Sunday, July 14, 2013

Using Your Super Power and Being Indispensable.

As part of my summer concentration on books written by Seth Godin, I recently read his 2010 Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?  It ties to many of the themes I summarized in my post, “Leaning In” as a Woman Lawyer, found here.
 
Godin argues that with so many means of direct communication with so many different “tribes” in a hyper-competitive world, each one of us can make an indispensable contribution, as a linchpin, to a business, art, project, or something we care deeply about.  You have the choice of being indispensable.  Just make it.

He defines linchpins as the “people who own their own means of production, who can make a difference, lead us, and connect us.”  “The linchpin is an individual who can walk into chaos and create order, someone who can invent, connect, create, and make things happen.  Every worthwhile institution has indispensable people who make differences like these.”   They are artists and givers of gifts.  They bring humanity to work.  They have vision and engagement.  They help the organization fulfill its mission.

We live in a revolutionary time that gives each one of us the opportunity to bring our “best sel[ves] to the marketplace and be rewarded for it.”   Each one of us can chart our own path and create value as we go. 

But the path involves difficult work.  The tasks require “maturity and soul and personal strength.”  And, you must be motivated by the right reasons.  You must be “brave enough to make a difference.”    You must be bold and think bigger.  

Linchpins do not wait for instructions, but identify and choose the next steps.   They can chart those steps with confidence because linchpins “understand their subject so deeply.”

The linchpin understands that the work requires him or her to make something happen every single day!  Knowing that “changes what you do all day.”  So many opportunities exist to lead.  So many things need to be done.  So many situations offer a way to contribute. 
  
The seven abilities of the linchpin are:
  • Providing unique interface between members of the organization;
  • Delivering unique creativity;
  • Managing a situation or organization of great complexity;
  • Leading customers;
  • Inspiring staff;
  • Providing deep domain knowledge;
  • Possessing a unique talent.  It’s a superpower!

“The 'super' part and the 'power' part come not from something you’re born with, but from something you choose to do, and more important[ly], from something you choose to give.”

The work connects the linchpin to others.   When the work fails to connect with others, the linchpin has received the signal to create new work that will.  Godin advises to make the choice of a linchpin again and again.  Learn from what you did and then create something else. 

In contrast, most individuals respond to the messages of their “lizard brains” and avoid situations that feel risky, threatening, difficult, or generous.   These folks “want [a] pretty safe skill to be enough.  Enough to make you valued, enough to make you fairly paid, enough to make your life stable.  But it’s not.  It’s not enough because in a very connected, very competitive marketplace, there are plenty of people with your pretty safe skill.”   

Amen.  Choose to be remarkable.  Choose to be indispensable.  

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