I attended a training with Neil Denny, a solicitor (lawyer) from the UK, presented by the Collaborative Law Institute of Minnesota last Thursday and Friday. Over the course of the two days I learned and experienced so much, but one thing that has been stuck in my mind is Neil Denny’s challenge for us to be “Artisan” in our work. Here’s a link to his blog devoted to the idea.

He warned us to watch out for just doing a job in our daily work, and instead posed the challenge for us to think of our work as a “craft.” I took away from the training a desire to approach my work as an artisan: with the desire to do a job well for its own sake.

Not only does this achieve a better product (and what could be more important in a profession where I provide services to other people), but it puts us in a better mindset about our work. How often in our society do we hear our friends grumbling about their job – I hate my job, I don’t like the work, I don’t like the routine, if only xyz would change I would be happy. In fact – that was me a few years ago!

But, when I took responsibility for making my job what I wanted it to be, when I recognized that there was a particular way I wanted to go about providing the service to my clients – there was a process I wanted to use because of the results it achieved for my clients and myself – I stopped being a victim of my job and started making my job work for me. I think, in Neil’s words, I took a step towards being “Artisan.” The value and quality of my product has increased as well.

I was talking about this idea with my husband, who is a web designer and developer, and he said he thinks about it as “geeking out.” Its good to geek out about your job – be curious about everything there is to know, new ways of doing things, adding things that have never been done before, thinking out of the box – this will produce excellence in our work and make us enjoy working! And, whats more, “if you geek out hard enough about something, it stops being nerdy, and starts being cool.”

When we talk about something we are passionate about it is easy and we are animated. We all have those things that make us tick – why not build off of these in our work?

So I’ll ask the questions Neil asked of us – what are you “artisan” about? And, why not “get artisan” about your day job?

** The photo above is of my supplies for something that I am artisan (or geeky) about outside of work – cooking!