What can you do this week to become the go-to person, the linchpin—
the difference maker—in the lives of others, and by so doing,
make a huge difference in your life?
Last week I read (devoured) Seth Godin’s provocative book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? The basic gist: If you report to work each day and do everything you can to fit in, blend in, and play it safe—it’s not very safe. In fact, Godin argues, the cogs of society make themselves more expendable each day they choose to do nothing than what is expected. We’ve been brainwashed by “a system where people are terrified to step outside of their lives.” So they do everything to play it safe and “meet spec.” The problem is that when we “meet spec” there is no way to be remarkable and standout. The best we can hope for is to be standardized–just like everyone else. And when we are standardized, why would an organization need to keep us around?
Over the course of the last four decades I (like many others) have had to endure drones, cogs and automatons of the work world. You know, these are the people who have never found a rule they do not like. The more boxes they can check off on a clipboard, the happier they are. They lack curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking skills. Nothing is gray. Everything is black or white (can never be both in their minds.) They are doing everything by the book. Corporate-speak is all important. Faceless and emotionless people remaining “on point” at all costs. Hardly, if ever, an individual thought. Meeting spec., playing it safe, and making themselves dispensable.
Godin believes the rules have changed in the new economy. The cogs are the ones who are easily replaced. He urges that you (me) develop skills that make us indispensable. True, everyone can be replaced. The indispensable ones, though, become tougher to replicate. They have chosen to stand out for the good of those they serve. They know how to establish and maintain meaningful relationships. Their work becomes art! They have passion and they make things happen for themselves and the people they work with each day.
Godin asks us to imagine a school with the following sign hanging over the front door:
We train factory workers of tomorrow.
Our graduates are very good at following instructions.
And we teach the power of consumption as an aid for social approval. (p. 42)
Oh, my! Are we doing that? Am I doing that? Good time for a gut check.
Video recommendation for the week:
The people who break out and look at work as an opportunity (instead of an obligation) are the linchpins of the world. That is what we need to mentor and encourage, says Godin. And we all have gifts that will help us rise above the “play-it-safe” setting. There are seven contributions (gifts) that all linchpins make to their surroundings. As you read this list, who comes to your mind? Do YOU come to your mind? The linchpins of our world:
- Provide a unique experience/connection between your organization and those you serve
- Deliver their service/product with creativity
- Manage, juggle and effectively pull together complex projects
- Lead the people they serve
- Inspire their colleagues
- Have a deep knowledge/understanding about their areas
- Possess a unique talent. (p. 218)
Many times what holds us back is little more than our own unsubstantiated fears. Godin refers to it as the Lizard Brain that constantly throws obstacles in our way. We believe the lizard and then “mortgage an entire irreplaceable day of our life for a few bucks.”
What can you do this week in your life to become the go-to person, the linchpin, the difference maker, in the lives of others, and by so doing, making a huge difference in your life?
“Every day is a new chance to choose.” Ishita Gupta.
Choose well. Live well. Be well—and H.T.R.B. as needed!
Tomorrow, August 5, I will offer my next webinar. The topic: “It Takes More than Academics to Succeed in College.” Take advantage of this complementary offering. Click here to register now for the webinar. Or go to my website for registration information.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please share it (and any of the archived posts on this site) with friends and colleagues. You also can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page and join in–or start–a conversation (www.facebook.com/stevepiscitelli). If you have suggestions for future posts, leave a comment. Make it a wonderful week!
©2013. Steve Piscitelli