You’re Going To Miss Me When I’m Gone

I have spent the last 73 days (based on my calculations) tracking the lockdown, quarantine, shelter in place, or whatever you want to call it.

By tracking, I mean I have written a few notes down in my journal.  Nothing too elaborate.  But just some general notes to remind me of the sentiment of what I was feeling and what was going on in the climate and culture as a whole.

Overall I believe this situation was a totally oversold and overhyped by the media, who are dealers in “fear” and basically created the situation and the politics were forced to follow suit.  But I digress, this is not the point of my writings today.

This past Saturday May, 23, the gym I attend opened for the first time in the last 73 plus days. As I walked in, I was more than enthusiastic. I was so glad to be back in there and was grateful for the opportunity.  Before the lockdown, I never resented the gym, but I don’t think I always appreciated it the way I should have.

This morning the gym at our high rise building opened for the first time in 73 plus days. It was so great to walk in there, even with a lot of restrictions, and have the opportunity to get a workout in and use the equipment.

Over the last few weeks, we have now been able to actually go back into restaurants for the first time. If I am honest, I kind of liked the fact that during the lockdown we saved ourselves a lot of money by only being able to do takeout.  Mainly the savings being not spending money on alcohol while dining in.

However, being back around people, the energy in the restaurants, and supporting people to have jobs that can contribute to the economy as a whole is even better.

On Monday, my wife and I randomly went to the mall. Walking around the mall again, which is not something we did very often pre-shutdown, it was still nice to have the opportunity to do it again.

As I am sitting here typing this post, I am in my favorite coffee shop drinking my mocha.  This is something I have done for years.  I usually spend the first hour of the day in here.  During the lockdown, I was unable to sit in the coffee shop, but was thankful that they were open and I was able to get it to go.

I say all of these things really as a reminder to myself that some of the small things we take for granted can easily be taken from us.  For the most part we never think about it when we have them.

Brooks and Dunn one of the great country ban duos of all time, have a song titled “You’re going to miss me when I’m gone.”  The song was a great hit for a a lot of reasons, but one of them being that it is so true.  We typically don’t miss something until it is gone.  Which is why we must appreciate it when we have it.

I am not perfect by any stretch and I am sure I will forget at times.  However, I am going to do what I can to remind myself to appreciate the little things I mentioned here, but more importantly, the bigger things in life as well.


How many Thursdays do you have left in your life?

I don’t know about you, but no matter what I do, it seems like I always use more time to do something than I should use.  This is not a new phenomenon.  Actually if you look it up there is actual supposed law for this belief.  Called Parkinson’s Law.

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, actually wrote about this law in a humorist essay he published in the British publication, “The Economist” in 1955.  Parkinson was actually referencing the fact, and the math to support his belief on how bureaucracies expand over time.  Long story short, he was talking primarily about how officials in government seeks to grow subordinates over time, and as they grow the staff, the work increases, but the results do not increase.  Because the bureaucracy creates more work for itself.  But I digress. Go here and read about it yourself.

In my world, Parkinson’s Law manifests in certain projects that I want to complete.  The best example of this I can give is the one I am working on this week. I have to give a keynote presentation next Friday.  I have delivered several presentations that are similar to the one I am giving, but I have to change this one up for the audience more than normal. This week has been a light week for me, which has provided me a lot of time to work on this presentation.

I started on Monday, and I am 75% complete.  But I should be 100% complete and not have to look at it again until next week.  But I know I have until next week to do it.  Well, really Monday or so.  And because I know this, I haven’t completed it yet.

I have always tried to do whatever I can to get the most out of my time, but I still find myself, like in the above example, using more time than I should.

I recently was listening to a book where the author asked me “How many Wednesdays do you have left in your life?”  Well, I had never thought about the question like that before. I never thought about how many Wednesdays an average person lives, or any other day for that matter.

