Creating Change Means Being All In

Is there something stopping you from being all-in?


Have you ever thought something along these lines: “I’ll save that idea for when I’m running my own business,” or, “Once I’ve figured out X, Y, and Z, I’ll be able to make that idea come to life.” Why are we waiting to launch our best ideas? Best-selling author, speaker and thought-leader, Seth Godin, wants us to take a different approach.

Many of the world’s best inventions, Seth explains, came at inopportune times for the world and the inventors themselves. The reason those people succeed anyway is because they were 100 percent committed to their idea. “When we are all-in, then we might make a change happen ... we start doing something that people might choose to talk about,” says Seth.

There are always reasons why we hold back on an idea — the world’s not ready for it; the infrastructure isn’t in place to make it successful; the resources aren’t there to make it happen—the list could go on and on. “We have to understand that if ideas don't spread, they die.”

Do you have ideas that could change your organization, your customers’ lives, or even the world -- but you’re holding back? Get inspired with Seth Godin.

Do me a favor if you can, raise your right hand even if you're on video. Raise your right hand just as high as you can. Thank you, now raise it higher. What's that about? This is a very common pitfall we all fall into. Everyone holds a little bit back.

Why? Why do we hold it back? I'll tell you why because when you were five years old, your coach or your teacher said, "Now, give me some more." And when you were 12 or 15 or 20, your parents or your boss said, "Give me some more." Then when we were involved in this industrial system we have to hold something back because the system wants to take more from us. But the only way we can be brave and make a difference and do art is to be all in. When we are all in then we start doing something that people might choose to talk about.

When we are all in we might make a change happen. That what we have to understand is that if ideas don't spread they die. The first person with the fax machine, what exactly did he do with it? Fax machine doesn't work. Built in to the fax machine was the engine of its spread. As soon as you got a fax machine, you told everyone you knew to get a fax machine so you can send them faxes, and the people who launched the fax machine were told it's too soon.

It's too soon to bring this to market because no one has a fax machine yet. When Gutenberg launched the printing press 600 years ago, the illiteracy rate in Europe was 93%. Only 7% of the people in his target market knew how to read. This is a dumb time to launch the book because it takes years to learn how to read. It was too soon. Not only that, people needed reading glasses and they hadn't been invented yet.

Karl Benz when he launched the car, discovered it was against the law to drive a car in Germany where he lived. He had to get a letter from the king of Germany to be allowed to drive his own invention. Not only that, there were no roads. Not only that, there were no gas stations. A dumb time to launch the car. He should've waited. And when the guys at AOL and CompuServe launched the modern online services, the fastest you could get online with 1200 baud.

For those of you who are too young to know what that means, it's like having an ice pick jammed into your skull again and again. Why didn't Steve Case wait until we all had DSL, then he could've launched an online service.

Here's the thing, it's always too soon, always. We can be prepared but we will never be ready because the work we do, when we are doing our best work, our most human work is the work of making change. We are trying to change something, trying to change someone, and it is always too soon to do that. Not only that, but we can't change everyone.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the author of 17 books that have been best-sellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dipand Purple Cow.

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