Gears and Cogs

I had an unusual thought this morning over coffee and checking emails.  Having just spent months creating, writing, and working with a team of people to develop a new website for the American Society of Estate Liquidators® at, I am keenly aware how each individual member of the team worked together, as a vital piece of the whole, in order to come up with a successful end result.  One person specializes in strategic writing, design, flow, another had graphic abilities, another technical, and more.  It was a vision I had, but this team came together to find a way to create it.

gears of an Oriental clock

It really takes an entire team to make a project succeed, like exposing the back of an antique mantle clock and viewing how all the gears and cogs work together in sync.  I’ve always secretly wondered how the gears all worked together.  As imperfect humans, with myself at the top of the list, we do make mistakes.  Sometimes, many mistakes.  We may not communicate clearly to the teammates working on another part of the project.  Our brains work differently, and yet, we expect our teammates to understand what we mean, as if they can read our minds.

While each of us has our own vision for their portion, when you put all the parts together, it usually needs to be tweaked until the best version is attained for the whole project.  Such is life … always a work in progress and always with the help of others.

Why is it that we tend to only think about our part of the team?  We concentrate so heavily on what is our responsibility that we fail to see what the others are doing and the tremendous efforts they make.  No single part or component would work successfully without the others, just like the gears in that mantle clock.

Developing the website taught me two things:

  • each of us has special gifts and talents, and
  • when put together with other people’s gifts and talents, we can create something marvelous.

But our part alone is just a piece laying there, a simple gear that won’t turn because there are no other gears or cogs to drive it into motion.  The lone piece would simply not work unless put together with someone else’s piece.

Our vision towards almost anything in life really needs to be extended to include the value and work of someone else’s skills and ability to see and imagine.  This is difficult to master.  When  working together, each brings to the table something that we can’t contribute by ourselves.

Last week I was in an estate documenting for an appraisal.  When the heir saw me in front of the mantle examining the mantle clock, they quickly approached to tell me how old and valuable it was.  “It is certainly old,” I said, “but there is a problem.  It doesn’t work because some of the gears have fallen off and are missing.  If the clock doesn’t work, even due to a tiny piece missing, the value will fall significantly.”

Little did I realize that a few days later, that statement would apply directly to me.  I came to understand how our special team became my gears and cogs, driving me forward toward a long-dreamed vision.  Sometimes all it takes is one tiny little piece to make it all work flawlessly.

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising.  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at

4 thoughts on “Gears and Cogs

  1. Hi Julie,
    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blogs. I get email notifications when they are posted and find myself opening them up before any other emails.

    Your words of wisdom and insight are so refreshing. I especially enjoy reading about some of your “assignments” and how you worked through sticky situations involving family.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts publicly.

    1. Hi Lenette, What a lovely thing to be told! Thank you for taking the time to share your comment with me; you started my day with a big smile.

      ~ Best, Julie

  2. Julie, as a person of faith, I say a resounding AMEN to your article – LOL! I am a senior move manager and have realized the importance of people, not technically on my team, but whom I treat as a part of the whole- such as the maintenance person at the retirement home and the guys on the moving truck. Many times they have helped me with an unforeseen problem and gone above the call of duty, much to my relief. I think it is because I have treated them with respect and acknowledged how important they are to the project. In the end, I have a happy client, and I am so grateful for my ‘team’.

    1. Hello Bernice, thank you for your kind words. I am so happy you enjoyed the blog. We shall continue to move forward in our lives being mindful of what we learn. If all of us were like this, the world would be a more peaceful place!

      ~ Best, Julie

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