seth godin

My (internal) Confrontation Waiting to Happen – Again

I’ve had ‘confrontations’ with myself for years now, simply because I know I should be doing things that continuously make myself better.

And by better, I mean refocusing my efforts to live life to the fullest – being a better friend, brother, son, uncle, employee; working out a little more; drinking a little less; traveling more, etc. I’m happy about the experiences I’ve had to date but there’s still this innate desire to do more.

Yet, I am my own worst critic. I always wonder, “Could I be doing something bigger and better to truly make a difference?”  (Some of you know this, but I served in the armed forces and worked in a hospital for quite a while. Defending freedom and saving lives are two professions that set the bar of achieving “something more” pretty high.)

I could argue that I don’t have the discipline to – day after day – make the proper decisions. That would be an excuse because discipline is a learned quality, a function of habit. I could say, simply, that change is hard. Everyone knows this. But, again, an excuse.

  • What would you do to make a difference in the lives of others?
  • How do you achieve your level of discipline?

One time I was told, “Don’t judge your insides by somebody else’s outsides.” This held two meanings for me. Everyone has their own set of problems. As hard as you try, you will never be able to read another person’s mind and the demons they deal with on a daily basis. You should look at your own ‘insides’ and realize that change comes from within.

Maybe it’s time to have another deep confrontation with myself.

Oh, and here’s the inspiration for this post: Seth’s Blog: The confrontation waiting to happen.

How to be Remarkable

Two years ago (which at this particular moment seems like a lifetime) I came across a great presentation on the true meaning of success.  At that time, the American mood was pretty grim as companies and individuals were still experiencing the catastrophic effects of the 2008-09 financial disasters.  I had (fortunately) just gotten hired in a new communications role that seemed to have potential.

I happened across a small e-book that provided a some focus in a very crazy world.  Over seventy authors came together to provide insight on, What Matters Now.  The book’s messaging provided, at least for me, a mental “push the reset button” and allowed me to re-prioritize. Seth Godin, a world-renowned author, TED speaker and marketer, posted the e-book on his blog.  (You can download it here.)

Through a series of events, and a little research, the book led me to the following article.  Seth wrote the article in 2007 for the Guardian and most of the content holds true today.  I thought I’d share:

American entrepreneur, author and public speak...

“You’re either boring or you stand out. You’re either invisible or remarkable. And, all your life, everyone has been pushing you to fit in. All your life

you’re told to keep your head down, work hard, don’t make waves and get it done. What rubbish. Here, in 10 easy steps, is how to grow. How to stand out. How to get noticed, make a difference and have a shot at the big time.

  1. Understand the urgency of the situation. Half-measures simply won’t do. The only way to grow is to abandon your strategy of doing what you did yesterday, but better. Commit.
  2. Remarkable doesn’t mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me. Am I going to make a remark about it? If not, then you’re average, and average is for losers.
  3. Being noticed is not the same as being remarkable. Running down the street naked will get you noticed, but it won’t accomplish much. It’s easy to pull off a stunt, but not useful.
  4. Extremism in the pursuit of remarkability is no sin. In fact, it’s practically a requirement. People in first place, those considered the best in the world, these are the folks that get what they want. Rock stars have groupies because they’re stars, not because they’re good looking.
  5. Remarkability lies in the edges. The biggest, fastest, slowest, richest, easiest, most difficult. It doesn’t always matter which edge, more that you’re at (or beyond) the edge.
  6. Not everyone appreciates your efforts to be remarkable. In fact, most people don’t. So what? Most people are ostriches, heads in the sand, unable to help you anyway. Your goal isn’t to please everyone. Your goal is to please those that actually speak up, spread the word, buy new things or hire the talented.
  7. If it’s in a manual, if it’s the accepted wisdom, if you can find it in a Dummies book, then guess what? It’s boring, not remarkable. Part of what it takes to do something remarkable is to do something first and best. Roger Bannister was remarkable. The next guy, the guy who broke Bannister’s record wasn’t. He was just faster … but it doesn’t matter.
  8. It’s not really as frightening as it seems. They keep the masses in line by threatening them (us) with all manner of horrible outcomes if we dare to step out of line. But who loses their jobs at the mass layoffs? Who has trouble finding a new gig? Not the remarkable minority, that’s for sure.
  9. If you put it on a T-shirt, would people wear it? No use being remarkable at something that people don’t care about. Not ALL people, mind you, just a few. A few people insanely focused on what you do is far far better than thousands of people who might be mildly interested, right?
  10. What’s fashionable soon becomes unfashionable. While you might be remarkable for a time, if you don’t reinvest and reinvent, you won’t be for long. Instead of resting on your laurels, you must commit to being remarkable again quite soon.

