Eric Clapton told to wait for 10 years for his guitar to be made

Curious how three emails I received this week all fitted so well together.

The first to land was a blog post from Seth Godin.  Seth sees the world differently to most commentators, and his writing is so spot on it can stop me in my tracks.

In his post the message was simple. “Most of us are not in the business of being perfect (i.e. we are not all Doctors, airline pilots, etc.), so stop behaving as though you are!”

The need to be perfect can hide a multitude of excuses for me, such as procrastination, lack of confidence, fear of rejection, not being wanted or liked and so many more.  Yet, in reality, we have no real need to be perfect.  Having said that, it is not an excuse for doing poor, shoddy work.  It also brings to mind a belief that failure is a bad thing and that successful people do not fail.  Brene Brown once commented about failure at a TED conference, by observing that everyone who spoke had failed, not once but many times during their careers.  Yet all those watching would consider the speakers to be successful.

The second message to land was from Danielle LaPorte.  Whilst not as well known as Seth, this lady writes dramatically yet with very few words, and inspirationally yet in a way very different to most ‘inspirers’.

In this post she proposed that, “We show up, be human, be honest and be real”, in all that we say and do.  She also said that, “We need to show our vibe, to create our tribe”.

How many of us live our lives for the benefit of others, maybe out of fear, lack of confidence, fear of rejection…sounding familiar?  It is almost that to show up and be human, honest and real is a bad thing, and if we decide to behave that way, people would laugh at us, not like us, and not take us seriously.  Yet those who have shown their real selves to the world, have not only been applauded for their courage, but the connection that was there before with their tribe is now even stronger and deeper.  Furthermore, that one person’s willingness to do so, gives others permission to do the same, thus sharing their vulnerability too.  Brene Brown’s TED talks on shame and vulnerability explains this in more detail.

Finally, Jonathan Fields’ message.  Jonathan is the founder of the Good Life Project.  Here Jonathan interviews well know people, including Seth Godin and Brene Brown, coincidently.  He was also behind a great resource called The Art of Revolution, aimed at business owners who are seeking to build their business based on what they love and are passionate about.  Again, a very similar theme to what Seth offers in his book, The Icarus Deception.

In this ‘sound riff’, as Jonathan calls them, he references the work of Wayne Henderson, a legendary US guitar maker, who once told Eric Clapton that he would be happy to make him a guitar, but he would have to wait for about ten years for him to do so.  Jonathan says that, “Greatness is not just about skills it is about your essence, it is not just about your experience (as in Wayne’s case making guitars), but the sum of all your experiences (that go into making each guitar)”.  What’s important is the state of mind of the person building the guitar”.  He goes on “If you want to make better stuff, be a better person”.

We all know the old story of the two bricklayers being asking what they were doing, one replying, “Building a wall”, and the other replying, “Building a Cathedral”.  So, not needing to be perfect aligns nicely to what Danielle is saying, if we show up, be human, be honest and be real, it shows up in what we produce, be it a product or a service.  The energy in which we build and deliver our offering gets carried by that offering to our Client who will notice, albeit at a subconscious level, the difference.  Indeed, seeking to make something perfect, could take away the human element.  Eric Clapton certainly noticed this all when he picked up and played one of Wayne’s guitars.

So, how are you showing up now, or going to show up tomorrow?

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