Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Linchpin Makes a Difference

Excuses are easy to come up with for why you haven't made a difference in the world yet. It's hard to make a difference in the world. Not only are the tasks difficult, the things that have happened to us in the past can be like a handicap to us. Maybe in your place of employment, maybe in your home, with your family, or friends, or church - you look around, and you wish things were different. You see how things could be better. But you are too afraid to make a difference for good. So you complain. Or go negative. Or give up and walk away.

When it comes to your workplace or ministry, you can either focus on the tools you don't have yet to do better, or you can work on your attitude towards the people you must interact with. It's easy to do nothing, or to do little because of inadequate (fill in the blanks). If you want to make a difference in the midst of less than ideal circumstances, what should you do? 
What's a linchpin to do?

Here's some advice from Seth Godin:

In a pre-Internet world, where couldn't have existed, would Jeff Bezos be a nonpassionate lump? If Spike Lee hadn't found a camera, would he be sitting around, accepting the status quo?
Passion isn't project specific. It's people specific. Some people are hooked on passion, deriving their sense of self from the act of being passionate.
Perhaps your challenge isn't finding a better project or a better boss. Perhaps you need to get in touch with what it means to feel passionate. People with passion look for ways to make things happen.
The combination of passion and art is what makes someone a linchpin. (92)

Being open is art. Making a connection when it's not part of your job is a gift. You can say your lines and get away with it, or you can touch someone and make a difference in their lives forever.
This is risky and it's impossible to demand from someone. The decision to commit to the act is a personal one, a gift from the heart. 
Certain sorts of art make us cry without embarrassment. (93)

It's not an effort contest, it's an art contest. As customers, we care about ourselves, about how we feel, about whether a product or service or play or interaction changed us for the better.
Where it's made or how it's made or how difficult it was to make is sort of irrelevant. That's why emotional labor is so much more valuable than physical labor. Emotional labor changes the recipient, and we care about that. (95)

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