Sorry, it’s true.

Boy, this one is really hard to sell.

Which is precisely why it works.

We can chase the trend, go for the linkbait, find the hustle, the hype and the easy, well-trod path.

Which not only appears to be easier but also gets us far more approval from the people we care about. They want the best for us, and it sure looks like the short-term shiny object is the way to go.

Except…

Except that’s not what works. It’s not resilient, it’s not effective and it’s not productive either.

What works? Holding on to your uncertainty a little longer…


It’s more like curling than driving

In industrial work, the only work worth doing is work that works.

That’s one reason why we use the same four-letter word in so many different ways.

Put in the effort, get the results.

And if you don’t get the results, you failed. Not only that, you are a failure.

But creative work is so different that perhaps it should be called creative effort instead.

Creative effort comes with no guarantee. You’re on the frontier, imagining, inventing and dancing with what is possible. That’s the hard part.

It belies our effort if we insist that it’s the same as the…


No need to wait

Authority?

You want the authority to create, to be noticed and to make a difference?

You’re waiting for permission to stand up and speak up and ship?

Sorry. There’s no authority left.

Oprah has left the building. She can’t choose you to be on her show because her show is gone. YouTube wants you to have your own show now, but they’re not going to call you.

Dick Clark has left the building. He’s not going to be able to get you a record deal or a TV gig because his show is long gone. …


Happy Groundhog’s Day

What a bizarre holiday. Every year in Pennsylvania, they wait for a furry animal to come out, look around and decide on whether or not he can see his shadow. And then we know if our hemisphere is due for more winter or not.

Predicting the weather is important for some. If you’re a farmer or live in extreme circumstances, it’s a matter of life or death. But for the rest of us, tracking the weather is mostly about seeking certainty in a world where it is in short supply.

Knowing somehow feels like controlling.

But of course, that’s an…


It’s not something that simply arrives

Here’s how to fall asleep:

Turn off digital devices, go for a walk, brush your teeth, put on some comfortable pajamas, find a dark room and a comfortable mattress, and then lie down and pretend to be asleep.

Prepare for it and then fake it

Once this becomes a habit, you’ll discover that soon after you feign sleep, it actually arrives.

Few people fall asleep for the night instantly and accidentally. It’s usually a choice.

And the same thing, it’s surprising to learn, is true for being passionate.

It couldn’t be any other way.

Being passionate leads to change, and…


Which means we can learn it

Try to find a definition of ‘good taste’ and you’ll likely fail. It seems to be something we’re supposed to innately understand. But given how important it is, it deserves a practical way to understand it. So, here goes:

Good taste is knowing what your audience will like just before they do.

Your audience might be people who are coming over for dinner, or it might be the million people who watch your next video online.

If you give them what they already know and understand, you’re demonstrating taste, you’re simply copying.

And if you show up with something that…


Not the other way around

It’s not complicated, but it’s surprising.

The work makes us who we are.

If you want to be a runner, go running. Go running every day and now you’re a runner.

And the same simple approach works for anyone who signs up to do work we call creative.

Do the work, ship the work, now you’re creative.

Not the other way around.

Don’t wait for it to be perfect.

Don’t wait to be inspired.

And don’t wait for someone to give you a badge or a diploma or a label.

Simply do the work.

Ship the work.

Repeat.

Of course…


Beware the amateurs

Some criticism comes from the well-meaning but misguided. They are afraid for you, and imagine that your life would be better if you weren’t rejected or even noticed. And so, they will express their fear by criticizing your dreams.

Some criticism comes from the broken-hearted. They are bitter about what happened to their dreams, and it’s easy (and perhaps a bit satisfying) to stomp on yours.

Some criticism comes from the ham-handed. They haven’t practiced the skill of criticism and even though they might have something to contribute, it’s not coming through.

and some criticism…

Some criticism is priceless. It…


And the reverse is true as well

They are two sides of the same action.

Leadership is different than management. Leaders are exploring, going to new places. Managers are enforcing, using authority to improve results. Leaders have to invent what is possible.

That’s one definition of creative work. The generous human act of doing something that might not work. Solving an interesting problem.

If you feel like an impostor, it might be because you’re comparing yourself to a manager. We want managers and craftspeople to know precisely the steps that are involved in their work, and we want them to do it flawlessly.

Leaders, on the other…


(not management)

Where will you take us?

Leadership is voluntary. It’s voluntary to lead and it’s voluntary to follow.

When you have power and authority, it’s tempting to manage instead. Managers get what they got yesterday, but faster and cheaper. Managers use authority to enforce behavior.

But leadership involves acting as if. Leaders paint a picture of the future and encourage us to go there with them.

Which is what anyone who makes change through creative work is doing.

You can’t be sure it’s going to work.

You can’t command us to follow.

And you’re here to make a change happen.

This creative work you’re…

Seth Godin

Founder of altMBA and Akimbo. Daily blogger, teacher, speaker, 20 bestsellers as well...

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