From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur Pam's Blog Moved.

Guest post by Seth Godin: You are not a cog

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I have never had a guest post on my blog before. Until now. Seth Godin wrote a special post for EfCN to celebrate the launch of his new book Linchpin. It comes out today — check it out here.

sethgodin

You are not a cog

If you have your own business, you’ve already taken a huge step, but it’s tempting, really tempting to let fear take over and let it push you to start following the rule book.

You know the rule book I mean. The one with the musts, the shoulds and the of courses in it. The one that’s amplified by most how-to books and blogs, and enforced by banks, in-laws and anyone else who means well but doesn’t get it.

It’s like this: if you’re a freelancer and you’re doing what everyone else in your market is doing, why on earth is someone going to hire you? Why will you be able to charge more? Where will your freedom come from?

If it’s useless to work so hard to fit in, why do we do it? Why spend so much time and money trying to be like everyone else who’s doing what you’re doing?

Fear.

The lizard brain, that prehistoric brainstem that controls our feelings of revenge, anger and survival takes over when it feels threatened. And there’s very little as threatening as going out on your own and betting it all as a freelancer or independent businessperson. So we freeze up. So we push ourselves to fit in, keep our head down and hope that things will get better.

They won’t.

What will make things better, a lot better, is embracing the insight you already have and doing things that are right, not things that are widely accepted. If you want to get better than conventional results, it’s important to ignore the conventional wisdom.

You have everything you need to become indispensable, the linchpin, the provider we can’t live without. Time to step up and step out.

Amen brother, I couldn’t have said it better. Obviously, given the source. ;)
There is a whole lot happening to celebrate Linchpin – Squidoo lens here.
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45 Responses to “Guest post by Seth Godin: You are not a cog”

  1. [...] tour. I have followed some of the links and this piece of text from Escape From Cubicle Nation: You are not a cog is great. if you’re a freelancer and you’re doing what everyone else in your market is doing, [...]

  2. Lelala says:

    WOW, Seth is always inspiring with great posts – this time he did it again.
    I can highly recommend everyone to subscribe to his blog, it’s reall worth every minute of reading.

    Especially is entrepreneurial lessons are worth of gold.

  3. Man, speak about a great publish! I?ve stumbled across your weblog a few Instances inside the past, but I ordinarily forgot to bookmark it. But not again! Thanks for posting the way in which you do, I genuinely enjoy seeing a person who really features a viewpoint and isn?t seriously just bringing again up crap like almost all other writers today. Maintain it up!

  4. [...] You Are Not a Cog – a guest post by Seth Godin from Seth’s Blog on Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim [...]

  5. [...] are merely writing for seo hits, why should you care about what is written? If you know you’re a cog what’s your impetus to care about the [...]

  6. Thank you Seth and Pam. This is exactly what I wanted to hear right now.

    I’m just starting to read Seth’s book Linchpin, and I’m absolutely loving it!

    Yes, it is empowering to have your own business, but what is more empowering is the feeling of freedom to do what you want, and not try to force yourself to fit into some “standards”, “should do this” and expectations!

    Great post, thank you.

  7. [...] And that’s how we become the cogs Seth Godin keeps telling us not to be. [...]

  8. Pamela,

    I love it especially how Seth gets right to the point. I just did a video interview with him and I find whether through text, video or audio Seth is engaging, thought-provoking and darn it, really freaking interesting.

    -D

  9. Sital says:

    Thanks Seth & Pam

    We all get days when we start questing ourselves. Days when the ‘shoulds’ and fear start to surface. I’ve had one of those days today………. so thank you the inspiration and timely reminder.

  10. [...] Godin recently wrote a guest post for Pamela Slim’s Escape From Cubicle Nation blog. In it, Seth had some great things to say about doing what you think is right instead of doing what [...]

  11. [...] Pam Slim: Pam wants you to quit your job. I did a short guest post on her blog about why that might be hard for you and how to get started. [...]

  12. Mark R says:

    Pam,
    Thanks for sharing. I=one thing you and Seth do well is to back up what you preach. With the release of “Linchpin: Are you Indispensable?” Seth has used his passion to spread the word with his launch.
    You also continue to show your passion by continuing to spread the awareness of escaping.

    Thanks to both of you! AND, read the book.

