During a recent speaking engagement at a University in Canada, I was asked to elaborate on the subject of persuasive storytelling. My audience was a rhetoric class, and they were clearly sharp kids, hell bent on using the art of persuasion to change the world. There was something exciting about staring into the eyes of these future game-changers.
Ready to take on the world, degree in hand. But the further I got into my lecture, the more it seemed that something was awry.
As I scanned their eager faces, a grim reality crept into my psyche and posed a daunting question.
How many of them will spend countless hours sending out resumes, waiting for the phone to ring, without making the effort to stand out or create opportunities for themselves?
Changing the world is a great notion but when it ‘gets down to the get-down’ and life hands them rejection, chauvinism, racism, curve balls, and a few well placed kicks in the ass, how many of them will still be standing? I felt I had a responsibility to alert them to one of the fundamental truths of entering the ‘real world’ regardless of your intended career.
I began by reading this post, which originally appeared here on Seth Godin’s blog.
If you’ve never heard of Seth Godin, find him.
Reject The Tyranny of Being Picked. Pick yourself.
Amanda Hocking is making a million dollars a year publishing her own work to the Kindle. No publisher.
Rebecca Black has reached more than 15,000,000 listeners, like it or not, without a record label.
Are we better off without gatekeepers? Well, it was gatekeepers that brought us the unforgettable lyrics of Terry Jacks in 1974, and it’s gatekeepers that are spending a fortune bringing out pop songs and books that don’t sell.
I’m not sure that this is even the right question. Whether or not we’re better off, the fact is that the gatekeepers–the pickers–are reeling, losing power and fading away. What are you going to do about it?
It’s a cultural instinct to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission and authority that comes from a publisher or talk show host or even a blogger saying, “I pick you.” Once you reject that impulse and realize that no one is going to select you–that Prince Charming has chosen another house–then you can actually get to work.
If you’re hoping that the HR people you sent your resume to are about to pick you, it’s going to be a long wait. Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.
No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.
Kahlil (at) gigsmacked (dot) com