An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots – each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. Each day, she would venture down to the stream, fill the pots and trek back to her home to use the water for her household chores.
While the two pots appeared identical, one had a crack in it and the other pot was a perfect vessel. The perfect pot always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the house. Unfortunately, however, the cracked pot arrived only half full each day.
Shame in the shortcoming?
For years, the elderly woman brought home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
After years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the woman one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.”
Value in the shortcoming?
The woman smiled, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”
Each of us has our own unique imperfections, whether in reality or in our brand. It is up to us to determine whether these shortcomings are an asset or a liability.
Frank Agin is the founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections. In addition, Frank is the author of Foundational Networking: Building Know, Like and Trust To Create A Lifetime of Extraordinary Success and the co-author of LinkedWorking: Generating Success on the World’s Largest Professional Networking Website and The Champion: Finding the Most Valuable Person in Your Network.