Tuesday, August 24

Dealing with the F Word

by Eric Pratt

I’m a big fan of Seth Godin. His books are great, easy to read, easy to comprehend, easy to pick up a concept and run with it. His inspirational writings have really given me direction and focus with my changing role in our companies. Mostly he just makes sense.

Sometimes a writer is obviously coming from another planet or such an opposite point of view that I have a really hard time connecting. Not Seth Godin, he says what I would say if I had more experience, more knowledge, and more talent. At least I’d like to think so....

While reading my third Godin work Tribes (I’ve completed Big Red Fez and Purple Cow with The Dip on my to do list). I read a passage today on a plane from Denver to Boston that I thought I would share.

In my career I’ve been blessed with several great opportunities (such as QeH2) and of course a couple not so great. I have taken pride in my ability to capitalize on the good ones (like Revenue River) and move on from the others. More importantly I’ve had the courage to take the risk in leaving the wrong opportunity for the next, whether that be better or worse. Call it faith, call it my temper and ego, call it what you will I’ve left a few organizations before most of my peers after concluding that there was no carrot for me there.

Not that I’m proud of leaving but I’m proud of where I’m at now and know that if I’d accepted mediocrity or stayed where there was no real future I’d still be there.

Seth Godin hit on what I would agree is the reason many of my peers stayed and why they may still be on a dead end career road working for people who just don’t get it. People who manage instead of lead. People who set their employees up for failure every day and blame them when less then the best is achieved.

Here is an excerpt from Tribes by Seth Godin:

The F Word

"So if tribes reward innovation…
….and initiators are happier….
….then why doesn’t everyone do it?
Because of fear.

I’ve encountered thousands (it might be tens of thousands) of people walking around with great ideas. Some of the ideas really are great; some are mearly pretty good. There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of ideas. Ordinary folks can dream up remarkable stuff fairly easily.
What’s missing is the will to make the ideas happen.

In a battle between two ideas, the one doesn’t necessarily win. No, the idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it.

A lot of us would like to believe that there’s a Bureau of Idea Approval, or the BIA if you like acronyms. The BIA sites in judgemnet of ideas and blesses the best ones. Go ahead and hone your remarkable concept, submit to the BIA, and let them do the rest.
Alas, its not going to happen like that any time soon.

Thinking Your Way Out of the Fear

Fear’s an emotion, no doubt about it. One of the strongest, oldest, and most hardwired.
Mr. Godin goes on with some really powerful stuff from here, if you haven’t read this or his other works you really should.

What I take away from this is that you have to take a chance. You have to be willing to take the leap. Leave what’s comfortable for the unknown. Go for it without worrying about what will happen if you fail… you can always go back to another company that will let you fly under the radar. Jobs like that are everywhere."

Maybe I’m a gambler and like the volatility but I’ve always had a go-for-it approach. There is a slim line between "confident risk taker" and reckless I suppose but I’ve always thought that the line was a little further off then most of my colleagues and competitors.

Moral of the story? I don’t know for sure, probably just my rambling and inspiration from Mr. Godin. I guess it’s either go buy all of Mr. Godin’s books or don’t be afraid to take a chance. Either way I don’t think you can lose.

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