This tough because I am more of a marketing fellow than a fundraiser like Jen, so I tend to read a lot of both. Nonetheless, in the last three years, the one book that I have read and loaned out numerous times (and now don’t know who has my copy! can i have it back?) is Tribes by Seth Godin.
I’ve blogged about Tribes before and even got a personal thank you from Mr. Godin.
To answer Nancy’s question, this is my book of choice because it ordered me to do the two things I feared the most.
Lead and challenge the status quo.
Seth writes, “Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead. The scarcity makes leadership valuable. If everyone tries to lead all the time, not much happens. It’s discomfort that creates the leverage that makes leadership worthwhile.
In other words, if everyone could do it, they would, and it wouldn’t be worth much.
It’s uncomfortable to stand up in front of strangers.
It’s uncomfortable to propose an idea that might fail.
It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo.
It’s uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle.
When you identify the discomfort, you’ve found the place where a leader is needed.”
Leading is scary because we can screw up. We can be laughed at. We can be fired. Leading is scary…
But – and here is the important point – we need to lead because we have fans, we have tribes of people who need us to.
In our case, I see a sector that is SCARED TO DEATH of being wrong. Funds are tight, our donors demand that we spend every dollar as wisely as possible. There is not a lot of room for mistakes. But here’s the thing…
If we do everything the same way we always do it – or worse yet – the same way everyone else is doing it – nothing will change. You will get the same results as the year before, maybe slightly more, maybe slightly less…
Being a leader and challenging the status quo takes courage, it takes guts, and we all can do it. You get that right?
We all can do it.
I’m prepared to be laughed at, or fired, or mocked, or criticized. It means I’m doing the right thing.
Your tribe needs you.
I strongly urge you to pick up Seth’s book, it will change how you think about the work you do and the life you lead.
So now you can tell me, what book has changed your professional life?