Need to Start? Poke The Box by Seth Godin

Did you ever have a great idea?

What did you do about it?

Did you start it?

Better yet, did you finish it?

Today’s post is a quick review of Seth Godin’s latest book entitled, “Poke the Box.”

It is all about starting new things.

Poking is Starting

What is “Poke the Box?”

According to Seth, poking is about starting. It is challenging the status quo.

It is about trying something new and seeing what happens.

Seth and I both seem to think that there is a drought of starting in today’s society.

Individuals and businesses are averse to starting new initiatives. New ideas. And thus new adventures.

Too many companies reward those that “stay in line” instead of those that challenge and create.

“Please stop waiting for a map. We reward those who draw maps, not those who follow them.” – Seth Godin

Seth’s book is a manifesto on starting.  He provides great real-world examples demonstrating how starting is the key to any new idea. In fact, he shows that starting is sometimes even more important than succeeding. It is often through an initial failure that future success and even bigger ideas come to fruition.

I have read many of Seth’s books over the years, but this one really resonated with me.

I too think that most companies discourage employees from starting new and great things. (See “The Difference Between Blue Tape and Read Tape.”)

Not Just Starting… but Shipping

Seth is quick to say that there are actually two steps to getting your new idea out there.

The first is to start, and the second is to ship.

Some people do start. But, finishing is another thing.

If you read Seth’s previous works, you are familiar with his theme of finishing a project or shipping a product.

Whether it is a project or a simple todo, finishing what you start is a key differentiator among those that are successful.

How many great ideas have you started, but then never shipped or delivered? Only to leave them drawn on a napkin or sitting in a drawer?

What Do You Need to Start?

Today, I want to challenge you to start.

What idea or project have you been sitting on?

Maybe you have been nervous to begin. Or you have been discouraged to start it.

I want to give you a little motivation.

I am giving away 5 copies Seth’s Poke the Box book. To be considered, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling us what “you need to start.”

Winners will be selected by me on Friday. You can choose whether you want the Kindle version or the hard copy edition. I recommend and prefer the Kindle one. (Remember, I stopped buying hard copy books.)

If you want to pick up your own copy of Seth’s book, you can get Poke the Box on Amazon. (affiliate link) It is a quick read at only 96 pages.

To be considered for the 5 FREE copies, please tell us below, “What Do You Need to Start?” What have you have been hesitant to do?

No time for time management? Check out my online course designed to jump start your productivity! Take it online on your time and pace. As well, get direct access to me for advice and questions. Get details or enroll now by clicking here!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • AlexanderHo

    I need a kick in the butt to start! Seriously, I need the time and know how. I have been wanting to start my iOS app programming, I have some ideas that I would to develop into an iApp but am always bogged down with work and excuses. Sigh… Someone give me a kick in the butt, a hard one please!

    • TMNinja

      @AlexanderHo Alexander, sounds like you have an idea that you are just waiting to start. Best wishes starting… and of course, then then hard part… you have to finish it.

      It can be a long road but very rewarding, if only for yourself. :)

  • dancain

    I need to start a new family ministry endeavor I’ve been wanting to do for a year now.

    • TMNinja

      @dancain Sounds like you have an idea that has been around for some time. Just WAITING to get started. :)

  • veldeanfincher

    I need to start the press release that my web designer is waiting to broadcast across the country to re-stimulate traffic to my website that I developed to sell my eBook that I finished and had formatted months ago. It’s a simple step to turn my attention back to focusing and building a following for an excellent product line — The Layman’s Guide to Divorce.

    • TMNinja

      @veldeanfincher Wow! Sounds like you are so CLOSE to shipping your product.

      Even sounds like you have already done the WORK.

      Good luck and don’t stop short of releasing your project to the world. :)

  • 3amwriter

    I need to start my book. I edit and write books for others and I love it, but I need to start my own book. Always a bridesmaid never a bride does not work for creative spirits forever!

    • TMNinja

      @3amwriter Absolutely! Sounds like you need to put yourself first, and do your project! :)

      Love to hear what you are working on!