    POWER ON–Mark

  13. From a recent business feed on the WSJ:

    “However, some employers aren’t waiting for the economy to lift spirits. No, they are taking the office blues on mano a mano (cloud to cloud?) with something called “happiness coaching.” The Wall Street Journal reported this week that such giants as American Express and KPMG are hiring trainers with psychological backgrounds to help employees achieve greater happiness. Moreover, happiness coaching is the topic of a “crop of new business books and MBA-school courses.”

    This is such a cubicle nation thing to do and its unfortunate. The problem isn’t corporate American, its not the 8 to 6 (that’s the new 9 to 5) and its not having a J-O-B as such. If you love being an accountant, working in a cubicle and you have a wonderful relationship with a company that truly values you and wants to interact with you – fantastic. But many people are not passionate about their J-O-B. And few companies give employee relationships more than lip service. Thus, “happiness coaching” which is but another band aid on a deep, bleeding wound. People need to be connected to their passion and purpose; they desperately want more adventure in their life. They want to know that today wasn’t wasted. And until that happens, no amount of “happiness coaching” is going to help.

  14. You big rebel you! The shifts you are heralding in through your work and work like Seth’s are unprecedented. We are in the grips of such transformation. Thank you for your leadership, courage and audacity… the wheel is turning!

  15. [...] house, a three figure salary or an iPhone? So many people go through life worrying about the “I should.” Things [...]

  16. He seems to be all over the blogosphere today. Nice guest post. Love his stuff. He’s branded himself so well.

  17. Deanna says:

    I’ve been having serious struggles with my DayJob and how/when/if to break into something else. Seth Godin’s release came at a perfect time. The strength he’s offering is indispensable. Thank you Pam and Seth!

  18. CathyD says:

    Just bought Linchpin today at Barnes & Noble.. settling down to read it. Lord knows I’m dealing with the Fear and Lizard Brain every day since I got laid off and am starting my own biz. It’s a new world out there…

  19. Jill Hubbard Bowman says:

    I love his photo with the great orange background. He looks like a cool counter-culture heretic from the 1970′s to me.

  20. fas says:

    Sorry for going off topic but Seth looks like some one from star wars :)

  21. Wow. Because I’m a lawyer, this post seemed like a great big overgeneralization. A little fear is a good thing when there are real laws you need to follow when you are starting a business so you don’t undermine your hard work. There are real “shoulds” out there that have been codified as law.

    There is a line you need to walk. Seth is right: you need to investigate and root out fears based on untruths that turn you into a cookie-cutter cog. Like the fear that your business model must look like everyone else’s. The lizard brain is a big liar. But you need to be cognizant of the basis for real fear of things that can ruin your business. You don’t need to be a cog but you don’t need to throw out all of the “rule books” either.

  22. moreclick says:

    it is great article. Thanks.

  23. Lonnie says:

    I am right on the cusp of this opening paragraph. I just got my business license this week and am doing what needs to be done to get rolling. I see that fear needs to be tackled every day. Thanks for the word on the need to avoid conventionality!

  24. Love it!

    “What will make things better, a lot better, is embracing the insight you already have and doing things that are right, not things that are widely accepted”

    This has always been my motto and one I try to pass on to my child. Following ones inner directive has always been the way to go!

  25. Jen says:

    Good reminder …after all if we can’t be ourselves in our own business what hope is there! Thanks Seth and Pam

  26. [...] Switzerland (Reuters) – With the stoicism demanded of all who hope to make m… 2 Likes Guest post by Seth Godin: You are not a cog 2 Likes The Best Way to Support an Unreasonable Dream | Social Entrepreneurship | [...]

  27. Hungover Guy says:

    As much as I can understand right now, I think you’re right!

  28. Amber says:

    Fun stuff!

    Read Seth’s post after typing up a little blog entry on just this topic on exactly how I felt today — full. of. fear.

    After three weeks of high energy, I woke up today feeling overwhelmed with anxiety. I tackled it and overcame it and am going to bed with more excitement than I had last night, but it wasn’t easy.

    I suppose it is good to practice the submission of the lizard brain every now and then… :)

  29. [...] you’ve watched Seth’s presentation at 99% you need to read his guest post at Escape from Cubicle Nation and you’ll love Michael Hyatt’s interview with the man [...]

