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One piece of work – 4000 lives.

The amber colour of the chandelier attracted my attention. It hung beautifully in the light creating lacy shadows on the wall of the gallery of the National Archives exhibition in Canberra. “Is that amber?” my Baltic heart questioned. I had to get up close to see what this was made of. When I looked closely, I was surprised to find hundreds of tiny vials filled with this golden substance all chained together to create this beautiful piece of artwork.

What is this? What is this substance that came together to create such beauty?

The answer was written on the wall. This piece of art was created by a Rebecca McEwan and called 4000 stories. It contained the life time work of 4000 individuals. “Each vessel containing the life-time work of 2-3 bees, asking us to question the value we place on honey and existence of bees in our delicately balanced ecosystem.”

The artist wanted us to consider how our relationship with bees has descended from one of symbiosis to that of exploitation and disregard. While this exquisite piece of work has me questioning, as it should, our relationship with honey and bees, I saw it as an analogy beyond the bees. I started to think about people and their lifetime of work.

When we are working with people, we can easily look at just this one piece of work that they have just completed. They might not think much of it. “It’s nothing.” “It’s easy.” It might be a quick job that they have completed. We look at just this, as we look at the honey we smear on our toast. It’s not much, just this. It is so easy to overlook the deeper story behind everything. Whether they have just done it easily or taken a lot of time to complete it, it is so much more than this.

The task they have just completed, the paper they have just written, the customer service they have just given, even if it is the floor they have just cleaned, every piece of it comes from their life time of work. We don’t just get up one morning and write a concerto. It takes years of practice and experience to get there. It is flavoured with our life experience, our emotions, our passions, our drive, or not. Every job one of your employees completes is done with this lifetime that has built upon each moment.

Multiply this. How many life times of work make up your business? You look at the beauty and awe of what has been achieved. You see this finished product with all of its accomplishments. It is magnificent. However, don’t forget that hard work, all of that time your people have spent through out their entire lives to have the expertise that you needed to create this masterpiece that is your business.

Take a moment to gaze on the beauty that has been created. Contemplate each part that makes up the whole. Express appreciation for every moment that has gone into creating this. The life time of work.

In every spoon of honey you eat, take a moment to appreciate how many bees have given their life to create this, that you may simply take for granted. Just the same in every task completed, appreciate that each moment is backed by a life time of hard work, practice and experience.

A business is like this chandelier and each person is like one of these beautiful vessels contain the fullness of their life-time work.  What is the value you place on each one of these that creates your delicately balanced ecosystem?

Andrea Putting is a Speaker, Author and Expert Authority in Authentic Influence. She guides leaders to achieve a powerful, strong, loyal team and community, through building a Social Mission, so that they can have authentic influence and unleash their ultimate impact on the world. Connect with her now

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