Seth Godin on Living with Purpose & Mission

Seth Godin on Living with Purpose & Mission


Seth Godin discusses on the Ideation Podcast how entrepreneurs and idea makers can better discover their purpose and life mission.

Topics discussed in this episode include:


Creating a Mission for Your Life

Seth shares his personal journey that led him to discover his purpose.

  • “[The]ability to matter is open to just about everyone. And for me mattering means changing something.”
  • Successfully fulfilling your mission doesn’t come without failures.


Habits for Success

Seth explains the pitfalls of looking for a formula for success.

  • The secret to success is there are no shortcuts. “The seeking of the habits is a way of hiding. What you’re hiding from is responsibility. The responsibility to be in a situation where you are afraid. That’s what it means to make change – is doing something that might not work.”
  • The real formula to success is overcoming the fear of failure in order to find out what works and what doesn’t.
  • Successful people aren’t successful because they did something others couldn’t; They did what others didn’t. He offers as an example American poet Sarah Kay who began performing her poetry at fourteen. “Sarah cared enough to do something that might not work. And when it didn’t work, to do something else again. So that’s the only habit. The habit is signing up for a practice where you are willing, in a respectful way and with dignity to other people, to expose them to ideas that might not work.”


Practical Applications for Cultivating an Idea Mindset

Seth lists important steps to putting ideas into action, which he covers in depth within his 4 week intensive online workshop, Alt MBA

  1. How to have a perspective that is different from everyone else.
  2. How to make the right decisions with practice.
  3. How to persuade other people to support your ideas.


Staying True to Your Mission – Amidst Opportunity

Seth offers tips for entrepreneurs and idea makers to stay on the right path. He explains:

  • Why principles are a key factor in continued success.
  • …we do our best If we know other people are watching us…And if we can just apply that principle from the first day to the last it so much easier to be consistent in what you stand for.”
  • The value of learning to be different, creating your reputation, remaining consistent with your principles, and setting boundaries of what you will and will not do.


Inspiration for Pursuing a Life that Matters

Seth mentions the most important lessons that he has learned from the individuals who have inspired him the most. His list of influencers include:

Susan Piver – writer, teacher and founder of the international mindfulness community, The Open Heart Project.

Lewis Hyde – professor and author of The Gift.

Catherine Hoke “Cat” – Founder of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP), a nonprofit organization that serves men throughout the Texas prison system.

John Wood – Founder of Room to Read, a global non-profit organization focused on literacy and gender equality in education. Room to Read raised a quarter of a billion dollars to build schools around the world.

Looking Ahead to the Future of Social Innovation

Seth offers his perspective on the current state of society and how it will shape the future. He weighs in on the issue of global warming and the implications it will have for us in the near future.  He also discusses how innovation in self -driving automobiles will soon change our transportation system and how artificial intelligence will usher in new possibilities, and maybe even bad outcomes in the very near future. Seth references  The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, a science fiction novel he recently read, saying “it blew me away.”

Tips to Encourage the Hustling Idea Maker

Seth provides final thoughts for those working hard to put their ideas to action, imploring idea makers to make connections now. Successfully sharing your ideas and innovations is understanding that there is much greater value in reaching a small audience than casting a wide net. He says that the key is earning the trust of a small group, and if they believe in your ideas, they will share them with their audiences. If they don’t, keep working to create something better. He says that success is achieved when you can “connect  people with something that they will connect other people with.”


If you are on iTunes, please don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast!