Are You Over the Top? Interested, Dedicated, Fascinated

by Heather Hughes on September 14, 2012

Interested, dedicated, fascinated. I got this string of words from Neil Armstrong. Together they describe the team that got man to the moon and back. You could say that team was “over the top”. They worked long and hard hours to get it right, precisely right. Gosh, I just love that. I love people who are over the top.

Just this week I decided to peruse my huge Restoration Hardware catalog and accompanying magazine of sorts. I was skeptical because when I saw their “deconstructed” furniture a few years ago I thought it was affected. I got that feeling from the new CEO too. He looked like he’d been dressed by a cast of characters who were trying to create a character.

Time to say I was wrong. OK, I’ve never met the guy but I did actually read his letter, entitled “Fearless and Hopeless”. Gary Friedman, chairman emeritus, is nothing but over the top and I think it is genuine.

“We are taught from the time we are born to conform. To conform to current and conventional views. We are discouraged from taking risks and encouraged to follow the proven path. In many ways, we have been taught how to follow, rather than to lead. We’ve been encouraged to look at the stars rather than to reach for them. …

… we at Restoration Hardware admire those inspired spirits who believe, like we do, that the ideas of the future don’t exist in the past – who are true to their quest, fearlessly and hopelessly pursuing their passions.”

Take a look at what Restoration Hardware is turning out. It is pretty incredible.

I’ve worked with and for some over-the-top people and boy did I love it. They believed in their passions and the pursuit thereof. People like John Simmons, Jamie Lewis, Gary Rowe, the fellows at Dahlin Smith White, Spencer Kirk, David LeCheminant and Martha Felt. Each over the top in their own way. At times I have been called over the top. Touted for my passion. I admit, I wore it as a badge of honor and at times it became thoughtless emotion or driven self-righteousness.

I am older now. We all are. I’m not quite as fiery as before, but I still glow from the inside out. I have a passion to do great things, with great people. My strength is my drive, it’s now a bit tempered with a slightly more relaxed mental attitude. If I don’t get my way I may let go a little more easily. Spencer Kirk once told me I was like a bulldog. I just wouldn’t let go. It was a great compliment from a great man.


Post script: I just read that Gary Friedman is no longer Restoration Hardware’s Co-CEO. He has feet of clay. As do we all. He’s starting a new business with ties to Restoration Hardware.

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