We love one of Seth Godin’s latest posts, Your Alphabet. In this short but sweet and impactful post, Seth compares a person’s skills to how typsetting works. Typsetting? Uh, since that’s a little ancient-sounding, Seth breaks it down:
The only reason that typesetting works is that a small collection of letters can be re-used again and again to print millions of different words. This seems obvious, but it was actually the conceptual breakthrough that led to the long path that brought us to Gutenberg etc.
He goes on to point out that our work is based on a similar Your work is based on a similar insight.
Our skills, resources and assets are like letters in the alphabet and we can re-use and recombine them in many different ways. It might be the real estate you own, the skills you’ve learned, the permission base you’ve built over time, but all of those assets can be leveraged in different ways.
To grow, then, we only need to address two questions:
- Do I need more letters?
- How do I recombine the letters I’ve already got to create new value?
And how can we apply this to our careers?
Chasing new letters is expensive. For most of us, a better first resort is to cherish the letters we’ve already got and be brave enough to recombine them into new forms, new approaches, new ways to add value. But yes, by all means, now that you’ve extracted maximum value, go get some new letters.
When you are on the quest to find work that you love, consider your past experiences, skills and strengths to be letters of your alphabet. Combine these letters into a new word to leverage your uniqueness and communicate why you’re the right candidate for your dream job!