The benefits of being nobody.
In his book Purple Cow, Seth Godin writes, “All the creativity books in the world aren’t going to help you if you’re unwilling to have lousy, lame and even dangerously bad ideas.”
Which is true.
What’s also true is that having bad ideas is in direct conflict with our desire to be somebody. More specifically, our desire to be somebody who is adored by the masses.
Godin is asking us to go to the edges—that are often rough and unclear—and get to work. He wants us to serve the meaningful few instead of the general many.
He wants us to practice creativity instead of just talking about it.
Which is difficult because creativity involves failure.
And we live in a world that both fetishizes failure—Brené Brown calls this “gold-plating grit” in her book Rising Strong—and also frames it as the most shameful thing that you could possibly experience.
Then there’s the #struggleporn that has us documenting our every crisis as a way to bolster a self-image that we are doing the work.
We live in a world where people have become so hell-bent on perfection, that they’re altering their bodies to appear more like their filtered online image.
It’s all a bit much and, it seems to me, like a risky investment.
So, what’s the other option? The one where we get to show up and do the work we feel called to do and bit by bit find the people we want to serve?
What are the benefits of being a nobody?
How much more can we seek out the edges—and fail—when we know that not that many people are watching?
What if it’s okay that we’re not successful all at once?
As much as I would love for a million people to read my daily blog and have writing contracts, and book deals, and influencer status to my name, I am also so content to be where I am.
To be a nobody doing this thing and figuring it out as I go along.
To have a few people reach out to me every couple of posts to let me know that something I shared resonated with them.
To not have to worry about criticism when what I write is imperfect or incomplete.
To just be able to show up and do the work.
Here’s the thing, everyone we now know and adore started their life as nobody. The people in their industry didn’t know who they were or what they were capable of. They failed and failed and failed again to get where they are now.
So the biggest threat to you not being able to do your best work is not that you’re nobody.
It’s that you being nobody is stopping you from showing up and offering whatever it is you have to offer.
It’s checking for perfection instead of persistence.
It’s not starting.
So, how does being nobody support you in doing your best work?