Marsh Painting is founded on three generations of trade knowledge and bolstered by the decades of combined experience of our close-knit team of professional painters. We take the painting trade seriously and pride ourselves on our work – but the success of Marsh Painting is based on more than just our impeccable work. That’s because we place just as much value in creating a positive, joyful experience for our team and our customers as we do in the finished product.
Joel Marsh’s Philosophy on Work & Life
Joel Marsh, owner of Marsh Painting, has been painting Park City homes since 1999. He learned the trade from his father, who was a professional painter during his summers off from school as a teacher. Joel’s father, in turn, learned at his father’s side – making painting a three-generation trade in the Marsh family. Joel has fond memories of painting with his father throughout his four years in college and found satisfaction in the freedom of owning his own business after moving to Park City and starting Marsh Painting.
As his reputation and team have steadily grown over the years, Joel continues to hold onto two philosophies that drive both his business and his life: approaching everything with an alpine-style climbing mindset and the continual search for joy in the day-to-day grind.
The Alpine-Style Mindset
Author of “The Behavior Gap” and New York Times contributing writer Carl Richards published an article back in 2015 titled What Mountain Climbing Can Teach You About Business. In it he defines alpine-style climbing as gathering everything you think you would need to climb a mountain, then removing one item at a time until you have only what you can carry – what’s known as climbing light. He goes on to note that, “Learning about alpine-style climbing helped me see that what we think we need, and what we really need, are usually two very different things.” Richards goes on to explain how this mindset has carried over into his life and his writing – and how a new friend showed him another way to apply the alpine-style mindset.
“I recently met someone that applied this line of thinking to his business. He thought he ‘needed’ a big warehouse, office space and more equipment to run his painting business. Of course he did, because, well, that’s what everyone running a painting business had.
So he took a hard look at how much these supposed necessities were costing him in time and money. With some careful planning, he stripped down his business to a file folder and an iPad. This small footprint offers a ton of flexibility and created many more options for him personally. He’s now running an alpine-style business.”
That businessman? You guessed it… Joel Marsh.
Centering his painting business around an alpine-style mindset has allowed him to free up time, money and resources to put them to use where they really matter. In doing so, Joel has built a streamlined business that flows seamlessly around the needs of both his customers and his team of local painters, keeping operations simple yet flexible.
Finding Joy in the Mundane
Joel will be the first to admit it: painting can be downright boring. It’s a painstaking, monotonous, repetitive job that requires both attention to detail and mindless hours doing the same thing over and over again, day after day. That’s why he believes so much in the importance of finding joy in the day-to-day, no matter where or how.
In a November 2021 episode of the podcast “How to Build a Happy Life” from The Atlantic, Arthur C. Brooks and psychotherapist and Atlantic contributing writer Lori Gottlieb discuss the importance of fun. The episode, in a nutshell:
“In adulthood, many of us are forced to recalibrate our relationship with joy. As responsibilities multiply exponentially, time grows limited, and challenges mount, it becomes harder to make time for fun, let alone remember what it feels like. As we explore the key components of happiness—pleasure, joy, and satisfaction—we ask the foundational question: What really brings me joy?
In this special-edition, bonus episode… Lori Gottlieb demystifies one of the vital components of a happy life: enjoyment. Gottlieb believes that we not only find it challenging to make time for day-to-day enjoyment, but also struggle to identify what it should feel like.”
Near the end of the episode, Brooks and Gottlieb take one final listener submission to close out their discussion of the importance of finding joy in everyday life:
“Listener Submission 3: Hi. My name is Joel Marsh, and I own Marsh Painting Inc. in Park City, Utah. [I’ve] been painting homes in Park City for over 20 years. And I’m a fourth-generation painter. What I’ve learned is that Arthur Brooks is correct in this column when he states that what matters is not so much the weight of a job—more the “who” and the “why.” One day, as we were staining a home, we took a 10-minute break and hit golf balls onto the adjoining driving range. With the homeowner’s permission, of course. Our work painting houses is hard and boring much of the time. I tell new recruits that more often than not, when you have good music going, some good Mexican food for lunch, and you get into a rhythm with the rest of the guys, our job can feel a little Zen-like.
Brooks: We’re pretty much near the end of the time, so let’s have this be kind of the last word. What’s your big takeaway? And what’s the big lesson that people should get from this incredibly encouraging message from Joel in Park City?
Gottlieb: Yeah, that was really beautiful. I was thinking about how, before COVID, people used to say co-workers are overrated. You know, people are like, “I really want to work from home,” or whatever it is. Co-workers are not overrated. I think that if we’ve learned anything, it’s those small moments like he was talking about—those spontaneous moments of like, Hey, let’s hit the golf balls, right?”
From taking fun, unexpected breaks to hit a few balls to joking with each other throughout the day and playing music that brings everyone some levity and joy, Joel has built his team’s culture to focus on the work at hand without forgetting to find those moments of joy that make the work worth doing.