The Jigsaw Network

Business man looks to finish puzzle

This morning I heard Sonny Vu, Founder of Misfit Wearables, speak at KIROS, a Christian Business Breakfast group that I regularly attend here in the Seattle area.  As I listened to him talk about the culture of their company (and about hiring people who fit the culture of a company called Misfit) I thought about how everyone really feels like a misfit, at least in some situations.  In the group that really counts for a lot of people, the so-called “inner ring” or “inner circle,” no one really feels they truly fit in.

I think this sense of not fitting in is based on our individuality.  The bright side of our creation as individuals is our uniqueness.  But our fallenness converts uniqueness into a burden.

Think of people as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  Each piece has its own angles and curves and indentations.  In a box of thousands of pieces, the maker has cut each one in such a way that it only fits into a few others.  But when each piece has found its mates and the whole puzzle comes together, a beautiful scene emerges.

When people focus on their uniqueness as individuals, either egotism or despair results.  The egotist considers himself special because of his particular angles and curves, while the desperate one regards herself as odd or a misfit because of her differences.  Both errors result when we regard ourselves only as individuals and not as pieces of a larger social picture.  The true meaning of our uniqueness only emerges when we find people whose uniqueness complements ours and hooks us into a coherent whole.  When my uniqueness connects to your uniqueness, something truly special occurs, and the more people we connect to, the more the meaning of it all grows.

Networking brings people together.  Great networking brings people together for the sake of a larger perspective.  The Holy Spirit’s networking enlarges the Kingdom of God and gives it meaning in the context of human relationship, love, and shared mission.

As a jigsaw puzzle works by combining thousands of odd pieces, the best workplace cultures, the most effective churches, the most functional societes result from the skilled collection and combination of willing misfits.  As a leader, you sometimes play the puzzler; sometimes you play the willing misfit.  Both roles are crucial to great networking.

For more, see The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013).  Order it in paperback or Kindle edition at

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry, President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington, is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at

One thought on “The Jigsaw Network

  1. For me this was a fresh perspective on uniqueness and the alienation that can result from an unhealthy focus on it. Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s