Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

How to Be What You Do: Beyond the To Do List Interview

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Erik Fisher has a great podcast called “Beyond the To Do List,” and he recently interviewed me for it. I’m a fan of well-done podcasts, and this is one you’re going to want to take note of.

Beyond the To Do List

In this episode, we talk about:

  • How I “turned pro” as a writer
  • What it takes to find your calling
  • The importance of practicing in public
  • Why you’re probably already that thing you want to be
  • Slowing down instead of speeding up
  • Making commitments
  • And more!

You can listen to the interview by clicking the player up above (go here if you can’t see an audio player in RSS or email).

Also, Erik’s show notes from our talk are available here (plus some links to killer resources). And make sure you subscribe to the podcast (it’s free).

By the way, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter raised in the interview: We are more than what we do, but we also become what we practice. In other words, we play some part in our own destiny.

What do you think is the relationship between identity and action? Share in the comments.

If this sort of thing is interesting to you, check out my audio program, The Writer’s Studio. It’s full of an hour of exclusive content about how I chose myself and began becoming a writer.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • DS

    Jeff – enjoyed the length of the interview.  Both of you were generous with your time.  It helped me connect more with your personality and style.

    I especially enjoyed the portion in which you spoke about stopping with information gathering – just go and do.  Good stuff!  A lesson I’m still working to be disciplined on.

  • Monica Carter Tagore

    I believe identity plays a big part in action. Who we feel we are on the inside affects how we behave. If we feel negatively about ourselves and our prospects, then we will behave in ways that feed that belief and in so doing, produce results that perpetuate that negative belief. It’s a tough thing to change sometimes, but we can do it.

    Our lives are what we create. That is incredibly empowering, but it also creates accountability. When we realize we get to create our lives, to a large extent, we can take it all more seriously and live with intention.

    If you realize you are a writer, then you behave in a “writerly” way. As you mention in the podcast, you turn pro. You do the work it takes to do the thing you claim to be. You become a writer first in your mind — you make the decision — and then you follow that with action.

    Everything we do and everything we are starts in our minds.

    • I’m inclined to agree, Monica. 😉

  • Jeff, great meeting you at Quitter. I can’t wait to listen to this during my morning commute. 

  • Mike Fishcher

    “Accepting  who you are as a person” were the best lines of the the audio clip.

    • Thanks, Mike. Did I say that? Hmmm…

  • I’m a fan of slowing down to speed up.

    If I catch myself in a hurry to be somewhere else, I ask the question, “What am I rushing through for?”   

    If I can align my priorities with my values with my actions, that’s the sweet spot.

    • Don’t tell anyone, but this is what my next book is about. 😉

  • Beduwen

    If we can’t identify with what we want to do, it is impossible to do it. Everything you said in this interview is so right on….you have to feel it, live it, breathe it. Only then can you make it happen, whatever “it” is! I especially identified with the part about affirmation – people have always told me I am a great writer, but I never really identified with that. Thanks for the wake up call!!

  • I believe an “identity crisis” is one of the biggest issues affecting out generation today. People need titles and labels rather than just be. The idea of “sexual identity” is relatively new (going back to the release of the DSM IV) and is strange because we are identifying ourselves through our desires, which is just one shade, one flavor in the whole of who we are. 

    As for action…to quote the great orator Batman from Batman Begins “It’s not who I am that matters, but what I do”

    Is that true? Maybe not, but that’s you impact more than just yourself. By what you do.

    • Yep. If you recall, David, he actually borrowed that from Rachel. 😉

      • Oh, I know my Batman lore, good sir. And him “borrowing” that sentence is just a hair more dramatic than him saying “Oh, by the way, I’m really Bruce Wayne” *jumps off roof*

  • Eric Pulsifer

    Excellent stuff, Jeff. Covers a whole lot of bases. I finally (after 15 years of journalism and another 15 years of trying to bury this knowledge) got around to admitting I am a writer. Can do it without giggling now.

    Interesting how we creative types are the last to realize that we are what we are, yes?

  • Robyn Mellar-Smith

    Great interview Jeff!  Very interesting.

  • Great podcast! Not only yours but I’ve listened to a few now and I really like it. Thanks for turning me onto this. 

  • Jesut

    I felt as though I was cut with a knife just hearing “stop stalling” and do it, you already know what you’re supposed to be doing. And in reference to calling myself a writer,it feels kind of strange calling myself something that I’m only known in a small circle as being. Nevertheless, I am who I and I am a writer. Thanks, the conversation was extraordinarily valuable to me!

  • Jim Martin

    Jeff, this is a great interview.  The length of the interview was helpful.  I enjoyed hearing you elaborate on ideas that you have mentioned on your blog.  Very helpful.  Loved what you said regarding the need to “stop stalling.”  Thanks.