What to do when it’s your turn – and it’s always your turn

Google ChromeScreenSnapz347The curious title to Seth Godin’s latest book eloquently encapsulates his plea for all of us to make the most of our lives. It is a topic for which Seth has become a leading advocate in the business community, resuming the theme from his 2010 book Linchpin. Earlier books such as All Marketers are Liars, Purple Cow, and Meatball Sundae defined Godin as a leading authority on all things marketing. He has since broadened his message and influence to the marketing of self-actualization.

According to Godin, it’s always your turn because you determine your life’s course. To use Godin’s vernacular, we all have the opportunity to show up and make a ruckus – to shake up the status quo and make a difference. Instead of sitting on the sidelines head down doing what we are told, get into the game. Find a problem that can be solved, take the risk, then ship. “Ship” is Godin’s term for getting our product or service into the market. It’s risky and it might fail, but this book teaches us to take the leap and learn from the experience. And, hey, it might even work.

There are certain threads throughout the book tying his ideas together. One example is taken from a 2006 commercial for a company called Becel. In it, an executive is riding up an escalator (not an elevator!) when it suddenly stops. Looking around and yelling for help, the executive is paralized by indecision as he waits for someone to get it moving again. Godin’s point is that too many of us are stuck on a metephoric escalator unwilling to take the initiative to take command of our situation and just walk up the steps.

There is a singular message within these 155 richly illustrated pages: Travel through your fears and plunge into your capacity for contribution and the resulting success that will define your life. The magic of this book lies in Godin’s ability to communicate that one simple message through a wide variety of stories and real life examples.

Some of my favorite ideas from the book

If we don’t dare to try, it’s our own fault

Failure: Are you taking it seriously or are you taking it personally?

Why not invent different rules, different expectations, different ways of deciding what success is and what it’s not?

If you care enough to do exceptional work, choose to risk failure

But the productive artist refuses to incur an artistic obligation. She acts as though the audience doesn’t owe her anything, and forgiving them in advance gives her the freedom to make the work she needs to make. The flipside, though, is also true. The productive artist must act as if she owes the audience, and in unlimited supply.

The Internet means you can learn anything you want, if you are thirsty enough to do the work to learn it.

As we make our world smaller by saying no, it gets ever easier to be alone with our thoughts, to tend the garden of our fears and imagined inadequacies. No closes doors; no diminishes the external distractions that can take away from our internal chatter. No feels safe, but no is a way to amplify the noise in our head. Yes is an invitation to the rest of the world. An invitation to be needed.

If your goal is to be remarkable, please understand that the easiest way to do that is to compromise less, not more. Mediocrity feels safe and easy until it’s neither.

DeVinci didn’t do kits.

About Mike Lake

Mike is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Evergreen Trading. When not playing jazz trombone he is probably obsessing about writing content that will capture the attention and interest of business people and fellow learning junkies everywhere.

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