Is your story mostly full of what you've been told you can't do? Or do you have a track record of what you can do? Are you a "can't" or "can" kind of person? At work, at home, at church, at school - you'll get presented with challenges, problems, big frustrations that will stretch you and require you to step up or sit down.
A part of you will want to quit, to complain, to resist - you can't see yourself overcoming. But there's another side of you that wants to succeed, you want to achieve, you want to accomplish - you want to think you can. You're just not sure if you have it in you, you don't like how hard the scenario has become, you're a little afraid of what might happen if you fail.
Becoming indispensable in your marriage, with your kids, where you work, at your school, in your church, where you live - it's about focusing on what you can do. There will be a thousand problems you'll have to work through in the next year - don't let the painful problems of life deter you from doing the next right thing. A linchpin helps the people around them do the next right thing - even when it's really hard, even when others think they can't do it.
Don't tell me you can't be a better husband or wife.
Don't tell me you can't be a better father or mother.
Don't tell me you can't be a better son or daughter.
Don't tell me you can't make a better contribution at work.
Don't tell me you can't make a bigger difference in your church.
Don't tell me you can't improve your efforts at school.
Don't tell me you can't strengthen your relationship.
Maybe you don't want to because it's too hard, or you don't feel like it's worth it, or you're too tired to keep trying. But can't? You can't become indispensable? You can't become a linchpin? Really?
Here's an excerpt from Godin's book, Linchpin. Read it...
And at seven, you were a poet.
And by the time you were twelve, if you had a lemonade stand, you were an entrepreneur.
Of course you can do something that matters. I guess I'm wondering if you want to.
There may be a voice in your head that is ready to announce that you can't possibly do what I'm describing. You don't have what it takes; you're not smart enough or trained enough or (sheesh) gifted enough to pull this off.
I'd like to ask for a simple clarification.
You can't - or you don't want to?
I'll accept the second. It's quite possible that you don't want to. It's possible that making this commitment is too scary or too much work. It's possible that it appears too risky to put yourself on the line and make a commitment to becoming indispensable. A commitment like this raises the bar, and for some people, that might be too high.
Perhaps you don't want to because it feels financially irresponsible. I think that's an error in judgment on your part, since becoming a linchpin is in fact the most responsible choice you can make. But that's your call, and if you decide you don't want to, fine with me.
I don't buy that for a second.
~ Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, p32