Linchpin by Seth Godin
I confess that I have not connected with Seth’s appeal until this book.
Seth confirms with us that a genius is someone with an exceptional ability to find the not unseen solution to a problem. Helping everyone to understand the nature of the problem (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy springs to mind here) as well as the solution. As a Strengths Coach, I realised that all of us have talent, and Seth recognises that many of us have found ways to make something work – Ikea flatpack anyone?
The Author challenges our default mode of compliance, of living a life of comfort and stability, so everything will be alright. However, the hard-won social safety nets have been wound back overtime. Jobs for life are the product of a bygone era. Many of us are a cog in the machine, so it is time to become a lynchpin.
Linchpin or lynch·pin
a pin inserted through the end of an axletree to keep the wheel on.
something that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together:
The monarchy was the linchpin of the nation’s traditions and society.
The industrial revolution brought business models working with the Lowest Common Denominator (LCD), covering anyone who walks in off the street practically. Problem is this approach is easily copied or commoditised, making price competition likely.
The reverse is using highly skilled people, working with their talents, it is virtually impossible to replicate. An entity with highly skilled people working in an unstructured manner are more likely to create value and premium pricing.
To become indispensable, having survived growing up and the corporate system. Godin tells us that it is not we are born with, it is what you do, that makes a difference. Citing McDonalds – eat half your meal at McDonalds and return it for a refund, you will be successful. As the kids behind the counter are not encouraged to think for themselves. Arguing that Linchpins stand out, have the best reputations, are indispensable and get the best jobs.
Linchpins consistently produce and get things done, Picasso painted over 1000 paintings, Seth has produced over 100 books, most did not make the best seller list. Had he not, he would never have written the successful ones. The discipline of shipping is essential. Why is taking action so difficult?
He explains that our lizard brain (amygdala) is creating resistance. It takes courage to stand out from the crowd, we see this especially with teenagers and young adults. Many experience crippling anxiety, fear, hunger and anger – the amygdala sits on top of our spine, at the base of our brain. In the face of resistance, the fight or flight function takes over. We must establish new habits to control our lizard brain, through our more recently developed neo cortex. Thinking about failure differently, learning that each failure is a lesson along our path to success. Seek out discomfort to grow and thrive, brings engagement and change. Doing things others are too scared to do.
Putting our heart and soul into it, to produce generosity and expression. E.g. Marissa Mayer at Google, she was a Linchpin, using her judgement bring clarity and vision she solved problems before they were seen as problems. Emotional labour is often avoided, it maybe exhausting, but it is valuable.
Generosity is a key to success, be human and transparent, rather than using a script (like a telemarketing call that usually fail). People have a sense for honest signals, Andy Pittman observed that we can distinguish between thousands of micro gestures. We need to give the genuine gift. E.g. photographer giving his photography away and is retained by many.
Seth implores us to reach for our passion, to discover our inner artist, recognise what we want to give the world, to take action, to manage our lizard brain.
This all worked for me, perhaps it does for your too!
Definition from Dictionary.com
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