“The world has given us a microphone. Better not waste it”
~ Seth Godin interview nov. 2012
by: Carolien Oosterhoff
Carolien: “Thinking of your ‘Big Why’, what is the best piece of music that expresses your deepest wish for the world right now?”
Seth: “Bob Marley, of course. Get Up, Stand Up. The world has given us a microphone, a chance to connect and to stand for something, we better not waste it.”
Carolien: “Great song!
Talking about ‘standing up’: suppose it would be you tomorrow, standing where M.L. King stood back in ’68. What would your discourse be?”
Seth: “I can’t even begin to put myself in that man’s shoes, into the life he led or the misjustice he stared down. He has inspired me and millions of others. In my case, inspired me to ask other people to dream bigger, to overcome our inclination to hide and stand for something instead. There are many reasons not to make a difference, but all of them are internal.”
Carolien: “Love that!
What do you hope we will continue of your contribution to this world?”
Seth: “For me, my legacy isn’t anything I’ve done. It’s what the people who have learned from me have done and will do. That’s the best that any of us can hope for, I think.”
Carolien: “Beautiful. That’s what my Buddhist teacher says ‘that his actions as his only true belongings’.
What’s your advice for people who are scared to go ‘out there’ and actually start taking action?”
Seth: “We’re all scared. The question to answer is: what am I doing with the fear? The marathon runner who finishes the race is just as tired as the one who doesn’t, but she has figured out where to put the tired. Your job, then, is to figure out where to put the fear. Not to make it go away, not at all. But to live and thrive and dance with it.”
Carolien: “Where to ‘put the fear’ is inspiring and very real too.
What would you say to people who are afraid of being rejected by their current ‘tribe’ if they are going to switch from doing their daily boring job to following their calling?”
Seth: “Of course you will! And isn’t that the point?”
Carolien: “Hmm. I never looked at it that way.
What I see now is that slowly more people start understanding that authenticity is the ‘new paycheck’. Like ‘transparency’. But I also see a lot of organizations start using these words without ‘real soul’. It feels as cheap and unreal marketing. How can we recognize the TRUE organizations that are REALLY transparent and authentic?”
Seth: “Marketing is about making promises and then keeping them. If we seduce ourselves into accepting small promises, we let everyone down, right?”
Carolien: “Being trustworthy, I get that.
In your book ‘Tribes’ you mention that some tribes are stuck and need to start taking action that demands Personal Leadership. But you also mention that not all of us can be leaders. How can you tell if someone is a (potential) leader? Or to put it even clearer: how can they recognize themselves?”
Seth: “I think everyone is CAPABLE of being a leader, but I don’t think everyone will CHOOSE to be a leader. There’s a big difference. When your passion, faith and impatience are so great that you feel as though you have no choice, then you’ll be able to become a leader.”
Carolien: “You love Social Entrepreneurs as I understand. Those are my clients.
A lot of them have some limiting beliefs that they will NEVER be able to make money with their calling.”
Seth: “Maybe you can’t make money doing what you love.
That blog you’ve built, the one with a lot of traffic, … perhaps it can’t be monetized.
That non-profit you work with, the one where you are able to change lives, … perhaps turning it into a career will ruin it.
That passion you have for art… perhaps making your painting commercial enough to sell will squeeze the joy out of it.
The thing is, it’s far easier than ever before to surface your ideas. Far easier to have someone notice your art or your writing or your photography. Which means that people who might have hidden their talents are now finding them noticed…
When what you do is what you love, you’re able to invest more effort, care and time. That means you’re more likely to win, to gain share, to profit. On the other hand, poets don’t get paid. Even worse, poets that try to get paid end up writing jingles and failing and hating it at the same time.
Today, there are more ways than ever to share your talents and hobbies in public. And if you’re driven, talented and focused, you may discover that the market loves what you do. That people read your blog or click on your cartoons or listen to your mp3s. But, alas, that doesn’t mean you can monetize it, quit your day job and spend all day writing songs.
1. In order to monetize your work, you’ll probably corrupt it, taking out the magic in search of dollars;
2. Attention doesn’t always equal significant cash flow.
I think it makes sense to make your art your art, to give yourself over to it without regard for commerce.
Doing what you love is as important as ever, but if you’re going to make a living at it, it helps to find a niche where money flows as a regular consequence of the success of your idea. Loving what you do is almost as important as doing what you love, especially if you need to make a living at it.
Go find a job you can commit to, a career or a business you can fall in love with.
A friend who loved music, who wanted to spend his life doing it, got a job doing PR for a record label. He hated doing PR, realized that just because he was in the record business didn’t mean he had anything at all to do with music. Instead of finding a job he could love, he ended up being in proximity to, but nowhere involved with, something he cared about. I wish he had become a committed school teacher instead, spending every minute of his spare time making music and sharing it online for free. Instead, he’s a frazzled publicity hound working twice as many hours for less money and doing no music at all.
Maybe you can’t make money doing what you love (at least what you love right now). But I bet you can figure out how to love what you do to make money (if you choose wisely).
Do your art. But don’t wreck your art if it doesn’t lend itself to paying the bills. That would be a tragedy.
And the twist, because there is always a twist, is that as soon as you focus on your art and leave the money behind, you may just discover that this focus turns out to be the secret of actually breaking through and making money.
Carolien: “One of my clients says he knows he has a ‘message’ but he feels he cannot connect with it really.”
Seth: “This is a ridiculous way to stall. He should do his best work, ship it to the world, review what happens, change, repeat.”
Carolien: “Now that we’re here. Uh….any personal advice for me?”
Seth: “Be even more generous. Keep making a ruckus! I’m certainly not saying you’re slacking. I’m saying your readers want and deserve you!”
Thanks Seth, for YOUR generosity!
PS; want to know how I managed to get the interview (and SEVEN more coming up in 2013!)? You can get my secret on the event!
You can find Seth’s blog here