The New Safe

I can recall a lot of appreciation and praise during both my child and adult hood, for avoiding harm and minimizing risk. Everyone wants their investments and responsibilities to stay safe, whether we’re talking about one’s children, students, data, reputation, secrets, or money. I have built a lot of my career and decisions around these pillars.

Last night I listened to episode 3 of Charlie Gilkey’s The Creative Giant Show. Charlie starts off this podcast describing his hesitancy about releasing this show – I’m sure glad he did. Charlie and Seth Godin discuss a lot of great topics – here are some of them, and how they made a positive impact with me:

  • Making your own significant impact by picking yourself instead of waiting for someone else to pick you. This has prompted me to reflect on how I have allowed my progress, or gage of success, to be granted by others. In some ventures, I have been handicapping myself by giving some of my power away to other unwitting people, a lot of whom didn’t want this role anyhow.
  • Goals (reaching people with a message) vs. tactics (publishing a book). I have gotten so excited about working with a particular company, or on a certain project, or using a particular tool, that I lost sight of my larger desire within my tunnel vision. Sometimes this has turned into a lot of unnecessary mental and physical work – like proverbially going on an elaborate hunting trip just because you wanted to site-in a new rifle.
  • Letting out the genius which exists within all of us, and expressing our art. (this isn’t the ego form of “genius,” nor the super-literal form of “art).” This one is still a bit fuzzy to me, but it “speaks to me” none the less. My wife, one of my co-workers, and likely others, will hope that this means I will be playing piano more often. 🙂
  • Follow, and focus on, the feeling we get before doing something great, vs. the feeling which accompanies shipping something not-so-great. I do often know the difference between these two feelings, but I frequently allow my certainty to be clouded by fear and the input of others.
  • Give yourself 24 hours and then ship something – get in the habit of shipping something every day, that’s a habit you’ll be glad you have. IN fact, this blog post is something I’ve pushed to ship – ideas which I am not 100% comfortable with, and which are certainly far from complete, but still worth expressing.


This podcast episode has given me a burst of clarity. Circling back to the opening paragraph of my post, I will develop an even more frequent habit of shipping and taking action, and reminding myself that part of my definition of success includes a different definition of “safe” from that which I have been used to – the new “safe” is adaptable and agile and has 50 irons in the fire instead of only 4 piles in the ground. I love how Seth describes success as it relates to safety, in The Truth About Shipping: “Understand that the only thing between you and the success you seek in a chaotic world is a lizard that figures out that safe is risky and risky is safe. The paradox of our time is that the instincts that kept us safe in the day of the saber tooth tiger and General Motors are precisely the instincts that will turn us into road kill in a faster than fast internet-fueled era.”

Similarly to how  I have used results fromThe Passion Test to help me course-correct small and large life decisions to be aligned with my passions, my next step RE: what I have talked about here, is to create some helpful habit-forming reminders for myself.

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One Response to The New Safe

  1. Hi Ivan,

    Thanks for the feedback on the podcast and it warms my heart to read that it was helpful to you. After a year of hem-hawing about that episode, I’m glad I published it – it was just to good not to.

    reminding myself that part of my definition of success includes a different definition of “safe” from that which I have been used to – the new “safe” is adaptable and agile and has 50 irons in the fire instead of only 4 piles in the ground.

    Thanks for reminding me of this, too.

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