I’m a big fan of Seth Godin’s evolving wisdom and his ability to enlighten without sounding “preachy.” His rallying cry is for people to listen to the inner voice, buckle down, do the work and fulfill one’s chosen mission or what he refers to as “shipping.” All of the naysayers, the self-doubt, the constant disappointment no longer matter. What matters is that you do the work and bring something to fruition.
Godin’s book title,”What to do When it’s Your Turn” and provocative subtitle, “And It’s Always Your Turn” is based on his worldview of “program or be programmed.” This book will be a frightening revelation to people who seek salvation in security, “We may mistakenly believe that the alternative to freedom, the path of merely doing what we’re told and constantly seeking stability, is a better way to spend our lives. Of course, it’s not. It’s not because the people who are promised stability rarely receive it. The promises are broken, again and again, and we’ve learned not to believe them. The people who are told that everything will be okay are always disappointed when it’s not,” Godin says.
Godin also addresses how people make the mistake of waiting until they’re sufficiently motivated to take action and he claims that this is tied to the need for reassurance. He counters this belief in a short, but cutting quote by photographer and artist Chuck Close: “Motivation is for amateurs.” Realizing that what causes inaction is fear, Godin specifically addresses the fear of looking stupid, but says everyone is stupid until they master whatever the thing is they’re trying to achieve… and attributes being stupid as part of the process of learning.
Godin’s book amplifies many of the themes that are being discussed by similar thought leaders such as Derek Sivers who wrote, “Passion and purpose are emotions that come after expertise and experience. The way to get them is to commit to the path of mastery get great at something, and do great work.” It’s common for people to wait for a blinding flash of insight to discover their calling or to believe that they have to have an almost religious-like experience with a muse to be struck to work when really, it’s more like just sitting down and committing to the task at hand.
Along with his quotes and insights, Godin also includes interesting nuggets and stories in his book about people who have taken “their turn” and made a difference. The cover photo is Annie Kenney, a British millworker and early suffragette, who went to jail for pushing back when she asked a member of Parliament why women didn’t have the right to vote. Kenney took her turn and went to jail for her belief in the women’s right to vote and helped change the existing paradigm.
When will you take YOUR turn?