Chipping away at the mountain is the only way sculpt a professional masterpiece

Mt Rushmore unfinishedMt. Rushmore finishedEvery day I come to work and I have countless important things to do.  The goals of business success are clear as I have noted in a prior post.   Working day by day the small bits of progress can be ignored when the big success has yet to come.  While most people know inherently that the daily toil and anticipation are worthwhile, the waiting can at times wear down one’s confidence.

To combat this I’ve employed a somewhat metaphorical solution.   I think about the sculpting of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and how it must have looked at its various stages of development.   I imagine that for the longest time it just looked like some craggy rock formation.  When it was finished it ends up being one of the great wonders of the world.  Or at least something close to that (I’ve never visited but it’s on my list).   So indeed I am comparing one’s day to day work to sculpting a professional masterpiece.

All the little things you do during the day that you know to be the right things add up to helping make big things happen.   It has to be a given that you are thinking before you act and that you lay out a plan that is concrete, and (in time) achievable.   That’s a big ‘given’ to be sure but my point is about doing all those things that help keep your professional relationships and endeavors on track for potential success.

Professional relationships with colleagues, co-workers and vendors are critically important to business and professional success.   Keeping in touch with people in your network (this goes for both personal and professional networks) takes effort, being aware of trends in your network’s business segments shows that you are interested and that you care.  All relationships both business and professional take ongoing effort – sometimes in business people tend to forget that.

Professional endeavors such as big projects you might be working on for long periods also require the ability to accept that progress is often made incrementally and the key is to keep on chipping away, even when the end does not seem to be in sight.   It can be difficult to measure exactly where you are at any given time but it is critical to assess your overall position on the path.  As long as the goal remains clear you should be able to figure out if you are moving backward, standing still or moving forward on that path to success.

Since there may be others like me that have exactly zero talent as a sculptor of marble, clay, limestone or any other rock, it’s a good thing that artistic talent has nothing to do with sculpting one’s own professional masterpiece.

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
This entry was posted in Best business practices, Career Development, Professional Development, Team performance and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Chipping away at the mountain is the only way sculpt a professional masterpiece

  1. This is a very good one Mark! I too sculpt daily and have to rely on the long-term big picture to keep me motivated…especially when I need to personally regroup. I’m looking forward to the day when we both will be considered “Wonders of the World”!


  2. Nader Ashway says:

    Really good thoughts here, Mark. Thanks for the reminder – I, too, need to keep my eyes on the finished product. Another wonderful thought I’ve heard here (in a similar metaphor) is about Michelangelo. The idea is that he didn’t “make” the statue of David, he simply removed everything that WASN’T David. Definitely something we can strive for in our day-to-day at work, eh?


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