A few years ago, I was working with a client during a crisis. Public perception was getting out of hand fast and we were creating communications pieces to help clarify the story. An individual asked me how he could edit a graphic I had created. He didn’t understand why Microsoft Office wouldn’t allow him to do so. I explained he would need special software. He didn’t appreciate that answer. When he walked away, another person on the team came up to me and said they had a phrase for that in Britain. “We call that stitching yourself into the work.”
I wasn’t intentionally manipulating circumstances so I was the only person capable of editing the file. I was simply using the proper tools to create my best work. Still, I had done just what my accuser’s teammate had explained. I had ‘stitched myself into the work’. I understood the phrase had negative connotations, but what if this metaphor has positive qualities that could enhance our contributions and our satisfaction in contributing?
What I’m saying is similar to what Seth Godin endorses when he writes . . .
You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.
Seth Godin, Linchpin
The world seemingly demands us to create what the can understand and hold in their hand, manipulating it to whatever they wish or envision. But, can’t they make that themselves?
Truly, what the world craves is the rarity that resides within you. They want to be stunned by something they could not do on their own. We want others to inspire us with a sense of wonder that leaves us asking, “How did she do that?”
Our heroes are the men who do things which we recognize with regret and sometimes with a secret shame that we cannot do. We find not much in ourselves to admire, we are always privately wanting to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself there would be no heroes.
- Mark Twain
Do something others admire. You don’t have to write the next American classic or cure a disease. It could be something small, like the way you treat customers or how you encourage your co-workers.
What I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.
- Mother Teresa
Stitch yourself into your work. Bring your unique personality, experience, passion, interests and gifts into the marketplace. It is what we really desire from you, and we will admire you for it.