Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Stop Waiting to Be Picked

The reason publishers are signing authors who have built their own platforms is the same reason YouTube sensations are appearing on car commercials. It’s because they’re not waiting to be picked.

Waiting to Be Picked

Photo credit: David Goehring (Creative Commons)

These people are choosing to start in spite of the fact that no one’s given them permission. And this is what makes them so attractive.

These are the trail-blazers, the trendsetters, and true difference-makers of our day. They’re the ones “crazy enough to change the world.” And you could be one of them, too — if you would just stop waiting.

We all want to be picked

Of course, this is natural: the desire to be chosen, to fit in with society’s standards, to be liked by the cool kids. It’s also a myth.

For every person or group that picks you, there is one (or a hundred ones) that doesn’t. You can spend your whole life trying to please them all. Or you can focus your attention on something that matters, like finding your tribe.

You must pick yourself

The real trick is to not wait, but to pick yourself, to “turn pro” in your head (as Pressfield says). To believe you can do what you’re asking others to believe about you.

That’s how you become “legit” in the eyes of others — not by waiting for acknowledgment, but by acting as if you already have it. And here’s the crazy part: When you do this, you get the permission you’ve been waiting for. Not by asking for it, but by proving yourself.

The paradox is you get what you’re desiring when you stop desiring it. In other words, the less concerned you are with appealing to an audience’s sensitivities, the more appealing an audience will find you.

It’s the classic “cool guy” routine that gets the girl every time by acting as if he’s not interested. Of course, he is. He’s very interested in her. But he moves on with his life as if he’s not. And she finds him absolutely irresistible.

Our heroes do this

This is what we love about our favorite movie actors and athletes and rock gods. They don’t care about the system. They care about creating art or breaking rules or just being themselves. They are above reproach, have somehow transcended the need for acceptance.

But of course, we know this can’t be true. We have read enough biographies and seen enough interviews to know that our heroes are just as human and insecure as we are. They just do something different with their fear. They don’t let it debilitate them. They choose to create and share their work, anyway.

They work through the fear instead of waiting to feel unafraid before creating their best work. And if they can, maybe you can, too. Maybe we all can.

Need help getting started with picking yourself? Download my free three-part series on building an audience so you never have to pick yourself again. You’ll get it free when you join my free newsletter

What is it you’re waiting to be picked for? Share in the comments.

*Hat tip to Seth Godin for giving me the language to articulate this idea.

About Jeff Goins

I am the author of four books, including The Art of Work. I also run an online business teaching writers how to get the attention their work deserves. Every week, I send out an email newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

Your Work Deserves to Be Noticed — Here’s How

All art needs an audience. So does your writing. To download a free eBook and learn exactly what I did to grow my blog from zero to 100,000 readers in 18 months, enter your email below.

  • http://www.praverb.net/ Patrick McNease

    Great blog post. You have gained me as a reader. I am tired of waiting for validation or confirmation to achieve things. I will increase my faith and use visualization to make my dreams reality. Thank you @jeffgoins:disqus.

  • Julian PG Riches

    I’m really happy I found this website. Super pumped. I’ve began to get going for myself, and stopped waiting for permission, and especially stopped trying to swallow it all in one bite. I’m going to aim for huge, but do it in nibbles, because thats how writing works.

  • Joyce Ackley

    Lots of good stuff on your blog. I’m glad I found it.

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  • Michael Scott

    ” You’ll also get regular inspiration and tips delivered straight to your inbox.”
    Couldn’t I get them delivered “curved” to my inbox? :-)

  • Brooke Hardwick Writer

    I pick myself. Thanks for the encouragement Geoff. http://www.thewritelife.com.au

  • http://www.jameslcarey.com James L. Carey

    Just found your writing, fantastic and exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, James!

  • Futurecrafter

    Thanks for the advice :)

  • Get It Productions

    Awesome article, I love this topic because it is so important especially as artists to stop waiting around to be told we’re good enough. Have you heard of James Altucher’s book Choose Yourself? It deals with this topic too. Glad I found your website

  • Abbi

    Great article! Wonderful advice!

  • Nasir Ali

    Awesome article, I love this topic because it is so important especially
    as artists to stop waiting around to be told we’re good enough. Have
    you heard of James Altucher’s book Choose Yourself?
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  • Rodney Goldston

    Hey Jeff…First love the new pic of you on your home page. 2nd could not agree more. 3rd yes thanks to Seth for giving us all this language not just to articulate to others but to look at what we’re doing and say…hey I can choose myself.

    A few years back at a Google event I met Seth, and when the Q&A opened up I got to ask the first question…they could not pick someone else because I rose my hand in true Arnold Horshack fashion if you know what I mean :)

    In answering my question he suggested I start a personal blog…which I did the very next day. I write about the business and marketing things that interest me and I did not make any attempts to monetize it. Some guy read a post I wrote and sent me an email (comments not active) to let me know how much he enjoyed it…it was David Meerman Scoot…this alone was payment enough for me to think that David had read one of my blog post…but I know for sure he read at least two because he mentioned them in the email.

    Last year I get a call from another guy who read my post 7 Things Anyone Can Do To Be Successful and offered me $1,000 to come do a workshop with a small group of high school students for 2 hours…I would have done it for free. Turns out this guy works for the legendary Kenny Gamble who now runs 40 charter schools across the country.

    Next month I’ve been invited to talk with students at the YMCA Achievers and LaSalle University about this same topic. I call it Get Up And Do Your Thang! (if you’re not doing your thang, you’re doing someone else’s)(A little James Brown spin on the Pick Yourself idea). Anyone interested can read about it here http://rodneygoldston.com/atlasalle/

    Last thing…In 2014 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I shared on my blog because I wanted to let as many men and their loved ones learn about the importance of early detection. That post has landed me an opportunity to work with a major health organization to do marketing campaigns to increase educational awareness. I hate to make a plug but please read this post it’s so important for men and their families at http://www.rodneygoldston.com/finger – it explains the importance of a finger exam in detecting prostate cancer.

    Hey man I’m sorry I was so long winded but this topic really resonates with me.