Wabi-sabi sounds like something Dr. Seuss would put on his sushi, but really it is a Japanese art that you can borrow for your business; it is the art of finding beauty, even deep profundity, in imperfections.
Imagine a beautiful piece of pottery with a hideous crack in it. You might look at it and see the flaw, maybe even dismiss it as broken and worthless. But now see that same crack, filled with beautiful gold. Not ostentatious, but proud, and authentic. What if you could do the same thing in your business when something breaks?
Imagine now two scenarios: in the first scenario, a painter is hired for a job and paints the room beautifully. There are no drips, no scratches, no weird hairs stuck in the paint. The painter cleans up and leaves. This is our dream, right? A perfectly delivered promise, with no problems or errors.
Second scenario: a painter is hired for a job and also paints the room beautifully. Unfortunately, the painter spills some paint on the floor and scratches the wall. The painter shows the client the damage and tells them what they are doing to fix the problem. They promise the client “I will not accept payment until this is cleaned up to your satisfaction.” They do a timely and thorough cleanup, and then leave a vase of flowers in the client’s home when they leave.
Which scenario do you suppose leaves a more lasting impression? Could it be that your business, without mistakes, inadvertently makes you mediocre?
Imperfections can be endearing. They remind us of the authenticity and fundamental humanness of each other. Just as a crack filled with gold stands out from a thousand perfect pots.
Where are you trying to hide your imperfections and vulnerabilities that might be your biggest assets?
Where is fear of screwing up keeping your from doing your best work?
And where could the flaws in your business be aggrandized and celebrated?