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Champion in Life

September 2, 2017

Every one of them came from humble origins or been humbled by the ravages of the hard times in which they had grown up. Each in his own way…had learned that nothing can be taken for granted in life, that for all of their strength and good looks and youth, forces were at work in the world which were greater than they. The challenges they had faced together had taught them humility-the need to subsume their individual egos for the sake of the boat as a whole-and humility was the common gateway through which they were now able to come together and begin to do what they had not been able to do before.”

Daniel James Brown, The Boys in the Boat

 

I am reading the Daniel James Brown book called The Boys in the Boat, the true story of the rowing team who competed for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Like most people, I didn’t realize how physically grueling the sport could be, and what levels of stamina and teamwork are required. The reason this particular story is so compelling is that the central character, Joe Rantz, endured the kind of hardships no young person should have to endure, and those struggles are what made him a successful athlete.

 

That quiet, strong resolve in the aftermath of adversity made me think of my co-worker at Jim Hudson Lexus, John Lockhart. For the past 2 years since he joined our team, I’ve been curious about this tall, slender man with a bright smile and outgoing personality. Every time our paths cross, he makes a point to speak, greeting me in the most warm and sincere manner imaginable. I have never seen him grumpy or angry; I’ve never once heard him complain or gossip. I sensed that there was a story behind the enthusiastic demeanor, one which hinted at hardships in his past. I was right.

 

Yesterday I decided to go visit him and do an impromptu interview while he was working in his tint booth, where he was at work on a new Lexus RX350. It is neat to watch him in action, where it is evident that his excellence in craftsmanship is a result of a meticulous nature, a structured process and 12 years of experience. I started with the easy questions, getting him to tell me what he likes about working here. He said that he appreciates the fact that everyone on the team is important, no matter what their role might be. He has been impressed by the kindness of the people, saying that he has never felt as valued at other jobs as he has been here.

lockhart

Craftsman at Work

 

It is just like someone who is so kind to notice kindness in his co-workers. As is often the case with good people, they attract what they project. One could never be anything but exceptionally nice to someone like John, who lights up a room with his genuine love for others. I came right out and asked him his secret, as if there would be some magic formula he could share which would make me happier in my own life. “How are you able to be so friendly and upbeat all of the time?” I told him I had never met anyone who exhibits as much joy as he does. As I expected, he said that in general, he had always been outgoing and laid back, but after a particularly dark period in his life, from 2006-2010, he emerged on the other side of that struggle with an outlook of gratitude and helpfulness. “No matter what,” he explained, “you have to know how you can inspire others. They do not want to hear about anything that is not positive. I strive to go overboard when I help people. I have a passion for  progressing in life, for education, for growth.”

lockhart1

That smile is a blessing to us

 

His passion for education has resulted in a Masters degree in organizational leadership, which he received last month. He aspires to become a teacher, ideally with an online college which would allow him to continue his tinting work with the dealership during the day. Outside of work, he enjoys time with his dog Champ, going to the movies and watching sports, especially the Atlanta teams (Falcons and Braves). His large family is from Waynesboro and Louisville, but all of his 6 siblings live in the area.

 

If the measures of a successful life include such accomplishments as knowledge, happiness, family, overcoming adversity and inspiring others, then our 34-year old Lexus tinting specialist is one truly successful young man. And he is only just begun. Keep a close eye on this one, my friends, as I see continued awesomeness in his future. Like the humble athlete who became an Olympic champion, John Lockhart has learned that perseverance and the right outlook will take you as far as you want to go. We are blessed to have him on our team, and we are inspired by his approach to life every day.

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