Seth Godin, author of several best selling books delivered this talk at CreativeMornings recently to remind us why it’s important to do work that matters. In a typical Seth Godin style, he challenges the audience with thought provoking questions asking; “How much of your day is spent working to get better clients? (Or bosses?) How much is spent pleasing the clients you already have? And is pleasing the clients you already have the best way to get better clients?”.
He continues with the following queries.Is a better client someone who pays you more? Or “are you selling your soul and selling out your career by taking someone today who’s going to put you in the wrong box versus choosing your own path to find the client who is capable of giving you the platform you deserve?
While the whole talk is well worth the watch, let’s pull out a few key points.
Seth trusts that you will be a success, But what he’s more interested in is knowing whether you’ll matter. To matter, he says you have to do work that transforms people: makes a change happen, makes someone cry, saves a life.
That sense of transformation isn’t only for the person that encounters your art or your work, but your clients and bosses, too: He paraphrases Michael Schrage, an MIT fellow and asked the Big Question of who do you want your customers to become?
Example: Apple. The genius of Apple was that they made their customers people with better taste, people who cared about what their devices looked like and how it was to interact with them. If they got into design, they’d get further into Apple.
The task for you (and me), then, is to figure out how we want our bosses and our audiences to change. That transformation happens through the work we do for them–and doing work that makes our bosses look good gives potential for forming the platform of exposure Godin speaks of.
When you think about what change you want to make in your clients, in their customers, in your boss, and you realize that your work can make that change happen,” Godin says, “you’re more likely to do that on purpose.”
And while purpose is the work of a lifetime, it’s also the work of a day.