Seth Godin's Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

READING TIME: 6 MINUTES

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Seth Godin has spent the last 30 years inspiring people and teaching them how to take it to the next level. He is also the author of 19 worldwide bestsellers, including Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?. A book that teaches you to transform yourself and your environment to become a linchpin. To be a remarkable, unique, and indispensable member of an organization. 

In the book, Seth explains that to stand out effectively, you need to create genuine connections, become an artist, and perform emotional labor. With increased competition in the marketplace, some organizations view employees as part of a cog in the machine. Cogs are comfortable, but replaceable. Seth explores the concept of artists. Artists are brave, risk-takers, and charismatic leaders who are irreplaceable within their company. 

Learn How to Become Indispensable 

According to the book, there is no job security anymore. You can't get comfortable with your 9 to 5 as you could be replaced at any time by a lower-paid, younger individual or even a machine. By learning to be indispensable, you can get the best jobs and feel the most freedom. When you can create genuine connections, bring passion to everything you do, and get out of your comfort zone, you are a linchpin.  

Seth writes, "The combination of passion and art is what makes someone a linchpin." 

This book is about bringing the best out in yourself to work, to create, and to lead, no matter your job title or position in the company. Here are six key lessons to take away from Seth Godin's Linchpin.  

You Are a Genius 

Seth teaches us that to find the artist inside; we have to focus on finding our inner genius. It's the genius that's been tied down and hidden away, waiting to come out. Seth argues that all of us, not just the Einsteins of the world, have a genius inside that's waiting to be unleashed. 

To find your inner genius, you need to make great art. When Seth refers to creating art, it doesn’t just mean in the traditional sense of drawing and painting. Anything that is brought on by passion and creativity is considered great art. Focus on finding your inner genius, someone who can solve problems and bring about positive change to those around you. 

You're Either a Dispensable Cog or an Artist 

Linchpin urges all of us to be great artists. This means being the best version of yourself and taking your work to the next level. Yes, at some point, the world required cogs - people who follow instructions without question who were low-paid and replaceable. But, now the world needs artists - people who are free-thinkers, risk-takers, remarkable, and know their value. 

For example, take a factory worker. The capitalist pitch has always been: "we will take care of you as long as you just comply with the rules." This has been the set of rules to follow for the last 200 years since the industrial revolution. People show up on time, go through the motions, and go home. The result is a compliant workforce that doesn't cost as much and is easier to replace. But, the world is changing, with advancements in technology and artificial intelligence, we need to move forward in a completely different direction.    

Linchpins serve organizations by creating a roadmap for the future and taking it to the next level with an incomparable amount of love, humanity, and compassion that even technology can't rival.  

Give, Give, Give 

If you want to stand out, you have to start giving like a true artist. This means providing genuine gifts and connections and expecting nothing in return. Gifts offered with good intentions and zero expectations are precious. Give it time, and eventually, the universe will pay you back. 

Seth writes, "The ultimate gift you can give, the one that will repay you today and tomorrow and heal our world, is that gift. The gift of connections, of art, of love - of dignity."

Get Uncomfortable 

Seth reminds us to get out of our comfort zone and get uncomfortable. The greatest artists are uncomfortable, and they thrive off of it. When you're doing incredible work, ask yourself: "were you taking a risk and stepping out of your comfort zone to create it?" In these moments of passion, your linchpin personality took over and led to something unique and remarkable.  

Before making a name for himself in the automotive industry, Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy twice. He failed and went broke several times before he finally succeeded and became a world-famous business leader. No matter the risk, Ford kept pushing forward.  

Create Great Art and Take Risks 

A linchpin applies passion to everything they do to produce great art. You don't create great art by playing it safe; it's done through original thinking and risk-taking. Think about the work you do now, do you do it because you're passionate about it or because you have to? 

If you can find your passion, you can create great art.  When you apply passion and creativity to everything you do, you become an artist. Artists are passionate about their jobs and about doing meaningful work. Seth writes that "transferring your passion to your job is far easier than finding a job that happens to match your passion." You don't need to necessarily find your one passion but apply your passion and love to what you do. 

Every interaction and task presents an opportunity to create art. In his book, Seth talks a lot about emotional labor. Emotional labor is all about bringing our unique gifts to every interaction, instead of just going through the motions. This means bringing every inch of our being to our work and not worrying about what other people may say. 

Defeat the Lizard Brain 

Seth uses the term "lizard brain" a lot, also known as the "reptilian brain". The lizard brain refers to the part of the brain that warns us of danger lurking. It's the part of the brain that automatically processes a threat before the rest of the mind processes the information. This gives us an extra second that has allowed us to survive for thousands of years. 

However, in today's world, we're not exactly experiencing the same level of danger. Yet, our lizard brain is still reacting. When you want to create something new, it's your lizard brain that resists and fears the unknown. If you've ever been overly self-critical, postponed specific tasks, or found excuses, and let's face it who hasn't at times, your lizard brain is taking over. To create great art, you need to defeat the lizard brain and overcome fear.  

Be Unique and Remarkable 

Seth stresses the point that linchpins are not born with any special powers or gifts. They decide what they want and figure out how they are going to get it. Linchpins make judgment calls; they take responsibility, question everything, and bring something new to the table. They don't follow; they build their own tribes by nurturing relationships and giving generously.  

Great art can impact people. When you can create genuine connections and call others to action with your sheer positivity and charisma, you put yourself in a powerful and commanding position.

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