How Seth Godin Kicked My Butt

A few days ago a friend sent me this excellent interview,  in which Seth Godin talks about his recent book, Linchpin (this is an affiliate link). It was so good, I raced out and bought the book yesterday afternoon.  I woke up at 4:30 am today and read more. Then I started writing and I can’t stop. And now I’m writing my first blog post in months. Why? Because Seth Godin kicked my butt.

Here’s Seth Godin being interviewed by David Garland:

To boil a bunch of his superb content down to the essence, he talks about the past, where we were all trained to take jobs, and the jobs were there – that’s not where we are today. Now, we all need to become creators and artists. To be willing to make change and do what matters. To do emotional work, whatever the sacrifice may be. He makes a great distinction between working as a freelancer versus creating something new as an entrepreneur. The barriers to entry – to funding an entrepreneurial endeavor – is lower than it’s ever been. Yet many of us are so engaged in busy work that we aren’t creating the real work.

Seth says “the work” is what scares you, yet it’s also what ultimately makes you indispensable. “The work” isn’t the busy work and the lists and the meetings. That kind of work is what Seth and Steven Pressman call “the Resistance”. The real work – that makes you indispensable- is what lights you up, what matters to you. Seth’s message arrived in my mailbox at exactly the moment I needed to hear it. He really did “kick my butt”.

Here’s a Steve Jobs quote Seth used: “Real Artists Ship.”  Whether you’re an artist, an entrepreneur, or you work for a multi-national corporation, you have to get your great idea, your innovation out there for others to see. You have to declare it finished, and ship it! Or publish it.

Instead of writing blog posts and finishing my book, I’d spent the last months taking one class after another. “There’s just one more thing I have to learn from the experts,” my mind would tell me. “After this, I’ll be ready to write, to publish, to finish.”

For months, a very good friend of mine had been saying to me, over and over, “Louise, you know enough!” I knew she was right, yet I continued substituting learning “just one more thing”for actions that might lead to a finished book or to the teleseminar series I wanted to produce. Instead of overcoming my fear of failure (or is it fear of success?), and sitting down quietly to write at a regular time each day, I was hiding out. The result? I had no product and I was very frustrated.

It’s so simple.  To write a book, all you need to do is sit down and write words on paper and commit to declaring them finished within a certain time limit each day until done. It’s exactly as easy as losing weight is for many people. I attended a class where the presenter said that we all know how simple it is to lose weight: eat less and exercise more. “Well, if it’s so simple, why aren’t more people doing it?”!!! Exactly!

So why wasn’t I writing? I am telling you that the noise inside my head was deafening.  The worries and the critics were competing, trying to yell over each other “You don’t know enough! Who cares what you think? Do you want to look like an idiot? You don’t have enough money…get practical now!”.

The external noise provided more distraction. Did I really need to read the news online 18 times a day, getting more disturbed the more I read, or is it possible that the world could move along without me checking in?

The good news is, I finally “shipped”. I produced a Teleseminar series and a program. It counts, even though it was for someone else. I called the product “Version 1.0” so I’d declare it done and get it out the door and into the hands of people. Their feedback will make Version 2.0 even better. And I’m excited about the announcement I’ll make later this week about the next steps for Nine Work Lives.

How did I push the fear, worry and excuses out of the way? That’s a tale for another day. Meanwhile, what works for you? How have you gotten yourself over the hump, that shift from idea to making it happen?


  1. Linda Waldon
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Louise, for writing such an honest and universal truth that EVERYONE shares at one point in their life. Your public “confession” about the reasons you haven’t written your book yet is refreshingly candid and so very human — I can’t WAIT to read your book now!

    Just do it!

  2. Posted April 5, 2011 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Linda, thanks for the support and encouragement. It means a lot!!

  3. Lynn Fishman RN
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Hi Louise,

    Louise- bravo on the great article and video post. There is a lot of truth here. Seth gets down to basics- in a fast paced information overloaded world- he does what he has to do- which is to focus on the task at hand.

    This is an example of how the truth is so simple- yet we tend to cover it up and make it complicated.

    Having said that, I believe when internet commerce is involved, you have to spend time putting yourself out there. Yes- you need a great product or service, but without people finding out about you, how far can you really go? This is where organization and discipline come in.

    All the best,


  4. Dawn Lennon
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    What a terrific post, Louise, full of insight and passion. Seth would be pleased.

    When Seth released Linchpin, he held an event in NYC that I attended. It was amazing with several hundred attendees at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He greeted everyone personally as they entered the auditorium and each person received a copy of the book.

    It truly is mind-grabbing, affirming, and stoking! Your review carries the message, as linchpins are supposed to do. Great read, ~Dawn

  5. Posted June 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for you kind – and very high energy – words.

    I would love to have been in that auditorium with you and Seth Godin! My introduction to Seth Godin’s work, by the way, came about when I wanted to name my business “Purple Cow”. I thought it was a wonderful and unique name … and I was crushed to discover that Seth beat me to it. Though it’s a wonderful book and high time I re-read his ideas on how to be REMARKABLE in business…

  6. Posted June 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lynn,

    Thank you for your insightful comments on my post – success does boil down to focusing on the task at hand. I appreciate both the encouraging words and the nudge to get out there and become visible. You are an example of how to go about consistently interacting, putting in the time and genuinely connecting with people through Twitter and social media – and comments like this one. You post a steady stream of fascinating articles and useful tips via @brainwavetweets (brainwave architect).

    BTW – Have you ever thought of teaching other people your social media /social connecting “system”?

    My best to you,


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