Quitter: Jeff Goins Highlights

Jeff Goins

Photo Credit: Ashley Goins

One of the fun parts about having Jeff Goins present at Quitter Conference is that he was an attendee of a previous conference.  He was in the audience.  He has made the leap – sort of.  Let me explain…

Jeff had always wanted to be a writer, but he told himself over and over that he couldn’t be one.  He had a conversation with a friend that changed everything.  His friend asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.  Jeff didn’t really have an answer.  The friend asked again.  “I guess I kinda want to be a writer.”  What his friend said put him on track to be where he is today — a published author.

His friend said, “You are a writer.  You just need to write.”  Aha!  The difference between being and not being is doing.

To be a painter, you need to paint.  To be a designer, you need to design.  To be a landscaper, you need to do landscaping.  See where I’m going?

Get busy!

Jeff’s talk at the Quitter Conference covered a few myths that he refuses to believe and a basic approach framework.

Jeff loves his job and had no desire to quit.  He just wanted to be a writer.  Is he still a quitter?  Absolutely!

The Myths

  1. They want me to fail!
    Who is they?  They are your spouse, family, boss, coworkers.  Chances are pretty good they actually want you to succeed.  Sometimes they act in ways that don’t seem to match that truth, but they are probably protecting their interests.  No biggie.  Work it out.  You may find that these people are your biggest supporters.  Jeff was amazed to find out that his boss actually became a real asset in achieving his dream.
  2. It takes too much time.
    Is it going to take time to make your dream happen?  Yup!  No doubt about it.  Does that mean it has to take every waking moment?  Do you have to drop all of your other commitments and lock yourself in a cabin in the middle of the woods until you are done?  No.  Small bursts that occur frequently make the biggest dent.  Try putting one hour a day of incredibly focused energy toward your dream and see how far you get in only a few short months.
  3. It’s all or nothing.
    We tend to think that since we probably won’t write the next Harry Potter series that nothing we do will make a difference so I might as well just not start.  What’s amazing is that even if we don’t make it to our goal, we’ve made progress that we wouldn’t have been able to make had we not started.  Track your progress against your goal and see where you end up.  You’ll be surprised just how much you can accomplish.

The Pimsleur Approach

What do we do about it?  How do we make this dream happen?  Jeff’s suggestion?  The Pimsleur Approach. The basic tenet of the Pimsleur Approach (as related to learning a new language) is that you learn better when you are immersed in the new language as opposed to simply trying to memorize words and conjugations of verbs.  How does this apply to your dream?

  1. Show up
    Nothing gets done when you aren’t there to do it.
  2. Focus on Frequency
    It’s better to work every day for a little while than to “save it for Saturday.”  You won’t be nearly as effective in 5 hours on one day than you would have been in an hour a day, five days a week.  We all have a creative limit before we need to refill our tanks.
  3. Pace yourself
    Don’t go until you burn out.  Leave a little creative juice in the tank as a starter for the next session.  Think of creativity like sourdough bread.  You need a little starter to grow your dough.  As long as you reserve just a little bit of starter, you’ll be able to come back and make another loaf.  When the starter is gone, you need to start over completely — way less effective than picking up where you left off.

Trampolines vs. Bridges

Trampolines are stationary.  You go up.  You go down.  That’s it.  Building bridges takes you somewhere.

Bridge Building 101

  1. Have a “Plan”
    You don’t start out with nothing and then have a bridge.  Take some time and decide what you think your dream should look like.  What do you need to make that happen?
  2. Recycle Materials
    If you are a writer, write a blog.  You’ll get instant feedback.  You’ll find out what your readers like and don’t like.  You can reuse that content in your book, in a video, in a presentation… Just because you wrote it down once doesn’t mean you can’t use it again.
  3. Build as you go
    Build a little.  Then step out and survey.  Build some more.  Step out and survey. Build some more. You get the idea.  Keep moving out there and eventually you’ll reach the other side.  You’ll never get there on a trampoline.  Every once in a while, look back and see how far you’ve come.  There’s satisfaction in taking steps forward.  Do it.

Replace “I don’t know” with “I’ll figure it out”

Lastly, these words are straight from Jeff’s mouth.  You need to replace “I don’t know” with “I’ll figure it out.”  There is power and hope in saying you’ll figure it out.  When you say you don’t know right from the start you really are giving up before you even try.

Connect with Jeff

For more about Jeff Goins, visit http://www.goinswriter.com/quitter.  Learn more about him, connect with him and see the slides from his presentation at Quitter Conference.  You can get Jeff’s book Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life at Amazon.

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About Raun Lauterbach

Optimistic realist, life enthusiast, outdoor cook, Midwest traveler, husband, father... Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Get updates in your email
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  • http://bluecollarliving.com/ James Dibben

    Great review Raun!

    Thanks for sharing it. I want to be a writer too so I guess I need to tell people I’m a writer.

    “So, what do you do James.”

    “I’m a writer, I just don’t get paid to do it….yet.”

    Honestly, I’m more proud of the writing I do than the nursing I do every day. It’s so much more fulfilling.

    Could a guy like me make a living as a writer? I would like to think so but it sure sounds scary to pursue.

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    James, you ARE a very gifted writer. I’m sure you have what it takes to be paid to do it. Start like Jeff did and make it happen. Two resources from Jeff that might be of interest (if you’re not already aware)
    http://www.youareawriter.com (ebook)
    http://www.tribewriters.com (8-week course)

    I haven’t been a part of either, but I’ve heard good things about both.

  • http://bluecollarliving.com/ James Dibben

    I have You are a Writer but haven’t read it yet. I should do that this weekend.

    Thanks for the compliment on my writing.

    Julie and I are brainstorming to find me a better writing place at home. The only place I have to write currently is the kitchen table and there are just too many distractions in the middle of our house.

    We are seriously considering moving our bedroom into the basement. It’s finished but there is no bathroom down there. We have had a master bathroom our entire marriage so the idea of sharing bathrooms with the kids is the only downside.

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    I just moved into the “Cloffice” a week ago or so. It’s a 3 foot wide x 7.5 foot “room” that we added a few years ago because our laundry room was bigger than it needed to be. We had intended on turning it into a half bath, but the workspace idea seemed to make more sense. So I added a work surface and some book shelves on one side. It’s tucked away in the back corner of the house, so it’s quiet and there are no distractions. It is a little weird having a bunch of power tools right behind me, though. :)

    The best part is that I had most of the materials to put this thing together already, so it only cost me about $75 for some trim and a light fixture. Pretty sweet if you ask me. I’m sure you’ll figure something out. I feel like I’m working “for real” now that I have a dedicated place to work.

  • http://www.tammyhelfrich.com/ Tammy Helfrich

    Great notes! I loved Jeff’s talk. Great to meet you too!

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    Thanks, Tammy! Keep hustling!

  • http://www.thebootstrapcoach.com/ Josh Bulloc

    That is what I am using to learn Spanish.

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    How is it working for you? (I’d ask in Spanish, but I don’t know how.)

  • http://www.thebootstrapcoach.com/ Josh Bulloc

    I was sold after doing 30 lessons from the German program before going to Germany and I was able to communicate a little. Now I am doing the full program for Spanish and I am retaining it much better than when I was in HS. I took Spanish 3 years in HS and I have learned more and retain more now with 28 lessons than I did in HS.

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    What a great testimonial for the process! Very cool!