Seth Godin’s book Linchpin is about how to distinguish yourself in an indistinguishable world. It answers several questions, such as: if you are a product, how do you sell yourself; why are some people more valued than others; how can you make yourself happy at any point in your career; and where should I go next. Linchpin is insightful and compelling, if you are in the process of determining where you want to go next in your career. Although, beware if you are satisfied in your career, Linchpin might make you feel extremely lazy. Like Who Moved My Cheese, there is no rest for the weary, because if you are not moving forward, then you will be left behind.
10 Things I Learned from Linchpin: Are You Indispensable
1. Talent and creativity are more important than obedience, because scarcity creates value. In order to be an artist, one has to share their art and have a passion for it.
2. There is more competition in the race to the bottom, than in the race to the top.
3. If you do not bring your best to a job that you feel doesn’t deserve you, then it is unlikely that you will ever have a job that you feel you deserve based on your past performance. Transferring your passion to your job is a lot easier than finding a job that you are passionate about.
4. Motivators: challenge, responsibility, flexibility, stability, money, and professional development.
5. Fear prevents people from standing out. The more you want to hide the less safe you are, because you are less likely to be noticed and more likely to fail. Reduce fear by creating multiple paths.
6. When you start, you should finish. So, you have to ship your projects in spite of fear, hassels, and emergencies. Great artists are able to push through the dip. Stop making incremental changes dues to fear, when you know the apocalypse is near. (The internet is the crack cocaine to resistance.)
7. If you find a linchpin, pay him. If you don’t, someone else will.
8. Your tribe is 150 people and beyond that people are strangers. You give gifts to your tribe and do business with strangers.
9. Seeing clearly means the ability to look at all other views.
10. The indispensable job is the only one worth doing and the remarkable product is the only one worth paying for.
11. Linchpins can visualize the future, love that future, live in that future, and then abandon it when circumstances change. Winners are good at losing.
13. Loyalty to your mission and generosity for your work. Few people have your background, experience, or persistance.
14. If you give your gifts enough to the right people in the right way, then you will be rewarded and your gifts will be treasured.
15. Project enthusiasm and get people to root for you. Be aware where your skills are welcomed.
- References to Lake Champlain Chocolates! They are my favorite.
If you have ever watched MSNBC‘s Morning Joe, then you are probably familiar with Mika Brzezinski. I choose to blog about Knowing Your Value, because it seems like everyone wants to go around saying that they are fine and present a facade that life is perfect, but in reality we are all troubled with similar problems. This is especially true regarding problems surrounding women in the workplace. In order to for all of us to move forward, there needs to be more discussion about these realities. (At the very least, you can read the discussion that takes place in the book over a weekend.)
Part of the reason why this book is notable is because it is about Mika Brzezinski and other female leaders. Their background and status might allude to a certain amount privilege, but after reading this book one quickly realizes that everyone has to put up with their own fair share of b.s. Some of the b.s. is created by others, but there is a good amount that is self-created. In an effort to guide readers on how to stop making their lives harder, Knowing Your Value provides lessons drawn from experiences of current women leaders.
10 Things I Learned from Knowing Your Value:
1. Always ask, even if people place limits on questions, ask anyway. Don’t stop asking, because you feel lucky to have the job, have children, or will have children in the future. You will not know the answer, unless you ask for the job, raise, promotion etc.
2. Be prepared, even if you are not currently valued, your value will be re-assessed if you are the only prepared person.
3. Don’t measure value by being liked or flattered, because being liked or flattered does not pay the bills.
4. Authenticity is easily observed. Don’t act like a guy, if that isn’t you.
5. Men feel uncomfortable when women get angry (e.g. “what is wrong with her”), but love flattery (not flirting).
6. Don’t do anything for free. If you do work for free become indispensable, then you will have a place to negotiate from.
7. Ignore labels, especially those that attribute characteristics that would be considered unseemly to a lady. (E.g. “forceful,” “loud,” and “aggressive”).
8. When negotiating, outline your achievements in a clear and concise manner, know what your peers are making, and do not play the victim card (e.g. mother’s ill, kids, etc.)
9. Always have somewhere else to go, so you are prepared when someone says no.
10. Just because there are more women in management, does not mean that women don’t need to stick together or that their issues are any less pressing.
- Conservatives Feign Outrage Over MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski’s Pay Disparity (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
I always like books that take less than two hours to read. Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson is a helpful reminder that when you are not getting what you want, do something different (change). Who knew that great lessons can be learned through a story about by 2 mice and 2 little people.
10 Things I Learned from Who Moved My Cheese:
1. Entitlement makes you resist change, while pride and arrogance makes you believe that you do not need to change.
2. The more time you spend in shock, awe, and disbelief, the longer it takes you to move on. The same goes for spending too much time searching for the root of the problem; at some point you need to move forward.
3. Fear and comfort make people complacent, but in reality you may be less safe if you do not confront and adhere to change.
4. There is a difference between productivity and activity.
5. Instead of waiting for something to happen, choose what you want to do and do it. Having control over your next step is always better than having nothing.
6. Visualize your end result, because it will help you overcome the first and hardest step when making a change.
7. Question if your fears are rational. Always ask what you would do if you were not afraid.
8.Think about your gains instead of your losses.
9. Keep your ear to the ground, so that you can predict change. Investigate new options while you are happy with you current station. If you accept the small changes, it will be easier to accept the big ones.
10. If you are so smart, then why are all the simple people where you want to be.
If you have an hour and half to spare and are in rut, there is really nothing better to do then read this book. Especially, if you are like me and enjoy spending time wallowing. It reminds me that there is always another opportunity waiting for you, even when you think all you know is over.