Thursday morning in Hastings on the Hudson, New York, a group of awesome strength coaches and businesses owners met with the best-selling author of Purple Cow, Linchpin, Tribes, and more, Seth Godin. As the snow started to fall we stood outside what looked like an apartment building on Main Street. Right on time, Seth came downstairs to greet us at the door and walk us in. We rode the elevator up to a hallway with a few studio apartments. He turned this one apartment into his office and it was majestic.
As we walked into his office, he offered us gluten-free muffins and pastries homemade by his wife for her bakery a few blocks down the road. There was tea, espresso, and coffee for the taking as well. In the middle of the office there was a big table with huge wooden planks on each side, imperfect in their perfect natural state, with the middle being desk material. The table had to extend 16 feet. It was surrounded by orange and purple swivel chairs. Comfortably, easy-going, and not too fancy. On the back wall looking over the table was a giant Barack Obama picture. This one to be exact.
I put my bag down, grabbed my seat and began looking around the room. In one corner there was a linchpin table lamp and on the walls were quotes of his work, framed with a cartoon comic like to them. The view out the windows that made up one of the back walls was great. A ridge in the distance with older buildings snow-capped and perfectly placed. On the ledge behind me was a brick enclosed in a glass case like it was a Mickey Mantle autographed baseball. I have no idea what it was. It just said “Coldbrick”.
Winnie (or Winny) one of his employees sat at the table with us and mentioned a blog contest they were running where the received over 4000 posts in 30 days. Seth Godin’s desk seemed to be a stand up desk. He stood behind his computer working while we waited for the other guys coming who got lost. Throughout the entire office there were books everywhere. Do the work by Steven Pressfield, Purple Cow, and his giant 18 pound book that he created through Kickstarter titled “This Might Not Work.” He spoke about how he made that book while never meeting his editor, the designer, and the printers.
Now into the meeting.
Seth Godin led the meeting with a great story about the first female millionaire in the United States. Her mansion a few miles up the road. Madame CJ Walker. She decided to take her turn and do the work she felt deeply about and created a very successful line of hair products. Today, we have a better chance of taking our turn and making something very special. He said that now it’s like this, “I would like to say something.” and throughout the world there are people who are willing to stop and say “I’ll listen.”
We’re only limited by our guts. The work we do, the people we reach, the lives we change is only limited by what we’re willing to do. Being inside this office made my creative nerd inside go wild. I wanted to stop and write about everything I saw. The amazing feeling of being in this open area with such a driven person made the muse go crazy. He made a roll of brown paper that you’d normally see at a gift wrapping station hanging from the wall and even though I knew what it was for, I had to ask. It is the perfect thing to write notes on, tear off, and take with you. Brilliant.
As he got into our questions he said the most important thing for our business success is doing work that matters and if we weren’t sure it matters to ask ourselves this question: “Would they miss me if I was gone?”
In our line of work as strength coaches and gym owners, we’re doing work that matters. Each guy in the group is passionate about changing and saving lives while helping people become stronger and happier. Our work matters.
Seth Godin is a true professional. A knowledgeable marketer and a brilliant man when it comes to the vision of creating a culture and “movement” based on our passion. He said “If you can’t control it, dance with it.” as he spoke about fear. When we have a fear it’s a false belief that we think might happen and he said not to deny it. Embrace it or don’t do it.
When someone asked a question about writing, writer’s block, and finding the creativity to write he said something that I’ve been learning for the past few months as I’ve read many writing books from authors like Natalie Goldberg and Anne Lamott. He said “Speaking (as in the act of talking to anyone) is not a challenge for most people . We know how to do it. Writing is just writing what you’re going to say.” If you have something to say, and we all do, just write it as if you’re talking to your wife or best friend. We’re all in the storytelling business and nobody will ever know what we have to say unless we let it out there, everyday. It took Seth four years to get over 100 readers on his blog. A long time but he never quit. It’s good to see that as I’ve been blogging for over three years and I’m not sure if even my mother or father read this stuff.
I’ll leave this with a few tips he went over at the end.
- Writing will make you a better person.
- Write everyday and don’t worry about what. Just write.
- Be worth talking about.
- Show up and Be Focused.
- Do it everyday.
- Ask “What did the people I teach, teach others?”
I am very happy at this possible once in a lifetime experience and I will forever remember the day and the business, marketing, writing, and life advice Seth Godin gave our group. I want to thank him and his staff for their hospitality and time. I look forward to getting better through the lessons we were all taught.
Check out his new book “What to do when it’s your turn and it’s always your turn” HERE