Our Certain Way

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Group Photo Certain wayIn all of our human pursuits, we develop ways of acting that have a dramatic effect on the outcome. How we treat our friends and family influences the kind of satisfaction we get from those relationships. How we treat strangers influences the kind of experiences we have and the energy we put out into the world.

It’s the same with our work. How we approach the work we do has a huge impact on how fulfilled we feel at the end of the day, regardless of what that work may be. When we work in a way that is true to ourselves, our “Certain Way,” as we at Legendary Escapes like to call it, we find not only success, but true happiness and satisfaction in what we create.

The challenge, for most of us, is figuring out just what our certain way is, and then committing to acting on it relentlessly in spite of whatever challenges come our way.

The Old Way

It was 20 years ago when Al “Ask the Pool Guy” Curtis became owner of a swimming pool construction/service company. At the age of 26, Al already had seven years of experience in the business and was technically skilled at the work, but was woefully unequipped to handle the business end of things.

The vinyl pool business — purchased when the owner needed to retire for health reasons — was fairly healthy on paper through new pool sales, construction and service. But both the service and construction teams were poorly managed, and the monthly overhead was killer.

By sheer grit and determination, Al said “yes” to most anything, handling every lead and trying to turn every phone call into revenue. Customer service was disorganized, and the crews ran from job to job based on who was complaining the loudest.

It was no way to run a business, let alone create long term satisfaction. A few years in and Al had managed to put together some solid and friendly crews, and the business was doing okay. But there was something lacking. There was no “special something” that set Al’s company apart from any other competitor in his market.

Still, he kept plugging, working the pool business in the warm months, and any number of other revenue-making ideas in the off season.

A Spark of Hope

After 10 years of this, Al was ready to let it go and try something new. Around this same time I came in as a partner through a series of coincidences that seem improbable in hindsight. We continued to work to grow the company for a few years, then decided to step away from the pool business for a while and create Insights Group, a business networking community of like-minded people all focused on finding “a better way” to work, to live and to be happy.

Then something funny happened. Turning our attention away from the pool business allowed Al to set aside everything he knew and felt about it. And he found that he truly did love the work he was doing; he just needed to find a new way that would be more manageable, more profitable and, yes, more fun.

So we began asking ourselves: What if? What if we could build a company strictly doing the work we love to do? The other question we asked ourselves was “why?” Why do I want to do this, and why me? Why meant sharing our message, our passion for the industry and speaking out as an advocate. No one in the industry seemed to be working to raise the bar across the board, advocating for individual business owners, the inventors of cool new things, and giving a voice to the consumers. Al decided why not him…and “Ask the Pool Guy” was born.
Finding Authenticity and Our Certain Way

Those critical questions, “What If?” and “Why?” began to shape everything about the business from that point on. It allowed us to clearly define what kind of projects we would take on, and what kind of people we wanted to work with. It helped us clarify the kind of people we wanted working on our crews, and in our office. We were able to say no to projects that weren’t a good fit, and embrace the things we say yes to with our whole hearts. We became happy at work. Happy pool guys building happy pools for happy customers.

Along the way we created our cool signature hybrid swimming pool concept and have found a level of creative freedom and joy we didn’t know could exist in this business. We’ve made cherished friends out of customers along the way, and have been embraced as advocates by others in the industry. We have a huge social media following and a robust online presence. We also love the work we do and the people we do it with.

We’ve found our Certain Way. It all started with asking the question, “What If?”

By Sandi Maki {AQUA Online}

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