Becoming Indespensable: A Book Review of Linchpin

September 8, 2010

As I reflected again a couple days ago on Labor Day, the world of work is changing, evolving. I’ve known this, felt this, since getting laid off well over a year ago (and in previous layoffs). And while getting laid off can be a big blow to your wallet, it’s also a huge blow to the ego. Thankfully, watching Lemonade again on the Documentary Channel on Monday – I was reminded again of the tremendous upside to getting laid off.

Quite simply, Linchpin is a manifesto about how the world of work has changed and outlines strategies on how we can not only survive in this new environment, but also to thrive in it.

Gone are the days when we could go to work, do what we’re told and wait until retirement for the time we can collect on all that is “promised” and live the good life. Also gone are the days at work when fitting in, following the rules and being average are looked upon favorably.

Godin reminds us, time and time again throughout Linchpin, that we need to become indispensable – someone so good and remarkable that companies would not and could not replace us. He also encourages us to summon our creativity and passion in order to help us look at our work as art. At one point Godin says:

“Artists understand that they have the power, through gifts, innovation, and love to create a new story, one that’s better than the old one.”

He stresses that, as artists, we need “to ship” – that is to finish all those projects that we’re working on and that we’ve started. Not shipping, Godin feels, is allowing your resistance to win. Hearing that, I’m reminded of all the things I’ve been thinking about doing. But I digress…

This also leads to the lizard brain, the part of our mind that wants to play it safe, be comfortable and cares too much about what others think. The lizard brain, as Godin puts it, is the source of resistance.

I liked that Godin includes suggestions on how to get past our lizard brain and resistance. We can start by giving away gifts – it could be our art, expertise or our energy – to others. This gift may or may not be reciprocated, but ultimately leads to healthy self-expression and joy. There are plenty of other suggestions in this area, as well.

Godin stresses that being a linchpin is not easy. It’s often met with great resistance from within and from others – but it can lead to a greater sense of passion, happiness and satisfaction. And as I sit here recalling conversations with workers who didn’t like their jobs or felt under-appreciated, becoming a linchpin seems worth the effort.

I highly recommend this book if you’re looking to take your career to the next level, make a career change or increase your job satisfaction.

How about you: have you read Linchpin? If so, what did you think?

1 Nadia Ballas-Ruta September 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Hi Tim,

Seth Godin totally rocks! I am a big admirer of his work and his passion for encouraging people to do things differently and to think outside of the box.

Sheep are cute but we are not suppose to be like sheep. Many times people follow what is easy because it is common and/or popular. Yet if a person wants to have joy and bliss and meaning…they have to step out of their comfort zones and just do what they do best.

I think that is one reason why we have heroes…they show us what is possible if we just believe in ourselves and throw caution to the wind.

2 Tim September 9, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Hi Nadia: Yeah, I’m right there with you about SG, he’s quite a thinker. I know I’m late in the game in my review of Linchpin, but I still find it to be a great read and something that everyone who’s been laid off should take a look at. I really like your statements about heroes and stepping out of our comfort zones – these are so important to our happiness and mental health. I know it’s still a little early, but have a great weekend!

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