  30. greg head says:

    We hear a lot about “must have” and “nice to have” solutions. Sounds like being a linchpin is to be a _must have_ solution for your market. Yes, it’s hard and competitive, but if you focus on a small enough group and create remarkable value for them, you’ve done it.

    Seth has created value for everyone helping him launch this book. He’s not afraid to do it differently if it works.

  31. As long as you’re indispensible, the bus number (for whatever it is you’re indispensible for) is low:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_bus_number

    and thus risk is high, is it not? Doesn’t it then follow that the rest of us should not become reliant on you, thus thwarting your efforts at becoming indispensible?

    (I mean this as an honest question, not a rhetorical one.)

  32. Hugh says:

    “If you want to get better than conventional results, it’s important to ignore the conventional wisdom.”

    That is a great line!

    @Hans I see what you’re saying, and I would add that if you follow your passion and create something (career, living) from it, then you are in fact being more responsible than the guy who puts his future in the hands of a large company as just another “cog”.

  33. Jeffrey Tang says:

    Thank you for pointing out that becoming a freelancer doesn’t automatically make you unique. Even if you don’t work the “standard” 9-to-5, you still have to fight to be remarkable in your independent career. I forget this fact sometimes; thanks for reminding me.

  34. [...] Guest post by Seth Godin: You are not a cog. Seth Godin’s latest entitled “Linchpin” is out today and will be on my Kindle this evening. This post from Escape from Cubicle Nation, Pamela Slim’s extraordinary blog. A must subscribe for Freelancers of all flavors. Share and Enjoy: [...]

  35. [...] Pam Slim: Pam wants you to quit your job. I did a short guest post on her blog about why that might be hard for you and how to get started. [...]

  36. Dave Kaiser says:

    I love it! Why check your personality at the door? Work should be fun and rewarding.

  37. [...] Pam Slim: Pam wants you to quit your job. I did a short guest post on her blog about why that might be hard for you and how to get started. [...]

  38. Source says:

    I’m in a dead end job, I just need to find my niche to attack with a small business! I have the money and the willpower, just need to find that niche!

  39. [...] Pam Slim: Pam wants you to quit your job. I did a short guest post on her blog about why that might be hard for you and how to get started. [...]

  40. Hans Hageman says:

    I left my six-figure job because at 52, I knew that I had maybe one more act and my overlords wanted me to become a cog. The older you get, the more “responsible” you are supposed to become. “Passion” becomes a dirty word. Well, thank you Pam and Seth for providing inspiration to find my Tribe or create it.

  41. Lisis says:

    Hi, Pam! You picked a great blogger to make an exception for on the whole guest post thing. Thanks for sharing this.

    I read a comment earlier this week that said, “We are all encouraged to be unique and find our own way, but when we do, we are criticized for it.” Someone else made the point that when you find a way to make money doing your own thing, you’re a “sell out” to boot!

    It’s such a weird situation… we each want to be linchpins, and others encourage us to be, until we get there. (Except for Seth… I’m pretty sure he has no intentions of tearing us down when we figure out how to join him at the top!) ;)

  42. My favorite line,

    “If it’s useless to work so hard to fit in, why do we do it? Why spend so much time and money trying to be like everyone else who’s doing what you’re doing? Fear.”

    I’m working’ on livin’ on my own lovely, messy, courageous terms! Thanks for a great post!
    ~Melissa
    @RIVERFORK

  43. Short, sweet, and truthful – you really can’t ask much more. It’s easy to feel like a cog in today’s world, but the freedom of the human spirit will always live inside us.

  44. Figuring out how to separate from the crowd has been tough for me. You go too far you are labeled “weird.” You don’t go far enough you are labeled “boring.”

    Finding that line has been difficult to say the least. It helps to read a Seth Godin book to help me find that harmony with myself and the market.

  45. Ed Gandia says:

    Amen, Seth! Great post. Grabbing Linchpin this week; looking forward to reading it.

    As a freelance copywriter who came from a non-creative field (sales) and from the corporate world, I now understand that what initially seemed as a disadvantage (no industry contacts, no track record as a copywriter) was actually a HUGE advantage! By not looking at my copywriting business from the viewpoint of a seasoned freelancer, I was able to bring in “non-traditional” ideas and concepts from the world of sales and business that worked extremely well — and enabled me to attain great success very quickly as a freelancer.

    Forget the rules everyone else is playing by. Try new ideas and approaches. You just might have a breakthrough!

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