Are You Building a Cathedral?

I have always loved the story of the Three Bricklayers.

Once upon a time there were three bricklayers working alongside one another.  When asked, “what are you doing?” they reply quite differently.

First Bricklayer: “I am laying bricks.”

Second Bricklayer: “I am building a wall.”

Third Bricklayer: “I am building a cathedral.”




I love this little story because its so simple and yet so packed with meaning.  Usually when we talk about it, we are focused on either attitude or engagement of the bricklayers to emphasize the importance of getting the right kind of talent in our organizations.  Other times, we look at the story from the vantage point of a leader and the importance of casting vision, to create a compelling vision that others want to join and follow.  Absolutely!  Love it!

But interestingly … we usually reflect on the story from the outside looking in, as a leader assessing the situation and looking for a leadership lesson – particularly about how to get more cathedral builders on our team.

But what if we look at the story with ourselves as the bricklayers, not the leader?  Which would you be?  Easy to say the third … but is it true?  Even a very talented and capable bricklayer could show up as any of these three if they are not careful about placing ourselves into roles that inspire us, that we feel committed to, and that we see and love the vision .  Do we come into work and see the cathedral under construction and know that we want to be a part of it.

Are you building a cathedral lately?  If not – why not? 




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