      • 3amwriter

        @TMNinja @3amwriter I have a few ideas for novels and even a couple first pages written…I’d also love to write a book that deals with my experiences mothering 2 kids and a business ;) But it’s so easy to get sidetracked. I’m a very practical person , so it’s must easier to justify time spent on food-on-the-table projects over food-for-the-soul projects. I’m very lucky to make a living doing what I love, too, and that fulfills the creative impulse. I know there is a book out there with MY name on it though!

        All the TMNinja stuff is great, sounds like we need some more tips on getting started and managing time for “dream projects!”

      • TMNinja

        @3amwriter Congrats Aileen, you were selected in the drawing. :)

        Drop me a line with info for your copy of Seth’s “Poke the Box.”

  • AlexanderHo

    I need a kick in the butt to start! Seriously, I need the time and know how. I have been wanting to start my iOS app programming, I have some ideas that I would to develop into an iApp but am always bogged down with work and excuses. Sigh… Someone give me a kick in the butt, a hard one please!

  • dancain

    I need to start a new family ministry endeavor I’ve been wanting to do for a year now.

  • veldeanfincher

    I need to start the press release that my web designer is waiting to broadcast across the country to re-stimulate traffic to my website that I developed to sell my eBook that I finished and had formatted months ago. It’s a simple step to turn my attention back to focusing and building a following for an excellent product line — The Layman’s Guide to Divorce.

  • 3amwriter

    I need to start my book. I edit and write books for others and I love it, but I need to start my own book. Always a bridesmaid never a bride does not work for creative spirits forever!

  • fbsnyder

    I need to start my next great adventure, leaving my job of 29 years and retiring to even greater things. I need to cast off the golden handcuffs of a more than adequate regular pay check for a fixed income and unlimited opportunities to re-invent myself. I need to write that textbook for doing what I do. I need to post my most valuable insights to my blog (http://flashesoftheobvious.blogspot.com) and to celebrate life every day!

    • TMNinja

      @fbsnyder That does sound like a GREAT adventure.

      Best wishes and love to hear where you are headed in your new endeavors!

  • natesmithcomedy

    I need to start the eBook I want to write. I actually have several ideas including a children’s book and a short collection of my comedy writing. I have to pick one and start writing and then see the project all the way through to the point that it is ready to ship.

    • TMNinja

      @natesmithcomedy Good luck with your project. You are right… it is not just about starting… but finishing.

      Going to the endpoint and actually “shipping” your project is key. I have several projects I am working on finishing soon. :)

      • natesmithcomedy

        @TMNinja Thanks! Your site has definitely been helping. It’s been pushing me forward every day.

  • mariam.movsisyan

    Recently I was appointed Director of a department at the age of 24. Before this, I was busy mostly with my projects and supporting my colleagues. Now I need to start thinking more strategically – establish a workflow in the team I belong to and prepare a staff development plan to boost the efficiency of our great team!

    • TMNinja

      @mariam.movsisyan Mariam, good luck with your new postion! Sounds like you have some exciting challenges ahead of you!

  • http://www.cordeliacallsitquits.com/ CordeliaCallsIt

    I need to start taking my writing more seriously. I’m pretty diligent about keeping up with my blog posts, but both the Novel and the ebook I desperately want to write (and have a million-and-one ideas for) keep getting pushed down on my priorities list. I need to start holding myself more accountable to my potential (and my resolutions).

    • TMNinja

      @CordeliaCallsIt Cordelia, good luck with the writing. It seems that writing projects are a common theme on this post.

      Why do we all resist starting that writing project? :)

      Best wishes with your Novel and your eBook. What are your topics?

  • fbsnyder

    I need to start my next great adventure, leaving my job of 29 years and retiring to even greater things. I need to cast off the golden handcuffs of a more than adequate regular pay check for a fixed income and unlimited opportunities to re-invent myself. I need to write that textbook for doing what I do. I need to post my most valuable insights to my blog (http://flashesoftheobvious.blogspot.com) and to celebrate life every day!

  • http://www.probloggingsuccess.com/ Jane | Problogging Success

    Hi Craig,

    I need to start with two things actually:

    1. To write that ebook whose outline is ready but I am just postponing for many other reasons.

    2. To increase my productive networking time.

    I am sure that I am more accountable now that I have told something in public. You have done a great job by calling out. No matter I get the book or not, I am extremely happy that you made me committed to something :)

    I am also tweeting this comment so that I make my saying more public which means more accountability to me.

