Listen To This: Seth Godin on the Read to Lead podcast

January 09, 2015

By Matt Hollowell

As the resident podcast-addict at SME Digital, I’m excited to launch our “Listen To This” series today! I spend a good deal of my time with my earbuds in, listening to podcasts from many different categories, and I’m thrilled to take what has traditionally been a 1:1 transaction and turn it into a larger conversation. Every Friday, I’ll pick out a needle from the previous week’s audio haystack and bring it to light here on our blog. Hopefully, that needle will be inspiring, humorous, thought-provoking, perhaps even controversial, and I’ll open a discussion around it. Plan on participating (kinda necessary for the ‘discussion’ piece) using either the comments area below or our – or your – social channels. And I’ll always be asking for your favorite podcasts/podcast episodes, so throw those at me at any time.

For this inaugural “Listen To This”, I am pleased to recommend to you an amazing 33 minutes of audio: Seth Godin speaks volumes on the Read to Lead podcast. Why this episode? What’s so important? 


Though this entire podcast is gold, I found my inspiration a little over 12 minutes in, where the following question is posed: “How do I resolve the idea that I often know I can, but I don’t always believe I can?”

Woh. That’s a biggie. You might want to read that question again.

You should really listen to Seth’s entire answer, but here is how he boils it down: “We don’t take action because we believe; we believe because we take action. […] Do first; believe second.”

I’ll admit it; I had to listen to this section several times to really understand what Seth was saying. The idea of action preceding belief just would not jive with my brain, and it still turns me inside-out a bit. Generally, we act on belief, not the other way around. Or so my thinking goes.

However, what I finally understood was the angle of the question. He’s not talking about belief in something external (i.e., a cause or an event); Seth’s talking about belief in yourself. Like, how do I convince myself to do something? How do I jump out of my comfort zone to start something that I know I can do, know that I should be doing, but am just not sure yet that I have the right to do? Ultimately, how do I squash fear and do the good work that I know I should be doing?

And I whole-heartedly believe that Seth is right; just do it. How do you start believing that you can do something? Just start doing it. Like, right now.

What Is Your X?

We all find ourselves in this boat: I should be working on X; I know that I should be working on X; seriously, I need to start working on X. Then we whistle casually as we saunter back to A, B, and C. Why? Because it’s comfortable, it’s familiar, and it’s not that scary X-thing.

Doing X might mean doing good work, but also doing hard work. Doing X might mean exposure. Doing X might mean failure.

Can I do X? Yes. I know that I can type the words, do the research, connect a microphone to a computer, or whatever basic skills that X requires. But do I believe that I can do X…that’s the sticking point. It’s a sticking point that you have created as an excuse, but it’s still there.

How many times has that sticking point, that lack of belief, that fear of failure stopped you from doing what you know is your good work, the work that needs to be done? Yah, me too. Let’s stop that.

Today, let’s commit to action. No Fear; Just Do It; It’s Your Turn.

Why wait for you to believe in yourself when you have such an opportunity to make believers out of everyone else?

Your First Action

Let’s start today. Scroll down and leave a comment. It’s not for my ego, it’s not for analytics, and it’s not for nothing. Commit to action and put it into words (your first action). Make your commitment real (and public); that’s why we invite your participation. Or disagree with the post; that’s cool, too. I’ll just put the blame on Seth (kidding), but go ahead and push back, and we’ll figure it out together. Then leave me a link to what podcast you’re listening to; there’s a very (very) good chance that I’ll check it out. Thanks in advance for any of the above, and let’s keep this conversation going.

Lastly, thanks to Jeff Brown and Seth Godin for making the effort to share their conversation with the rest of us. *Shanti*

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