Seth Godin is a business guru, who blogs daily about entrepreneurialism, creativity, and originality. I draw inspiration from him on a regular basis; his short, eloquent posts embody a succinctness that goes straight to the heart of the matter, offering a no-nonsense way to think about what it takes to get things done. I have saved more pieces of advice from him than I can count, but below is a short list of my favorite posts of his with a standout quote from each.
Worst one ever: "Just about anything worth doing is worth doing better, which means, of course, that (at least at first) there will be failure. That's not a problem (in the long run), it's merely a step along the way....If you're not willing to get your 'worst one ever' out of the way, how will you possibly do better than that?"
Rehearsing failure, rehearsing success: "When you choose to visualize the path that works, you're more likely to shore it up and create an environment where it can take place."
The 5000th post: "My biggest surprise? That more people aren't doing this [blogging]. Not just every college professor (particularly those in the humanities and business), but everyone hoping to shape opinions or spread ideas. Entrepreneurs. Senior VPs. People who work in non-profits. Frustrated poets and unknown musicians... Don't do it because it's your job, do it because you can."
Your best and your same (vs. your different and your truth): "...if [clients, customers, people] want you, right here and right now, it won't be perfect. It can't be. It will merely be different and real and in the moment....The opportunity in any given moment is to share your truth, to light a spark and to leap. But you can't do that at the same time you're being perfect."
But I don't want to do that, I want to do this: "If your plan requires getting picked and you're not getting picked, you need a new plan....The problem isn't that it's impossible to pick yourself. The problem is that it's frightening to pick yourself. It's far easier to put your future into someone else's hands than it is to slog your way forward, owning the results as you go."
A hierarchy of failure (from brave to shameful): "Some say, 'go big or stay home,' but I prefer, 'keep going.' Drip by drip."
Just the good parts: "...when the tough parts come along, the rejection and the slog and the unfair bad breaks, it makes sense to welcome them. Instead of cursing or fearing the down moments, understand that they mean you've chosen reality, not some unsustainable fantasy. It means that you're doing worthwhile, difficult work, not merely amusing yourself."
Getting picked (need to vs. want to): "The artist who struggles in obscurity, unfairly ignored because he hasn't been picked--that's a poignant sight. But at some point, the artist has the obligation to seek a different path, one that isn't dependent on a system that doesn't deserve him."
Overcoming the impossibility of amazing: "Of course, the only path to amazing runs directly through not-yet-amazing. But not-yet-amazing is a great place to start, because that's where you are. For now....There's a big difference between not settling and not starting."
Studying entrepreneurship without doing it: "Until you confront the fear and discomfort of being in the world and saying, "here, I made this," it's impossible to understand anything at all about what it means to be a entrepreneur. Or an artist."
You don't have to pander: "Go ahead and make something for the elites. Not the elites of class or wealth, but the elites of curiosity, passion and taste. Every great thing ever created was created by and for this group."
How to write copy that goes viral: "...the best approach is to write for just one person. Make an impact on just one person. Even better, make it so they can't sleep that night unless they choose to make a difference for just one other person by sharing your message with them."
An endless series of difficult but achievable hills: "The craft of your career comes in picking the right hills. Hills just challenging enough that you can barely make it over. A series of hills becomes a mountain, and a series of mountains is a career."
Avoiding fear by indulging in our fear of fear: "Every day, we make a thousand little compromises, avoid opportunities, actions and people--all so that we can stay away from the emotion of fear....Note that I didn't say, "so we can stay away from what we fear." No, that's something else entirely. Right now, most of us are avoiding the things that might merely trigger the emotion itself. That's how distasteful it is to us....The alternative? To dance with it. To seek out the interactions that will trigger the resistance and might make us uncomfortable."
Fearlessness is not the same as the absence of fear: "The fearless person is well aware of the fear she faces. The fear, though, becomes a compass, not a barrier. It becomes a way to know what to do next, not an evil demon to be extinguished."
How long between leaps?: "People don't like changing their rhythm. If you adopt the rhythm of stability, then change is a threat. Adopt the rhythm of change, though, and you'll get restless right on schedule."