A conversation with Paul Anderson
As cheesy as it might sound, I’ve always just wanted to add value to the experience that I’m having with anyone I interact with and to do the right thing. Makes you feel good—and it reinforces your commitment to do more in the world and create something with them. I wanted to be a soccer player, professional soccer player. Got pretty close, but the genes just weren’t there—it didn’t happen for me.
So I thought, “You know, if I can’t earn money with athletics, maybe I can earn money with my mouth.” Then I thought, “If I can articulate things effectively and I can add value to situations, then perhaps that’s the vocation for me.” Got me back to America, baby.
My wife and I looked at each other one day when the rain came pouring down in England. During a break in the rain, we thought, “Imagine what it’s like where it’s not overcast or raining all the time.” So we packed up everything, flew into Seattle, and experienced exactly the same weather as we did in England. [laughing] Like, “What am I doing? What am I doing?” So that’s why we gravitated to California. And then the rest is history. Here I am, planted and grained.
In regards to my books, I’m not the best writer in the world, but I can absolutely write about communication, and selling, really, is just basic communication. You ask, “How can I meet the needs, wants, desires of the person I’m talking to?” So many people think that selling is about pushing something on somebody—but the success that I’ve had in my life has come from understanding selling as adding value for another person, focusing on their interests, and figuring out what they can gain from our interaction.
One of my books is on mentorship and how mentors help people, especially sales people, find contentment and build resilience. It teaches you how to constantly keep moving forward, even when you’re getting pushback, and to create a life that’s more creative, more productive, more engaged, more present.
How did I get in the furniture industry? It just grabs you. I came into the industry… gosh, fifteen or sixteen years ago. At the time, a friend of mine had become the hiring director at a furniture company, and he said to me, “Jump out of where you are, Paul—there’s a world for you here. Get out of that mechanical world you’re in.” And now, I’m here. Will I ever leave? Probably not. It’s such a great world to be in. It’s always evolving, and that’s what’s so awesome about it. It’s so linked to people.
I’m inspired by the open road. It continuously offers me a sense of reality, refreshing perspective on challenges, and unobstructed time for creative thought without actually thinking. It’s about disconnecting from the ‘norm’ and finding yourself in control of one of the fastest machines on the planet—very humbling.
A favorite route is following Pacific Coast Highway along the ocean to the winding country lane roads that lead to the top of Palomar Mountain, over six thousand elevated feet, then back toward home, passing through beautiful Lake Hodges.