    Many thanks.

    Cheers,

    Jane.

    • TMNinja

      @janesheeba Jane, thanks for sharing.

      It seems that writing is an activity that always seems to need to be “started.” As one that writes, I can say that it can be tough to get the words flowing on a new project. (Working on one now!)

      However, once started…it seems to take on a life of its own and it just goes. Best wishes with your eBook!

  • natesmithcomedy

    I need to start the eBook I want to write. I actually have several ideas including a children’s book and a short collection of my comedy writing. I have to pick one and start writing and then see the project all the way through to the point that it is ready to ship.

  • mariam.movsisyan

    Recently I was appointed Director of a department at the age of 24. Before this, I was busy mostly with my projects and supporting my colleagues. Now I need to start thinking more strategically – establish a workflow in the team I belong to and prepare a staff development plan to boost the efficiency of our great team!

  • CordeliaCallsIt

    I need to start taking my writing more seriously. I’m pretty diligent about keeping up with my blog posts, but both the Novel and the ebook I desperately want to write (and have a million-and-one ideas for) keep getting pushed down on my priorities list. I need to start holding myself more accountable to my potential (and my resolutions).

  • janesheeba

    Hi Craig,

    I need to start with two things actually:

    1. To write that ebook whose outline is ready but I am just postponing for many other reasons.

    2. To increase my productive networking time.

    I am sure that I am more accountable now that I have told something in public. You have done a great job by calling out. No matter I get the book or not, I am extremely happy that you made me committed to something :)

    I am also tweeting this comment so that I make my saying more public which means more accountability to me.

    Many thanks.

    Cheers,

    Jane.

  • jarradrwalter

    Thank you for the post and opportunity to contribute.

    I need to start creating once again. I need to start expressing through art so that I can begin to open my mind and feel creative in other professional (i.e. business) endeavors.

    I have been hesitant to start for fear of not being where I left off in skill-level. Logically, I know it doesn’t matter but emotionally it is a challenge.

    Maybe this post and your challenge will empower me to start [stahrt] verb (used without object) to begin or set out, as on a journey or activity.

    Thanks,

    Jarrad

    • TMNinja

      @jarradrwalter Jarrad, love your thoughts here.

      Like your idea around how creativity and art can lead to productivity in other areas. Very true.

      I believe that your passion or hobby can drive you in many areas of life. Here is a previous post about just that… “Why You Need a Hobby to Be More Productive.”

      http://tmninja.us/ej9lYs

      Best wishes!

  • jarradrwalter

    Thank you for the post and opportunity to contribute.

    I need to start creating once again. I need to start expressing through art so that I can begin to open my mind and feel creative in other professional (i.e. business) endeavors.

    I have been hesitant to start for fear of not being where I left off in skill-level. Logically, I know it doesn’t matter but emotionally it is a challenge.

    Maybe this post and your challenge will empower me to start [stahrt] verb (used without object) to begin or set out, as on a journey or activity.

    Thanks,

    Jarrad

  • sandrakhen

    I need to start writing daily and finish my dissertation. I took a 5 year hiatus/sabbatical because of our four young children, but my window to complete the degree is closing. Love your blog, btw!

    Sandra

    • TMNinja

      @sandrakhen Thanks for the kind words! Glad you like the site. :)

      Best wishes on your dissertation! Sounds like you have something you know you want/need to finish. Also, sounds like you have a finite amount of time before that opportunity will pass by. Go for it!

    • TMNinja

      @sandrakhen Sandra, congrats! You were picked in the drawing. :)

      Drop me an email with your info for your copy of Seth’s “Poke the Box.”

  • sandrakhen

    I need to start writing daily and finish my dissertation. I took a 5 year hiatus/sabbatical because of our four young children, but my window to complete the degree is closing. Love your blog, btw!

    Sandra

  • GuilhermeSiebert

    I need to take those songs out of my head. There are a lot in my mind and I just can’t let them go.

    Recording and rearrange my friend’s songs is cool. But what if I let people hear what is growing inside of me instead of trying to put it down on words?

