Seth Godin is a pure genius. In his new book, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work, he offers a sterling case for why creators need to create and put it out for public consumption.
That’s right; he wants us to lose the overthinking, nail biting and procrastination and just release it to the world. As a well respected entrepreneur and author of 19 bestselling books, Godin always seems to be a few steps ahead in simplifying things that seem more complicated. One significant moment in his new book stands out to me in a huge way.
He mentions the oft-repeated motivational question, “what would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” It is a fascinating question that promises to get the wheels turning in anyone’s mind.
He manages to spin the question off into an even more interesting one: “what would you do even if you knew that you would fail?” As soon as I heard it, I felt as though I understood it on an extreme level, and it felt profound.
I also believe that it quietly serves as the ultimate manifesto for creators.
I feel that way because we always seem to want validation or some sort of guarantee that our creations will be successful or admired before we make them. But Godin’s question raises a very compelling point.
What do we enjoy creating so much that the reaction or response from others is completely irrelevant? Personally, the question speaks loudly to me because I’ve been creating things just because I loved doing it since I was about 4 years old.
I’m guessing that the vast majority of creators have similar stories, so we really need to heed the words and perspectives in Godin’s book. This is largely the same position that he takes on his ultra popular and long tenured blog, as well as his awesome podcast, “Akimbo.”
The problem that many of us have is not in the creating, it is in releasing it for public consumption. I love how Godin makes a consistent “practice” of imploring us to publicize our art because it is selfish to not share it with the world.
The obvious point being that the public needs what we have to offer. You would be hard pressed to find a better, more committed relationship that the one a creator has with something that she makes without fear of how it will be perceived or judged by others.
Yes, it would be nice to make money from our art. Yes, it would be incredible to earn awards for it. But if those things never happen, we will for sure continue to make what matters to us.
If we are a true creator.
When I made my web series, a Date with Deante, I did it because I wanted to express myself in the form of a television series or talk show. I was lucky that YouTube was around because it gave me a platform to share my art.
Sure, many people criticized me for the content of the series, and branded me an “exploiter of women.” But many other people loved it as well and because of that, I felt like a star.
But honestly, if no one gave it the time of day, I would have continued to make episodes and put them out into the world. That is precisely what Seth Godin means and it is what he wants for all of us.
I will carry that lesson with me always. Will you?