Tattoos, The Fixer Upper Show, Glass and the "Key" to following the "whatever"....
“When I was younger, my biggest concern was walking into a Waco, Texas client’s home with tattoos and being judged by what I looked like instead of my knowledge or skillset.” –Dustin Anderson
Some of you may have seen Dustin on the Waco-famous show Fixer Upper, or maybe you follow him on social media, or you heard his amazing speech at the Lorena High School graduation last year. Or perhaps you are like me and first heard about him when you needed a glass shower installed.
Dustin is the owner of Anderson Glass, but really Dustin is so much more than just Anderson Glass or being on Fixer Upper or the many followers he has. Dustin is a motivated, inspiring, energetic ginger who owns an amazing business that lets him challenge his artistic mind.
I walked into Dustin’s office, and it was an artist’s dream for sure, old-looking brick and inspirational words on the wall – an artistic industrial warehouse that he designed himself. There wasn't much natural light, but I loved the feel it gave. I sat down and was literally out of breath, but there was more to it than just walking up the stairs to his loft desk area. It was a breath of relief that I made it, because it was one of those mornings. The sitter was late, I had no coffee, there was traffic on the road, and I was really really – did I say really? – questioning if this Winter Project was a door I should open. But I was there, right where I felt led to be. Sitting across from Dustin.
I shared with him the goal of the Waco Winter Project, and then I shared the fears I was battling at that moment, which really was not planned. I mean, I was there to hear from him, the famous Dustin, not for him to listen to me. But he did, and his advice and wisdom moved me. I shared how I was struggling with confidence with this project. He pointed at a sign he has on the wall that says, “Whatever”. He said, “That sign, it means whatever you are feeling, you do it now. No holding back. Don't let what you think people are thinking hold you back from an important opportunity.”
He told me how he has realized how very valuable time is, and how he doesn't have time for people who would judge him for things like what he is wearing or how he looks.
I then asked about his life, if there were struggles that got him where he is today, but he told me nothing traumatic happened in his life – unless you believe hard work is traumatic! He clearly defines a hard-working person. His dad pushed college and not the family glass business. But despite going to college, he ended up having a dream for the family business, which led him to buy into it. He challenged his creative heart and came up with the frameless glass shower. He also created a four-tool product that continues to be distributed throughout the country. He later bought out his father so his dad could retire. He also happened to do work for Chip and Jo Jo before they were famous, which landed him a role on the hit show. He married his beautiful sweetheart and they created their own tribe by bringing three beautiful children into the world.
Such a beautiful life he has. Hard work and chasing dreams is inspiring and I could stop right there, but what really inspired me most was his humility and non-judgmental attitude. And that falls right into what the Waco Winter Project is about. When I first got there and told him my fears, he also told me his fears when he first started going into clients’ homes, his concerns of clients judging him because of his tattoos. He would even cover them up. He had always wanted a sleeve but he let what others think stop him. But over time he realized how being himself was more important than first impressions.
I don't know about you but I've been guilty of sitting at a red light and noticing someone with tattoos walking on the sidewalk and immediately I find myself locking my car doors – and I've been guilty of not locking them when the person is dressed in a business suit. You know, like those tattoos are telling me they are going to rob me or the business suit is telling me they are too high in society to steal. Maybe it's just me, but I suspect it isn't. Society's perceptions are often so very wrong. That could have been Dustin with those tattoos. And I'm not sure he would even harm a flea, much less rob me!
Dustin’s tattoos are there for his own artistic self, each one carefully planned out, each one with a meaning. My favorite one is a key, a key to represent a wonderful childhood of playing in his home, where his mom had an old key hanging on the wall. It was the beginning of his creative mind – imagining what door that key opened. If you look out from his office desk you will see an old key hanging on the wall, the same key that once hung in his childhood home. Inked on his arm or hanging on the wall, it serves as a reminder that there is a key to opening dreams and following the "Whatever".
The "key" to this project is to inspire by opening eyes to a different perspective on humanity, looking past the outward and realizing we all have a soul, and we all have a story. We don’t have to agree in order to love, and we don’t have to agree in order to inspire. But to inspire and love, we must not judge.
You won't want to miss the next story it’s one that will pull your heart strings!
Until next Tuesday,
The Waco Storyteller