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I wrote a book called The Carpenter but it’s really about how to be a craftsman / craftswoman and build greatness. We are all building and creating something; a business, a house, a career, a new product, a life. We can show up each day and go through the motions or we can work to create a masterpiece.

Yes, it's easier to just show up and go through the motions. It's easier to be mediocre. But nobody remembers average and going through the motions won't make an impact. If you want to leave your mark on this word and build something great you must decide to become a craftsman / craftswoman. The great news is we can all do it. It’s difficult and takes more time and energy but it’s well worth your effort. In this spirit I want to share 7 ways to master your craft and build greatness.

1) Design Your Masterpiece - In order to build something, you must first design it. You must know what you want to build. You must have a vision of the masterpiece you are creating. If you can see it, you can create it. If you have a vision you also have the power to make it happen. The key is to be intentional and decide what you truly want to build and create.

2) Work Your Craft - You don’t master your craft or build a masterpiece overnight. It takes a lot of years, hard work, sweat and tears. It’s why Michelangelo said, "If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all." It’s a process that requires you to continuously work at your craft in order to improve and grow. A great example of this is Pablo Casals, the famous cellist, who was asked at the age of 90 why he continued to practice. He said, "Because I think I'm making progress." If you want to master your craft you have to be willing to show up each day and do the work that greatness requires. (Read this short blurb: The Way of the Craftsman )

3) Build With Optimism - When a craftswoman is building something, she is so focused on creating her vision and masterpiece that she is filled with optimism and belief about what she is building. While there are challenges during the building process the craftswoman uses those challenges as opportunities to innovate and adapt. You must believe in what you are building and find a way to get it done. What you believe determines what you create. So, make sure you maintain your belief and optimism as you build greatness.

4) Love It - The famous opera singer Luciano Pavarotti was asked about his exceptional discipline to continuously work on his craft. He said, "People think it's discipline but it’s not discipline. It's devotion." As a craftsman it’s your love and devotion that will drive your discipline. Your love for what you do will drive you to build greatness. If you don’t love it you’ll never work to be great at it. This means if you want to become a master of your craft then make sure you choose a craft you love. If you love it you’ll be more likely to invest the time to work your craft and be devoted to it.

5) Care More - The difference between just showing up to build something and intentionally creating a masterpiece is reflected in the heart, soul, passion and care that you put into what you are building. If you care more you will do more, give more and create more. To build something great you must care more about what you are building than all of the distractions vying for your attention. Distractions are the enemy of greatness and if you care about your craft you won’t let these distractions get in the way of your growth.

6) Create Inside-Out - A craftsman creates from the inside out. From their spirit, heart, soul and essence inside them they create the masterpieces we see in the world. It’s the same way with your life or anything you create. What you see in your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. There's a word called Meraki. It means to do something with love, creativity and soul; to leave a piece of yourself in your work; to leave something behind. Being a craftsman / craftswoman is all about Meraki. Put your love and soul into it. Leave a piece of yourself in whatever it is you are building. Leave something behind. Create a masterpiece that reflects the essence of your love, energy, effort and craft.

7) Take on New Challenges - A craftsman always wants to make their next work their best work and they're willing to take on new challenges in order to grow. I read a piece by Charles Killian where he shares the story of Donatello rejecting a three-ton block of marble stone because it had too many flaws and cracks in it. The haulers decided to bring it to Michelangelo to see if he wanted the stone. Michelangelo inspected the stone and discovered the flaws and cracks in it as well. But he decided to do something with it. He thought it would be a challenge to his craftsmanship. From that flawed block of marble, he would go on to create the statue of David, the greatest art treasure in the world.

My hope is that like Michelangelo you will be willing to take on your challenges to build your masterpiece. I know you are here to build something great because you have greatness inside you. It won’t be easy and it may take a while. Anything worthwhile takes time to build. But if you love the process, you’ll love what the process produces. I look forward to hearing about what you build / create! Let me know.  

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