After hearing this question I thought about it, and like most of us would do, and maybe you are doing it now.  I started doing some math.  The math I will do today is on how many Thursdays I have left, obviously I hope I have more, but lets just play the averages.

I am 39 years old. My dad died when he was 60 (ugh), not sure how that plays in.  One of my grandfathers lived until 86 and the other lived until 83.  However, this plays in, I don’t know, but it gives me some benchmarks.

So how many Thursdays do I have left?

  • If I make it to 60 = Currently week 15 of my 39th year, 1,077 Thursdays left.
  • If I make it to the average for males in the United States: 78: 2,013 Thursdays left.
  • Average of my two grandfathers 83+86=169/2=84.5, 2,325 Thursdays left.

If you think about life experiences how many times do you really do certain things.  For example:  How many Super Bowl parties do you really attend.  Lets just say you started going to Super Bowl Parties when you were 18.  Then you if you just use an average life span, (78), you could have only attended 60 Super Bowl parties throughout your life.  It seems like a lot, but when you look at it like this it makes it seem really small in my mind. Not sure how you think about it.

Now that I got you thinking.  Well me too.  I am trying to create a stronger sense of urgency in everything I do.  Look, I consider myself, to be very disciplined, very focused, and very consistent in just about everything I do.  But even I have a room for improvement.

This little exercise challenged me to think about how many days I really have to do what I want to do, and need to do.  When you are a kid, you think you will live forever.  And then as an adult you are too busy to think about living forever. Then you wake up one day and realize you have been out of high school for 20 years.

I have accomplished a lot.  I don’t know if it is more or less than I thought I would accomplish, because I never really thought that much about it.  However, as I am sitting here today in Naples, Florida where I have lived for the last two years, typing this blog, and now that I think about what it is I am achieving and accomplishing, I can honestly say I have accomplished a lot.

However, I know I am capable of so much more, and you are as well. We just have to quit falling victim to Parkinson’s Law and create the urgency to do whatever it takes to start and  finish things quicker.

To your success and your future.


The value in the “ooch”, in decision making.

Have you ever had to make a very difficult decision in your life? Yes.  We all have.  It could have been one  of those decisions that could greatly impact every aspect of your life.  It could impact your family.  It could impact your finances.  It could require to you make a move to another city, another position, or even another company.

We have all been faced with these types of decisions in our life.  And in most cases, the decision is not clear. So what do you do?

A few years back I read  a book titled Decisive, subtitle: How to make better choices in life and work. The authors, Chip and Dan Heath, have made a career on writing valuable books that challenge our way of thinking.  In this book, they provide this insight and some suggestions, on some processes we can implement that can help us in making better decisions.

In their book they lay out simple formula they titled W.R.A.P, you and I can use this acronym to help ourselves make better decisions.  They provide countless examples and stories, on how companies and individuals have applied this process and the results they got from doing so.

I recently had the opportunity to apply this process to a major decision that I had to make.  I want to show you how I am using one of their theories in my situation.  If you want to read my book summary on this book click this link here.

In the book the W stands for “Widening your options”.  The authors describe how most people and most companies narrow their decision-making down to two different options.  They paint themselves in a corner by thinking they only have these two options.  Most of the time it is, “We do this” or “We don’t do anything”. Or “We take the risk”, or “We don’t take the risk.” Apply whatever your situation is to this part of the process.

The bottom line is very rarely is there only two options in decision-making. You have to widen the options you choose from.  In my recent decision.  I know all of the options I have out there.  There are several, however, at this time, at this moment, based on where I want to go and what I want to do.  The decision I need to make is the one I have chosen.

The R stands for, “Reality testing your options”.  Meaning instead of going all in on one thing or the other, test a few different things out and see how it does.

The authors refer to it as “ooch”.  Which means, conducting small experiments to teach us more.  This doesn’t mean be indecisive. It means why take a big risk, if you have the opportunity to take little risks to see if the bigger risk will work or not.

