If you’ve been in business for a few years and have started to feel like you’ve hit a brick wall, you should run — not walk — to get The Highest Calling, by Lawrence Janesky. It will renew your enthusiasm, re-energize you, and inspire you to work through your problems and get back on the path to higher successes.
The Highest Calling is a business novel — with valuable lessons to learn. It’s the story of Troy Becker, owner of a home remodeling contracting business that is squeaking by … barely.
Troy had dreams when he started in business 12 years ago. But the day-to-day realities of running his small business have worn him down. He finds himself in a routine going nowhere fast: getting his morning coffee at the local coffee shop, dealing with an endless stream of business problems, working late each evening until he’s exhausted, neglecting his family.
Troy is the proverbial business owner so caught up with working in his business, that he can’t muster enough energy to work on his business.
Most years he barely ekes out a profit. You get the impression the business is just a few slow-sales months away from going under.
Troy is so overwhelmed, he doesn’t know how to change his lot. At least, he doesn’t at first.
All that starts to change when Troy gets a visit from Cy, an older businessman. At this point you will have to — as your English Literature professor used to say — “suspend disbelief.” Cy has died, but is told his work is not done. Cy is stuck in a sort of purgatory. Before he can find peace, Cy has to try to help Troy by being his mentor and coach. So starts a series of surprise visits by Cy. Over the weeks and months, Cy does what the best business coaches do best: he asks questions and gets Troy to realize what he needs to change and how.
We see Troy confront the issues that are holding back the business, starting with himself. His self-limiting thoughts are at the core of his business’s lackluster performance. Then we see Troy dare to think big again. We are there with him as he does the hard work of analyzing his business challenges, and one by one solves them. Eventually we see Troy boldly seize his dreams, start to transform his business, and get closer with his family.
But it’s hardly a straight upward climb. If it were, the book wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. No, along the way Troy deals with setbacks, such as when he hires two new sales people only to have them immediately leave and his sales pipeline dry up overnight.
And then a disaster strikes. I don’t want to be a spoiler and tell you too much about the disaster, but it changes Troy’s circumstances ultimately for the better.
Throughout, Troy has with him a blue journal book — you know, one of those books with blank lined pages you can write in. That book is where he does his planning to change his business. That blue book is an important symbol in The Highest Calling. It is the embodiment of his new transformative thoughts.
That blue journal book saves Troy. It saves him physically from a serious injury. It saves him symbolically by breaking him out of his self-limiting thoughts.
Business Success is Not Just About Money
The Highest Calling is part “It’s a Wonderful Life” and part “Atlas Shrugged“. Just like in It’s a Wonderful Life, the main character glimpses disaster, and bounces back with hope and self-esteem and enthusiasm and love, with the help of an “angel”. And like in Atlas Shrugged, it suggests that creating a successful profitable business has a higher moral purpose, because you will positively impact so many lives — yours, your employees’, and your families’. As one character in the book says:
“When you create a successful business, you are improving the lives of hundreds, thousands, even millions of people. There is no higher calling.”
The author is the real deal. Larry Janesky, is founder of Basement Systems and has grown it to a $60+ Million company.
Who This Book is For
The Highest Calling is best for owners of established small businesses that have been around for at least a few years. Any business owner who has ever had the uncomfortable feeling of drifting along, dissatisfied and unhappy enough to do something about it, needs this book.
Although the book is about a home remodeling contractor, don’t get hung up on that. The lessons apply to just about any kind of business. My business couldn’t be more different from a remodeler’s. But the book made a huge impact on me. I hated putting down The Highest Calling, and stayed up half the night reading it.
It’s not the best novel I’ve ever read. But that’s not how I judged it. I judged it as a business book– and it is a powerful business book.
An Unusual Package
The Highest Calling is sold as a package:
- the book;
- a set of CDs of the author narrating the book;
- your own blank journal book, so you can immediately start working on your own business instead of in it;
- a full money-back guarantee.
The author’s narration on the CDs does a nice job. There’s a lyrical quality to this book that comes out when you listen.
Everything about this package is quality. The book has high quality binding, an extra thick dust cover, and thick bright white pages. It has a satin ribbon bookmark built in. Even the blue journal is a heavy high quality book, not some small cheap notebook.
There’s symbolism to how the book is packaged and sold. It’s as if the author is saying: transforming your business is important stuff. You will have to work at it for a long time. YOU are worth investing in quality tools to help you.
UPDATE December 6, 2010: per the author’s comment below, the book is now priced at $49. The price tag for this quality is high, as books go: $149. However, when you compare it to the cost of hiring a business coach, that’s about one hour’s worth of coaching. Viewed that way, it’s a bargain. Those who believe in themselves and truly want to change their lot will gladly spend the $149 for this package, especially with the full money-back guarantee.