Many’s the time when I’ve made reference to the lessons Seth Godin has taught me. In very nearly every keynote presentation I’ve made, I’ve referred to Seth’s teachings.
I read his book, ‘The Dip‘ recently, and it helped me apply some strategic thinking to a situation I’d encountered. His biggest selling book, ‘Linchpin: Are you indispensable?’ is a book I revisit regularly. It’s taught me a lot about my purpose in an organisation and how I can best work to effect change. In a recent podcast I was interviewed for it was the book I said teachers should read, especially those working in leadership positions. His discussion in this book about the Amygdala, what he refers to as the ‘lizard brain’, has helped me understand my reactions in stressful situations and has allowed me to self analyse and adjust behaviour accordingly.
The lizard brain is the reason you’re afraid, the reason you don’t do all the art you can, the reason you don’t ship when you can. The lizard brain is the source of the resistance.”
― Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
“The linchpin feels the fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds. I can’t tell you how to do this; I think the answer is different for everyone. What I can tell you is that in today’s economy, doing it is a prerequisite for success.”
― Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
I’ve listened to some podcasts recently where Seth was interviewed (The Moment with Brian Koppelman, On Being) and some of the insights into his character and the way he protects his time and his personal wellbeing have been very insightful. Seth doesn’t allow comments on his blog and he doesn’t use Twitter other than to post links to latest posts he has written. The essence of what he was saying was that he would find this kind of engagement time consuming and potentially detrimental to his mental state. Instead, he blogs prolifically, relying on his own experience and beliefs and has become incredibly successful in the process. You’ve got to admire his approach and his commitment to pushing ideas out – I know that I benefit greatly from what he is prepared to share.
Seth got me thinking about the things I don’t do that help me retain a semblance of balance in my life. You will note I use the word semblance, because there’s no way I’ve got this right. If I had it right, then I would be spending my evenings curled up in the pursuit of some form of relaxing hobby, not typing emails, thinking about the next day’s work or trawling through Twitter reading posts that expand my mind but often have me up way past anyone’s reasonable idea of bedtime.
So here’s what I don’t do.
I don’t participate in Twitter chats. I don’t have time to devote to a regular time slot and an hour spent trying to keep track of an often fast moving stream of people’s responses feels taxing.
I don’t attend TeachMeets. That’s not to say I never will, but most TeachMeets occur on weekends or after school in locations a fair distance from where I live. Weekends are a bit sacrosanct for me. I’m seeing my elderly parents, spending time with my husband and children and catching up with good friends. Oh, and yes, I’m trying to get my house in some sort of order too – not easy when you work full time. I think TeachMeets are a wonderful way of making connections and sharing great practice, but it’s a choice I’ve made not to participate in the interest of trying to attain that semblance of balance.
I don’t write on this Blog anywhere as frequently as I would like to. I love blogging – I love penning a post and feeling satisfied if I think I’ve shared something worthwhile. After starting a new job in July last year, I’ve really downed tools in this space and it’s something I do regret, but I’ve had to do what Seth does and find a way to preserve my head space and be kind to myself. This is my eighth year of blogging (actually, it’s the 8 year anniversary of this blog today – happy birthday blog!) and I’ve blogged consistently enough that there are posts in every month of that eight year period. Last year would have to be the year with the least amount of posts, but it’s also the year that marked the significant change of job so I’m going to cut myself a break on that one.
The reality for me is that learning about the impact of technology on our lives, and on the education space in particular, has become my hobby. I enjoy learning, something I’ve talked about in previous posts when I’ve described myself as an information junkie. Even driving to work for an hour doesn’t see me tuning out – I’m soaking up podcasts at a rapid fire rate and feeling better for it!
Balance is something I’m aspiring to – I’d like to be more relaxed and feel more in control of life, but it seems to be out of my grasp. I shared the following tweet last night in a discussion with Alice Leung about this very thing.
What followed from this was a tweet from Georgia Constanti, who shared some research from Dr. Adam Fraser who discusses what he calls ‘The Third Space’ in the following video.
So, if what you do in between what you do really does make a difference, then I best be leaving the podcasts in the car ride home for another time. You do need to understand though, it is an hour long drive. Maybe if I give myself 20 minutes before turning a podcast on I might find that ideas have coalesced and I can find better ways forward to do my job well and achieve a greater sense of balance. It’s going to be hard though -have you ever listened to Guy Raz’s voice from the TED Radio Hour? Mesmerising. The car practically drives itself. An autonomous vehicle before its time, powered by the podcast. 😉