Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. And today you are in for such a treat because my guest is one of the most insightful and honest and prolific teachers of our time. Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world, and a maker of ruckuses. He’s been on the internet since 1976, invented permission based email, founded two significant net companies, and defines his working life by the many projects he’s launched, the failures he has learned from, and the people he’s taught. His latest is the altMBA, an intense workshop that helps people level up in a way that truly lasts. Find out more about the course at altMBA.com. You can learn more about Seth and his blog by typing Seth into Google. Seth, thank you so much for taking the time to be here today. I want to say before we get into the interview, thank you for your body of work over the years. You have made such a tremendous impact on me personally, on my team, on so many people that I know, and I think you and I both share a tremendous love of books and I want you to know that any time I ever find myself feeling like a little stuck or in self doubt or just any stage of going, like, “Ugh.” I reach into my bookshelf and undoubtedly yours is one of the books that comes out to get me back on track. That’s so nice of you to say. It’s the truth. And I want you to… Thank you. That means the world to me. I want you to hear it. Now, you said something in your most recent book that I thought was brilliant. In Your Turn, you think that we’re wasting the chance of a lifetime. So what do you mean by that and what can we do to stop? To not do it? There’s the external thing and the internal thing. The external thing is this is our revolution. We live in this moment of time when anyone with a hundred bucks can connect to a billion and a half people around the world any time they want to. We live in this place where we each have more leverage and a bigger platform than any human on earth ever had before us. And internally, if not this moment, when? Right? That if we’re not gonna speak up now are things gonna be easier or better a year from now? We wait for things to calm down, we wait for it to be the right moment, but this is the right moment. That we… we look back a year in our life, 5 years ago, and we rarely say I’m disappointed that I spoke up. I’m disappointed that I did my art. I’m disappointed that I connected to somebody. We don't. What we regret is not doing that. So here we are in this moment of high leverage and all we can do is watch cat videos and whine about our boss and I just… I think we can do better than that. I agree. And one thing that I appreciate about you, you know, we got to spend some time together on Necker Island and I also wanted to say this. You know, having admired your work for so long and who you are, you’re one of those people who’s like a hundred times better in real life than you are even in your work, and your work is freaking extraordinary. And one of the things that I remember most about spending time with you there was how challenging you were in the best sense of that word. Like, “Marie, you should sit at the front of the table. Marie, you should do that.” And I was like, “What’s…? Oh my God, Seth Godin is telling me what to do,” and I loved every second of it because it was done in such a spirit of, “Hey, it’s your turn. Go ahead. Go do it, girl.” And I love that. And that’s why I love that book Your Turn. Well, one thing I want to just insert as an aside because I’m told 5 or 10 of your fans will be watching this? Is in real life, you’re exactly as you appear on TV. Like, it’s not an act that this generous, connected person is actually a generous, connected person. Thank you. So I thought people might want to know that because they didn't get the chance to meet you the way I did. Thank you. So a question that we get often here is from people who are struggling to figure out what should I do with my life? How do I find my passion or my purpose or my calling? And you’ve said I’m not sure that anyone has a calling. Can you speak to that? Thank you for teeing this up. This whole calling, passion thing is complete nonsense. It’s… as Steven Pressfield would call it, the resistance. Yes. That van Gogh, if he had been born 20 years later or 20 years earlier, he wouldn’t have done what he did. It’s not like he... some angel came down when he was born and said, “You’re going to become an impressionistic painter.” He wanted to do a thing but he didn't know what the thing was. And if Steve Jobs had been born 20 years earlier, he would have done a different thing. This isn’t about waiting for the right answer. Because there is no right answer. What there are are challenges we can sign up for and emotions we can experience. There are kinds of engagements we can seek out and ones that we don't want to. If you're the kind of person that only feels good when all the chips are in red 86, well then you need to go find that kind of activity. If you're the kind of person that would rather have a small circle of people who are committed to you for a long time, find any variation of those activities. But if you’re waiting for the perfect horse on that carousel to come around, you’ve missed 3, 4, 5, 7 cycles while you’re waiting. All the horses are just as good. It’s the same carousel. Just get on the damn horse. I love that. I… when I first started my career and I was starting to do life coaching and I was starting to get into dance and fitness, I remember feeling when I was in front of a fitness classroom and teaching, you know, people doing bicep curls or we were doing hip-hop dance. There’s a lot of that same feeling that I get even doing what I do now. Like, connecting with people. Even, honestly, bartending and making people drinks and talking to them about their meals and, like, asking them who they are and getting to know them and their dreams. There was so many threads that I have… now can see in hindsight where it was me being me. And who knows what’s gonna happen in another 20 or 30 years or… And this is where the grass is