“The Awesome Scary Responsibility of Picking Yourself.” – Seth Godin
We all love being picked. The moment you’re plucked from a pool of peers is exhilarating. It evokes both relief and pride.
Rewind your mind for a moment and let me take you to a place I remember too well.
It’s third period phys. ed and your class is headed outside. There is a patch of grass, some rubber bases and two rows of classmates. One row is full of those who have been picked. They are happy, confident and excitedly planning for the future. “I’ll play left!” and “I call lead-off!” fill their breath. The other row consists of those who are left over, the unchosen. They are anxiously waiting to be acknowledged, frozen in the uncertainty. “Am I good enough?” and “I hope I’m not last.” fill their thoughts. With each passing pick, tensions rise and feelings of helplessness pervade. One by one, they move from one line to the other. And while their actual abilities to play remain constant, their efficacy becomes dictated by the captains. If you are chosen, you play. If not, you sit on the bench.
Whether it be for a kickball team, a prestigious school, or a new job– this is the way the traditional world works. There is one playing field, and gatekeepers have to the power to choose who plays.
But despite the history of this model, in many realms of life the paradigm is shifting. In many ways, the habit of waiting to be picked is one that needs breaking. Waiting is too passive. Great work requires an urgency that is lacking in this traditional approach. Old school bureaucracy has been replaced by the modern day meritocracy.
There are no longer captains deciding if you are in or if you are out. You must have the courage to pick yourself.
It’s scary as hell, but the world needs you.
So what are you waiting for?
– from a corner cafe in Pacific Heights.