In 12th century England, a young person could learn a trade from a master craftsman by becoming their apprentice.
An apprenticeship was a legal agreement between craftsman and apprentice where the latter would be paid a small wage in return for the skills that he (apprentices were almost always boys) would pick up.
These agreements were known as ‘indentures’, so-called because they’d be written in duplicate on a single sheet of paper which was then split into two pieces with an uneven jagged (indented) cut.
One piece was held by each party; their authenticity could be proved at a later stage by matching the two parts’ jagged edges – rather like a key fitting into a lock.
Although I never served a formal apprenticeship, I’ve unquestionably learnt at the elbow of people I’ve considered master craftsmen and women.
Richard taught me to turn other people’s business problems into solutions.
Alex showed me anew how impeccable organization can help you move mountains.
And my Dad? Well, among other things he was the master of creating ingenious systems based around forms, files and folders.
I’m pretty certain you’ve had similarly significant influences in your own past.
Also, like me, perhaps you’ve known others who’ve demonstrated ways of weathering the storm when times become emotionally challenging?
Now and then, when I face uncertainty and difficulty, I find it helpful to ask myself: ‘What would (insert name) do now?’
How would they tackle this situation?
And then – you know what? – that’s exactly what I do.
So who was the master craftsman to your apprentice? What did they teach you? And do you still practice what they preached?