The A stands for “Attain distance from the decision before deciding”.  Most of us know the value in doing this.  Often times, we can get too close to a decision or too invested in a  decision, and we may not be able to look at the decision objectively.  We’ve all made a decision in the middle of high emotions. These can sometimes be the worst decisions.

Lastly, the P stands for “Prepare to be wrong”.   Guess what? There are many times where we can do everything right, and still be wrong about whatever it is.  And that is okay. You just have to prepare for it.  By preparing yourself on the front end when things go wrong, even if they don’t, you will be better prepared in the future if it does go wrong.

In my case, I made the decision to explore the W (Widen my options) and the R (Reality test my options).  In the decision I have to make, there really isn’t a right answer.  By saying I only have two options. “Do it” or “Don’t do it”, made me think that this decision is final.  And although the decision is final for now, it isn’t final forever.

I also have the opportunity to “ooch” into my decision. Sure, I made the decision and I am totally all in on it.  However, I get to experiment with the decision along the way.

I guess what I have learned most through this process, is that no decision is ever final.  Sure, there are some costs associated with all decisions, and there should be.  However, as long as I am alive I will always have the ability to make a different decision when I need to.

I am sure some will read this and say, “ooching” could be considered being indecisive or not committing everything to the decision.  I disagree with this notion.  Your commitment will show up in your actions and your investment in to the “ooching”.  If you don’t make any investments, then the critics would be right.  So, if you are going to ooch, you have to make the commitment necessary that demonstrates you are all in on the decision.

Some decisions may be the best decision today, but could be the worst decision tomorrow. You can’t think about tomorrow though.  You have to decide now. By applying the processes I laid out here.  Or the authors laid out in Decisive.  Click here to purchase the book from Amazon.  You will be better prepared and know that you have made the best decision you could make at the time.

To your success and your future.



Thankfully, I was saved from myself, and here is how to do it

Unfortunately, we don’t get the luxury of benefiting or learning from something until we have actually fully committed to doing whatever it is we are pursuing.

How often do you really get to try something out to see if it works?  See if it is what you thought it would be?  Or if it is what it was advertised as? Or see if you like it?

Sure there are some things you have the opportunity to do this with, but not every many. Especially not big things or big decisions.  Sure you can take a car overnight to see if you like it.  But you don’t get to keep it for a month.  Sure you could go and rent one for a month, but who really does that.

What about taking a new job with a new company.  You don’t get the luxury of  keeping your current job for a period of time while checking out the new job.  No, you have to gather enough information about the people, the company, the culture, etc., in those few interactions you have during the hiring process.  You then have to make a decision to take the job or not, if you get the job offer.

What about buying a new home or renting a place. You do everything you are supposed to do.  You check out the neighborhood.  You run a check online to see if there are any sex predators that live in the area.  You get the home inspected.  You may even go as far as asking neighbors around the place you are seeking to buy or rent, to see what they think about the neighborhood or place.  No matter what you do, you eventually have to make a decision to purchase or rent the place based on the limited knowledge you have.

You don’t get the opportunity to check the place out for a period of time before you commit to it.  No, instead you have to take your limited knowledge and act and it is usually rushed. The process may not be rushed, but whether or not you want to act, and the final decision is usually rushed.

Let me ask you this:  Have you ever acted, made the decision, and regretted it?

If you answered no.  You are a liar. We all have.  We all have made a decision and once we got in to it we wished we hadn’t.

Have you ever not acted, and then later your decision was confirmed that you made the right decision?

Yes.  We all have.  Sure there is a certain bias that helps you answer yes here today.  You look back on the home, the car, the job, etc., and say.  I knew that it was a bad thing.  I knew I was making the right decision. But did you really know it at the time you had to make the decision?  In some cases you do, but in many cases you have to go with your gut (which is usually right) and make the decision on the limited information you have.

In these scenarios, job, house, car, etc. have you ever known that it wasn’t the right decision or right thing, but you talked yourself into it anyway?

