I just finished reading Seth Godin’s book, Linchpin. While I’ve been following Seth’s blog for a while, and have heard him interviewed several times, this was the first of his many books that I have read. It was awesome and really challenged the way I look at my career, my job and my work. There are a ton of great reviews out there, so instead of creating another; here are the 3 main ideas that I took away from reading Linchpin and how I hope to do something with them:
- Work as Art: Until reading Linchpin, you can count me among the people who thought of art as paintings, poetry and music. Godin challenges this idea and contends that an artist is “someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity and boldness to challenge the status quo.” In this way, he suggests that all of us have the ability to create art with our work and should share it generously with others. This concept has really challenged me to view my work each day as art. Rather than accept the plodding “is what it is” mentality that drives some much of the corporate/business world, how can I push the envelope, do something different, create something new and make a difference? I guess I’m an artist after all.
- Map Makers versus Manual Readers: There is a lot of discussion in the book about how the world is changing (and has already changed) following the Industrial Revolution. Godin talks about how a premium was once placed on inexpensive, obedient and fast workers for the assembly line – no thought required, just read the manual and do your work. While this mentality has left the factory and followed us into the corporate world, what is required to thrive today is the opposite: the ability to be a map maker…not a manual reader. As I examined my own career to date, I realized just how often I have been a manual reader. Happy to do the job as directed, follow the script and chug on down the assembly line. I’m going to make every effort to break free from this hamster wheel and start making maps in even the smallest areas of my work life. Folks that do this become the linchpins of their organizations. That’s my goal.
- The Daemon and the Resistance: There is an incredible description in the book about the battle that rages in our brain between our great ideas, or genius (daemon,) and the fear of putting ourselves out there (the resistance.) Godin says that the resistance “pushes relentlessly for you to fit in.” This is something I feel all the time and has historically held me back from veering too far from the script at work. What if people don’t like it? What if someone doesn’t agree with me? What if they laugh? Reading this book raised my awareness for all the ways I do this. My goal is to embrace the daemon and fight against the resistance to pursue the goal of making art at work, even if it means flopping with regularity (as it most certainly will.)
Not every book I read has an impact right away on how I view my day-to-day life and work, but Linchpin did. The message is powerful and something I intend to take to my efforts at work each day as well my time here on this blog. For a linchpin, business most certainly doesn’t have to be boring.