Creative Leadership

Seth Godin’s Advice on Nit-Pickers: Pastors and Leaders Need to Read This

My friend Seth Godin wasn’t writing this for pastors, but when I read it, I realized pastors were exactly the right audience for this piece. Read it through and let me know if you agree. And perhaps more important – if you’ve ever experienced one or more of these types of folks in your church or ministry:

“The pedant (that’s what we call someone who is pedantic, a picker of nits, eager to find the little thing that’s wrong or out of place) is afraid. He’s afraid and he’s projecting his fear on you, the person who did something, who shipped something, who stood up and said, “here, I made this.”
Without a doubt, when the Beatles played Shea Stadium, Paul was a little out of tune. Without a doubt, the Gettysburg Address had one or two word choice issues. Without a doubt, that restaurant down the street isn’t perfect.
That’s okay. They made something.
Sure, make it better, by all means put in the time to bring us your best work. But no, of course not, no, the pedant is not our audience, nor is he making as much of a difference as he would like to believe.”

I love the last line. No – he is not making nearly as much of a difference as he would like to believe.  Some people actually feel “called” to point out everything that’s wrong – no matter how small or insignificant. They don’t actually write, create, produce, or make – they simply find something (no matter how tiny) wrong with what others create.

Worry not. What you created or built may not be perfect, and it may indeed be flawed.

But you did the work.  That’s what counts.

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  1. Love Seth! And now I’m so pleased to be able to say that my HUGE project that I was terrified to stand up and do, IS SHIPPING. Seth for President! And thanks, Phil, for reminding me that nit pickers are actually insignificant and aren’t able to create a blip on the meter of Things To Be Concerned About. Nit pickers don’t ship.

  2. It was the nitpickers who ran my life for so many years. (People-pleasers have trouble with that). But one day i woke up and said, “Who cares? It’s about time I quit letting others run my life.” One of the best days of my life. Who was it that said, “it is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.” Teddy? Nitpickers be gone.

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