Your flaws and imperfections are the things that make you awesome.

To illustrate this, I want to share a story that happened over 500 years ago.

In the 15th century, there was a Japanese Shogun named Ashikaga Yoshimasa.

He had a favorite tea bowl, much like you might have a favorite coffee mug. Something that has sentimental value and can’t be replaced.

One day, Ashikaga wasn’t paying attention and he knocked over his tea bowl.

It shattered into pieces and his heart sank.

Discouraged, he sent his favorite tea bowl out to be repaired.

When it came back two days later, it was fixed using ugly metal staples and black, coarse, nasty glue.

Ashikaga held it in his hands and felt utter disappointment. This wasn’t acceptable.

Ashikaga called in his best craftsmen from the Osaka region. He handed over the bowl and challenged them to find a more aesthetically pleasing method of repair.

The craftsmen went to work. They carefully took apart the previously fixed bowl. They removed the staples and the black coarse ugly glue.

After cleaning each piece, they began to use lacquer and gold to meticulously repair the cracks.

The entire process took two weeks.

The craftsmen returned and presented the tea bowl. Ashikaga’s heart leapt.

The shogun was extremely pleased with the result.

Born out of the efforts of these craftsmen came the art of Kintsugi.

Kintsugi in Japanese translates to “golden joinery.” It has become a metaphor for embracing your breaks and flaws. It espouses the idea that the broken is more beautiful than the pristine.

The gold is used to intentionally call attention to the breaks instead of concealing them.

Collectors became so enamored with the new art that some were accused of deliberately smashing valuable pottery so it could be repaired with the golden seams of kintsugi.

Here is the important takeaway from the art form of kintsugi:

Carefully tending to the cracks makes the object more beautiful,
not despite the flaws, but because of attention placed on them.

Own your flaws. Highlight and illuminate them, don’t cover them up.

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Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.

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