How to Live Your Dream When You’re Scared to Death

This is a guest post by Jeff Goins. Jeff is a writer who lives in Nashville. He works for Adventures in Missions and recently released an eBook called You Are a Writer. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

There is a tragedy in our world today. Most people aren’t living their dreams, and the reason is simple: fear. They’re scared to be who they are.

Photo courtesy of ©

When you endeavor to find your life’s work, there is a lot at risk:

  • You could fail.
  • You could lose the respect of your friends.
  • You could go broke.

You could mess up in a hundred different ways. But—and this is important—you could also succeed. And until you start living into your calling, you’re robbing the world of a gift.

After years of procrastinating, I finally pursued my dream. I decided to become a writer. To my surprise, I saw success far more quickly than expected: I launched a popular blog, got a publishing contract, and found my true fans—all within a year.

How did this happen? Simple. I believed in the dream before it happened. I didn’t wait for fear to go away; I started living into the reality I was longing for.

If you’re going to live and lead intentionally, you’ll have to do the same. There are three steps you need to take if you’re going to pursue your passion.

Step 1: Declare it. Although I’ve written for most of my life, I never considered myself a writer—not until recently.

When a friend asked what my dream was and I told him I didn’t have one, he said, “That’s funny… because I would’ve thought it was to be a writer.” I said that was probably true.

Then he said something I’ll never forget:

You don’t have to want to be a writer; you are a writer. You just need to write.”

The words resonated in my soul. I realized that before I could expect others to believe something about me, first I would have to believe it myself.

Step 2: Believe it. Friends and family often notice our gifts before we do. They acknowledge the talents and resources we’ve been doubting and dismissing.

The only way to find your dream is to trust the gifts you’ve been given. I’m not talking about a misguided “name it and claim it” philosophy. You need to accept the value you offer, not invent it. But at some point, you need to stop doubting yourself.

There is a word for this: it’s called faith.

Before the ancient Hebrews saw the Promised Land, they believed in it. They trusted in a place they hadn’t yet seen, which brought them through the desert and into their destiny.

You need to grasp the possibility of achieving your dream before it happens. You’ll have to believe it before you see it.

Step 3: Do it. A few years ago, my wife and I attended a concert, and halfway through the show, a man clumsily spilled beer on her coat. I complained to one of the ushers, and he warned the man, but no further action was taken.

Later, I went to the bathroom and returned to a crying wife. She wanted to leave. On our way out of the auditorium, she told me the man had harassed her while I was gone. I was outraged.

Turning around, I marched back into the auditorium, and confronted the man. It was, honestly, one of the scariest things I’ve done as an adult.

I hadn’t stood up to a bully since the second grade, and there I was—in front of a towering, muscle-bound beefcake, calling him an idiot.

With my heart racing and my palms sweating, I demanded respect and an apology. And then something incredible happened.

He said he was sorry.

In that moment, I learned an important lesson: until we act, our values are just dreams. I believed in my wife’s honor—in theory—but until I stood up for her, it was just a good idea.

This is an essential takeaway for all of us called to meaningful work. Although we are not merely what we do, we become what we practice. And if you’re practicing insecurity and fear, what does that make you?

If you have a dream or calling you’re not yet living into, it’s time to get to work:

  1. Declare you are what you’re waiting to be.
  2. Believe in your dream before you see it.
  3. And then do it.

Remember: Until you start living it, you’re only dreaming.

Question: When was the last time you pursued a passion in spite of fear? Leave a comment by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • BillintheBlank

    Jeff, How would you respond to someone who nods his or her head with all that you said here — and then says, “But…” fill inthe blank with the reason based on their present reality. Have you discoverred a particularly effective response in such situations? I know we can’t force people to change perspective, but it would be nice to have a few words that bring clarity to their choice.  Thanks!

    • Gail B. Hyatt

      A fabulous book I’ve read recently is:  Get Off Your “But”: How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself by Sean Stephenson. Your questions is EXACTLY what he addresses in his book.

      • Jeff Goins

         Mike told me about that book, Gail. I gotta check it out.

      • Daniel Decker

         Sounds like a great book Gail. Picking up a copy for someone I know.

    • Jeff Goins

       Bill, great question. Usually people ask questions based on the possibility of failure. For example:

      What if I fail?
      What if people hate me?
      What if I lose everything?

