Small asks

The world expects that its requests will be accepted. That assignments, lunch dates, new projects, and even favors will get a yes. […] It’s just a small ask, the person thinks. Responding or reacting to incoming asks becomes the narration of your days, instead of the generous work of making your own contribution.

~ Seth Godin


Decisions and outcomes

Decisions are good even if the outcomes aren’t. The same is true for the process of generous creativity. The process is a smart one even if the particular work doesn’t resonate, even if the art doesn’t sell, even if you aren’t happy with the reaction from the critics. That’s because what we seek and how we create aren’t the same thing.

~ Seth Godin



There comes a moment in doing your reading where new work begins to rhyme. When you start to see the connections. When you understand who influenced the person you’re engaging with right now.

~ Seth Godin from,

I find it difficult to figure out when to shift from empty-cup, learn-everything mode into the mastery mode. Godin’s insight about “rhyming” strikes me as a great test. In the beginning of some new learning adventure, everything is new and everything is surprising. The idea of noticing when a lot of things start to rhyme… of noticing when you can tell who or what influenced this thing you’re currently studying… that is when you notice that you have shifted into the mastery level of practice. Mastery does not—not by a long shot!—mean you are done. It’s more like the point where the airplane pivots and leaps into the sky: Now I am ready to begin my own journey.


The reward

For the important work, the instructions are always insufficient. For the work we’d like to do, the reward comes from the fact that there is no guarantee, that the path isn’t well lit, that we cannot possibly be sure it’s going to work.

~ Seth Godin from, The Practice


Respecting people’s wishes

We’re not just respecting people’s time. We’re respecting their voice and their passion.

~ Seth Godin from,

It’s a good post from Godin. This post of mine is a literal tangent from one thing he mentioned…

In cases where “we’re all going to be speaking” isn’t on the agenda, going around the room, (ala “let’s all introduce ourselves”,) robs people of their agency. I’ve heard it discussed that this wastes time—it does. But vastly worse is the fact that it removes people’s agency.

(Agency is critical. I’ll go out on a limb and say that depriving someone of agency is literally the worst thing you can do to a person. All the horrible physical crimes you just thought of, involve first depriving the victim of their agency. Imagine if taking someone’s agency was treated as the worst crime possible.)

I imagine I’m leading some session, and someone is sitting in the space. When their turn comes around… suppose they don’t want to speak? What if they didn’t want to be heard? By saying, “let’s go around”—even if I say, “and introduce yourself if you want to“—regardless, they are going to be seen. They have to speak, to decline to speak. They have to leave the room, or hide, etc. My “let’s go around the room,” literally robs everyone of their choice.

There are of course lots of situations where “going around” makes perfect sense. For example, if we’re sitting in a restorative justice circle, everyone there knows how it works. You’re free to not speak, and you know that you are going be seen. But the vast majority of times I’ve been in a “let’s go around” situation, it’s the theft of agency variety.


Easy versus hard

Those things are easy now. They might cost more than we’d like, but you can put them on a check-list and they’ll get done. What’s hard now is breaking the rules. What’s hard is finding the faith to become a heretic, to seek out an innovation and then, in the face of huge amounts of resistance, to lead a team and to push the innovation out the door into the world. Successful people are the ones who are good at this.

~ Seth Godin



And in the end, cynicism is a lousy strategy. Hope without a strategy doesn’t generate leadership. Leadership comes when your hope and your optimism are matched with a concrete vision of the future and a way to get there. People won’t follow you if they don’t believe you can get to where you say you’re going.

~ Seth Godin


Cognitive biases

If our goal is to help people make better choices, it helps to first create better feelings.

~ Seth Godin from,

Godin often makes insightful points like this one. But I often wish he’d use his enormous reach to also talk about the other part—

If our goal is to help people make better choices, it helps even more to show them how they can use their rationality. It’s an inbuilt feature of being human—sometimes I’ve argued it is the defining characteristic of being human. It is, in fact, our planetaryily-unique super power. (We have other super-powers, like compassion, which I think may not be unique to humans.)

Yes, as Godin points out, we should create better feelings for others. But how great would each of our lives be if we weren’t governed by our feelings. The goal isn’t to eliminate feelings nor emotions—that’s a dumb idea. The goal is for all the parts of who we each are, to get the appropriate due.


Faith that you can

The first thing you need to know is that individuals have far more power than ever before in history. […] The second thing you need to know is that the only thing holding you back from becoming the kind of person who changes things is this: Lack of faith. Faith that you can do it. Faith that it’s worth doing. Faith that failure won’t destroy you.

~ Seth Godin from Tribes