By Paul Reilly
A few years ago, we attended a family party at my wife’s grandfather’s house. My daughters were playing with their cousins, and one of them accidentally knocked over a small clay statue. Unfortunately, the face broke off. My mother-in-law and her sister quickly tried gluing it back together. Thankfully, it kind of worked. Although the cracked piece was noticeable, the statue was back intact.
Have you ever tried to super glue something back together? You try gluing the broken pieces in a way that conceals the cracks. Our hope is that no one will ever notice the broken pieces. Those unsightly cracks ruin the image.
That’s a typical response to brokenness. We hide it. Broken is weak. Broken is embarrassing. We conceal brokenness—from ourselves and others. After concealing what is broken, we accept it, telling ourselves that what is broken stays broken. However, by concealing and accepting brokenness, we miss an opportunity.
What if there’s a better way to repair what is broken?
In Japanese culture, repairing broken pieces is literally an art form. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery. In Kintsugi the cracks are not concealed, they are illuminated with gold, silver, or platinum. The broken pieces are treated as part of the story rather than being disguised. The beauty is in the broken places.
Between the coronavirus and the economy, everyone is feeling a little broken. However, these broken moments are opportunities to grow. These broken moments will eventually illuminate our story. It’s only in being broken that we become a better version of ourselves. Don’t conceal brokenness. Don’t hopelessly accept it either! Embrace brokenness with the belief that you will emerge stronger.
Our career (and life) is not defined by what happens to us; it’s defined by how we respond. Everyone is going to feel a little broken as we navigate these uncertain times. Although the cracks will be visible, like the broken pottery, you’ll be made whole again. These broken moments are defining moments that will illuminate your story.