I’m not sure how I encountered Seth Godin. I think it was something to do with his book, Tribes. I do know Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?arrived in March 2010, and I spent the next two months digesting his brilliant guidance. Godin, “writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.”
In 2010 I was telecommuting from home, working as an independent contractor with Spiritual Directors International, and a freelancing editor, retreat leader, speaker, and spiritual guide, offering spiritual direction in person and via telephone. I also assisted with our family lodge business. Godins’s book affirmed everything I believed about art, collaboration, connection, and gift in business, and he provided a framework that resonated profoundly with me.
A year later, I was single, with a pile of debt from my divorce, and financially needed to open myself to a new expression of work in the world. Within a month I faced deliberate discernment with five choices: continue what I was doing, accept a position at a local church, or as a communication specialist for a K-12 school district, or manage our family lodge business, or move to Bellevue, Washington to work in the home office of Spiritual Directors International. What choices! Of all the insights in Linchpin, one phrase in particular guided me, and is still sticky. I promised myself I would not do this.
“If you need to conceal your true nature to get in the door, understand that you’ll probably have to conceal your true nature just to keep that job” (79).
Godin inspires and guides me daily with a short, pithy email from his blog that lands in my inbox. It’s one of the few subscriptions that I read daily. His brilliance shows up through his perspective and insight that consistently invites a choice, or pokes new awareness not only in business, but all of life. He reminds, “amplify little thoughts” (148), and … “Most of all, art involves labor. Not the labor of lifting a brush or typing a sentence, but the emotional labor of doing something difficult, taking a risk, and extending yourself” (86). “Linchpins don’t need authority. It’s not part of the deal. Authority only matters in the factory, not in your world. … Real change happens when someone who cares steps up and takes what feels like a risk. People follow because they want to, not because you can order them to” (201). His book, V is for Vulnerable: Life Outside the Comfort Zone stands up, propped open on a shelf in my office at the school district. It reminds me about authenticity, and that 2011 promise to myself.
Next on my list, and already in my book stack, is The Icarus Deception, in which Godin, “argues that we’ve been brainwashed by industrial propaganda, and pushes us to stand out, not to fit in.”
Check out Seth Godin’s books, blog, free downloads, and perspective. I’m curious, what is evoked in you? Whatcha gonna do with your ducks?