What Category Are You?

Are you unremarkably average or a linchpin?

Are you uncertain which category you subscribe to? Let me then define these groupings in the hopes you can associate with one or the other.

Chris Guillebeau, the author of The $100 Startup, illustrates the unremarkably average live by a set of rules, commandments if you will:

  • Accept what people tell you at face value
  • Don’t question authority
  • Go to college because you’re supposed to, not because you want to learn something
  • Go overseas once or twice in your life, to somewhere safe like England
  • Don’t try to learn another language, everyone else will eventually learn English
  • Think about starting your own business, but never do it.
  • Think about writing a book, but never do it
  • Get the largest mortgage you qualify for and spend 30 years paying for it
  • Sit at a desk 40 hours a week for an average of 10 hours of productive work
  • Don’t stand out or draw attention to yourself
  • Jump through hoops. Check off boxes.

Seth Godin, the author of The Linchpin, describes a linchpin as someone in an organization who is indispensable; who cannot be replaced because their role is just far too valuable.

So, are you unremarkably average or a linchpin? Your response is critical to the success of your professional life. My guess is that you are part of the unremarkably average, but you are beginning to realize that you have the opportunity to become a linchpin. But how do you start the journey?

Unfortunately, there is no map. The mission is based on trial and error and peppered with failure. But a good place to start is with your personal development, making sure that you are operating at your peak. Here is a possible example that you might adopt and customize:

  • You need to become more valuable before you can add value to others.
  • Search yourself, become aware of who you are and who you want to be.
  • Master your internal conversation, the Resistance that keeps you from achieving success.
  • Commit to doing the important work that adds value to others.

Will this be difficult? Yes. Will you fail? Yes. Will you want to give up? Every day. But you must motivate yourself by being more fearful of what your life will look like if you don’t try. So show up every day and commit yourself to becoming the best version of you.

Your goal should be to die on empty.