I just finished reading Linchpin by Seth Godin, and he makes a compelling argument that simply following instructions and being an average worker isn't enough to succeed in today's world. He encourages readers to strive for greatness and become an extraordinary and essential linchpin. To help illustrate the point Seth makes, let me share a story from the book.
Imagine this: John wakes up before the sun each morning to wait on a street corner with a group of other day laborers. They're all hoping for the same thing: to be chosen by a contractor for a day's work. But the problem is that, to the contractor, they're all just interchangeable parts. They don't have any special skills or talents that make them stand out, so it's a toss-up who gets picked. John knows that he's lucky if he gets chosen at all. This s is very similar to the manufacturing industry during the industrial revolution. Companies realized that they didn't need highly skilled workers to manufacture complex products - they could break down the production process into simple steps that anyone, even unskilled laborers, could perform. Today, manufacturing jobs are still out there, but they've become even simpler. Workers are expected to show up and follow instructions precisely, without any room for deviation or creativity. They're replaceable and often outsourced to countries where labor is cheaper. If your job just involves following instructions, it can be done by pretty much anyone, anywhere. But there's a way to beat the odds and make yourself indispensable. You can become a linchpin - someone who stands out from the crowd by using their creativity, problem-solving skills, and unique talents to do their job in a way that no one else can. You don't have to be a CEO or a high-ranking executive to be a linchpin; even a delivery driver can be a linchpin if they pour their heart and soul into their work and create an unforgettable experience for their customers. Linchpins are like artists. They don't need detailed instructions from their managers - they find their own way to get the job done, and they do it with such flare and passion that they gain a reputation. They're the ones who make a real impact on their company, who stop the show and leave a lasting impression. And the thing that sets linchpins apart from the rest is that they're not just a little bit more valuable - they're a hundred times more valuable. They'll always find work, and they'll be treated fairly because no company would be foolish enough to lose a linchpin. But becoming a linchpin isn't easy. It requires overcoming our fears and taking risks, two things that can be incredibly difficult. Fear can hold us back and keep us from pursuing our dreams and reaching our full potential. But we can learn to overcome it by not indulging in it. Instead of constantly checking our email for negative feedback, we can focus on other tasks and allow the fear to recede. We can pursue multiple goals and paths so that the fear of failing in one won't be so overwhelming. Becoming a linchpin doesn't require any special talents or an Ivy League education. It simply demands that we make a conscious choice to overcome our fears and take risks. Linchpins feel the same fear as everyone else, but they acknowledge it and move forward with their work. Don't let your fear stop you from becoming a linchpin. Make the choice to stand out and make a difference.