Week 1: Linchpin
A very good friend of mine seems to always be reading a good book. He consistently tweets about his learnings and truthbombs - so thank you @jworthy for inspiring 52in52.
The first book I must discuss is Seth Godin's Linchpin, which, of course, was lent to me by Jeff. I love a book that is a quick read not because it’s simple or short, but because the learnings are so readily applicable that you can’t afford to wait another moment before choosing change your life, today, right now.
The book is a quasi survival guide on how to succeed in the world of work as we know it. Seth is a business blogger, an incredibly successful author, and has achieved his success by being a linchpin. A linchpin is unique, irreplaceable, high contributing, a rock star, and generally so valuable to their organization that they cannot be replaced. Seems like someone you want to be, right?
Seth begins by discussing the work world dream, as it was: an overarching societal agreement that if you work hard and follow the rules in your life, you will earn enough to be moderately successful, live a good life, and live “The American Dream”.
This is no longer an option.
The world as we know it has changed. Technology, jobs, demographics, and many other factors have changed what it takes to succeed in the workplace. We’ve all heard murmurs of the four-year career (having multiple careers throughout the course of your working life), but what can we take from this? What does it mean for us, today? If you’re like me -a Gen Y looking to contribute, to be challenged, to create!- then you’re probably starting to feel squeamish about the unmarked path ahead (shouldn’t there be someone telling me which way to go?! Why don’t I have a “real job” yet?! Will I ever find work?!)
Seth describes the work of a linchpin being founded in creating art. Not traditional art, nothing to do with a paintbrush, but bringing a level of passion and creation to your work so that what you produce is beautiful, special, vibrant, art.
Think for a moment: do you have this passion inside you? Of course you do!
But the passion is not enough. Seth writes in short blog-style, and provides many examples of what passion looks like, and then continues to what I think is the biggest takeaway I had from the book: Real artists ship.
To “ship” is to take action, to produce, and to follow through with an idea. It’s taking your work, filled with passion, from the s early stages of ideation, through the thrashing process, setting a by-when, and getting it done. Seth provides some incredible insight in the book to simplify this idea, and hammer it home: real artists ship. If you want to be linchpin, if you have something to offer, you must, absolutely must, follow through and create action.
So there you have it: the first installment of 52in52, and my own personal win in the fight against resistance. If you aren’t inspired by Seth’s work yet, do yourself a favour and read his book. Don’t have the time to read a full book? Yes, you do. But if you really think you don’t, then subscribe to his blog. I promise you will learn something if you choose to.
I’ll leave you with this quote, from p. 207 of Linchpin:
“Some artists decide their art is important enough that they ought to overcome the resistance they face in order to do the work.”
Decide, choose, do, ship, succeed.
See you next week.