Again, if you answered no.  You are a liar.  Lets be honest you can talk yourself in to anything.  It is really easy to create more reasons to do something that you want to do, buy, have, etc. then create reasons you don’t want to do it. Especially when your heart is set on it.  In your mind you are already in the house, or driving the car, or making more money on the new job.

However, if you really look at it objectively you know that you can’t afford that car payment.  You really aren’t willing to cut out eating out for lunch everyday.  Or you really aren’t willing to cut out your two lattes or pack of cigarettes.  But at the time you tell yourself you are, because you are so emotionally connected to the new car, you are already driving it in your mind.

What about the house.  This is the house you always wanted.  It has the right amount of bedrooms, baths, square feet, etc. However, you talked yourself into the neighborhood.  You talked yourself into the fact that it is really a longer commute to work than you really want.  You tell yourself that you will renovate the kitchen at a later date.

It is amazing how when we really want something to happen we can talk ourselves in to it.  I have done it and you have done it as well. My hope is that I get wiser as I get older and I make better decisions.

However, I was recently in a very expensive, large and lengthy purchase where I originally didn’t think it was the right thing for me, then I talked myself in to it.  Thankfully, through wise counsel and divine intervention the purchase was halted.

The challenge we all face when making these decisions is knowing when to stop pursuing it.  Which sign is the final sign that says to us “walk away” this deal is not for you?

I am not sure I know the answer to this.  Maybe you do, please share if you do.

If it is the house, the car, the new job, or in my case a business.  You have to determine what your absolutes are.  Absolutes are those things that must absolutely exist for you to purchase or take the new job or business.

Absolutes are exactly what you think.  For example:  This house must be in a neighborhood that is within a twenty-minute drive for both my wife and I.  If it is set as an absolute, then you won’t go down any rabbit holes and get yourself in a house that is forty minutes away.

If it is a new job.  An absolute for you may be flexible hours.  When you ask if the job has flexible hours and they tell you. “Well, we can make arrangements as needed”.  Then you have to ask yourself will this job be what you are looking for.

By setting some absolutes for yourself you give yourself guard rails that help you make the right decision and you don’t get in to a situation that you will regret later.

Once you set these absolutes, these guard rails, you have to stay committed to them.  You can’t waiver.  If you waiver on them, this is where you run into trouble. That is where bad decisions are made.

In my recent situation. I had some guard rails, I had some absolutes.  Luckily, I was dealing with people who were more interested in making a process difficult, that it provided me an opportunity to talk myself back out of something that I had talked myself in to.

Think about your next major decision or purchase.  Define your absolutes that must exist for you to make the decision or purchase.  This will set those guard rails in place and hopefully you stay within them and make the best decision.

To your success and your future.



My “Never Quit” list and why I created it

Let me start by prefacing this blog with I don’t believe you should keep doing something that isn’t important.  You have to decide what is important and never quit on those things. In my world I have a few of those “Never Quit” items that I outlined in my self-published book titled 7 Ways to More.

This book turned in to a manifesto for me. Manifesto definition: a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer.  It was important for me to do this at the time that I did it, because I was having success and I wanted to document the reasons for that success.   So when things got tough, I could be reminded of what I used to do, and do a gut check and see if I was still doing those things.  It also became a declaration for myself that said these things are the most important things in my life, and I am publicly committing to them forever.

So here are a few of those never quit things:

  • Never quit on your health and fitness
  • Never quit on your personal development and self-education
  • Never quit on the pursuit of fame and fortune, mainly the fortune.
  • Never quit on your friends for life.
  • Never quit on your marriage
  • Never quit on setting and accomplishing goals.
  • Never quit on your family.

This is my never quit list.  If you don’t have a list of never quit items. I would encourage you to create one.  If you don’t draw the line in the sand today, the chances are you will cross that imaginary line tomorrow.  You will do something you don’t want to do, or you will stop doing something that you should do or that is important for you to do.

