Kintsugi — Navigating Workplace Challenges with Resilience

Everyone, at some point, has made mistakes at work. It’s a part of the experience—going through periods of difficulty or facing unfavorable consequences due to decisions we’ve made or unintentional errors. Making mistakes or falling short of specific goals is more common than it seems. However, the shame or stigma surrounding errors or failures remains the norm. Yet, how we handle these setbacks and rise above adversities speaks volumes about our attitude and ability to overcome challenges.

What’s Kintsugi?

Kintsugi is an ancient Japanese technique for repairing ceramic pieces. Its aim isn’t to hide the cracks caused by breakage, but to mend and highlight them using gold dust or liquid silver. This process gives the cracks a new value, accentuating the beauty of their imperfections.

This technique bestows uniqueness upon each ceramic piece. It’s impossible for two pieces to be identical. However, if we interpret Kintsugi from a human perspective, it becomes a philosophy of life. As Ernest Hemingway said, “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong in the broken places.” Undoubtedly, it’s a philosophy that focuses on seeing moments of despair and sadness as opportunities for healing and personal growth.

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Kintsugi at the workplace

In the professional world, Kintsugi shares a deep connection with resilience. It’s about our ability to adapt and surmount the obstacles that come our way. In the workplace, these challenges can range from minor setbacks to significant crises impacting the entire organization. But, what relevance does Kintsugi hold for companies?

Kintsugi is an art that teaches us to find beauty in imperfections, value the story within each object, and turn flaws into strengths. In the workplace, this means seizing every mistake or failure as an opportunity for learning and growth. Every challenge we overcome enhances our resilience and fosters our professional development. Ultimately, this philosophy inspires us to turn every misstep into a golden opportunity for success.


Grow from your failures

Failure is just a part of life for everyone. We all mess up sometimes. But, rather than feeling down about it, mistakes can actually spark learning and creativity. The key is how we face them and use those experiences to grow. That’s how failures become chances to level up in the professional world.

  1. Analyze your mistakes: You can’t live in the past, but you can’t ignore it. If you reflect on what went wrong and why, you can figure out the root issue and prevent it from happening again.
  2. Use feedback to improve: Not all criticism is meant to offend. Take it as an opportunity to see where you might need to do things differently. Use the information to correct your mistakes and enhance your strengths.
  3. Take a moment to reflect: While juggling multiple tasks, it’s easy to forget to pause and think. But giving yourself that moment is crucial to gaining clarity, understanding your lessons learned, and finding ways to improve.
  4. Establish improvement protocols: Knowing what to improve isn’t enough; knowing how to do it is crucial. Implement clear and measurable changes. Create an action plan with detailed specifications for everything to be done, preventing errors and ensuring progress.

Just as in the art of Kintsugi, your failures can be powerful tools for growth. The key is knowing how to harness and appreciate them.

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