeheartedly believe that if you put good out into the universe, you get it back tenfold. Chip & Joanna are testaments to this. They have had some incredible breaks in their lives. If I were to guess, this was not by chance.
Chip & Joanna never seemed to hesitate to seize a business opportunity whether it be opening up a retail store or buying their next house to flip. In business, the spoils go to those that take a chance and seize the opportunity. This is why I’m such a big believer in everyone having an emergency fund. This way, when life gives you an opportunity you have the means to take advantage. There was a point in the book where they were $5,000 shy of a life-changing business venture, luckily, Joanna had been stashing some money aside and had exactly enough. Without that little cushion, life could look very different for them.
Use Debt Carefully
Chip is a big fan of using debt to fund his business ventures. I agree that debt does have a place in business. If you are in business for any amount of time, there may come a time when you need to use it. However, I caution you, use it carefully. Only use debt when you need it and never take out more than you can cover. Always have a backup plan because the banks can call their line at any time and it may not have anything to do with you or anything you can control. Chip & Joanna were heavily leveraged in order to fund the development of their dreams. The made their payments on time, borrowed responsibly, all the things that they were supposed to do. Unfortunately, this was right at the height of the financial crisis. The government forced their bank to essentially cut their line of credit leaving Chip & Joanna on the brink of financial ruin. The lesson is, debt is good but use caution when using it.
No question about it, Chip (and Joanna) has an awesome work ethic. One of my favorite quotes from the book comes from Chip, “Whenever I’ve been down financially, I’ve just picked myself up and worked a little harder. And whether it’s a little luck or God or a combination, everything seems to find a way of working itself out eventually.” Good things come to those that work hard and stick with it. As a parent, it is equally important to instill good work habits into your children. We want to give our kids the world, but the best gift that you can give them is the ability to be humble, work hard for what they want, and be content if it doesn’t come right away. I think that Chip & Joanna are doing a great job of that.
Stop Cleaning the House
I picture Joanna’s home as Pinterest perfect at all time, everything is tidy, everything has its place, everything is beautiful and in pristine condition. She is Joanna FREAKIN Gaines for Pete’s sake. One of my favorite parts of the book is when Joanna came to a revelation that she couldn’t keep up with keeping a perfect household all the time. Say what?! Joanna’s kids spill cheerios and write on the walls too?! I am not alone, I am not a failure of a mother and wife. If she can let the housework go for a bit and spend some more time with the kids, the rest of us can.
I loved this book so much. It was entertaining and read like a story but it taught you so many meaningful life and business lessons. While I didn’t get to speak to them personally, I felt like it when reading their book. I recommend it for literally everyone. Check it out on Amazon!
Have you read The Magnolia Story? If so, what are your thoughts? What lessons did you learn? I’d love to hear, drop a line below!
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