S2-EP21: Seth Godin on Taking a Gap Year, Changing Your Mindset, and Why He Isn’t Pausing

Jul 3, 2020


Debbie Weil interviews the one and only Seth Godin. They talk about his definition of a gap year, whether he’s ever taken one himself (yes and no), what he’s been up to over the past several months of social distancing (he has not paused), aging (but not yet), and more.



Debbie Weil interviews the one and only Seth Godin.

Seth writes one of the most popular blogs in the world, read by more than a million people. He’s been blogging abut marketing for almost 20 years but his topic is really life: how to live well and fully. He blogs every day, seven days a week. Suffice it to say that when Seth talks, or writes, people listen.

It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what makes Seth so appealing. He is generous as a person. He’s full of ideas, often counterintuitive, that he gently urges you to consider. And he always makes you think. For Debbie and for thousands of others, he’s an unofficial mentor, sitting on your shoulder like Jiminy Cricket, and challenging you to think bigger, or deeper – and always, more truthfully.

Debbie got to know Seth about 15 years ago. He was holding funky workshops in a walk-up space in Chinatown in lower Manhattan. They were very Seth. There were no handouts, you were not allowed to take notes, he encouraged questions by handing out prizes and he served weird (at the time) vegetarian snacks. Always, there was his insistence on authenticity and consistency. In other words, be clear about who you are and what you do and why it matters. Debbie was working on her book about blogging, The Corporate Blogging Book, and he suggested that she call herself “the Mona Lisa of Blogging.” She did, for a time!

Seth has published 19 bestselling books (The Dip and Linchpin are two of Debbie’s favorites). Although he may be best known as an author and blogger, in the past five years Seth has increasingly defined himself as a teacher. He’s gotten deeply into online learning through Akimbo, the organization he founded to “rebuild education from the ground up.” It’s also the name of his podcast. But take the emphasis off online learning because it’s really the future of learning that he’s interested in. A future that leverages the wisdom of your cohort (the people you are enrolled with), and that requires engagement, generosity and kindness.

One of his online projects is a podcasting workshop. It’s where this podcast was born and where Debbie met producer Julie-Roxane.

Debbie invited him on the show after he blogged recently about taking a gap year. She figured it was a perfect chance to hear more of his thoughts about gap years, for adults or students, and how or why such an experience might be relevant right now. And to find out what else was on his mind during this unprecedented time. They talk about:

  • Whether or not he has paused over the past several months
  • How his life is an art project and what that means for his definition of work
  • What you might consider doing with your time during the pandemic
  • Why in-person learning is not necessarily better
  • The future of business travel
  • The importance of mindset (and how changing that might be enough right now)
  • His thoughts about aging (he works very hard and realizes that can’t last forever)
  • And building the habit of initiative


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Thanks to our media partners

Encore.org, our newest media partner, is an ideas and innovation hub tapping the talent of those 50+ as a force for good. Founder and CEO Marc Freedman is an award-winning social entrepreneur and author, most recently, of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations. Looking for a great gap-year transition program? Check out Encore Fellowships, which match skilled, seasoned professionals with social-sector organizations in high-impact, paid assignments.


Modern Elder Academy is a program dedicated to navigating mid-life transitions. MEA, based in Baja California, Mexico, provides the place and the tools to start reframing your lifetime of experience. Grow whole, not old. Founder Chip Conley is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning hospitality entrepreneur and a rock star of the mid-life transition movement. His newest book is Wisdom @ Work: the Making of a Modern Elder.


Next For Me is an important new resource for the 50+ crowd focused on rewriting life. Taking a gap year or timeout may be the best way to figure out "what's next" when you're in this stage of life. Founder Jeff Tidwell explains, Next For Me "connects and inspires our generation to evolve our post-50 lives through new work, a new purpose, or a new social contribution."