I was recently scrolling through my news feed on Facebook.  I can’t count how many times I read where someone was re-committing themselves to their health and fitness. They had taken time off from it for whatever reason and was now getting back to it.

Let me first say I have done this before.  Yes.  Way before I ever wrote my book or my list of never quits.  Hence the reason for the writing of the list.

When you quit something you are saying that this is no longer important to me.  You are saying that there are more important things in my life than this (whatever this is) right now. You are also setting yourself up for a very difficult time when you decide to go back to whatever it is as well.  When you quit something for a while it is a hard road back.  One that is full of pain and discipline and regret.  Regret, that you allowed yourself to venture off as far as you did.

I can remember when I slacked for a season or two on health and fitness and then I got back in to it.  I said “never again”.  I will get back in shape again once, and will stay there forever.

After graduating from college with my bachelors of science, I took some time off from my learning.  During that period of time not much happened for me either.  Until, I made the decision to make regular and frequent deposits in my self-education and personal development, I did not grow.

Growth comes from putting ideas in.  For you to have ideas coming out, you must have ideas going in.  I made the decision that I would never ever quit learning again.  And I am not talking about the learning you get on the job.  Most people think that is development.  It can be.  However, development and growth only comes from an intentional movement on your part to grow.

To grow you have to devote time, resources, and be willing to get feedback on your growth.  Most people do none of the three.  They instead think that just because they have been in leadership, sales, or whatever role it is they are in.  And they have successfully lead people who get paid to follow them, they are growing somehow.  You have to make time, spend the money, and get the gift of feedback on how you are doing to actually grow.

To ensure I never quit on the above to aforementioned areas on my never quit list.  I must always be creating, setting and managing my goals.  A goal properly set is half-way accomplished.  Why don’t people accomplish goals?  Because they never set them.  In my health and fitness and my personal development I continue to set goals on a daily and yearly basis.  This one exercise in goal setting is responsible for much of my success I have had up until this point and I know it will be responsible for the success I have in the future.

If you have quit setting goals.  Now is the time to get back to it.  If you do nothing I have suggested in this blog, do this one thing of setting goals in your personal and business life. Things will only get better for you.

Create your “Never Quit” list today.  I don’t know what it is for you, but you must do it today.  You never want to find yourself in a situation where you have to make a decision to not do something that you should be doing, make the decision today and manage it forever.

To your success and your future.



Everybody is a photographer now

Over the weekend I was doing a log of writing and reading.  Something that I read that has me thinking about the future.  I wrote down a quote from one of the best marketing minds on the planet, Seth Godin.  He said:  Be in the business of  “Finding Products for your customers, don’t Find customers for your products.”

If you think about some of the great products that we all use, typically we didn’t know we wanted them until they were created and made for use.  It reminds me of the camera phone.  I don’t know about you, but up until about five years ago whenever I bought my first iPhone,  I never took pictures, ever.  Maybe I would be in a family photo or something, but me personally I don’t think I ever bought an actual camera, ever,  unless you count my iPhone.  I now take pictures just like everyone else.  Pictures of food, (really), pictures of my nephews, pictures of landmarks, pictures of stuff I did, etc.  Now everybody has become a photographer, and the goal is to see how many likes you can get on Facebook or Instagram.

So it brings me back to the statement I made earlier.  Find products for your customers, don’t find customers for your products.  This means create something unique and different, constantly be creating something.  When you do this, you will have customers.  Steve Jobs and other smart phone makers made the camera as accessible as possible by putting it on your phone, something you won’t dare leave home without.  And now everyone is a photographer.


To your success and your future.

2 questions you have to ask

How often does this happen?  We go through a situation and we get through it and we once again find ourselves in that same situation again? And we repeat our same actions and get the same results.  Maybe this only happens to me.

Here are two questions that you must ask yourself in all situations.  This is called reflective thinking and this kind of thinking will lead you into introspective thinking.  Which is looking within yourself to determine your response to things.

