“I don’t think we have any choice. I think we have an obligation to change the rules, to raise the bar, to play a different game, and to play it better than anyone has any right to believe is possible.” – Seth Godin
This is one of my longest posts. I usually don’t urge people to read my posts, however, I urge you to read this post. I am concerned that not enough people are aware of the huge opportunity in front of us. Seth Godin understands this. I am trying my best to understand. You can, too. We can be Indispensable together.
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America’s Greatest Marketer.
I recently watched Seth Godin speak in Orange County. How to Become Indispensable. This is the premise of his new book, Linchpin, and the point of his speech. I am going to assume you don’t know this man, (if you do skip down the page to the 5 Ways to Be Indispensable) but he has been dubbed “America’s Greatest Marketer.” He has one of the most popular blogs, has written over 10 books, is an entreprenuer, and regularly speaks to really, wealthy business executives about how to do better business. Seth is the father of “viral marketing” and if someone tells you to just “be remarkable,” then you have just heard a Godin-ism.
Are You a Genius?
Seth Godin starts out his speech asking the audience, “Are you a genius?” People shift back and forth in their seats, nervously. He wants us to think about this question and states he will coming back to it.
Are you a genius? Think about it.
We all sat in a large room at the St. Regis Hotel in Dana Point, California. Dana Point is a well to-do city in Orange County and the St. Regis Hotel is a well-to-do hotel in Dana Point. The carpeting is cushy and there are tall fountains shooting water outside. I sit up front, next to my new friend Mark and his wife. Mark is a staffing consultant. He teaches business owners how to structure a business model that motivates their salesman to sell well. I ditch my hiking pack in the corner of the room and nibble on some Astor chocolates. A treat provided by the hotel, thanks to my 49$ for tonight’s speech.
Why am I paying 49$ to see Seth Godin speak, when I am living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?
You may be asking yourself the above question. I sure was as my belly gurgled. My thought as I clicked the BUY button on the Seth Godin ticket was to invest in wisdom. The Chinese say,
“A single conversation across the table with a wise person is worth a month’s study of books.”
My stocks my fall, my house may get foreclosed, but I will have my wisdom.
Lunch Lady and Flying Baseball Bat photographs.
Seth doesn’t pull punches and delivers an inspiring, informative, yet at times hilarious speech. In between graphs and inspiring quotes, he has the largest collection of ‘lunch lady’ photographs and the largest collection of ‘baseball bats flying into a crowd’ photographs in the world. All of which is tailored to his message,
You are taught to be dispensable, but you can become Indispensable and change the world as you do.
School is a Scam.
“Keep Calm and Carry On.” -a British propaganda slogan, that was waiting to be released had the Nazi’s successfully invaded the UK in World War II
Our education system is a scam that was created to fill our society’s need for docile workers. The Industrial Revolution produced a great need for a large number of people, to do really, really boring tasks over and over again. To fill up our factories, people needed to be able to follow directions, memorize, and pass their ‘tests.’ Similarly, our education system, teaches our students to fit in and follow directions. Creativity or independence are not what our system is designed for. People, whom follow others cause much less problems than those whom think for themselves.
“The reason they want you to fit in is that once you do, then they can ignore you.”
Financially this system worked well enough for most and it worked for a while. The owner of the factory made lots of money. Even the worker made enough to support a family. More importantly, the worker had stability. Ahhh…. stability. However, stability is leaving quickly or is gone already. Or maybe never was but an illusion we Americans had.
You are Dispensable, Unless…
The rules have changed. The old days are gone, where you can work for 30 years (hate it probably, but it’s work, it’s not supposed to be fun, right?), grab your retirement and live the good life. But times are different. Stability is out and change is in.
Accept it or give yourself an ulcer. Accept Facebook and Twitter and iPhones. Accept our world as it is and the people in it is they are. But, accept it and look at for your opportunity. We have some very powerful tools at the fingertips of more people than ever before. Tools that can spread ideas, cheaply and swiftly. There is now more opportunity for you to become an ‘owner’ or a ‘creator’ that ever before.
“Turn your fear of the unknown into curiosity.”
5 ways to Be Indispensable.
Seth finishes his speech by giving seven ways you can become a necessary commodity to any business or to succeed at your own business. I narrow it down to five by mixing and mashing them.
How to Be Indispensable:
1. Be A Geek: Have a very deep set of knowledge of one area that is so complex that people, like me can never figure it out. Geeks know so much about a topic, they are needed. Be aware of your topic though! Don’t choose typewriters!
2. Be A Leader: Be an inspiration to the people around you. Recruit a crew of people to follow you. Stand up, when others sit down. Face criticism, when others strive to be accepted by all. People are scared to lead, to not fit in and risk failure. Fail and fail mightily! Then, get back up, learn, and keep going. People will follow.
3. Be A Creator: Come up with solutions that no one else would ever think of. Go to places that others won’t go or can’t figure out how to go. Look in different ways. Sit on your head.
4. Be A Connector: Help people form the relationships they want to build, but can’t quite make it happen. Help businesses find customers that WANT their product. Help people find services that make their lives more fulfilling.
5. Be A Whiz: Be so talented, no one will ever be able to be better than you.
“Go. Make Something Happen.”
*********Don’t Forget to Be An Artist.**********
You are one of the above or have the ability to become one of them. Or you may be a mix of a few of the above. Take a minute and think about it. What are you? I am a mixture of Leader, Creator, and Connector. Hone these skills at your current place of employment or in your own business.
BUT… the above skills are not enough. You must be an Artist, too.
Seth describes an artist as not necessarily a painter or a sculptor, but someone that puts their whole self into their work. Someone whom is passionate about what they do, is happy doing it, and spreads this joy with others. Anyone can be an artist from a CEO or a desk receptionist, from a taxi driver to a preacher. The Starbuck’s employee in New York City, whom knows the name of every repeat customer is an Artist.
An artist attempts to enjoy each day and spread that joy. Making loads of money is much less important when you live happily. Life is the joy.
Let’s Create Our World (and be Indispensable).
“Being safe is risky.” – Seth Godin
Ps. Are you a Genius?
Nice! You didn’t forget. I felt so good at ending it at the point about being an Artist, that I thought I would slip this in way at the bottom to reward those whom diligent folks, like you.
Seth asks again, “Are you a Genius?” More looks and nervousness. “Stand up if you are.” I am impressed by the few men or women, whom are the first to stand. I was scared. But of course it ended with the room of people standing. Seth finishes with a picture of Albert Einstein on the large screen. This wrinkly, tousled haired man is definitely a genius. ”Albert Einstein killed the word, genius, though.”
We are all a genius at something.