The often used quote that “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” is a good one. But I believe that if ALL you do have is a hammer, you better use it.
- Become a sculptor
I have always admired metal sculptors and handmade artisans who bend and mould and shift things. They can add depth to a flat piece of metal by bending, by putting dimples or marks in it. Hugh MacLeod comes to mind — he isn’t exactly a sculptor, but he is always asking us if we are sculpting, making a mark, on our universe.
Sculptors can offer the traditional world of business a refreshing perspective of what you can indeed do with a simple hammer and a little heat. So, if all you have is a hammer, try to find a heat source, too. That would come from that internal area often called passion, which if it was an actual organ, I think it would be shaped like a torch.
- Break things
Construction workers are good at this. When I built my house, I subcontracted a fair amount of the work and I cannot think of a single trade person who did not have a hammer. Even the electrician had a hammer. The window guy had a hammer. Every now and then, whatever you are working on, will need a loving nudge from a hammer. And when you have a bad day, you can break big rocks into little rocks instead of going to the gym.
- Make noise
What I have noticed with just about everyone who carries a hammer, at least in certain circumstances, looks around to see if it is okay to make some noise. Why is that? It is a mix of wisdom and courtesy — is what you are about to do going to cause someone to jump in fright? Sometimes the timing demands that you pause first. Well, then give a little warning like, “hey I’m about to smack this large sledgehammer into a stiff piece of steel and, well, it is going to make a loud noise that might hurt your ears.”
When you use a hammer, it obviously cannot be done quietly, so be prepared for the shockwaves. You are about to make some good noise. People are going to notice.
- Carry it on your belt
People will ask you loads of questions and that might give you an opportunity to share your message.
There you have it — common sense ways to leverage a hammer when that’s all you have. Do not be misled into thinking an intense focus, with one tool, is a bad thing. When all you have is a hammer, use it. Use it wisely. Change your business, change the market, change the world. After all, what would Thor been without his hammer?