Photo Credit: Ashley Goins

Fear Less, Ep. 5: Best-Selling Author Jeff Goins Shares How Career Callings Actually Work

I shared in a recent blog post how in 2008 I was the sports editor of a weekly newspaper and wanted out because I felt called to “make a difference.” I pinpointed that becoming a Christian freelance writer would fulfill this objective, so I quit my job as editor and gave it a go. Too bad I fell flat on my face, lasting only a few months before moving on once again.

Everything turned out okay, but I wish Jeff Goins could have written ‘The Art of Work’ before I made this choice. It would have saved me some grief. I would have seen, just as with all the other stories in Jeff’s book, that as sports editor I was building valuable characteristics and important relationships, and that I actually was making a positive difference (much more than when I ventured out on my own in the Christian freelance market). So maybe I wouldn’t have quit after eight short months.

Goins adds a layer to the discussion, which is the ultimate purpose of ‘The Art of Work,’ his USA Today best selling book. Click below to listen to the podcast, and keep reading for further details about our conversation.

Recently, Jeff graced me with an opportunity to chat with him on the Fear Less Podcast about this life-changing book and about how fear has been a part of his journey as an author. (And we’re giving away a free copy to five winners! Click this link to the enter).

‘The Art of Work’ is excellent writing by Goins, whom I’ve been following for some time. I found Goins thanks to my own interest in becoming a professional writer. Previously, Goins’ focus had been helping writers find their voice and tribe, but this book was the breakthrough piece from Goins, chalked full of wisdom. I would recommend it to anyone who is struggling to find their “life’s work,” and also anyone who has believed that God has placed a calling on their life but they don’t know what it is. Because, as Goins shares in our discussion, there is a good chance they are in it right now, because it isn’t a Point A to Point B, but a life-long journey.

Jeff shared about how fear operates in his daily work, and the quote that possibly stayed closest with me was that “courage comes after you face the fear, not before.” I believe that is exactly right. If I have ever had courage, it is based on something that I had already overcome. For instance, jumping out of a plane, I honestly didn’t think that could have been any worse than stepping onto an improv stage, which I had done dozens of times already. So that’s where my courage came from.

Content from our Discussion:

  • Jeff toured Japan and the United States with a Christian band, which he had thought was his calling, but it turned out it wasn’t.
  • How he became a successful writer and Internet business owner.
  • Why he wrote ‘The Art of Work’
  • How he repackaged the term ‘calling.’
  • Fears he experienced on his journey to becoming an author.
  • That practice maybe doesn’t make perfect, but shows us what we should (and shouldn’t) be doing.
  • What William Hung is up to today.
  • What a “story telling sherpa” is.

Quotables from Jeff:

  • “You won’t just know what you need to do. It won’t come as an epiphany, it will be difficult, and ultimately it is a process that never ends until the day that you die.”
  • “Fear is always a part of the process. The secret to doing brave things isn’t to wait to feel unafraid, it’s to attack the goals that you have and the things you want to do, and to learn how to do them unafraid.”
  • “Bad fear leads to inaction. Fear of not trying is a good fear because it makes you do something.”
  • “Your calling is the thing that’s extracted from the mess of life where you’re taking the cards you’ve been dealt and trying to make the most with it.”
  • “Practice isn’t just what you do to get better, but it’s what you do to figure out what you should be doing in the first place.”


‘The Art of Work’ Giveaway Contest

‘Fear Less’ on iTunes