    • TMNinja

      @GuilhermeSiebert Sounds like you have some great ideas… now you have to DO them… and more importantly SHIP them. :)

  • GuilhermeSiebert

    I need to take those songs out of my head. There are a lot in my mind and I just can’t let them go.

    Recording and rearrange my friend’s songs is cool. But what if I let people hear what is growing inside of me instead of trying to put it down on words?

  • gerardvanstijn

    I need to start decluttering my house. Boring, not very special a project, and mediocre in aspirations. But a decluttered house has sapped my energy, and stopped me from working on other bigger goals.

    • TMNinja

      @gerardvanstijn Love your thought here!

      It is interesting how clutter can be an obstacle to other productive work.

      I am a big believer in clean workspaces leading to more energy and work done. :)

      • gerardvanstijn

        @TMNinja @gerardvanstijn Unfortunately it is not just my workspace, it is my entire house. But thanks, I strongly agree with you Craig.

      • gerardvanstijn

        @TMNinja @gerardvanstijn Unfortunately it is not just my workspace, it is my entire house. But thanks, I strongly agree with you Craig.

  • gerardvanstijn

    I need to start decluttering my house. Boring, not very special a project, and mediocre in aspirations. But a decluttered house has sapped my energy, and stopped me from working on other bigger goals.

  • verissimo

    I need to start implementing my ideas. I have the technical skills, I know I can find the time, but there’s always the little (giant) voice inside that asks “why should you bother, no one will care anyway”, that manages to stop me from ever starting anything.

    I do have tons of ideas, some that when I look at them from a distance, I know if they became real, they’d help lots of people.

    I guess I just need a drill Sargent that kicks my behind into action. Or some sense of purpose, or the drive of doing things just “because I can”. Thanks for the opportunity Craig.

    • TMNinja

      @verissimo Good stuff!

      I too find that sometimes I have “too many” ideas. And I want to do them all.

      As I have learned, you have to start with one. And get one going and successful.

      Then you can add more passions. :)

  • TMNinja

    @gerardvanstijn Love your thought here!

    It is interesting how clutter can be an obstacle to other productive work.

    I am a big believer in clean workspaces leading to more energy and work done. :)

  • TMNinja

    @GuilhermeSiebert Sounds like you have some great ideas… now you have to DO them… and more importantly SHIP them. :)

  • TMNinja

    @sandrakhen Thanks for the kind words! Glad you like the site. :)

    Best wishes on your dissertation! Sounds like you have something you know you want/need to finish. Also, sounds like you have a finite amount of time before that opportunity will pass by. Go for it!

  • TMNinja

    @jarradrwalter Jarrad, love your thoughts here.

    Like your idea around how creativity and art can lead to productivity in other areas. Very true.

    I believe that your passion or hobby can drive you in many areas of life. Here is a previous post about just that… “Why You Need a Hobby to Be More Productive.”

    http://tmninja.us/ej9lYs

    Best wishes!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/buyer2 RossDenton

    To make my project happen I need to actually put these great posts into practice rather than just posting the link somewhere with a “Wow, this is a great article”.

    It is likely that most of us have the expertise to produce great content. We probably know exactly how to deliver the content without a sharp learning curve. The biggest obstacle is time.

    How many times have I started only to be distracted by yet another “great article”? How many things am I following, reading, or playing on the internet that really just add entertainment to my day and not any value?

    It’s time to trim the fat and start doing something that I will actually remember doing 5 years from now.

    • TMNinja

      @RossDenton Love the positive attitude!

      Sometimes it is as simple as you are saying… making a choice about what you want to do and pursuing it with all your energy! :)

  • jmkw

    I am responsible for taking the broad strategic plan of the company, and getting my area moving in the same direction – It feels too big to even start

    • TMNinja

      @jmkw Sounds like you have some big tasks and decisions ahead of you. :)

      Sometimes, the best way to attack them is to break off a smaller piece. Take one area that you can have immediate impact on… and go for it!

  • verissimo

    I need to start implementing my ideas. I have the technical skills, I know I can find the time, but there’s always the little (giant) voice inside that asks “why should you bother, no one will care anyway”, that manages to stop me from ever starting anything.

    I do have tons of ideas, some that when I look at them from a distance, I know if they became real, they’d help lots of people.

