Optimism by Osmosis

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In preparing the Fun Issue, I couldn't help but think of some of the people I've come to know who personify the upbeat spirit of the aquatic industries. One of those is my good friend Brian Van Bower, co-founder of Genesis and long-time industry leader, a guy who's well known for his love of the "good life."

Many years ago, Brian shared with me a profoundly sunny thought: our industry's No. 1 priority should always be to "not spoil the client's good mood." Naturally, the specifics of each client's aquatic dreams are different; some may think of poolside parties, romantic dinners for two or the luxury of tanning by the pool. Others will be focused on the thrill of aquatic play and how those activities bring families together, while many are inspired by the tranquility of water and the artistry of aquatic design.

All of that is why Brian's simple remark has stuck like glue in my brain cells. First, it speaks to the fact that consumers make decisions to own pools and spas because they're seeking enjoyment of one sort or another; in essence, it's their good mood that drives the purchasing decision. And his comment also works as a caveat that we sometimes lose sight of why aquatic settings exist in the first place — we should always keep in mind that pools ultimately exist to make people happy.

Thinking back over my many years covering this industry, it becomes abundantly clear that the majority of successful people I've come to know are also consistently those who convey enthusiasm, optimism and excitement for the work they do. It's not unusual, for example, to hear a builder describe a current project with obvious pride, joy and even a sense of adventure, or a retailer detail why they're so pumped up about a new showroom design.

Oftentimes, by simply listening I can't help but get excited as well. It's a type of contagiousness I like to call "optimism by osmosis."

It's human nature to be influenced by the moods of other people. We know this intuitively because we've all been in the presence of those people who lift us up just by their presence and upbeat manner. Conversely, we also know that some people have an almost uncanny knack for sucking the oxygen right out of the room with their dour, negative and otherwise bummed-out personalities.

While positivity obviously works on an individual basis and as a key part of workplace culture, there's also an advantage to striving for collective optimism, meaning that our industry as a whole is best served when the macro messaging conveys that same aura of good vibes. On that front, another long-time friend and associate, Vance Gillette, comes immediately to mind.

Although Vance is retired now, he's still widely associated with the concept of using positive consumer experience as the primary thrust driving industry promotions and messaging. You may recall a series of columns and blogs on AQUA penned by Vance, all of which pointed to the concept of empowering ourselves and the industry at large by always keeping the experiential factor firmly in mind. In many ways, the entire conceptual thread running through every article in this issue and AQUA's overall content is based on that fundamental idea.

Fun is the our industry's most important asset, and it's the kind of thing that grows the more we share it with each other and our consumers. After all, when your profession is aimed at making people happy, that fact alone is worth spreading around like coconut-scented suntan lotion on a sunny day by the pool.

Comments or thoughts on this article? Please e-mail [email protected].

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