A few weeks ago I did something new and outside my comfort zone – I gave a personal speech at an ignite event. Although the process was slightly scary it pushed me just enough to refresh my thinking – something I think we all need to do once in awhile. (I often refer to this process as a “gut check” – am I doing what I need to be doing right now, right here?) When I came home at the end of the evening I found a care package had arrived from Mimi. In it was an amazing little book that suited the occasion perfectly. It begins with these words from the author – Seth Godin:
“I’m hoping that this book I created with Hugh MacLeod will help you choose to see the world differently. Radically differently. I’m hoping that instead of asking, “How can this book help me do a better job to keep the world as it is?” perhaps you can momentarily choose to see the world as a different place altogether. I’m trying to get under your skin. I’m trying to get you to stop being a spectator and a pawn in the industrial system that raised us, and maybe, just maybe, to stand up and do something that scares you. I want you to do what you’re meant to do, what we’re all meant to do, which is the hard work of creating art. The artist wonders, “How can I break this?” and “Is it interesting?” Go break something. -Seth Godin P.S. Read this book out loud to someone you care about.”
If I could read it aloud to you, I would. Instead, I will give you a tiny glimpse into the wonderful worlds of Seth Godin and Hugh MacLeod. I encourage you to explore more… (Super meaningful for my colleagues – we are halfway through a year of living the joy. Are you living it?) Perfect timing. I have read this book several times since receiving it – including more than a few to my children who love the illustrations – and have been inspired over and over again. I have since searched for more inspiration from both the author and illustrator (Hugh MacLeod), and have found that they are strong voices for purposeful optimism and innovation in our modern world… Much of their work is available free online. One of my favourite “manifesto” pieces from Seth Godin –Brainwashed– has this mantra for all:
“Do work that matters.”
It goes on to list seven steps towards that goal – each one integral to the purpose: Connect, be generous, make art, acknowledge the lizard, ship, fail and learn. They are well crafted and I hope you have the time to read them but just in case you don’t I will leave you with the finale as it is so meaningful to me as a teacher in particular:
“To bring the school-as-event mindset to work today is to court certain failure. School isn’t over. School is now. School is blogs and experiments and experiences and the constant failure of shipping and learning. You already took a first step. You read something that challenged you to think differently. The path to reinvention, though, is just that – a path. The opportunity of our time is to discard what you think you know and instead learn what you need to learn. Every single day.” (Seth Godin)
Bring on the connecting, the art, the failure, the learning… we are ready to do work that matters!