      I suggest they add another series of questions to their list:

      What if you are amazing?
      What if you knock out of the park?
      What if people LOVE you?

      Those are possible too, right? Why do we only focus on the negative?

      • Michele Cushatt

        Energy is much better spent thinking positively, imagining good outcomes. I think this comment is even better than your post!

      • Brian Hinkley

         I think for some, fear of success can be just as crippling.

        Success would require leaving your comfort zone.  And that is scary!

        • Rachel Lance

          Great point, Brian. While thinking positive is an important muscle to build, the fear of success can run away with an imagination just as easily as the fear of failure. 

    • Jim Woods

      Bill, I completely agree with everything Jeff said but I’d like to add these two thoughts. 
      1. 99.999% of the voices in our head are lies. 2. Excuses are a waste of time and lead to wasting your life. 

  • Cyberquill

    Sorry again about the incident at the concert. I swear I had no idea the lady was your wife. 

    • Jeff Goins

      No problem. I just need your address. I have an Italian friend who wants to “meet” you.

    • Jane Bromley

      Very funny!

  • Rayfil Wong

    “if not me, who? if not now, when?” as the author of we must be mindful of the inner voices we here.  we overthink, and over act. we must start having the habit of thinking the best case scenarios.

    keep writing

    • Jeff Goins

       Well said.

  • Patricia Zell

    Thanks for the post, Jeff. Several years ago, when I was encouraging my students to pursue their dreams, I realized I needed to get busy with my own dream of writing a bestseller. Since then, I have self-published a book about God’s absolute love–it may never be a commercial success, but it stands as my thank-you to God for His goodness to all of us. Now, a year later, I am working on a series of novels that I am hoping will be a commercial success (complete with a publisher). The funny thing is that I wrote two of these novels way back in the early 1990’s and grew bored with re-writing, so I put them in the famous drawer and let them gel. I am so glad I did. I have much more experience and that is adding depth to my stories. So, I am going after my dreams and I hope to fulfill them soon.

    • Jeff Goins

       You’re welcome, Patricia. Thanks for sharing.

    • Michele Cushatt

      A time to wait, a time to write … Often our lack of writing is a matter of procrastination. But occasionally it’s a matter of timing. Looking forward to the day when we can celebrate with you, Patricia!

  • Jon Stolpe

    I’m in the process of doing that right now.  I recently made a “leap of faith” decision to go to Guatemala this summer with my daughter.  There’s many reasons why fear was holding me back from making this decision.  Within a week of making the decision, I had raised enough money to go on the trip but also to build most of a house for a family.  All this through my blogging community.  Dreaming big and taking leaps of faith can be scary, but they can be so freeing as well.

    • Jeff Goins

      LOVE Guatemala. Had a friend who lived there for a year. Whereabouts? Can you say?

      • Jon Stolpe

        I believe it’s in the San Raimundo area of Guatemala which is north of Guatemala City.

        • Rachel

           That’s so great! Did yo actually complete this? I’m living in Guatemala now — Panajachel.

          • Jon Stolpe

             We did complete this during 2012, but I’m taking my whole family back to the same town (Xenacoj) this summer for a week to serve in the town again.  We can’t wait!

  • Dr Mari

    This was an immediate confirmation of what God spoke to my heart during my morning prayers, especially this line, “And until you start living into your calling, you’re robbing the world of a gift.”

    A few years ago, when I was at the crossroads of my new (bolder) life, I decided to take down all the encouraging cards and notes I had on my office walls and by my writing desk. I had recognized two things: 1) I needed to believe in myself more than others believed in me, 2) I needed to stop trying to please people and fit into the molds they had envisioned for me.

    That simple, intentional step was so helpful. I replaced people’s notes and feedback with what I sensed God saying to my heart, and that has remained my fuel ever since.

    • Jeff Goins

       Totally true, Dr. Mari. If you don’t believe it about yourself, it doesn’t matter what others say.

    • Ben Holbrook

      That line really stood out for me as well. I like your practical application regarding believing in yourself. It’s easy to ‘kid’ourselves that we are taking action when were just’dreaming’

  • Paul B Evans

    Jeff, great meeting you at SCORRE!

    Last week I faced a fear. The fear of chasing the wind. Investing life in vapor. Pursuing the purposeless. 