greener thing gets us into so much trouble. Because, you know, you have a sensational life, but so do some fitness instructors and so do some bartenders. Yes. Your life doesn't get more sensational when you have more followers on Twitter. That’s not what you ought to be keeping score of. It’s does this interaction leave behind a trail that I’m proud of? And does having the interaction make me glad that I did it and want to do it again? And, you know, so I know people who run nonprofits and some of them are big and some of them are small and they’re getting equal amounts of satisfaction because bigger isn’t the point. More isn’t the point. Yes. And when we, you know, are there bad ideas? There are tons of bad ideas. I’m not saying all ideas are equally good. What I’m saying is finding a thing that works is sufficient and that’s the challenge. So entrepreneurs, for example. Too many entrepreneurs think that there’s a prize for originality. There’s no prize for originality at all. You should steal a different person’s idea. You should bring something that worked in Detroit to Cleveland because you don't have to worry about apologizing and saying, “Well, yeah, I went to a muffin store in Detroit that works so I brought it to Cleveland.” So what? What matters is now there’s someone in Cleveland who’s engaging with you, buying something from you that gives both of you pleasure. And there are so many places where we need more of something. No one’s asking you to be that person who invents something that never existed before. What we’re asking you to do is choose to matter in a way that aligns with who you want to be. Yeah. And I think it’s also important to talk about this idea how you do things matters. You know, thinking about the bartending days. We were having lunch before, all the people on the crew, we’re just recalling folks, like there was a valet person who I met in Venice in California. This guy was amazing and he brought such light to what he did and lit up… and I’m still talking about him and this is years later. But the level of excellence and joy. And someone else was talking about these two pizza guys, like the banter they would do makes you want to go into the pizza store again and again. It wasn’t even the best pizza, but you just had this quality of interaction and I think so many people miss that looking for the holy grail of a perfect purpose. Right. And what they’re actually looking for is a way to hide by saying I’m looking for the perfect purpose. I went to business school with a guy who said he was waiting for the right moment to start his entrepreneurial venture. That was 27 years ago. Wow. Right? That I started so many bad ones along the way, but sooner or later you’re going to stumble into one that you're glad you did. Yeah. So you run one of the most popular blogs in the world. We all love it. You publish every day and you’ve said it’s one of the top 5 career decisions you’ve ever made. Why? Even if no one read it, I would blog every day. I think everyone should do so. And here’s the reason. If you know that tomorrow you have to say something about something you noticed, about something that might help someone else, about an opinion you have that might stand the test of time, you will form those opinions, you will notice those things, you will invent that idea. And if day after day week after week you leave this trail behind of thoughtful examination of your world, you can’t help but get better at whatever it is you seek to do. And if as a byproduct other people read it and trust you more, that’s a jackpot. Right? My goal is not to have more readers. My goal is not to sell more books. My goal is to be trusted in a way that I can make the change that I seek to have happen in the world. Return on trust. How do you gain permission to talk to people in a way that they want to be talked to? You don't do that with SEO and with gaming social media strategies. You do that by showing up in a way that you’d want someone to show up for you. And I still don't understand why people don't do this. I think… not that I’ll get the answer right, but I wanted to ask this on behalf of I know so many people who will be like, “Marie, please ask him this.” What I know from my interaction with our audience is sometimes people feel so afraid of being judged or they’re going to run out of ideas. Yeah, they should. Yeah. Those are all the things. Being judged sucks. Right? So write it under somebody else’s name. Right? That… call yourself anything you want. Talan Stone writing this blog. No one knows on the internet if you’re a dog. You just post every day and you can’t possibly get in trouble because it’s not you. And after you’ve done it for 6 weeks, you know what you’re gonna do? You’re gonna put your name on it because you’re so proud of what you’re creating. Are you gonna run out of ideas? Well, here’s my thought on this. I write like I talk. And nobody I know gets talkers block. Nobody. No one wakes up and goes… unable to speak. So if you write like you talk, don't worry. Because you haven’t run out of things to say yet, so you won't run out of things to blog. Do you ever in your own mind, because you’ve been doing this how many years now have you been blogging, roughly? Well, before it was called a blog I would say the first email newsletter went out in 1990. I love that. So 26 years or so. That is so awesome. I remember when I first started doing email marketing it was like 1999, 2000 and it was woah and, like, PDFs, ebooks, that was like mind blowing. It was so cool. Isn’t that great? So few people saw what you saw. That, you know, they went ahead and they bought stock in bookstores and they went ahead and thought, “This just has to keep going in the direction it’s going.” In hindsight, once you put words and then video onto the internet, it has to change everything. Our culture was based on scarce TV channels, scarce spectrum, scarce bookshelf space, and we blew up all 3 of those. And of course it’s changing. Right? All the way up to presidential politics. It changes everything when you take the scarcity away.