“What’s the use, in pushing through, I’m already dead to you…” – Matthew Mayfield, “Dead to You”
I’m currently reading Linchpin by Seth Godin. It’s my first foray into Godin’s writing, other than the occasional flip through a column here and there that he’s written – and I’m utterly fascinated by his perspective. The book is about people in business who are integral players – those who innovate, break the rules when necessary, and basically set their own course. These people, by nature of their ability to envision things, become turnkey to the business – linchpins that are the “essential building blocks of the organization.”
As a critical part of this theory, Godin stresses that in each of us, there is an artist. The artist has a gift, and therefore has the ability to envision, to create, to inspire, to build. It is up to each of us to identify our gifts and put in the work to bring them to fruition. It’s easy to see how this applies to business – for example, I love writing. I’m a damn good writer. Therefore, it’s up to me to put myself into a situation that allows me to write, and then, to work at my writing, take chances, and…to quote Lloyd Dobler, find a “dare to be great situation.”
“Most of all, art involves labor. Not the labor of lifting a brush or typing a sentence, but the emotional labor of doing something difficult, taking a risk and extending yourself.
It’s entirely possible that you’re an artist.
Sometimes, though, caught up in the endless cycle of commerce, we forget about the gift nature of art, we fail to do the hard work of emotional labor, and we cease to be artists.”
– Seth Godin in Linchpin
In a conversation with a friend today, I told her that I thought I was dead inside when it came to relationships. I have effectively given up even trying to date. I’ve been burned too many times, disappointed more times than I care to admit, and have grown tired of having faith in people only to be let down. So, rather than invest myself in any further relationships, I have walled off my heart. It’s just easier to be by myself.
But it’s not better.
Last week, someone that I don’t know very well called me jaded. It upset me more than I wanted it to…because I think it’s true more than it isn’t. And it’s sad. Because I was once a girl who, like Carrie Bradshaw, wanted the fairy tale. And I am lucky that I inherited my Mom’s huge heart – there is a part of me that wants to give endlessly. I firmly believe that I am a better person when I’m in a relationship. I’m complete on my own, but I’m MORE when I’m with someone that I love.
I’ve stopped being an artist in my own love life. Because rather than put the work in, rather than risk getting hurt, I’ve just stepped away. Put no emotional labor in, you get nothing out. And in cutting myself off, I’ve just made myself more bitter and angry.
I’m not sure what the first step is to try to be an artist again. I don’t know if I can figure it out. But I am vowing to myself that I will try.
Thanks for the inspiration, Seth.