When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece

Recently I had a great experience of observing two tradesmen, a plumber and an electrician, at work. They were repairing something that needed fixing for a business client of mine. I happened to be there the same day and saw how they worked.

They were really good at the work they did; it demanded a good bit of figuring out how to solve the problem but they kept examining the options and managed to sort it. They worked really well together and it was very clear that they really enjoyed this kind of working together.

They interrupted us occasionally to clarify with the manager if he was happy with the option they were choosing. They seemed to treat the problem as though it was in their own house. The work that they did was simply excellent, and the manager was very impressed.

Did you ever spend a day working beside someone who both loved the work they did and were really skilled at it? If you have had the experience, you know how uplifting that is. It is so easy to be with people like that and work is easy for them too.

A very simple approach in deciding a career or the type of work you could pursue is to first make a list of the things you love. Then make a list of the things you are good at, skilled at. Then by comparing the two lists, you begin to get a feel of and a better understanding of where the lists coincide. And that is a great starting point.

When people both love their work and are skilled at it, they create work that is outstanding. Spending extra time, putting in extra effort, getting something just right and much better again than that – these are not hard work for people who love what they do. And we all have that capacity. But maybe we just need to start with what we love. Our masterpiece may be waiting to be started or finished.

John Ruskin said “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece”. People who create masterpieces are not just famous ones like Michael Angelo. They are ordinary skilled people like you and me who simply love and are passionate about the work they do.

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