Learn the Kintsugi Way



January 19, 2024


kintsugiWhile reading motivational and inspiring articles this past week, I came across one that caught my attention, “Embracing Failure: The Kintsugi Way for Entrepreneurs.”

I was intrigued.

The word, “Kintsugi” means “joining with gold.” This concept has been around since the 15th century in Japan. It is referenced to the art of repairing a broken piece of pottery with gold lacquer, giving the piece new life. It also serves as a metaphor for embracing imperfection while finding beauty and potential in the broken pieces. Kintsugi teaches us to accept and celebrate how we recover from struggle. In the process of repairing things that are broken, we can ultimately create something more meaningful while teaching us perseverance.

As businesses evolve, change is real and inevitable. It would behoove us to view and accept change as a strategic opportunity for growth and transformation.

Starting or maintaining a small business is not an easy task and entrepreneurs face significant challenges daily. Change is never easy to accept but one of the best ways to confront change is to embrace it while keeping an open mind to create new opportunities. Those opportunities could range from the re-invention of a business, refocusing growth opportunities, seeking a competitive advantage in the marketplace or even deciding to close a business.

Instead of fearing failure, embrace it by shifting your perspective. Kintsugi encourages a mindset shift that views failure as an opportunity for growth. “By embracing failures as valuable experiences, entrepreneurs can reframe setbacks and learn from their mistakes … Those failures are part of the individual journey and by embracing those imperfections, authenticity and resiliency are developed.”

Just as in mending the broken pieces of pottery, entrepreneurs soon realize that by placing the pieces back together, new insights are gained, and lessons are learned, which equates to making better-informed decisions in the future.

Small businesses that succeed have a solid business plan, a clear understanding of the market, a strong team and access to capital, according to the Small Business Administration.

Kintsugi also suggests seeking guidance and mentorship from professionals or masters of their craft. The Small Business Development Center of Arizona (SBDC) helps launch, grow and sustain small businesses. They offer business counseling, workshops and training, marketing strategy development, financial projection development, business assessment and SBA loan assistance among other services. Email Ruth Ellen Elinski at ruthellen.elinski@yc.edu to set up an appointment.

By embracing the Kintsugi Way, we may learn a different way to navigate through life’s changes and challenges. Seeking guidance, collaboration and mentorship provides us with a fresh perspective and may open a golden door of new opportunities, while leading us down a new path to success.

(Photo credit: Motoki Tonn on Unsplash)

Michelle Conway Kostecki, President/CEO

Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau