I love the word to craft. I prefer it to just create or find. I like its depth and its multiple layers. It reflects the different levels we must travel to find our ideal work. It provides a much more rich approach to creating and evolving our livelihood.
Craft in its essence is about making things.
'To Craft' reminds us that we are here to make something. Applied to our work, it gives depth. A job becomes not just about making money but about how we leave our mark. It reflects back to us that our work makes the world we live in.
'What are you making today through your work?'
Craft is about special skill.
When you are looking for the work you are really here to do, that is what you are looking for. What is that special skill or thing that only you can do? There is only one of you. You are a unique combination of genes, experiences, knowledge, skills and potential. There is nobody else exactly like you.
You might have lots of insecurities that stop you seeing what you have to offer. But still because your are unique, there are things that you do that only you can do. And I mean that in a positive way.
That is the foundation of your ideal work. What you need to build on. The seed you will grow. The raw material you will use to make your mark.
I was once told by a mentor that you should base your work on what you think you could become the best in the world at. I could see how it could work for tennis players or musicians, but not so much 'normal' work.
And so I asked the people around me what they came to me for. What it was they saw me as being the best at in their circle. They explained that I was the one they came to, to get reconnected to their true potential and realigned to their real calling. They could always trust me to get them back on track when they got lost on the way,
'What special skill do you have? What is that thing only you can do? What could you be the best in the world at?'
Craft includes an art, a trade or an occupation.
Once you have that special skill you will need to package it into something that you can sell.
What you get paid for is something that people find useful. This is especially true if you are really great at it and passionate about it. So find that special skills, because that’s the seed. Then, you plant it and nurture it, until it has grown into an occupation - something that someone finds useful and will actually pay you for. One of my coaches had a great question to help with this. She asked me to think about 'how are you the answer for someone else's problem?'
'What would you love to be paid for?'
Crafting is making something with careful attention.
Crafting is for me how we should approach our creating of our ideal work. Dare I say that creating your career should be sacred.
Spoiler alert. You are going to spend a lot of time at work. It will have a major impact on your health and well-being. It will greatly influence whether you are happy or not (you spend 8 hours a day at least there remember).
It will determine how much money you make and therefore what lifestyle you have. It will affect your marriage. It will affect your children’s future. They will learn from watching you whether work they love is possible or not. It is the key to your legacy. It might even be the only thing people remember you for if you work all the time.
So I believe it deserves special attention. At the beginning and throughout. It will be one of the main ways you will express yourself in this lifetime.
That is why I love this concept of careful attention. It reminds you that how you experience your work and what you contribute through it is precious. This goes beyond what business you will set up or what job you will do. It is about how you live in your work and how your work lives you. It is not just about the money it is about how you show up in the world through what you do.
'Will you be another lost soul just making money? Or will you craft your work with care as if it was your greatest work of art?'
Craft implies love.
Most people just fall into their career, they don’t expect to fall in love with it.
'Craft' makes me think of artisans and artists - who express their love through what they make. I believe we are all here to became artisans and artists.
Let’s be clear before you panic and say you are not creative. Just think for a minute. How would things be different if you approached your work like artisans and artists do? How could you express your love through your work? How could you do your work in a loving way? How would that change things?
People talk a lot about ‘finding what you love.’ This leads multi-passionate people to respond in frustration ‘I love lots of things - what should I choose?’ Loving something is not enough - the real question is how will you express your love through what you do? If you saw work as an act of love, what would you do?
There is a beautiful series you can find on vimeo called Made By Hand. It is a short film series celebrating ‘the people who make things by hand - sustainably, locally and with a love of their craft.’ When I watch it I get back in touch with the soulfulness of work. I am always struck by the fact that yes they love what they do. But what they do is also their way of loving.
In one video, there is the story of a knife maker. He started as a writer, but was not getting anywhere. So he decided to just make things. That is how he found knife making. That is what he does now - he lovingly makes beautiful knives that top chefs use. Everyday he shows up and expresses his love through his knives.
'What could you fall in love with over and over again? What would be worth pouring your love into?'
Craft means perfecting.
Craftsmen don’t just find what they want to do and then sit back. They perfect their art everyday. They are not just watching the other guy down the hall all the time. They are not obssessed with competing with others. If they are, they usually fail as craftsmen. They compete with their day old self. They ask:'How can I become the person that produces better art today than the art I made yesterday?'
One of my favourite poems when I was young, was by Arthur Rimbaud, a French Poet. He talked about the quest of the artist as bringing into life the perfection of their true vision. The closest they got to that the more at peace they felt. That is what I see our ideal work being about. Perfecting our art until we can bring into being a vision of perfection that initially only we can see.
I remember once working with someone who loved the idea of being a tour guide in castles in Ireland. As she told me about her vision of what that would be like, it was like you were there with her. You could experience directly what her style of tour guiding would be. In her own way she was a budding tour guiding artist. There was that perfect vision only she could make come alive.
'What perfect vision do you have that wants to live?'
If you don’t know off hand then just think about the things you complain about. That is a good place to start. Where we see imperfection is where our contribution lives.
Until next time,
Louise is a Next Generation Leadership Catalyst and Advocate.
She helps leaders who are successful but feel that something is missing create and step into impact driven careers and leadership. Specifically she guides them align to purpose, create meaningful work and become the Next Generation Leaders they are meant to be. Aka the Visionaries, Innovators and System Shifters who are building the loving sustainable world of tomorrow where we can all flourish.
She is the Founder and CEO of Positive Energy Leaders and the Creator of The Positive Energy Academy - An online course, incubator and transformational community for leaders to create and sustain fulfilling, meaningful work that has a positive impact. Click here to find out more about the Positive Energy Academy
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