D. Gary Young: Maverick, Shokunin, Pioneer

Young Living Founder and CEO D. Gary Young has dedicated his life and countless personal sacrifices to creating essential oils that surpass every quality standard. His motivation? The belief that pure essential oils have the power to touch and change lives. Young Living Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Jared Turner shares his thoughts below on what sets Gary and his approach apart:

 

 

Gary Young is currently building a new Young Living farm up in cold British Columbia, Canada. As I think about this great personal sacrifice, I’ve been considering all the things people say about him, both good and bad. Some call him “crazy.” Others call him the “maverick” or “guru” of the modern essential oil movement. As with most leaders of movements that change the world, Gary Young seems to elicit a variety of opinions.

 

One title I love that describes the spirit of what D. Gary Young represents is that of “shokunin.” A traditional Japanese title, “shokunin” (or “craftsman”) could well encapsulate all the best of Gary. Shokunin are individuals who care deeply about their craft; however, even this literal description doesn’t fully express the full meaning of the word. Shokunin care passionately, even spiritually, about their work—to the point of utmost personal sacrifice. They don’t care for money; they care only to improve the world through the perfection of their craft. In this way, the world is better because of them. They see what they do as an art form that must be perfected every day, faithfully. They never rest and are rarely tired because they are doing what they were meant to do: living their purpose through their work.

 

Japanese artist Tasio Odate elaborates further:

“The shokunin has a social obligation to work his best for the general welfare of the people. This obligation is both spiritual and material, in that no matter what it is, the shokunin’s responsibility is to fulfill the requirement.”

 

Gary Young is the true craftsman of the art of the cultivation, distillation, and quality testing of essential oils. He is comparable to none. He excels at his craft not only because he’s done if for decades but also because it is as natural to him as flying is to an eagle or swimming is to a fish. It is what he is meant to do.

 

Recent demonstrations of his shokunin spirit include the personal physical sacrifices he is experiencing in Canada. Gary recently told us that he is never warm. The only time he’s able to “thaw out” is a couple of hours after he tucks in his bed late at night after a long, arduous day at the farm. And it’s not just the brutal cold: he has cuts and bruises all over his body as a result of his drive to beat the deep winter clock and get people the oils they love.

 

I tell you this only to show you what we have in D. Gary Young; his dedication to his craft is immeasurably valuable to all of us. Remember: he loves what he’s doing and is meant to do it.

 

As recipients of this shokunin gift, it’s incumbent upon us to tell the story, to connect others to the Young Living “why” and continue the revolution in wellness that Gary Young started decades ago. We strive to help you tell this story through our emphasis on Young Living’s Seed to Seal® promise, as evidenced in our farm-centric events, the ongoing rebrand, and our marketing materials (check out SeedtoSeal.com).

 

Our detractors, including competitors, are attacking on all sides. They know that they are shadows of what we are and what we stand for—and they don’t like it. They know that they can’t compete with our original, authentic and rich narrative, so they attack the source of that narrative: Gary Young. We continue to tell our story despite this, and will defend our virtue as the originator and leader of the essential oil movement. Gary Young created a culture and ethos of wellness and empowerment that has lasted for decades—and it will last for decades more.

 

The bottom line is that whatever our competitors want to call Gary, they can’t call him a copycat. They can’t call him an imitator. At a minimum they can hopefully acknowledge that he’s the real deal and has taught them everything they know about essential oils. Maybe instead of attacking, it’s time that they give credit where credit is due. But guess what? Gary won’t be listening to any apologies; he’s too busy working in Canada to make the world a better place, one drop at a time.

 

And in case you still want to call Gary Young “crazy,” well, that may not be so bad either. Just ask Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…the ones who see things differently—they’re not fond of rules…You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things…they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.”

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We are grateful for the pioneering vision and tireless dedication of our founder. How has Gary’s work touched your life? Let us know in the comments!