Seth Godin is an entrepreneur and marketing guru. He encourages people to think outside the box. To eschew the restraints of society and authority, and be creative in your endeavours.
As we all know, I’m not particularly creative. I also rarely think outside the box. Not because I don’t want to, but because it doesn’t come naturally to me.
So when I had lunch with 500 other people in Seth’s presence last week, I was intrigued about what Mr Godin could bring that I already didn’t know I should be doing.
Seth is a great speaker. If you haven’t seen him, you should. He really is pretty motivating, but not in a cheesy way. In a way that validates the choices you’re making, the dreams you want to get off the ground.
While he was speaking, we each had a little bingo card to cross off words as he said them. The first to get a row could yell bingo and get a free book. Being the competitive little brat that I am meant I paid more attention than I probably normally would have as I usually have a short attention span and my brain wanders off a lot. Sandwiches. But a couple of things stood out to me.
The first was to stay on my current path. While Seth speaks marketing, and in terms of selling goods or ideas, I have to revert that back to blogging. Because, like it or not, that has somehow become my actual job now. So in a sense, what I’m “selling” is me. And I’m a complete wanker. But some people get a kick out of it, and as I evolve, so does my blog. That definitely means that people unfollow or unlike or whatever as they realise I’m not a hippie preaching about natural living (I think the name Veggie Mama confuses people), or my sailor mouth offends some, or they don’t have small children any more and can’t relate, or they are upset I don’t post as many recipes as I used to now that I only do one a week.
I don’t mind the unfollows, I’m a rabid unfollower. We all go through different phases in life and fall in and out of love with things. I’m more than happy for people to fall out of love with me, or cull their input so they can go out and live their actual lives. As Seth said, you don’t want to be for everyone. The makers of Harley Davidson motorbikes don’t create bikes for all people, they create bikes for certain kinds of people. Don’t like Harley Davidson motorbikes? That’s ok. They’re not for you.
I’m not for you.
Ok maybe not you, because you’re here reading (hi!) but I’m not for everyone. I don’t want to be. And Seth says that’s OK (thanks, Seth!).
The other thing he mentioned that stood out to me is something I’ve long believed but of course, he could put it into a snappy phrase and I spend half a day trying to explain what I mean. He was talking about the levels of photography skill, and said that lots of people can produce beautiful photos. Some can produce photos that others don’t think are attractive (but that’s ok, it’s not for them). But everyone has access to the same camera.
If you don’t take that literally (please don’t, I can’t bear explaining this to you once you tell me some people can’t afford cameras), everyone has access to their ability to make their own agenda. As a result of the choices you make, of the jobs you take, of the people you meet, of your personal motivation. Everyone has the ability to do different things with that. I like to make my life the way I want it wherever possible. And yes, that sometimes means doing stuff I don’t like (remind me to tell you about that one time I worked cleaning colonoscopes to earn a living) to get to stuff I do like (travelling). Some people stop at doing stuff they don’t like and refuse to do it. But that usually means they never get to the stuff they really want to do. That’s not for me.
Mr Godin gave me permission that day to continue the way I was going. To go slowly because I’m not for everyone, and there’s no doubt that’s the long way round. But to do it how I want to because though everyone might have access to a blogging platform, what comes out on the other side is what you make it.
When I rocked up to get my book signed, I told him I almost won the bingo, but was pipped at the post. He asked my name and turned around. He walked over to the book table and signed the same poster prize the winner had received, so he also taught me trying but not winning is sometimes good enough. People like that you care enough to try hard. And when I asked him if we could take a picture he almost wasn’t going to, even though he liked my gumption enough to give me a poster. There was a lot of people still waiting, and his time was running out. At that point, if I was him, I would have said yes because I have remnants of the People Pleasing disease and I still find it hard to say no. He found it easy. I need to work on that.
But I got my photo anyway. And I did it myyyyyyy waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy.