Speak Your Skills and the World Will Listen

Once upon a time there was a bricklayer. He had been doing this job for about ten years, and he was very good at it. He was well known amongst his peers as having a very dedicated work ethic, and an incredible amount of skill. There was a waiting list or at least three years long for those that wanted to apprentice under him, as he was well regarded as having the best skills in the area.

He mostly did non-residential buildings, like museums and churches and some city centers. Occasionally he did some small residential projects, fountains, and a few private temples here and there for the religiously inclined. He was very successful, and very happy.

He was also very young. He had only been in the business for ten years, starting fresh from high school. His father had died when he was very young, and as soon as the law would allow, he took full time work. He quickly realized that he had found his calling, as the work was both rewarding and challenging. And he had always made decent money. Yet to start a family on his own, he still gave the bulk of his salary to his mother, who had raised him alone since he was six years old.

Something was happening, though. Although his list of apprentices kept growing, the jobs he was finding were becoming fewer and fewer. Many companies were starting to buy pre-fabricated walls and other structures, as it was much cheaper. The work slowly began to dry up, until he had a list of apprentices wanting to learn under him, but no work to do. Finally he had to suspend his apprenticeship program, as he had to take on simple mundane jobs that even his would be apprentices were qualified to do. Many times he found himself working right alongside of them.

He started to get worried to the point of letting his fears overcome the pleasure he had always received from doing the work. He began staying up late at night, unable to sleep, imagining a future where his skills were no longer needed. His life, which had been so promising, filled with delight and a positive future now was clouded by thoughts of a life filled with performing unskilled labor for low wages, never knowing where his next paycheck was going to come from. It became almost too much to bear.

Then one night he had a dream. In the dream his father came to him. He had always kept a picture of his father on the nightstand next to his bed, always imagining his father looking on hi with pride. In the dream his father said to him:

Son, you have a skill that few possess. When people hire you, they hire you for the beauty that you impart on their buildings, their places of worship. Before, you relied on your work to speak for itself. But now, you must speak for your work. You must proclaim your skills. You must make it easy for others to choose your work over the easier path. You must convince them of your value, and the value your work will bring them. I have faith in you.

He woke up, barely remembering the dream, but he had a new motivation. He set up a meeting with three of the projects that had canceled only a few weeks before. He asked for a meeting with whoever was in charge of deciding on traditionally laid bricks or prefabricated bricks. When he met with them, he spoke with passion and belief and conviction. All three of them agreed to hire him. Soon word spread of his work. Word spread of the conviction with which he spoke of his work. Soon he needed to hire a personal secretary to handle all the calls from around the country of people that wanted to hire him. And now he had two lists of apprentices. One to learn bricklaying, and one to learn how to tell others about their skills, and the value that they would bring to others.