I’ve learned a bit more about the leadership revolution that we joined in 2009 with the Lead Change Group by reading Seth Godin’s latest book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn (And It’s Always Your Turn). Over at The Lead Change Group, both in the blog and in our book and other activities, we conveyed the idea that everyone is a leader, an influencer, and when we bring our best selves to the world, to make a positive difference, we are our most influential.
We influence others when bring emotional energy to the things we do and we create value, Godin calls this shipping our art. When we ship our art we become influential and leadership is influence. A character-based leader generates influence through being genuine and valuable. Their “who-they-are” inspires influence.
It’s Your Turn continues the message. His book Tribes was influential in starting Lead Change. The points he made in Tribes challenged me to step up and see who joined. Then came Linchpin, a challenging book about the workplace and about the importance of being indispensable. His eBook Graceful is still the best $3.00 you can spend on personal leadership and influence. And if you’re having trouble with your spot in the world, if you’re not satisfied with the impact you’re making in the world, It’s Your Turn is for you.
Godin inspires and challenges by thinking deeply about the ways we cooperate with the idea that we need someone to do something for us, by giving us a turn, or choosing us. He begins by pointing out that we aren’t often chosen and we’re seldom given a turn. He challenges us with the hard truth that there is nothing stopping us from trying just about anything, from finding ways to make a difference.
He then addresses the fear that we experience when we begin to understand our freedom. But rather than easing, or overcoming, or alleviating our fear, he calls us to dance with it. Talking about a group of people who took part in a project with Seth, he states:
And what is the difference between these folks and you? The t-shirts for one. The willingness to take their turn. The knowledge that it might not work. and the delight (yes, I said delight) in dancing with their fear. No, these people, in fact all the people you admire, aren’t better than you. They’re merely willing to live with the duality of work/not work, they care enough to fail, and they’re focused enough to ship their work and take their turn. Seth Godin, It’s Your Turn
If you’re having the same trouble I am, It’s Your Turn will challenge you. The trouble I’m talking about is the uneasy feeling you have when you punch a time clock at “The Factory” or anyplace where mediocrity and conformity are rewarded, anyplace where the industrial revolution is still kicking.
For a very long time, when I believe I’m spending too much of my time conforming to the mediocrity forced on me from The Factory, I feel the pit in my stomach. My revolution is an individual one. Thanks to the Internet, I’m finding more and more people who want to break away from The Factory and start their own personal revolution, take their own turn; make something happen. And this desire isn’t just for ourselves. We want to make a positive difference, a difference that others find beneficial, people value, and one that inspires and challenges others to make a difference too.
So if you’re one of those people, make this book part of your story. Get a copy and after you’ve read it, pass it along. My last copy is already spoken for, until I get some more of them anyway.