1st question:

What did I do right?  Lets give ourselves some credit here.  We always do some things right, don’t we.  It can’t all be wrong.  But you have to ask yourself that question.  Write it down.  I was recently in a leadership/management situation and dealing with an employee.   I had to have a very difficult conversation with this person about their weaknesses and the impact it was having on their career.  At the end of that meeting I asked myself this question and wrote down what I thought I did well, or right, in the conversation.

I think the highest form of leadership is parenthood.  I am not a parent, but the same things apply.  Lets give ourselves some credit for the things we do right.  On your job, maybe you have found yourself in a situation where it didn’t go well, or maybe it went well, and you don’t know why it went well.  You have to be reflective and write it down. This is the key.  Be intentional about your reflective thinking and write down what went well and why you think it went well.

The second question:

What would I do differently?   Have you ever taken a trip somewhere, and the GPS takes you a certain way.  You just follow its directions.  I have.  But when you get there, you have the, “OH yeah” moment. Meaning I know where this is.  Why did my GPS take me this way.  This other way would have been quicker.  I have had this happen many times. But you don’t know until after you have arrived.

Just like in traveling, we have to ask ourselves the question.  What would I do differently if I am faced with this situation again.

The example of the employee I mentioned above.  After that meeting, I sat down, and I wrote down what I did well in that conversation, but I also wrote down very specifically what I would have done differently.  The next time I am in that situation, I will be better.  The fact that I have reflected on it and thought about it, made changes, I will be better the next time. I will know what to do, and what not to do.

In what areas of your life can you apply these two questions?  Think about the last week at work.  What did you do well this week?  What would you have done differently?  Maybe you shouldn’t have sent that email.  Maybe you wouldn’t have attended that meeting.  Maybe you said something to your child, that resulted in them doing something well. The key is to be reflective and ask yourself the questions.

To your success and your future.

The old man at the coffee shop

I have purchased my morning coffee at the same place for the last 10 years, with very few exceptions. Yep, same place, and the same order.  I know everyone here and they all know me.

For the last two years, I have worked out of the coffee shop every morning for the first two hours of the day.  They open up at 6 and I try to be in there at that time and work until 8 and then I go to work work.  There are about 5 or 6 people who are in the coffee shop at the same time as I am.  We say good morning and have some other pleasantries, but for the most part, I am in there on a mission.  I am trying to get things done.

There has been an old man ( I learned his age later; 85) in the shop every morning since I have becoming here for the last 10 years.  Back when I would just come in and purchase my coffee, we would have our normal pleasantries as I walked in or out.  Then when I started working the first two hours of the day in there, I noticed that he would get in there about 6:45 or so every day.  He would come in, grab his coffee, say hi to everyone and sit down and read the newspaper. And then sometime between 7 and 8 a few other regulars would come in and he and all of them would talk about everything under the sun.

In the last two years I have had a couple of conversations with him about a few things. He wore a hat with his Union displayed on it most days.  It was actually the same union that I was apart of when I worked in a previous career.  So we had a long conversation about that.  We would also talk about other events going on around town.

Honestly though, we didn’t have very many conversations.  He liked to talk, so it was more of my fault than his.  He knew that I was on a mission and I would be working or reading. So being the kind of guy I knew he was, he probably didn’t want to bother me.

There was about three weeks where I didn’t see him. One of other regulars who was a little closer to him told me that he had gotten sick and was in the hospital.  Nothing major was really wrong with him, but after being in the hospital for that long some other complications with his health had occurred.  And he has now passed.

He and I would sit within 3 feet of each other everyday.  We had our normal pleasantries every single morning, but that was pretty much it. Kind of sad, that I didn’t know him any better than I did.

Today and going forward I am going to take more time and get to know the people who are in here.  Why wouldn’t I. We are not going to hang out on the weekend or anything, but getting to know these regulars is something I should do.

