Are you replaceable or indispensable?
If there was a map, everyone would find it. If there were detailed step-by-step instructions, everyone could do it. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
But what if there is no map? No detailed step-by-step instructions. And it’s going to be difficult. Would you still do it?
Would you still put in the hard work not knowing what the outcome will be or where you will end up? Would you give it your all even though there’s no way of knowing that you’ll succeed? Would you still do it knowing that there isn’t going to be any extra bonus if you do make it?
Most people wouldn’t do it. It’s too risky. It’s not worth the effort. There’s nothing in it for me.
But some people would decide to do it. From their point of view it would be risky, yes, but worth the effort. There would be nothing in it for them personally, but they would be part of making a change.
You get to decide. No one can do it for you. Are you going to be replaceable? Or indispensable? Are you going to be a cog in the system? Or are you going to be a linchpin?
There’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, we all know that. Yet we expect to constantly be praised when we’ve accomplished something. As adults, we are still stuck in the grading system of school, expecting to get an A- or a C+ after we’ve completed every project by the book. We’ve followed the instructions and finished the job, we’re entitled to a reward!
If you are setting out to do work that truly matters, don’t expect a reward. Not even a pat on the shoulder. If you need that extrinsic motivation to keep going, you’re not going to make it. Instead, you need a strong conviction that you can make a change. That you have something to contribute.
Are you replaceable or indispensable? It’s up to you.
PS. If this resonates with you, I highly recommend you read “Linchpin” by Seth Godin.