This is a Guest Post By Ad Hustler Contributor: Kim Ann Curtin, Life Coach
Are You Indispensable?
“The only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about.” ~Seth Godin
Did you know that to take us former hunters and farmers and transform us into rule following, non-thinking factory workers; gin carts were pushed up and down the aisles of factories to keep us, the workers “happy?” Well it’s true. It took a while but after twenty years man’s spirit was inebriated enough so that the carts were no longer necessary. But since they had to make sure that the products these factories produced in bulk kept selling they also needed to ensure that a different kind of production line also ran, the one called “consumers,” and so another sort of gin cart was created, one that made sure that mediocrity and standardization reigned as king, thwarting individuality and uniqueness. The name of that cart pushed up and down the aisles of every American town was and is the public school system.
These are just two of the many shocking things I’ve learned from Seth Godin. I heard him speak at this year’s Small Business Conference. He was discussing his new book Linchpin and his talk brought the entire room to their feet with loud applause. One of the only standing ovations I’ve ever experienced at a business conference! The crowd responded to what he said as though we were at an old style revival meeting. There was hope in every business person in the room unlike I’ve ever seen. And I actually had tears in my eyes when he finished.
The truths that are revealed in this book, the subtitle of which is the name of this column, are a total game changer. And I’ll warn you if it’s an easy answer you seek or the black and white clarity about what you are supposed to do next, it won’t satisfy you. What you will find is that he advocates you turning for direction to the one place that our culture, society and education system has kept you from; yourself.
Like peroxide that must be poured on an infected wound or a mother bird that pushes her children out of the nest when it’s time for them to learn how to fly, Mr. Godin spares us no mercy. He startles us with the news that yes indeed that light barreling down the track towards us is a train and it’s headed straight for us and the “factories” we are working in. (Including the white collars ones.) He stresses that if we don’t want to be hit by this train then we have to stop waiting for our boss or another authority figure to tell us what to do and how to do it. Get off the damn track, he advocates, and begin the inquiry of what we can do to make a difference perhaps for the company we now work in or decide if it’s time to begin our own.
To survive in this new world we have only one hope and that’s to become indispensable. And why must we become this? Because, “There are no longer any great jobs where someone else tells you precisely what to do.” He explains; we aren’t two teams any longer (management and labor) but three; the third team are the linchpins. “The death of the factory means that the system we have built our lives around is now upside down.”
Either way we need to wake up and realize the bill of goods some of us were sold; work hard, follow directions and stay in line; has now turned into a pink slip. Now we must think for ourselves and stop waiting for someone else to choose what’s next for us. If we don’t we’re toast. The days of authority rule are finished. Each man must become his own authority.
Initially it’s scary but then you begin to realize that what he is talking about is the one thing you gave up hope on finding years ago. A world in which you and your “art” get to make a difference, a world where you get to contribute all of who you are and design the map instead of following someone else’s. And here’s the important part this can be done within organizations too. You just have to be brave enough to begin without getting permission.
You will walk away from this book realizing you are more critical to this world then you could have ever imagined. And that we are all in desperate need of you and your gifts. And in the most important chapter of the book (in fact he tells you to read this chapter even if you read nothing else) titled The Resistance, he explains how hard-wired we all are to resist the feelings we experience when we are about to make our own path, create something unique or embark on a break though.
Read Linchpin and learn from a very wise man, who believes in you and is begging you to help transform the world.