Being Blog

Picking Yourself

Creative Mornings is brilliant.  It was started in New York with the simple intent of having an “accessible, inspiring morning event for people to meet.”  It is now in over 50 cities around the world – all because a small group of people decided to make it happen.   They are extremely popular in New York, and so far I have only been able to make it to one in person.  Luckily they also post videos of the lectures for those who don’t get tickets or can’t make it.  

For as much as I like Creative Mornings, I equally love the message and words that Seth Godin is putting out into the universe.  When he was listed as the speaker for Creative Mornings in May, I was s.u.p.e.r. excited.  Well, me and everyone else in New York.  There were 500 tickets and they sold out in under a minute! Clearly others have a love for Mr. Godin, as well.  Having missed it, I was happy to have the video released recently – it didn’t disappoint. 

Here are some of the highlights that I pulled out in regard to thinking about making a change or move in your life or career…

1. “Patience is for the impatient.  That in fact – when you are getting started and your in-laws are making faces at you and you’re not sure if you are going to be able to pay the rent and you don’t know why you are living in Brooklyn to begin with and you’re going to have to move back to Florida – it’s easy to say, ‘You know what?  I need to go faster to pick up these scraps, to pick up these scraps.’ Sometimes what that does is give you the foot up to get to the next level, but sometimes what it does is it just makes you a scrap collector. One of the things we see when we look at the work of the people who have put really big ideas into the world…is that they got there by being patiently impatient…If you look around at…the people you respect online or the organizations you want to work with – the myth of overnight success is just that – a myth.”

One of things that I said to my students most frequently when I was teaching was, “Patience is a virtue.”  Living that virtue is a whole other story.  Finding the balance between going after things/pursuing leads/marketing yourself and being patient has proven to be an everyday challenge.  I believe that it comes down to trusting your work and enjoying the process.  If it is less about the end result and more about liking what you do – then it is easier to be patient.

2. “It’s so easy for us to say, ‘My boss won’t let me.’ When what we are really saying is, ‘No one gave me an affective place to hide.’ We all grew up in an industrial world…a place where we were trained from the time we were three to do what we were told.  They invented public school, the industrialists of the world, because they needed more workers. And what they needed from workers were people who are willing to sit still for ten hours, use a #2 pencil and follow instructions.  That’s what we were indoctrinated to do.  That’s how you got an ‘A’ in third grade and that’s how you got into a famous college.  So, it’s deep within us to want to do that and to let the boss tell us what to do. But we just changed all the rules and that’s not the option anymore.”

This quote really resonated with me on several levels. For one, I realize that I was very guilty of using the excuse of a boss or the dysfunction of an organization to keep me from pursing work.  It was an easy place to hide.  I think it was because I wasn’t doing work that I truly connected with or enjoyed.  If you love what you do, you are more willing to not let challenges stand in your way.  Secondly, it’s the idea that we are fighting against years-and-years of being trained to be compliant and do what we are told.  The messaging was – you do what you are told and you will be successful.  The idea of letting this go and pursuing your own way feels very freeing.  Make up your own rules! 

3. “It’s the work that you are after – not the credit.”

If you do something merely for what it will get you, then you will probably find yourself unhappy and unfulfilled.  After leaving a structured environment, whether that is corporate or non-profit, you realize that titles really don’t matter.  That climbing the ladder doesn’t make you any happier.  And that working a 40, 50, 60+ hour week for one piece of accolade doesn’t give you a lasting feeling of accomplishment and gratitude.  But, if you enjoy the moments of your work – really enjoy them – that is way more substantial and lasting. 

4. “If they don’t get it – go somewhere that does.  You don’t get tomorrow over again.”

Quite simply – life is too short.  As cliché as it is, it is true.  Feeling stuck somewhere has to be one of the worst feelings one can feel.  Entrapment = unhappiness.  Yet, you are the only person who can change this.  So, do it.  It might take baby steps, planning and time, but it is possible.

5. “This is really bad news for people who are insisting on being picked – because you are not going to get picked…it’s being replaced by the awesome scary responsibility of picking yourself.”

We should all be happy to know that life isn’t a middle school gym class.  You can create your own team – hell, you can create your own game.  It is scary, but there is no better investment then investing in yourself. 

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