Stronger in the Broken Places

Stronger in the Broken Places

I so love my friends. I love sharing this life with friends who get me. I enjoy our tangles of conversations over coffee or drinks that are stranded together with light-hearted laughter, colorful revelations, tons of love, treasures of time and loads of finesse.

Though sharing our beautiful life moments is always great fun, some of the most powerful blessings of friendship for me were found in broken places. In the pits. Those places where our heartaches and fears scream loudly and crave to be quieted by the understanding heart of a dear friend.

I happened upon a beautiful quote by Billie Mobayed:

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold.  They believe that when something has suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.

Webster's dictionary defines aggrandize as follows:

  • to make great or greater; increase, enlarge <aggrandize an estate>
  • to make appear great or greater; praise highly
  • to enhance the power, wealth, position, or reputation of <exploited the situation to aggrandize himself>

Picture a gorgeous piece of pottery with a hideous crack in it.  At first glance, you may see the flaw and even dismiss it as broken and worthless.  But now imagine that same crack mended with beautiful gold.  It is not ostentatious–it is proud and authentic. Read this Daily Fix post for a guide on how to mend your broken ceramics.  I just had to create a graphic for this:



As I was reflecting on those cherished  mending moments with friends, my mind turned towards my business. What if we were doing the same thing in our business when things break?

Consider the following two scenarios:  

  1. You leave your automobile at Tom's Auto Body Shop for a paint job.  The shop does a beautiful job–no drips, no scratches, no weird hairs stuck in the paint. The body shop perfectly delivered on their promise without problems or errors.
  2. You leave your automobile at East Loop Auto Body Shop, which also paints it beautifully. Unfortunately, some paint spilled onto the interior and there were some new scratches.  The shop manager shows you the damage and explains what they are doing to fix the problem. They promise you, “I will not accept payment until this is rectifiedto your satisfaction.” They do a thorough and timely clean-up and then mail you a $100 gift certificate to your favorite local restaurant. 

Which scenario would leave the best lasting impression? Could it be that your business, without mistakes, inadvertently makes you run-of-the-mill?   Imperfections can be charming because they remind us of the authenticity and fundamental humanness of each other. Just as a crack filled with gold stands out from the perfect pots. 

Are you hiding some imperfections and vulnerabilities that just might be your biggest assets? Is the fear of screwing up keeping you from doing your best work?   Could there be some flaws in your business that should be aggrandized and celebrated?

I am grateful to my friends and experiences that have helped me emerge better, stronger, wiser and lighter.



About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.


  1. Rachel,
    well, I hope you consider me as your friend.. I knew you were a great and loving person… now I hope I am part of be the friend in your life 🙂

    We never met in person (hope we will someday).. but from a few “so called accidents” we happen to communicate a little more than just commenting on the blogs… and I must say again and again, I found out that you are a great person that it is an honor to be friend with.

    I learn so much from you at every visit that I have here in your site and or some commentings… and for certain I will keep learning from you for a long time,.. by the way, I love the word “Aggrandize” never heard it before 🙂 But I heard Billie Mobayed.. and I was grateful to read it before and more at this time in my life since I am going through a time of cleansing (inner emotional, spiritual and probably physically as well 🙂 THANKS for sharing this wonderful article to teach us more in life.

  2. I was at a seminar once where the exact same principal was discussed. One of the examples they gave was a car dealership that made lemonade out of its lemons—instead of trying to deny that a car was a lemon, they saw the faulty vehicle as a way to prove how exceptional their customer service was.

    There is a lot of truth to the fact that problems create opportunities. People don’t remember a good but uneventful experience near as much as they do if someone solves a problem for them.
    Zach recently posted…Did You Know You Get Paid Time Off to Vote? Now You Have No Excuse.My Profile

  3. Thanks for providing such powerful insights Rachel!

    That is really such a positive and insightful way of viewing our weaknesses! And by doing so, it really doe open us to the tremendous yet to be tapped possibilities, in practically any and all situations!

    And you’re so right, a unique experience most times will trump a pleasant one! Thanks for sharing such an awesome!
    Mark recently posted…How And Why Major Corporations Waste Tons Of Money On Totally Whack Advertisements!My Profile

  4. Hello Rachel, What a great post, I love the way you talked about the car shop, I guess both are good but I do think the one who fessed up about the accident left a better impression with me.

    It is true we are afraid to show our flaws HUH? This is something I am going to give some thought to.. Thanks for shairng.. Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…Your Foundation To Online SuccessMy Profile

  5. I love the perspective on our flaws you offer in this post. Great article! Thanks for your comment on my SITS feature today!
    Susan – ofeverymoment recently posted…Today is November 4th – Such a Special Day!My Profile

  6. Good point.
    It occurs to me that while purposely spilling paint on the interior in order to prove one is human is not the way to go, one can show that in the writing on one’s site and in one’s speech when talking to customers and prospects. Simply by being more ‘normal’ one can remove the barrier of the forgettable veneer of perfection that is hard to relate to.
    David Bennett recently posted…Photographing Burnmouth In ScotlandMy Profile

  7. I have a container that belonged to my mum with a glued together lid. I will never part with it because of the memories it holds. No-one is perfect and it’s our little idiosyncrasies that make us unique. We can’t afford too many mistakes when it comes to our customers or clients but I agree that if your fix a one off “paint spill” in this way it shows you care and hold yourself to high standards.
    Sue Bride recently posted…Your WordPress Theme WardrobeMy Profile

  8. Hi Rachel,
    love your post and the analogy.
    Great photos which illustrates the Japanese wisdom about this.

    Another analogy I like is the one about the Golden buddha which was covered in clay. The cracks caused by transporting it allowed the light get in to reveal the treasure inside.

    Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Yorinda Wanner recently posted…Therapeutic Benefits of KnittingMy Profile

  9. The fear of making mistakes has stalled me in the past. I used to have this hang up about getting things done perfectly. But now I’ve realized that making mistakes are a part of life and learning. And if I can take something from it then it’s still a win in my book.

    Lea Bullen recently posted…Self-Sabotage: When You Are Your Worse EnemyMy Profile