Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Shipping (A Seth Godin-ism)

Seth Godin

Seth Godin

Certain words invade your vocabulary — sometimes whether you realize it or not. One that has really invaded mine recently is the word, “ship“.

I don’t think that I can go a week without hearing it come up at least a dozen times in a variety of contexts.

I first heard it on Seth Godin’s blog, I believe, and it was an oft-used word in his book Linchpin.

The concept is simple and derived, I think, from a Steve Jobs quote. Ever since I heard Godin use the term in a video, I loved it. It stuck with me.

I believed in shipping. I was committed to it. It became a mantra for me and those around me: Just ship.

Finally, I had a word to describe the type of ethos I wanted to see embodied in my team and myself.

I didn’t want to create art for art’s sake; I wanted to do work that mattered, that made a difference in people’s lives. Not tomorrow, today.

I didn’t want to let a project sit on the shelf, constantly tweaking and re-tweaking, vainly attempting to reach perfection.

I wanted to fall in love with “good enough.”
I wanted to stop giving in to the fear of failure.
I wanted to put something out there — warts and all.

I wanted to change something.

Certainly, there’s a need for perfectionists in the world. When it comes to air traffic control or brain surgery, we want workers who are obsessed with quality. But where I spend most of my time, quite frankly, we need more people to ship.

Creativity is the act of narrowing possibilities and making important decisions. It’s hard and painful and most creatives don’t do it. They just imagine.

But I want more. I want to create. I want to change. I want to ship.

So that’s my word, and I’m sticking to it. Thanks, Seth.

What word or phrase has recently invaded your vocabulary? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I am the best-selling author of five books, including the national bestsellers The Art of Work and Real Artists Don't Starve. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on writing, publishing, and helping your creative work succeed.

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