We took our friends to visit art galleries in a coastal town. We ended up in what I believe was the best of the many galleries. My wife was impressed with many of the displayed works. The curator, George, told her the stories behind the pictures. In listening to the stories I could tell that George was an unusual man. I made it a point to hang around. When he was alone I asked George, “Why is this the best gallery in town?”
He studied me for a moment then he opened up. For the next twenty minutes he talked with passion. He told of his professional life mission. He only displays the work of artists who labor for the love of art and who are not hungry for fame or fortune. He said that when people enter his gallery they feel something special. When he greets people he explains the art, but he does not do it to sell the art. He does it to bring the power of the art into the lives of his customers. He told many stories of people who were transformed by some experience in the gallery.
Then George made an extraordinary claim. Since he opened his gallery many years ago, he has seen 15 other galleries open and then go out of business. He says he flourishes because he never varies from his professional life purpose.
Experts in selling art give him advice. They tell him that a gallery cannot sell fine art, glass art, and prints. Successful galleries specialize in one of the three. He said, “I violate that logic and yet I still prosper.”
George is a deeply fulfilled man who is spending his life doing what he loves. In his gallery there is a positive culture. People feel it and are moved. Positive cultures transcend the conventional assumptions of business. In them people flourish and exceed expectations.