The Plot To Steal Joy: Day 12
A young man went to film school in college. He graduated and worked in the State Treasury in Sacramento, California for six years. One day, he discovered a shoemaking workshop, was fascinated, took the class and started making shoes on night and weekends. He lived and breathed soft leather, wool, quality rubber soles and stitching. He became a master in his craft. First he would sell a pair online. Then two. Then three. Soon the orders would back up to more than he could manage.
He finally took the courage to leave his secure job in the State Treasury, found a shop space in midtown Sacramento, met with shoe machine makers in Europe, bought equipments, and went to work. He worked long into the night. Word of his outstanding workmanship and exceptionally soft to the touch shoes got around town. Radio, news and magazines from around town came to his shop, interviewed the soft spoken young man and featured his craft.
Barely two years into establishing his very own line of shoes, Benjamin has up to 10 months’ worth of backed up orders. Demand for his shoes come all over the world, from Australia to Switzerland, Italy and Germany.
Why am I featuring Benjamin in The Plot To Steal Joy series? Because this young man understands what it means to pursue his passion while providing value to an appreciative and able-to-pay community. Identifying your passion, using it as a means to provide value, and being rewarded for your contribution are important ingredients to a happy and fulfilling life.
You see, having a passion is one thing. Turning your passion into a business is another. It takes believe, courage, and faith to run with Benjamin’s vision. Yes, in this order. Believe, Courage, Faith.
Believe - Focuses on the present. Belief in his ability to produce, and belief in the demand for his shoes.
Courage - To leave his secure job and start out on his own.
Faith - Focuses on the future. To trust that one day he will break even on his hefty investment in the shop, machines and materials to make a name and sustainable income for himself.
Revitalizing a dying craft (shoe making by hand) and turning it into a high-end luxury product is not everybody’s cup of tea. For Benjamin, it is his life line. His life literally hangs on the very fabric and sole of each pair of shoes he sews for each of his customer. And for Benjamin, this is joy in living.
I spoke to Benjamin for a short 20 minutes, during which time his joy so oozes out of his soul into his shop and shoes I can’t help but be mesmerized and walk out of his shop feeling like I’ve taken a nice, warm bath - I felt joy and peace and was inspired afresh to pursue my craft of writing diligently in the days to come.
The score today?