Rest in peace Bill (old man at the coffee shop)



If this is true, what do you do about it

As a trainer, leader, colleague, friend, mentor, subordinate, mentee, partner, business owner, etc. I have found the following to be so true in just about everything in life. I guess it really comes down to the law of averages and the law of large numbers. With anything that is repeated enough you will eventually see a pattern, so what do you do with it.

People will fall into one of the following categories in just about every situation in everything.

Some will be clueless: Meaning they won’t even know what the heck is going on.  They are not even in the same book, much less on the same page.  If you are attempting to make changes in your life or your career and they are not, they are clueless to the motivation that is pushing you.

Some will be perplexed:  Meaning they don’t understand.  The thing you have to figure out is “Are they capable” of understanding.  Sometimes you may have to spend valuable time to help them understand and it might not be worth it.  Some people just don’t know why things are the way things are.  You have to be willing to know this is true and either invest or eject.

Some will laugh:  How do you know they are laughing, well sometimes they are doing it in your face and most of the time they are doing it behind your back.  You can find them and identify them pretty easily.  Use the laugher as motivation to make it happen.

Some will mock: A mocker is a little bit different from a laugher in that they do it in your face with their questions and their sarcasm.  They attempt to challenge you and push you to engage with them.  Where does this come from?  Who knows, why even stay around and find out, just move on.  Let your results tell the story.

Some will have faith and believe:  These are the ones that say, “We should probably take a look at this”, “Why not give it a try”, “It beats what we have been doing”.  These are the ones you want to be around.

So if this is true and I have found it to be true.  What do you do about it?  Focus on finding the ones that believe and have faith. In leadership, you must find the ones that believe in your mission, believe that the way they are headed is the right way.  If they don’t then it is best to move on for you or for them.

Be around the believers and the ones who have faith, cut out everyone else. But remember the more people you attempt to influence the more you will see of all the above categories. You just have to know how to handle them and when to move on. Some people’s criticisms should be looked at as compliments.

Brian Willett

Are you a LinchPin? My notes from this book

I read LinchPin (Are you indispensable) from Seth Godin a month or so a go.  In my weird filing and ranking system that I have created, I ranked this book 8 Stars out of 10.  It is a book that gets you thinking about how you can do more and be more, because as humans we have the ability to do whatever we want to do, if we choose to do it. So I thought I would blog my highlights from this book. My highlights are the takeaways for me from the book.  I put those notes in my journals and read through them once a month.

Here are my takeaways.  BTW, This is a nice summary of the book, however, I would encourage you to still read it.

Also, an artist as he refers to it in this book, is your unique talent and how and what you do to expand on your art and truly become a linchpin.

