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Seth Godin—Make Something Everyday

Seth Godin needs no introduction.

But if you live under a rock and don’t know who Seth is, we’ll give you the cliff notes. Seth is the author of over 18 best-selling books, the founder of altMBA and The Marketing Seminar, and inductee of the Marketing Hall of Fame. Seth is a prolific speaker, writer, and leader, and we were privileged to have him on our livestream and dig into his thought process.

Seth often describes himself as someone who notices things for a living. In this conversation, we’ll get to dive into Seth’s perspective of the world around him, and how we can do what we love, despite uncertain outcomes.

The conversation kicks off by Seth defining what he believes school is really for. Over the years, kids have gone into school with the promise of a solid career, financial stability, and a good quality of life.

Seth points out three promises of school that have, essentially, brainwashed us to not thinking outside the box.

  • Promise #1: After your 12 years of schooling are complete, there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
  • Promise #2: If you listen to what teachers say, they will not punish you.
  • Promise #3: If you wait to be told what to do, you’ll be less afraid.

All of these promises are irresistible, as Seth puts it. There’s limited risk and uncertainty, and if you just follow the rules, you will be rewarded. But is this what school is for? To limit our ability to think creatively?

Seth mentions that school should only teach you two things in particular: how to be a leader, and how to solve interesting problems. If you can walk across the stage at graduation, diploma in hand, with these two skills under your belt, you can pretty much get any job you want.

Measuring the experience of students, versus their grades/resumes, opens the door for more creative thinkers and leaders.

What Seth repeatedly tells us is that we need to learn to dance with fear. He encourages us all to regularly find generous work that scares us. The fear of doing work that’s unfamiliar won’t ever go away, but if you can dance with that fear, you’ll learn to use it as a compass.

When fear shows up, you can embrace that feeling. It’s your reminder that you’re on the right path. Continuously dancing with fear is the habit you want to do every day.

Part of being a professional (regardless of what you do/what industry you’re in) is showing up every day and making something despite how you feel. You may have heard that authenticity is what gets the most praise from people, but what trumps authenticity is the ability to be useful.

There’s uncertainty and risk with virtually everything we do. We don’t know if what we’re doing today will bring us success tomorrow. The key is to dance with the fear, and fail strategically.

Make small calculated risks so you can be in the game long enough to succeed. In other words, fail smart.

Check out the full video with Seth for a deeper dive into topics such as storytelling, the myth of writer’s block, and why we need heroes and not mentors.

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