In the early 1600s the Sultan of Constantinople was searching for the best sounding cymbals for his armies and priests. He contacted a man named Avedis to do the job. Using his skills in alchemy and his desire to produce the best product possible, Avedis created a cymbal that surpassed the Sultan’s expectactions. The Sultan was so pleased by Avedis’ work that he changed his family’s surname to one that translates to “Son of the Cymbal Maker” – Zildjian.
If you’re familiar with drums or cymbals, you’ll probably recognize that name. Zildjian is a brand that, to this day, is still reknowned for their cymbals and have been used by most major drummers across all generas.
When I first heard this story I was pretty impressed. Avedis’ hard work and dedication became what he was known for because that’s what his name became- Cymbal Maker. If your name is going to be changed to reflect the work you’re producing, you must be doing something pretty amazing.
There are three things that set Avedis apart and made his work so exceptional. Three things that, if you want to be remember for the work your producing, you should take account of.
Avedis was as an alchemist who was known to do incredible work. He had dedicated himself to his craft and spent years building up his reputation. When his “lucky break” came with the Sultan, he was prepared for it. It’s doubtful the Sultan would have approached an unskilled apprentice to design the cymbals for his armies- he wanted a professional. The key is to dedicate yourself to your skill, become known for it, and then you’ll be ready for the opportunities that come up.
Having built up his reputation and knowledge in the field of alchemy, Avedis was familiar with the issues present in metalworking at that time. He was able to come up with a unique and secret method of tempering metals that was stronger and more musical than the other cymbals of his time- one that is still a closely guarded secret today. That uniqueness is what sealed the deal with the Sultan and truly set him apart from his competition. Regardless of the field you’re in or how long it’s been done a certain way, there is always something you could do to make your work stand out from the crowd.
Being different from the rest and getting the initial gig isn’t where the journey ends. After his impressive work, Avedis was the Cymbal Maker for the Sultan. Now, more than ever, it was essential for him to keep the quality and consistency of his work up to the level that had become expected of him. It’s tempting to coast once you’ve reached your pinacle point but you risk becoming a one hit wonder if you can’t keep it up. No one wants to be known as The Alchemist Formerly Known as Cymbal Maker. Consistency matters.
It’s doubtful we’ll ever be renamed for our work but we can be remembered for the work we do. Build your reputation, stand out from the crowd, and be consitent and you’ll being remembered for the right reasons.
What is it you’re wanting to be remembered for? What do you need to work on to make that a reality?