Owning Your Title: An Interview with Jeff Goins

As we move into 2015, we’re championing the value of “story,” so we caught up with Jeff Goins of Goins, Writer for some inspiration.

Jeff believes that we all have a story to tell, but sometimes the best stories don’t get the attention they deserve. Through his blog and podcast, Jeff encourages others to tell their stories well. He’s also the author of four books and has created an online course called Tribe Writers

Along with sharing his own journey to becoming a writer, we asked him to reflect on the topic of “naming.” As creatives, we’re often afraid to step out and acknowledge our craft, due to fear that we don’t measure up. The best stories, though, are those in which the characters step out, despite risk of failure, and pursue their dreams. 

We’re fascinated by your idea that to become something, you simply need to acknowledge yourself as that. Can you explain that a bit more?

I believe that activity follows identity. Before you can become something, you have to become someone. For me, becoming a writer began with calling myself one, acting like it, and then believing it. It’s like a Jedi mind trick for becoming your true self.

Branding yourself as a writer undoubtedly took courage and sacrifice. Were there any turning points in your journey that contributed to this decision?

As I said, owning the title was huge for me. When I asked best-selling author Steven Pressfield when does a writer become a writer, he said, “When he says he is. You are when you say you are.” That was a big moment for me. I started calling myself a writer after that, and I began to act like it. I’m not way into mystical stuff, but there’s something powerful about saying out loud what you want to be. And on a practical level, if you’re going around calling yourself a writer or an artist or even an entrepreneur, you had better act like it. Or people will call you something else: liar.

What were the biggest obstacles you had to overcome once deciding to pursue writing full time?

Time. Writing takes time. Marketing takes time. Building a business takes time. And I had very little of it. Learning how to use my margin to make the most of my time was crucial.

If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?

Thinking about writing. Or maybe traveling.

What key advice would you give to entrepreneurs and creatives about to make the leap to pursue their dream?

Take your time. The best leaps aren’t leaps at all. They are bridges built over time. Don’t underestimate the power of gradual change. Slow and steady usually wins the race.

Our thanks to Jeff Goins for his time and insight. To learn more about him (we recommend doing so), visit his website or say hello on Twitter

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