In 1987, I was three. It was spring in our quiet Florida cul de sac, and with the sun shining, I toddled down the sidewalk to our neighbor’s driveway. Our neighbor Kevin was the industrious, focused and outdoorsy type. That showed in his choice of khaki cargo shorts and hiking trips, but it also was apparent in his choice of vehicle. On that balmy day, I clearly remember standing near the back of the car.
This was a truck, but different than a truck in my 3 year old mind, like a rectangle on wheels. A first generation Toyota 4Runner. It stood much taller than I, its white paint shining with reflections of the summer sun. I noticed a ball, a ping pong ball that is, affixed to a length of what I would later learn to be a CB cable. I was fascinated with the mounting bracket of the CB, so carefully affixed. My eyes were then drawn to the aftermarket rear bumper, no doubt fabricated by a friend, but the weld marks were clean and solid. I ran my chubby toddler fingers down the seam and was absolutely enamored. How did someone possibly put this together? It was so different from a “regular” car…at least in my mind at the time.
Flash forward 20 some odd years. In the market for a new car, I find myself standing on the lot at a Toyota dealership, admiring a 4Runner. As I got into the driver’s side of my soon-to-be new car, I took a moment to take it in. The careful stitching on the doors, finishes to the dashboard, the thoughtful placement of controls are the first things I noticed. Although there are countless differences between a vehicle made in 1984 compared to one in 2015, the underlying current remains the same and ultimately is what I now realize I so admired as a child. Craftsmanship.
Craftsmanship is a sturdy word, most often associated with making something with one’s hands, and as the dictionary would have it, “skill in a particular craft”. It’s what makes all the things we produce or say memorable, special, and truly have meaning. Craftsmanship is the difference between a thing we have and a thing we love. From a more human perspective, it’s the difference between something we do because we have to, and something we do because we get to
If you’re struggling with your job, or maybe you’re having trouble getting motivation to get up in the morning, perhaps feeling like you don’t even like your field of work anymore, I urge you to work on your perspective of your craft with the following three things: Honor, hone and grow. Let’s do this.
Honor Thy Craft
If you see value in what you do for a living, you’re already on a great path. Treat your job with a reverence that is unmatched. I would encourage you to write out a list of all the things you’re best doing at your job, then write out the benefits that your clients or customers see as a result. It’s okay to be a little ego about it- the point of this exercise is to see where your work positively impacts others. A little respect for what it is you do and provide others can go a long way.
Honoring your employment is a direct pathway to incredible growth, self love, confidence and a deeper connection to the job that used to just pay your bills. Honor thy craft and your clients will honor you.
Hone Your Craft
Hone your craft by adapting, learning and exploring constantly.
This one is simple so I’ll keep it short. No matter how skilled you are in your job or personal life, there’s always room for improvement and more knowledge. You don’t see a black belt in Karate sitting around because they’ve done it all. When you think you’ve reached the top, keep going.
These aspects of craftsmanship are what sets people, account managers, agencies and businesses apart. Respect your livelihood, master the skills, and cultivate growth within yourself. What we do in our work is our art, and through craftsmanship, we can find fulfillment, respect and integrity while adding value to others. Honor thy craft; honor thyself.
Now go kick some ass!