A couple of weeks ago as I strolled past the family room I could hear English accents. I asked my wife what she was watching. “The Repair Shop,” she replied. “OK, what is it about?” Well, with a descriptive title why would I ask that…who knows? Kindly as always, after these many decades of putting up with this type of question from me, she said, “they restore old family heirlooms and damaged keepsakes.”

I was officially intrigued because of my keen “Mr. Fixit” capabilities.  Full disclosure – I am mechanically “declined.”

The show concept is that there is a group of craftsmen and craftswomen that have unique specialties ranging from woodwork to smithing to ceramic repair to saddlery to clock repair to typewrite repair. Most of these men and women are in their 60’s and beyond. Here are the traits that I most admire in these artisans:

  • always have a positive attitude
  • always friendly with the people bringing in the items for repair (yes, it is scripted TV, but it is so well done)
  • no loud noises
  • after receiving the item and learning some of the backstory they always ask, “what would you like me to do?”
  • nothing is “awesome” – they actually use the complete English language to describe what they do, how they do it, and how it makes them feel
  • they can focus on intricate details for extended periods
  • they care
  • they care deeply
  • they are proud of their work
  • many are master craftsmen/craftswomen or tradespersons. Specialists in their craft with decades of experience and successes
  • everyone of the team has had to learn from making mistakes and getting better
  • they work with colleagues on projects that require different types of expertise
  • they care – did I mention this already?
  • they are perfectionists
  • they are a family
  • they innovate – many components of old items are not available so they have to create replacements with different material. The results are stunning
  • they have an amazing attention to detail
  • they describe the history of the item and share memories and stories that truly bring the item to life
  • they enjoy seeing the looks on the faces of their customers when they come in to pick up the item – often there are tears of joy and hugs are provided

As you look at this list, how many items can you place a check mark beside because  you consistently do it? Consider this a personal development plan for yourself and your employees.


  • care about what you do
  • care about the quality of what you do
  • practice to get better
  • ensure you know what the goal is
  • connect with your customer
  • ask for help
  • learn
  • keep learning
  • build some resilience because you will need to overcome challenges in your life
  • care about the quality of the job you do

As Coach John Wooden said, “if you don’t do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

We do live in a throw away society. And while there are many “things” that can be easily replaced, there are certain precious items that hold memories that cannot be replaced. It is nice to know there are people that are good enough and care enough to complete these repairs and bring joy back to the owner.

What a wonderful world it will be when we can cherish more fully and care deeply about the work we do and the value we provide to our customers.

And this works with personal relationships, too. Be a craftsman with your relationships, too.

Thanks for letting me watch the show, dear.

I think I will spruce up the BBQ this weekend.

Picture this – Tim the tool man. Maybe I could make a TV show about this? Nah, it would never sell 🙂

I’ll just stick to what I am good at.

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