It’s really, really hard to write about Seth Godin. Everybody else has done it, and done it exhaustively. In fact, there are dozens of blog posts which are basically the same as the one you are reading now. His latest book, The Icarus Deception, is so inspiring and so intensively practical that most people want to talk about the specific ways they were inspired by it.
But hopefully my impressions and specific moments of motivation are sufficiently individual to be interesting. And I hope that they will motivate you to read the book for yourself and come away with your own action list.
So here are the lessons I have come away with, having just finished The Icarus Deception:
1. Do things for free – Seth talks about his childhood friend Jill Greenberg, who is a celebrated and successful photographer. He reminds us that, naturally enough, she didn’t start out that way. She had to get good, and she had to work hard at it. The reason she rose to the top was because no-one was willing “to take as many pictures for no pay as Jill did.” We need to prove ourselves, and just because we work in a creative industry doesn’t mean that we don’t have to promote ourselves and market what we do. And normally those opportunities come in the shape of doing something for free for someone. Sometimes it’s a pain, and sometimes it feels like an imposition. But like I always remind other people, if we owned a curtain shop we would have to spend money on advertising ourselves – for the entire time we own and operate that shop. Coke doesn’t stop paying for ads. We can never afford to rest on our laurels.
2. Do it like you mean it – “Organizations and co-workers notice when a single individual pours herself into something without much thought about the downside,” writes Seth. A bit of enthusiasm really pays off. A lot pays off even more. Be incredibly enthusiastic about what you do and give it your all. People will always notice, even if they don’t say anything. You can choose to just do stuff to get it out of the way, or to do stuff with passion and make it good and valuable, for yourself and others. I know how I would rather spend my time.
3. Do it with books – Seth is a very literary gent and he recommends quite a few books. I have come away wanting to read Patti Smith’s Just Kids and the work of Brene Brown.
|One of the books Seth Godin recommends we read|
4. Do it so you stand out – Allow yourself to be vulnerable. This is what makes us special, what makes us stand out from the crowd. This is the measure of the artist. The minute you present something to the world you make yourself incredibly vulnerable. Keep doing it.