Seth Godin's Blog, page 8

June 21, 2016

Your job is an historical artifact. It's a list of tasks, procedures, alliances, responsibilities, to-dos, meetings (mostly meetings) that were layered in, one at a time, day after day, for years.


And your job is a great place to hide.


Because, after all, if you're doing your job, how can you fail? Get in trouble? Make a giant error?


The work, on the other hand, is the thing you do that creates value. This value you create, the thing you do like no one else can do, is the real reason we need you to be here, with us.


When you discover that the job is in the way of the work, consider changing your job enough that you can go back to creating value.


Anything less is hiding.



            
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Published on June 21, 2016 01:39 • 9 views

June 20, 2016

... not if your goal is to find a breakthrough. Because your customers have trouble imagining a breakthrough.


You ought to know what their problems are, what they believe, what stories they tell themselves. But it rarely pays to ask your customers to do your design work for you.


So, if you can't ask, you can assert. You can look for clues, you can treat different people differently, and you can make a leap. You can say, "assuming you're the kind of person I made this for, here's what I made."


The risk here is that many times, you'll be wrong.


But if you're not okay with that, you're never going to create a breakthrough.



            
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Published on June 20, 2016 01:01 • 4 views

... not if your goal is to find a breakthrough. Because your customers have trouble imagining a breakthrough.


You ought to know what their problems are, what they believe, what stories they tell themselves. But it rarely pays to ask your customers to do your design work for you.


So, if you can't ask, you can assert. You can look for clues, you can treat different people differently, and you can make a leap. You can say, "assuming you're the kind of person I made this for, here's what I made."


The risk here is that many times, you'll be wrong.


But if you're not okay with that, you're never going to create a breakthrough.



            
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Published on June 20, 2016 01:01 • 16 views

June 19, 2016

At first, it seems as though the things you declare, espouse and promise matter a lot. And they do. For a while.


But in the end, we will judge you on what you do. When the gap between what you say and what you do gets big enough, people stop listening.


The compromises we make, the clients we take on, the things we do when we think no one is watching... this is how people measure us.


It seems as though the amount of time it takes for the gap to catch up with marketers/leaders/humans is getting shorter and shorter.



            
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Published on June 19, 2016 02:51 • 10 views

June 18, 2016

There are two pitfalls you can encounter in dealing with focus and process:



In moments of weakness, you take on a project or client that's outside your focus zone. After all, you need the work.
In moments of blindness, you fail to expand what you do, relying on the fading glory of yesterday instead of realizing that you are perfectly positioned to go forward.

In 1994, I ignored the web, defining our business as being email pioneers, not, more broadly, pioneering digital interactions. It took three years to catch up from that error.


On the other hand, we raced to do business with online services from Apple and Microsoft. Not because they were in our focus, but because we could. 


The easiest way to see these errors is in hindsight, which does you no good at all.


The best way to avoid these two errors is to regularly decide (in a moment of quiet, not panic) what you do and where you do it. With intention.



            
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Published on June 18, 2016 01:13 • 10 views

June 17, 2016

One of the fundamental equations of our self-narrative is: If I only had more support, I could accomplish even more.


Part of this is true. With more education, a stronger foundation, better cultural expectations, each of us is likely to contribute even more, to level up, to make a difference.


The part that's not true: "If only."


It turns out that every day, some people shatter our expectations. They build more than they have any right to, show up despite a lack of lucky breaks or a cheering section. Every day, some people stretch further.


You might not be able to do much about the support, but you can definitely do something about the stretching. It's under your control, not someone else's.


And practicing helps.


 


[Sunday is the last day to sign up for the summer session of the altMBA. We are only running two sessions through the rest of the year, and we'd love it if you would consider joining us in our quest to help people like you contribute more than they thought possible.


We do this by giving you a safe space to stretch. 


We do this by raising expectations at the same time we give you access to tools and to a group of fellow travelers eager to make a difference.


We can't possibly give you all the support you need (no one can). But we can help you imagine the stretch.]



            
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Published on June 17, 2016 01:22 • 13 views

June 16, 2016

Most of what we're chasing is that which we've had all along.


In our culture, the getting is ever more important than the having.


There's nothing wrong with getting, of course, as long as the process is in sync with the life you want to lead.



            
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Published on June 16, 2016 01:40 • 17 views

June 15, 2016

Some things are races, but not many.


A race is a competition in which the point is to win. You're not supposed to enjoy the ride, learn anything or make your community better. You're supposed to win. 


At the end of a race, people congratulate the winner, and point out how well she did by winning. The rest of the field, the losers, well, hey, you tried.


Once you see it that clearly, so many things are clearly not races. And when we treat life that way, we cheat our customers, the people we seek to serve, as well as ourselves.


We sometimes abbreviate, "he won a particular race," to, "he's a winner." They're not the same thing.


 


[PS Here's a free e-copy of Steven Pressfield's new book. No strings attached, just a chance to share it early. And Do The Work is worth seeking out.]



            
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Published on June 15, 2016 02:00 • 7 views

June 14, 2016

In the old economy, social connection was done to us.


"There's nothing to do around here." "I'm bored." "Nothing's happening in this place."


You could whine about the fact that your college didn't have enough activities, or that the bar was 'dead'.


Today, though, the obligation is on us to make our own magic. To find two sticks and turn them into a game. To organize our own conversations, find our own connections... most of all, to bring generosity and energy to communities that don't have enough of either one.


Freedom and leverage is great, but it comes with responsibility. We're all curators/concierges/impresarios now.


If the association or the chat room or the street corner isn't what you need it to be, why not make it into the thing we're hoping for?



            
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Published on June 14, 2016 01:01 • 13 views

June 13, 2016

Great organizations are filled with people who are eagerly seeking to recruit people better than they are. Not just employees, but vendors, coaches and even competitors.


Most organizations seek to hire, "people like us." The rationale is that someone too good might not take the job, might get frustrated, might be easily lured away. 


A few aim for, "so good she scares me." A few aim for, "it'll raise our game."


This takes guts.


It takes guts for an employee or a group member to aggressively try to persuade people more passionate, more skilled or smarter to join in, because by raising the average, they also expose themselves to the fact that they're not as good as they used to be (relatively).


Can we take it a little further? What happens if we read a book we not quite sure we'll understand, or ski down a slope that's a little too hard or sign up for a project we're not certain we can easily do?


What happens if we go to a school where we think everyone is smarter than we are?


We are each the average of the people we hang out with and the experiences we choose.


The best way to end up mediocre is via tiny compromises.



            
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Published on June 13, 2016 01:59 • 38 views

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