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The linchpin faces a fork in the road:

You can try to make your job have more. More impact, more responsibility, more leverage.

Or you can be industrial about it and try to have your job involve less. Less risk, less effort, less to fear.

Is your ideal job one where you get paid but no one even knows you work there… or is it to bring your hopes and dreams and talents to a position where you can change things for the better?


PS check out The Bootstrapper’s Workshop. Our first projects are about to start.

Also, check out our free, weekly newsletter about Linchpin Jobs.

A useful definition of art

Art is a human activity. It is the creation of something new, something that might not work, something that causes a viewer to be influenced.

Art uses context and culture to send a message. Instead of only a contribution of beauty or craft, art adds intent. The artist works to create something generous, something that will change us.

Art isn’t painting or canvas or prettiness. Art is work that matters.

It’s entirely possible that you’re an artist.

Everyone can be, if we choose.

Approaching the limits

Not the limit of our skills.

Not the limit of our knowledge.

Not the limit of our physical capacity…

It’s almost always the limits of our internal narrative. Our guts. Our willingness to be kind, to believe, to care enough to leap.

We can’t do anything about the limitations of physics, and we can never do enough to change the limitations of our culture. But we can begin today on changing the internal limits we place on ourselves.

Yes, it’s your turn.

Memories of memories

That’s most of what we’ve got.

We don’t actually remember much of what happens. Instead, we get what we’ve rehearsed.

If we fail to rehearse, the memory will fade.

And if the memory isn’t serving us, we can work to stop rehearsing it.

Choosing what we rehearse is a way of choosing who we will become.

The wind at your back

Tactics are great. Execution is essential.

But a smart strategy is like having the wind at your back. It makes everything easier.

Once we dig in on our tactics and invest in execution, it gets emotionally difficult to walk away even (especially) if our strategy is working against us.

Nearly every time I’ve changed my strategy, I’ve regretted how long it took me to realize that it was time to do so. So much time and energy wasted. You can get a lot more done when you’re working with the environment instead of against it.

Today’s the launch day for The Bootstrapper’s Workshop. It’s a strategic check-up for anyone who wants to build a business without raising a bucketful of money. Get the strategy right and you’ll have an easier time with the tactics.

PS look for the purple circle to save some money today and tomorrow.

Being stuck is reasonable

That’s precisely why you’re stuck. Every decision you’ve made, all the status quo you’re holding on to, the fears you have–they’re all reasonable. This is a mature, apparently safe series of choices. Congratulation on being wise and careful.

The only way to get out of the spot you’re in is to do something that feels unreasonable, that’s unreasonable in the short term, that a similar person in a similar situation would say is unreasonable.

Because if that wasn’t the case, then you wouldn’t be stuck, would you?

If you truly want to get unstuck, if you want to move to higher ground or do something more worthwhile, the first question to ask is, “Am I willing to be unreasonable, at least for a while?”

On becoming an acquired taste

People say that as if there’s something wrong with it.

In fact, once you become an acquired taste, then those that have done the hard work to like what you make are likely to talk about it, likely to come back for more, likely to insist on paying more for something that’s not simply a pedestrian pleasure, available on every corner, merely pandering for a bit more attention.

It takes guts to create a contribution to culture that’s more than simply a checklist item. And then you have an asset, one that people with voices that are fungible never do.

One of the above

The easiest way to win a poll, rig a plebiscite or generally end up as number one is to have the competing votes split among many similar competitors.

Bob Marley was a magical artist, but one reason he’s such a seminal figure is that most of the other musicians of his time (in the North American market) were lumped together in one or two other categories, whereas he was pioneering a new one. You might not want to play reggae at your party, but if you did, you were going to play Marley.

In order to be “one of the above” you have to begin by being willing to be “none of the above.” To zig with intent, when the market is insisting that you zag.

There’s a caveat, though: In order to be one of the above, you need to be in the jukebox or on the ballot. And that means your innovation, while different, still has to qualify for consideration.

Two kinds of 9 to 5 job

The eight-hour workday is precious and humane, and difficult to find in an era of always-on communication.

But there are two kinds of 9 to 5 jobs.

The first one is the industrialized cog. Protect yourself, do as little as you can, because the boss will always take more. This is the standard, and the source of the expression about watching the clock.

The other one is the linchpin. This is the contributor who brings so much emotional energy, thoughtfulness, risk-taking and passion to the job that they leave nothing in reserve. Eight hours of this sort of work is a choice, and it’s a privilege if you care about the work you’re doing. It’s also plenty. It’s plenty because of instead of ‘more’, you went for ‘deeper.’

When we see passionate people at work (at a chess tournament, a brainstorming session, writing a play or counseling), we have trouble imagining doing it for six hours in a row, never mind eight.

It’s no wonder hours have been expanding. If we’re coasting through our day, it’s the only way for the imagination-challenged boss to create more productivity. More low-value hours for no more pay. More hours is the only option if you’re not willing to put your heart into it.

The alternative is to figure out how to go all in, to make a ruckus and then to stand back and catch your breath.

If you’re lucky enough to have the choice, it’s worth seeing that you have the choice.

The room where it happens

The best way to be in the room where it happens is to be the person who called the meeting.

Things rarely happen on their own. Everyone is waiting for you to organize the next thing.

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