Be a Linchpin

Photo courtesy alxpin/iStockPhoto

Ed. Note – Please see my site’s policy on book and product reviews here.  There are affiliate links in the following…

Just finished reading Linchpin, by Seth Godin.  Wow, what an amazing book.  And it dovetails nicely with what I’ve been talking about here lately:  telling a good story with your life.

What is a linchpin?  It’s a metaphor for someone who’s indispensable in an organization.  If they left, the group would fall apart because of what they bring to the table.

A linchpin is someone who isn’t content to march to the beat set out for them by the organization they’re affiliated with.  Oh sure, they’ll fulfill their duties.  They’ll just go BEYOND.  Far beyond what anyone ever expects them to do.  Because what they do ceases to be work.  It becomes art.

“Art, at least as I define it, is the intentional act of using your humanity to create change in another person”

-Seth Godin, Linchpin

When you create art, when you begin to tell a better story with your life (because creating a story is art, isn’t it?), you cease to be average.  You become extraordinary.  There are very few people willing to be as open and as raw as it takes to make art.  Art is about giving a gift that only you can give.

Making art makes you vulnerable.

Making art gives people an opportunity to belittle your ambition.

Making art requires courage and sacrifice.

That’s what you face when you make the commitment to tell a good story, after not telling one at all for so long.

Sure, you’ll face times when it’s tough, and when you doubt your ability to do what you’ve set out to do.  Not just in telling a good story with your life (although I’d argue that any time you try to do something awesome, you’re telling a better story), but in everything you do, in any aspect of your life.

“How do I know what art to make?  How do I know what gifts to give?  This is the crux of it.  Once you commit to being an artist, the question is an obvious one.  The answer is the secret of your success.  You must make a map.  Not someone else.  YOU.”

-Seth Godin, Linchpin

You have to strike out on your own.  By the very nature of what you plan to do, there won’t be a map or a blueprint of how to do it.  You have to break trail.  It’s going to suck, because you’ll feel lost and alone and very few people will understand what it is you’re trying to do.

No one said being a linchpin was easy.

But it’s worth it.  Tell your story.  Blaze a trail for others to follow.  Do what you were born to do.

Book Review – A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Ed. Note – Please see my site’s Review Policy for details on this review, links, etc.

That being said, this is an awesome book.  GO BUY IT NOW. 🙂

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is a book by New York Times bestselling author Donald Miller.  Miller wrote a memoir (Blue Like Jazz) that hit the best-seller lists.  A few years later, when this book picks up, Miller has been contacted by a film producer in order to write a screenplay based on the book.  At this point in his life, Miller is somewhat burnt out and not fulfilled by what he pursues.

Miller spent a lot of time and effort during this process learning the rules of story telling, and he gradually discovered that writing a good story requires “a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it”.

“What if,” Miller wonders “I were to apply these principles toward LIVING a better story?”  The rest of the book recounts his efforts to leave an unintentional life behind, and begin making a difference.  He gets in shape, hikes the Inca Trail, rides his bike across the United States, and begins a mentoring foundation, all with a focus on becoming better.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  Make every effort to read it as soon as possible.

I plan on dealing with the book in more detail later on Start Being Your Best, but our reviews for this program are only supposed to be 200 words long.  So, I’ll end this entry here.