Outside of my mentors and defining moments, books have accelerated my learning both professionally and personally and I truly believe that reading is the single most important thing you can do to better yourself. In light of this, on Mondays, I will be reviewing a book that has impacted me.
Today’s book is Linchpin: Are you Indispensable? by Seth Godin.
In my last post, I discussed the idea of how you can reinvent your life and the idea of success. This book has helped me solidify these thoughts and has become one of my top ten favorites. It can help further explain my thought process and help paint a clearer picture of how important it is that you write your own rules.
“My goal is to persuade you that there is an opportunity available to you, a chance to significantly change your life for the better. Not by doing something that is easy or that you have been trained to do, but by understanding how the rules of our world have fundamentally changed and by taking advantage of this moment to become someone the world believes is indispensable.” – Seth Godin
Brief summary of LinchPin: Are you Indispensable?
Seth Godin discusses the idea of how the world has significantly changed, and how in the past it paid to follow the rules. He explains that there have always been two teams: Management and Labor, but now there is a third team: Linchpins. Linchpins are the type of people who make their own map and don’t follow the guidelines of corporate America that have been set in stone for hundreds of years. He shares ideas and stories about how you too can do this and once you do, reaching your potential will never be easier. And Seth makes it clear that it starts with YOU and YOUR CHOICES.
Things I learned from the book:
- The world has evolved, and it will only continue to evolve. If you keep complying with the system, you will fail to achieve your potential. If you want to reach your goals, you must create your own map.
- The world is changing because of innovation. The first people to fail are the map-followers, non-risk takers, the fearful and scared to be different. Those type of people gets lost in the fast pace world we live in. It is unfortunate because they were told to “follow the system” and over time it has failed them.
- Innovative employees are typically the most successful. As a manager, at times I feel like I need to control every situation, and that is unnecessary. Let your employees think for themselves.
- We have a choice every single day. You can choose to be great, learn, and contribute or you can follow the process and do what others tell you to do. I will take the former.
- People don’t take a risk because they are afraid. Schools (not all, but most) created a fear like environment. Pass or Fail. We were rarely taught “It’s ok to fail. Get back up. Just give maximum effort.”
- It’s OK to be unique. You have a purpose. You have your own thoughts and views. Share them with the world. Don’t be scared. If you don’t it will be challenging to reach your goals.
- Life is about choice: Are you going to choose to be part of the machine or are you going to pave your own way?
Other things I learned from this book:
Seth explains that when you become a linchpin, you strengthen your abilities in these 7 areas:
- Provide a unique interface between members of the organization
- Deliver unique creativity
- Manage a situation or organization of great complexity
- Lead customers
- Inspire staff
- Provide deep domain knowledge
- Possess a unique talent
Where does average come from?
- You were brainwashed by a school (not all, but a majority) and by the system into believing that your job is to do your job. You have to follow the rules and instructions.
- We all have a little voice inside our heads that’s angry and scared. That voice is what Seth refers to as the “resistance” (your lizard brain) and it wants you to play it safe and be average.
The law of linchpin leverage
People who we view as “ultra-successful” or “brilliant” are only truly this way for short bursts. The rest of the time they are doing work that anyone could do. The difference is that for 1 minute or 5 minutes they think differently about how they can contribute and create value in this world. At your job, take a second to think about how you could do it better or create more value because that is what Linchpins do. The ones who do not choose to think this way become replaceable.
We live in a fear driven culture
The “system” prohibits you from being innovative and standing out. We have created a sense of fear in the world that employees cannot share their thoughts and opinions because they must follow the rules. We must break down the walls and barriers to innovation. We all have ideas. Whether they are right or not shouldn’t prohibit someone from speaking up about it. Because we are afraid to take a risk and create our own map, we tend to say things like this:
- “I don’t have any good ideas”
- “I don’t know what to do”
- “I didn’t graduate from (insert brand of some prestigious educational institution here)” – I LOVE WHEN I HEAR THIS. WHO CARES WHERE YOU WENT TO SCHOOL. IT’S NOT WHERE YOU WENT, IT’S WHAT YOU DO.
- “My boss won’t let me”
- “Well, that’s fine for you, but my gender, race, health, religion, nationality, shoe size, handicap, or DNA don’t make it easy”
There is NO map
This is simple. As I mentioned in my last post, everything is invented. We are all human. We all have a purpose. We all have a voice. We are all powerful. If you believe in something, go DO IT. Nobody is in control of you except for yourself.
How has this book impacted me?
As a young kid, I always remember thinking and asking myself “why this”, “why that”. I have always been a curious person, and I have always wanted to be unique and different. This book reassured me that it is OK to want to be that way. It is what makes me a human and not a cog in a machine.
Seth also opened my mind up to the ideas of “choice” and “innovation”. He made it OK and furthermore necessary to challenge the status quo if you are going to reach your potential. He also shares two stories that I actually printed out and laminated for my sales team. I have all my new hires read it, and if you have or still do work for me, you know the story of “Richard and Steve”. I will shortly be sharing a post with those stories. But for now, I can say that we are always given a choice and the people who choose to create their own map end up finding their potential.
Now, Wake Up! It’s Day One. Time to create your own map, and become indispensable. Purchase Seth’s book here: Buy the book here! and I highly recommend you subscribe to his blog: Click here to view his blog and subscribe!