    I guess I just need a drill Sargent that kicks my behind into action. Or some sense of purpose, or the drive of doing things just “because I can”. Thanks for the opportunity Craig.

  • SomediaCEO

    I need to start creating our blog calendar – I have so many ideas but none of them are being produced because they’re all in a big pile right now. :) Thanks for the inspiration Craig – we’ll start at our team meeting today! -Melanie

    • TMNinja

      @SomediaCEO Good luck! Better to start a few than leave the whole bunch untouched!

      Hope your blog lifts off! :)

  • TMNinja

    @janesheeba Jane, thanks for sharing.

    It seems that writing is an activity that always seems to need to be “started.” As one that writes, I can say that it can be tough to get the words flowing on a new project. (Working on one now!)

    However, once started…it seems to take on a life of its own and it just goes. Best wishes with your eBook!

  • TMNinja

    @mariam.movsisyan Mariam, good luck with your new postion! Sounds like you have some exciting challenges ahead of you!

  • TMNinja

    @CordeliaCallsIt Cordelia, good luck with the writing. It seems that writing projects are a common theme on this post.

    Why do we all resist starting that writing project? :)

    Best wishes with your Novel and your eBook. What are your topics?

  • TMNinja

    @natesmithcomedy Good luck with your project. You are right… it is not just about starting… but finishing.

    Going to the endpoint and actually “shipping” your project is key. I have several projects I am working on finishing soon. :)

  • TMNinja

    @fbsnyder That does sound like a GREAT adventure.

    Best wishes and love to hear where you are headed in your new endeavors!

  • TMNinja

    @veldeanfincher Wow! Sounds like you are so CLOSE to shipping your product.

    Even sounds like you have already done the WORK.

    Good luck and don’t stop short of releasing your project to the world. :)

  • TMNinja

    @dancain Sounds like you have an idea that has been around for some time. Just WAITING to get started. :)

  • TMNinja

    @AlexanderHo Alexander, sounds like you have an idea that you are just waiting to start. Best wishes starting… and of course, then then hard part… you have to finish it.

    It can be a long road but very rewarding, if only for yourself. :)

  • TMNinja

    @3amwriter Absolutely! Sounds like you need to put yourself first, and do your project! :)

    Love to hear what you are working on!

  • ironclm

    I need to put my 5 year plan into concrete form. Basically to become debt free and gains the skills and training to move into the next phase…quit the job that is too much work bit pays ok to something that gets me up every morning but doesn’t pay as well.

    • TMNinja

      @ironclm I had a friend who had “5 year plan” that he never got around to starting.

      Soon, it was a 7 year plan. Then 8. And so on… :)

      Start today!

      • ironclm

        @TMNinja @ironclm Thanks again for the book! I’ve started the 5-year plan with very concrete steps. Looking foward to the journey.

  • ChristyAAnderson

    I need to start my de-cluttering my office!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/buyer2 RossDenton

    To make my project happen I need to actually put these great posts into practice rather than just posting the link somewhere with a “Wow, this is a great article”.

    It is likely that most of us have the expertise to produce great content. We probably know exactly how to deliver the content without a sharp learning curve. The biggest obstacle is time.

    How many times have I started only to be distracted by yet another “great article”? How many things am I following, reading, or playing on the internet that really just add entertainment to my day and not any value?

    It’s time to trim the fat and start doing something that I will actually remember doing 5 years from now.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/buyer2 RossDenton

    To make my project happen I need to actually put these great posts into practice rather than just posting the link somewhere with a “Wow, this is a great article”.

    It is likely that most of us have the expertise to produce great content. We probably know exactly how to deliver the content without a sharp learning curve. The biggest obstacle is time.

    How many times have I started only to be distracted by yet another “great article”? How many things am I following, reading, or playing on the internet that really just add entertainment to my day and not any value?

    It’s time to trim the fat and start doing something that I will actually remember doing 5 years from now.

  • jmkw

    I am responsible for taking the broad strategic plan of the company, and getting my area moving in the same direction – It feels too big to even start

  • jmkw

    I am responsible for taking the broad strategic plan of the company, and getting my area moving in the same direction – It feels too big to even start