  • Stop asking whats in it for you and start giving gifts that change people. Then, and only then, you will have achieved your potential.
  • The attendance based compensation process if over in America.  There are fewer and fewer good jobs where you can get paid for merely showing up.  Instead successful organizations are paying people for who make a difference and are shredding everyone else.
  • The web has made kicking ass easier to achieve, and mediocrity harder to sustain.
  • The hierarchy of value:  There are always more people at the bottom of the stairs, doing hard work thats easy to learn.  As you travel up the hierarchy, the work gets easier, the pay gets better, and the number of people available to dot he work gets smaller.  Lots of people can lift.  Thats not paying off anymore. A few people can sell, Almost no one puts in the work to create or invent. Up to you.
  1. Lift
  2. Hunt
  3. Grow
  4. Produce
  5. Sell
  6. Connect
  7. Create/Invent 
  • Exceptional performers are starting to realize that it doesn’t pay to do factory work (Any job) at factory wages only to subsidize the boss.
  • Markets are crying out.  We need you to stand up and be remarkable.  Be human. Contribute. Interact.
  • Consumers say that all they want are cheap commodities.  Given the choice though, most of us, most of the time, seek out art.  And we will pay for that art.
  • I am good at school:  Being good t school is fine, if you intend to do school forever. For the rest of us, being good at school is like being good at frisbee.  Its nice, but its not relevant unless your career involves homework assignments, looking through textbooks for answers that are already known by your supervisors, complying with instructions and then, in high pressure settings, complying with instructions with limited processing on your part. 
  • What should they teach in school:  2 THINGS ONLY:
  1. Solve Interesting problems
  2. Lead
  • The law of linchpin leverage: The more value you recreate in your job, the fewer clock minutes of labor you actually spend creating that value. In other words, most of the time, you’re not being brilliant.  Most of the time, you do stuff that ordinary people can do.
  • The problem with mediocrity, you spend a little more time trying to be less mediocre than the guy next to you. This will wear you out.
  • Real leaders Solves problems that people haven’t predicted, see things people haven’t seen, and connects people who need to be connected.
  • The linchpin feels fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds.
  • The problem with meeting expectations is that its not remarkable. 
  • The linchpin says “I don’t want a job that a non linchpin could get.
  • Emotional labor is the task of doing important work, even when it isn’t easy. 
  • Emotional labor is difficult and easy to avoid. But when we avoid it, we don’t do much worth seeking out. 
  • An artist is an individual who creates art.  The more people you change, the more you change them, the more effective your art is.  WHAT IS YOUR ART?
  • Art is the product of emotional labor. If its easy and risk free, its unlikely that its art.
  • The moment your willing to seek your time for money is the moment you cease to be the artist you’re capable of being.
  • The passion isn’t in money, it is making a difference, solving a problem, creating change that could help millions.
  • The act of being generous makes your rich beyond measure, and as the goods or services spread through the community, everyone benefits. 
  • When its time for layoffs, the safest job belongs to the artist, the linchpin, the one who can’t be easily outsourced or replaced.
  • The combination of passion and art is what makes someone a linchpin.
  • An artists job is to change us.  When you have a boss, your job is to please the boss, not change them.  But the mount you treat a person like a boss, like someone in charge of your movements and your output, you are a cog, not an artist.
  • Emotional labor is more valuable than physical labor, emotional labor changes the recipient, and we care about that. 
  • The future of your organization depends on motivated human beings selflessly contributing unasked for gifts of emotional labor.
  • Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ides, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow. 
  • Shipping:  This means create art and ship it.  Don’t wait around for it to be perfect because it never will be.
  • Any project worth doing involves invention, inspiration, and at least a little but of making stuff up. 
  • Successful people are successful for one simple reason, they think about failure differently. 
  • One way to become creative is to discipline yourself to generate bad ideas. The worse the better. Do it a lot and magically you’ll discover that some good ones will slip through.
  • The race to make average stuff for average people in huge quantities is almost over.
  • Becoming more average, more quick, and more cheap is not as productive as it used to be.
  • Fear is the most important emotion we have.  It is what keeps you alive.  
  • Accept that everything in life is a draft.  Which means you can keep perfecting it.
  • You can’t sprint everyday, but it’s probably a good idea to sprint regularly.  It keeps the resistance at bay.
  • Generosity generates income.
  • The market doesn’t care about your defense. It cares about working with someone who can accurately see what was, what is, an where things are headed. 
  • Perhaps the biggest shift in the new economy is self-determination. Access to capital and appropriate connections aren’t nearly as essential as they were.  Linchpins are made not born.
  • Linchpins don’t need authority.  Authority only matters in a factory.
  • Real change occurs when someone who cares steps up and takes a risk.  People will follow because they want to.
  • Dignity is more important than wealth.
  • The only thing that separates great artists from mediocre ones is their ability push through the dip.
  • Understanding your only job is to make something happen changes what you all day.
  • If you actually work for an organization that insists you be medicare, that enforce conformity in all of its employees, why stay? What are you building? The work can’t possibly be enjoyable or challenging, your skills aren’t increasing, and your value is the market decreases each day you stay there. 
  • We can’t profitably get more average.

Are you a  linchpin?  Please share with me your thoughts on this book summary.  Did you find it valuable?  Would you be willing to read more of them?


Brian Willett