For the February issue of Personal Branding Magazine, Seth Godin will grace the cover, with an exclusive and lengthy interview I conducted with him about his new book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable. Out of all his bestselling books, this one is the closest related to personal branding because it focuses on becoming indispensable, meaning that people need your expertise in order to be successful. I’ve wanted to interview Seth for about two years now, so I’m really excited to give you a sneak preview of the interview below. Seth is also holding a blog ring for his book promotion, which I’m part of, along with fellow author, Daniel Pink.
To see other blog interviews in the ring go to: http://www.squidoo.com/The-Linchpin-Posts.
Subscribe to Personal Branding Magazine and receive the full interview (as well as a lot more) on February 1st!
Why do you say that everyone is a genius? What prevents people from unleashing their inner genius?
Well Dan, let me ask you “when you were four years old, did you ever do something that no one had done before, did you ever solve a problem in an interesting way, did you ever say anything that made people take notice’? You probably did that when you were six or eight but by the time you were ten, society started drilling into you that you were average or that you should be average so we baked it out of most people. I think we can define genius as solving a problem in a new and original way.
Every one of us is capable of solving some problem somewhere in a new and original way and we have to put our mind on doing it if we think it’s important.
Aside from just doing your job every day, what value do you put on building relationships with coworkers?
Well, I’m wondering if the relationships with co-workers is your job. If you do something that can be done by a machine, then really soon it’s going to be done with a machine. If you do something that can be done for a quarter of the price by someone in Bangalore, then what are you doing that can’t be done by those alternatives. And the answer is building a tribe, creating a network, doing art, contributing emotional labor, being culturally sensitive to the work that you do and the people you work with. Those things make you irreplaceable and indispensable and the good news is that you don’t have to go to school to learn them, you just have to decide to do them.
Can you explain the lizard brain and why it prevents you from being successful?
Steven Pressfield wrote about the resistance. The resistance is caused by the lizard brain, the amygdala, the prehistoric brain stem, the part of the brain that a chicken and lizard has, the part of your brain that wants you to fit in, not get made fun of or laughed at, the part of your brain that’s in charge of revenge, anger and survival. You should never let your lizard brain make important decisions. It’s the lizard brain that gets you to quit a project at the exact wrong moment. The opportunity that you have over time is to conquer the resistance by understanding why the lizard brain is why it is and soothing it to the point where it ignores the stuff that’s coming up and let’s you do the important work. Now my blog, every single day I write something and every single day the lizard brain shows up and says “maybe you shouldn’t write that” and as soon as the lizard brain says that I know I’m onto something and I write even more on that topic.
Random question: Why do you have your face on some books and not others?
The act of choosing a cover for a book is challenging and fascinating and random. We did more than 150 covers for this book and one of the covers that I liked was me holding a chicken, a rubber chicken cause they are memorable and funny. I thought this book was serious enough that it deserved a cover that stuck with people. And I thought the book, more than anything else I’ve written, is not about me at all. It’s about thinking about who you are. As a result, I wanted to pick your picture on the cover Dan, but that would have meant printing a different cover for everybody and that would have been difficult.
Seth Godin is the author of Linchpin: Are You Indispensable, as well as the bestselling author of Tribes, The Dip, Purple Cow, All Marketers Are Liars, Permission Marketing, and other international bestsellers that have changed the way business people think and act. He’s the most influential business blogger in the world and consistently one of the twenty-five most widely read bloggers in the English language. He’s also the founder and CEO of Squidoo.com and a very popular speaker. He was recently chosen as one of 21 Speakers for the Next Century by Successful Meetings and The Prime Minister of Permission Marketing by Promo Magazine. Seth was founder and CEO of Yoyodyne, the industry’s leading interactive direct marketing company, which Yahoo! acquired in late 1998. He holds an MBA from Stanford, and was called “the Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age” by Business Week.