THIS ISN’T WHAT YOU’RE EXPECTING
THIS REALLY HAPPENED
You’ve got an awesome idea. It’s gonna change people’s lives. A new/fresh/different perspective. The one that makes everything click for anyone out there searching for [ blank ]. If only they knew about it!
You start writing about it in earnest, posting here and there after work or before the kids get up. Your blog grows over time and you make more than a couple really solid connections. It feels really good. You’re getting the word out. You discovered this precious gem of understanding and you’re sharing it with anyone who’ll listen. Why aren’t more people listening?
then the a-lister shows up
You’re browsing one of your digital haunts, looking for others expressing beliefs similar to yours so you can comment in support of their efforts and feel that all-important connection. That’s when you see it. Someone shares a link to the new book by the good guy a-lister.
Not only has he got a new book out with a title suggesting it’s exactly the message you’re trying to get out, he’s also got half a dozen testimonials from other a-listers. And a special video course. And a private community of likeminded people helping each other apply this life changing idea. And he’s even using the same WordPress theme you’re planning to use. Shit.
the struggle is real
It’s highly – highly – likely, our big ideas are inspired by others. No human – especially no human with an internet connection – exists in a vacuum. We’re constantly bombarded with ideas from all directions; glowing screens of all sizes, printed pages, billboards, background conversations.
It’s not that our big ideas are necessarily unique, rather they’re made more special because we live in a world warped by corporate consumerism. Mankind has been searching for meaning since the invention of writing. As bloggers writers, we are extra-perceptive of this search for understanding.
Even if you’ve never read a word of Jeff Goins’ work in your life, there’s a good chance – if you travel in carpe diem, follow your dreams, side hustle entrepreneurship, live your legendary-type circles – a number of other people have. Is it so hard to believe some of the other “little guys” recently inspiring you might have been inspired by an a-lister or two? How did you meet? Could be the reason you find them so interesting is because of how they were inspired by that a-lister what just got under your skin.
me too! me too!
I don’t think I’ve finished a piece of Jeff Goins’ work in at least a year. A couple years ago, I know I left a few comments – and he even replied – but despite my love of long form content, I found myself more and more wishing he’d get to the point in his elegant, always reassuring posts. But it’s just not the same experience when you skim.
This morning, someone shared a link to the squeeze page for his new book. Not only has he been living much of my dream these past 3-4 years, he’s apparently also built a community of like minds helping each other make it happen – something I used to do exceedingly well, but haven’t been able to replicate in years – and he’s even clearly using the WordPress theme I’ve been planning to purchase for months, now. Shit.
experience & showing up
The difference between Goins and I is he’s consistently shown up – for a couple years now. It’s not that his big idea and mine (and yours) are so radically different, but the action taken on them is. Like I said, it’s been a long time since I’ve read Goins word-for-word, so I don’t even know his publishing schedule – but I’ll bet you it’s more consistent than mine.
Goins also clarified – if not distilled – his message early on, while I know mine was, well, let’s just say there’s still a lot of construction dust hanging in the air where I am. Goins has been consistently showing up and delivering for a while, now. What’s more, he’s acting out his ideas in real life.
That’s why you won’t see me telling you to quit your job tomorrow and just do something. If I’m not ready to do it, I’m not ready to tell others they are, either. I’m merely sharing my observations along a slightly longer path to the same destination. From what I have read of Goins’ work, that’s basically what he’s done.
He quit his job to focus on writing. Whatever he needed to do to prepare for such a jump, he must have done it. Even if he hadn’t, I know he gave serious thought to his experiences along the way and shared them with us in the genuine hopes we might be better off as a result. In a sense, I’m doing the same thing, albeit sharing how my work life parallel mentality influences my career moves – until I’m working for myself.
why do we do it?
We do what we do because we feel we have to. Why do we want to be a-listers? Is it because we want the relative celebrity? Or is it because we want to be heard?
True success comes from helping others achieve success.
We have to go beyond simply sharing our ideas. We need to start thinking about ways to implement them – in our own lives, in the lives of others. Writing is little more than talk in a time-shifted format. And we all know talk is cheap.
It’s time for action. It’s time we figure out what it’s going to take for our big ideas to make an immediate, lasting difference in the lives of others. Could it be some kind of downloadable “product?” Maybe a regularly scheduled Google Hangout? Maybe that big, hairy, audacious charity event you highly doubt will raise $US10,000 – but feel you must make happen regardless.
Not that I’ve, personally, done any of the above – yet – but despite all of it scaring the shit out of me, I know I’m going to try. Soon.
The biggest difference between us and the a-listers is how much time we let pass between coming up with an idea – and acting on it.
A-listers like Goins, Godin, Brogan, Clark, Guillebeau, et al., are successful because they’ve consistently shown up and helped people who share their beliefs act on them to realize a benefit. It’s all a question of action. I struggle with it. You struggle with it. I’m sure the a-listers struggle with it, too.
success breed success
The more people we help achieve success through our actions, the more people we have talking about our ideas. It’s not that the ideas are radically different. They’re executed in different ways. No two of us will do things exactly the same. We’re all the sums of our divergent experiences.
That’s why it’s so important, when we see some a-lister has a new book and celebrity testimonials and a fancy, private community – even using the same WordPress theme we’re after – not as proof we should just give up because we might look like poseurs, but proof we need to show up consistently and make it fucking happen.
[ This really happened this morning. ]