How a Sheet Metal Guy in Texas Changed My Professional Outlook

August 03, 2015 / TREAT OTHERS THE WAY THEY WANT TO BE TREATED

How a Sheet Metal Guy in Texas Changed My Professional Outlook

August 03, 2015

Joergen Aaboe Marketing Executive

Joergen Aaboe is a marketing-oriented leader who takes pride in being both a strategist and a practitioner. Intrigued by how music, marketing and technology are coming together, he writes about that very intersection at Reasonable Blueprint. Joergen is also co-founder of Ylixr

Ever been to Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas? The place is legendary and so is its founder, Aaron Franklin, who has been serving up what many argue is the best BBQ in the world since 2009. You may have also seen his book, watched his online videos or caught him on the TV talk show circuit. 

Franklin was one of nine stops on a three-day Texas BBQ tour I recently embarked on. My friend and I flew out of LAX with massive appetites and flew back three days later with a horrible case of meat sweats. It was worth every bite—and resulted in a key marketing lesson along the way.

As much as I loved that deliciously smoked meat, this story is not about the BBQ, it’s about a unique little coffee shop I found along the way. 

Follow the signs
The first attraction was a door with a tiny sign outside that simply said “Coffee”. I’m one of those rare people who don’t drink coffee—but I do enjoy a good conversation—and I got one.

Sterling was the owner’s name—a sheet metal man who makes motorcycles. It turns out he has also made two of Franklin’s smokers. But it was his love for coffee that influenced him to build a coffee shop. Welcome to Flat Track Coffee, a small, authentic shop in Austin that roasts their own coffee beans, has an online merchandise store and a pop-up coffee service—and their tumblr is pretty awesome too.

Passion propels purpose and purpose propels passion
Two things were clear the moment I started chatting with Sterling:

  1. There was not an ounce of pretentiousness in his story 
  2. He was genuinely happy with his life and career

Sterling is a man who simply applies his skills—true skills—in inspired ways based on what he wants to accomplish. He’s a reminder of the simple fact that if we focus on mastering a skill and treat people kindly along the way, we can succeed at almost anything.

People like Sterling treat their professional lives in the same way they want to be treated. They begin by listening to their professional selves. Rather than letting their careers stay on autopilot, they take action. For Sterling and others like him, that action means starting their own business.

How are you managing your career and your professional self? Are you listening to your true skills or are you following a path you assume others want you to follow? While a lot of folks prefer the structure of a 9–5 job, don’t lose sight of the fact that your skills and passions can be applied to a successful career. Sterling’s story makes me determined to do just that. 

More Austin adventures and lessons highlighted here

Photo: Patrick Meredith

Joergen Aaboe Marketing Executive

Joergen Aaboe is a marketing-oriented leader who takes pride in being both a strategist and a practitioner. Intrigued by how music, marketing and technology are coming together, he writes about that very intersection at Reasonable Blueprint. Joergen is also co-founder of Ylixr

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