linchpin. It was either that or the insane asylum

A print from the Linchpin series by Hugh MacLeod now beautifies my office walls and reads:

“linchpin. It was either that or the insane asylum”

Print #2 (click here for a better look at the print)


Yesterday we spoke about the fight. The need to fight like hell. However, as we’ve seen, the easiest option is not to fight. It’s easier to run and hide. The easy route is to park yourself in the “Waiting Place.”

It’s kind of grim right? Take a look around and see how many aren’t fighting. I bet you’ll find that almost everyone you know has chosen not to get in the ring. We can’t blame them for making that choice.

Fighting is hard. I struggle everyday with the choice. We all do and, therefore, most would rather just give in. Of course giving in has its consequences. The consequences are like living in an insane asylum. I love this piece because everyday it reminds me that, while the choice to fight may be difficult, the consequence of not fighting is far, far, farrrr worse.

Here’s what Hugh has to say about this piece:

Why do people become what Seth Godin calls “Linchpins”? Because to not do so would drive us crazy. Eventually we have no choice. And we’ve all been in worse places  – when you know you’re capable of doing great things, being in “The Zone”, but every external marker out there indicates otherwise –  that you’ll never get to do the “life’s best work” that you’re capable of. That your career will be nothing but drudgery and abuse, in exchange for what seems an increasingly meager paycheque.

And after being there long enough, the decision to become a Linchpin eventually becomes an easy one. But it can take time.”

I believe we are ALL capable of becoming a Linchpin.

We’re all capable of doing great things and living our life’s purpose.

We’re all capable of doing work that matters.

We’re all capable of making the world just a little bit better.

Becoming a Linchpin is your path to becoming indispensable.

But it’s hard.

If you’ve been in the asylum long enough, maybe you’re already ready to get into the ring.

For me, it was about one year in an dreary office environment, countless meetings where nothing got done, and a dark office without a window, working 9-5 (plus a dreadful one hour commute each way).

Thank goodness I spent time in the asylum early.

Just one final clarification. Being a Linchpin doesn’t mean you need to be self-employed or an entrepreneur (although it might be the only way). As an employee of an organization or someone with a job, you’ve also got the opportunity to be the Linchpin of the organization.

Of course, the battle is the same. It’s hard to break the rules. It’s hard to go against the manual. It’s hard to make changes or start doing things a new and better way.

But, where would you rather be?