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What Makes a Job the Best Job Ever with Seth Godin (Episode #134)

Seth Godin is well known in much of the global business world as the ultimate Entrepreneur/Social Innovator and an icon of fresh perspectives that focus on what really matters. In this episode, Dr. Lynda and Seth discuss the insights in his new book, The Song of Significance, which has been described as a book for a new era in the world of work… and a new generation. 

Episode Highlights!

About Our Guest:

For over 30 years, Seth Godin’s zone of genius has sent culture in new directions where potential was just waiting to be discovered.

To put it very plainly, Seth has a knack for recognizing the places (in the big picture) that deserve our attention… and then offering fresh ways of thinking about those gaps and opportunities, so that leaps of progress for everyone are possible.

He is the author of over 20 bestselling books, and a blog that has been the most popular solo blog in the world at some points. It is the only blog I never miss reading, daily. (If you’re ready for a corner of your mind to be opened and flooded with light every day, Seth’s Blog is surely worth 1-2 minutes of your time.) 

Oh… And there are five TED talks.

Along the way, he’s found countless detours, interesting projects designed to inspire others and turn the lights on for us all.

Seth Godin is famous for simply saying, “Go, make a ruckus.”

And there are so many ruckuses that Seth has started. 

Seth’s work covers a range of subjects from being remarkable, to the spread of ideas, to knowing when to quit. 

He is famous for concepts like “Purple Cows” and “Permission Marketing,” and advice like, “Find a way to be the only one,” and “Show up as human.” And “Mostly, people are experiencing failure in advance. That’s my definition of anxiety.”

He introduced the concept of “permission marketing” in the early days of the internet — recognizing and respecting the power of the consumers long before it was popular and imperative to do that. 

And as a champion of talent, Godin proclaims that lack of creativity in the current business climate means we should all treat our work as a form of art. 

A common topic Godin revisits throughout all his work is the importance of leadership. It’s a trait he says is central to navigating and finding opportunity.

“Your defining moment is whenever you decide it is, and you get a new chance to lead every day.”

Seth’s latest book: The Song of Significance: A New Manifesto for Teams [Published May 30 2023 by Penguin Portfolio] is pointing to a fork in the road for us all. He points out that it is possible in this moment of resignation, rebirth, and reimagining work, to create working lives full of significance, relevance, and cultures of trust.

The Goodness Exchange could not be more onboard with that.

In this interview, Seth shared his perspectives on questions like: 

  • What would happen if this became the best job you ever had?
  • What would today be like if you could honestly describe your job that way?
  • And what if all your co-workers felt the same way?
  • What if we built an organization people would genuinely miss if it were gone?

Godin has a degree in computer science and philosophy from Tufts University, and an MBA from Stanford Business School. He runs the altMBA, a global business-thinking workshop, and founded two companies, Squidoo and Yoyodyne. In 2013, Godin was one of just three professionals inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, and in May 2018 he was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame, too. 

Lastly, Seth has an amazing podcast called Akimbo. It’s about our culture and about how we can change it. About seeing what’s happening and choosing to do something.

And that word “Akimbo”? It means “A Strong Bend,” and that very succinctly describes Seth’s fresh perspectives on almost all problems and solutions. 

Akimbo is an ancient word, from the bend in the river or the bend in an archer’s bow. It’s become a symbol for strength, a posture of possibility, the idea that when we stand tall, arms bent, looking right at it, we can make a difference.

Enjoy this interview and you will feel your own significance.

Resources Mentioned:

Show Notes




Intro & Welcome


What’s the best job you ever had?

  • Bosses think that money and job security are the most likely answers
  • A 10,000 person survey across 90 countries  showed that the top 3 reasons were:
    • I accomplished more than I thought I could
    • I was treated with respect
    • I was proud of the work I did
  • We still seem to want to treat people like resources
  • Bringing humanity to the work you do benefits everyone


Normalizing working life

  • Simple changes in the work place such as the freedom and agency to start a book club can fundamentally change happiness in the work place
  • Employees can also be proactive about the choice of where they work by being clear about what they bring to the table and what they expect from the work environment



  • “Significance is meaning and meaning comes from making a change happen”
  • School has taught us to focus on:
    • What’s on the test?
    • How do I get picked?
    • What’s the least I can get away with?
    • How do I get an A?
  • Significance in work comes from questions such as:
    • Who am I here to change?
    • What is the change I seek to make?
    • How will I know if its working?
  • Significance makes us feel alive

00:09:09:15 – 00:11:32:06



Humans are not resources

  • Factories traditionally made money by paying people just enough to get by and getting them to do as much as they can & give away agency and humanity to your boss
  • Robotic work 
  • Treating humans like resources does not get people to do what you want them to do
  • Assume good intentions & give people the benefit of the doubt
  • We should make a promise and take responsibility for what we bring to the work environment
  • If you can figure out how to add value by connecting to change that impacts your customers, vendors, co-workers etc. you’ll be able to retain the best jobs and positively influence the work environment


The Great Resignation

  • The promise of meaningful, secure work and reasonably good compensation and conditions went out the window the with the introduction of outsourcing, downsizing, mechanising which treated people like disposable objects
  • People have recognized this change their commitment to companies has waned over time


Management is not leadership

  • Managers use power and authority to get people to do what they want faster & cheaper
  • Leaders voluntarily identify people who want to get somewhere and help them get there
  • You can’t do both jobs at the same time

Tension vs Stress in the workplace

  • Stress is wanting to stay and go at the same time and it leaves us torn 
  • Tension is a good thing and nothing changes without tension

Are meetings a symptom of work crises?

  • Asynchronous thoughtful work is extremely powerful
  • Meetings are useful for collaboration & conversations but bosses often take the lazy approach of using them for one way communication and take comfort in seeing people as a proxy for measuring productivity


Collaboration & Diversity

  • Teams that bring different skills together produce better work than teams lacking diversity
  • Characteristics such as familiarity, attractiveness, likeability, charisma etc. are used in hiring practices to determine suitability. These are false proxies and should be eliminated as it futher engages us in a caste system that serves no one


What are real skills these days?

  • Real skills are attitudes that can be learned
  • The conditions that create the conditions for teams to do better
    • Empathy
    • Creativity
    • Sense of Humour
    • Connection
    • Agreeableness
    • Loyalty
    • Honesty
    • Patience


The Goodness Opportunity

  • Being where we need to be and bringing your heart to what is involved
  • Being present and creating meaning
  • Are we working with people who are seeking to make the change that we’re trying to make in the world?
  • If we change ourselves enough we can have impact
  • We need to care enough to make our own story
  • The Goodness solution is a foundational issue and not top down
  • People need to make a decision to be good and create impact that creates goodness and this impact will multiply


Protecting Peoples’ Dignity

  • Stripping someone of their dignity is not difficult but offering them dignity is extremely powerful
  • Criticize the work and not the worker
  • People who are working together to create change want to see their work get better and will welcome feedback and constructive criticism on their work


The age soundbites

  • The internet & social media have made an enormous amount of people a little informed about a lot
  • People are incentivized to wing it rather than doing the research



  • Begin, Do the reading, Write a paragraph


The Carbon Almanac

  • Seth works with 1900 global change makers on the Carbon Almanac 
  • Millions of people learn from the Carbon Almanac about climate mitigation & climate change 



  • We need to have conversations, we need to do the reading and we need to do the work that scares us
  • Keep making a ruckus! We need you!

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