“But wait!” I hear you say. “My boss won’t let me. I want to do something great, but she won’t let me.”

This is, of course, nonsense. Your boss won’t let you because what you’re really asking is: “May I do something silly and fun and, if it doesn’t work, will you take the blame – but if it does work, I get the credit?” What would you say to an offer like that?

The alternative sounds scary, but I don’t think it is. The alternative is to just be remarkable. Go all the way to the edge. Not in a big thing, perhaps, but in a little one. Find some area where you have a tiny bit of authority and run with it. After you succeed, you’ll discover you’ve got more leeway for next time. And if you fail? Don’t worry. Your organisation secretly wants employees willing to push hard even if it means failing every so often.

And when? When should you start being remarkable? How’s this: if you don’t start tomorrow, you’re not really serious. Tomorrow night by midnight or don’t bother. You’re too talented to sit around waiting for the perfect moment. Go start.”  via How to be remarkable | Money | The Guardian.

This still hangs on my desk. Get started!

Things to Think About in 2010

I decided to go through the 400+ messages my Google Reader has accumulated over the past couple of weeks.  Trudging my way through myriads of information from web analytics to investment insights, I discovered a wonderful post from David Meerman Scott.  David passed on a freely shared e-book written by Seth Godin (whom I also follow via an RSS feed – just haven’t gotten there yet) and contained some amazing insight for the new year.

Seth asked over 70 industry professionals to write a short essay given only one word.  Each page contains that author’s input and, I must say after reading it, was compelled to write this post.  EVERYONE in marketing, pr, communications, ethics and mid- to upper-level management can gain something from the text.  Take some time to flip through this and let me know what you think.  I’m sure you’ll be pleased.

Download the e-book here.


In addition, I was happy to say I actually follow several of Godin’s contributors, and I’ve heard about several others through lectures or web casts.  The composite list can be found on page 3 of the e-book, and I encourage you to look a few of them up.  One person I really enjoy is Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.  In the book she talks about “slowing down” but I first came across Gilbert through her speech at the TED awards, where she spoke on creativity and genius.  In case you haven’t seen this, take a few minutes to understand her message.  It’s pretty interesting.

TED Talks – Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creati…“, posted with vodpod

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I can’t believe I’ve had over 11,500 hits over the past couple of years.  I’ve sent over 1,000 tweets.  We live in a ever-growing, digitally connected world but I can’t stress enough the importance of human interaction.  We need to make sure things are done becuase they’re the right things to do, not because it’s “in.”  Just because something has potential for one company, it may not work for you.  The joy you hear in someone’s voice when calling to wish them a simple Happy Birthday can never be replaced by a Facebook post.

Here’s to investing more time in the people and things I love in 2010.  Happy New Year!

Networking, et all.

I went on an informational interview with Ken Moir, from Brunner Advertising yesterday afternoon.  He graciously provided a myriad of helpful information including, a critique of my resume, names of potential leads and informative blogs to read.  The one thing that truly stood out was this: 

“You know how people say it’s not what you know, but who you know.  I don’t believe that to be true.  It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you.”

This was such an interesting paradigm.  So simple, yet so true.  I hadn’t quite thought about it in that way before.  He provided suggestions that I network more, in person and online.  I should research particular blogs to discover the “hot” items in the field.  He said to actually contribute to blogs and forums (like LinkedIn or PR Open Mic), rather than just reading them. 

Some of the blogs I find interesting are:

I have to admit, the research part is probably the most time consuming.  Because I’m actively seeking employment in the public relations/communications field, I feel I don’t have first-hand insight into the day-to-day activities.  But, by researching these sites, I can definitely gain an advantage. 

He also told me that I have a “compelling story, that a lot of employers would love to hear,” but my resume didn’t quite convey it properly.  So, there will be some re-working there as well.  

I would definitely suggest that anyone seeking PR or Advertising work should take this advice.  Find some reputable blogs and follow them.  Make your resume tell your story.  Network, network, network!

Are we that stupid? Perhaps…

Here’s an interesting story I wanted to share, from marketing guru Seth Godin.  The timing is perfect, with us in the midst of a horrible presidential campaign season.  (Since when did it become Obama v. Palin?  Why don’t people ignore the truth?) 

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/09/spin.html

This post hit hard because I can’t stand uneducated ignorance.  If you speak your mind, and you’re truly educated on the topic, then feel free to rant and rave all you want.  Be ready to back up your claims.  It hurts me to the core of my being when people talk about things they don’t understand – simply because they haven’t taken the time to learn about it.   For some, ignorance is bliss.  Perhaps human nature.

If you don’t know who Seth Godin is, and have any interest in marketing and/or new media, I would urge you to read up on him – quickly.  With a new book launching next month, he has already written the best-selling “Meatball Sundae” and “Small is the New Big.”