    I’m currently reevaluating all my projects and plans. Measuring them against the future standard of legacy.

    • Jeff Goins

       Likewise, Paul!

  • Joe Lalonde

    I’m pursuing a passion right now. With my blog and creating new works almost daily. It’s an amazing feeling to see your work put out there for all to see. Scary, crazy, maybe a little freaky but it’s being created.

    If I got nothing else from your post today, this line – But—and this is important—you could also succeed. – would have been worth reading the whole post. 

    • Jeff Goins

       Sometimes, success is scarier than failure.

      • Joe Lalonde

        I couldn’t agree more Jeff. As I see my readership rise on my blog I start worrying and getting nervous. The thinking of self-sabotage starts to creep in and I have to overcome that. How have you done that in your life? Just keep creating?

  • dallonchristensen

    “What if you succeed?” is something that helped me realize I needed to pursue my own business instead of just existing in a corporate job. My last day is actually today! 

    I’ve wanted to make this jump for so long, but I always had an excuse. I just decided to acknowledge that I would never really live my purpose if I didn’t give my own business a shot, and I’m committing to it now. Posts like this continue to encourage me. Thanks, Jeff!

    • Michael Hawkins

       Congratulations on your ‘last day’ at the corporate job!  Best wishes to you.  : -)

    • Jeff Goins


    • Michele Cushatt

      Congrats! I remember when my husband quit his job of almost 20 years to start his own business–a HUGE day. Difficult in many ways, but also freeing. It’s now been 7 years, and we wouldn’t change a thing! We’re so glad we took the leap.

  • Chris Lovie-Tyler

    By choosing to start a new blog, and even commenting here, I’m pursuing a passion (writing) despite fear. I could fail, I could be ridiculed – or worse, I could be ignored. 

    I’m thankful to God for giving me the courage to do something with the gift he’s given me. (And by gift, I mean raw materials – the ones I now have to work with him to make something of.)

    Another great post, Jeff.

    • Jeff Goins

      Amen to this, Chris. Without faith, I’d be dead in a sea of self-doubt.

  • Eileen

    “We become what we practice”   Love that Jeff.  

    • Jeff Goins

       Thanks, Eileen. It’s a rip-off of an Aristotle quote. ;-)

      • Liz Perry

        “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle (I have that on my wall at home!) :D

  • Jeremy Statton

    I agree, Jeff. Life is only a theory until we start doing the stuff we believe in. When we stay home, nothing happens at all.

    • Jeff Goins

       Totally agree. Love the story you’re living, Jeremy. You inspire me.

  • Thad Puckett

    So much resonates in this.  Until you live out the things that you profess to believe, they are only so many things in your head.  I seem to recall the admonishment to not only be “hearers of the word, but doers of it” saying something very simliar.

    I have met many people who became something other than their dreams due to circumstances or parental pressure, or failure or whatever.  Sometimes I think that could be me.

    Good stuff here.

    • Jeff Goins

       Thanks, Thad!

  • Andre M Slade

    I spontaneously started writing in mid 2009 and have not stopped. My subject being humanity, covering various subjects that I have passion for. The first publication released in July 2011 called ‘Where to from here’ . I always wanted to write and I do not care what who thinks about it, I found my peace and I live in harmony.

    • Jeff Goins

       Awesome. Love it.

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  • Kelly Cross

    Jeff – I always enjoy your columns and share among friends and colleagues. I can’t decide which is harder: believing in the dream or actually doing it. Good points to ponder for action. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Jeff Goins

       I think you need to both. Thanks, Kelly.

  • David

    Great advice, Jeff. I’m doing this right now too. Becoming ok with fear and discomfort is liberating. At least that means you’re doing something and not just watching from the outside. I’m done with that feeling.

    • Jeff Goins

      Thanks, David! I agree.

  • Nancy Roe

    I’m living through my fear right now while I write my first book.  I quit an awful job to pursue my dream.  I am also lucky to have a supportive husband.  I believe that things in life happen for a reason.  Leaving a job, following a dream, making it a reality – all these things come with fear.  I doubt myself on what I am doing on most days, but I keep going.  I have to keep believing that it will all work out in the end.

    • D

      Thanks for sharing your experience of stepping out!

    • Jeff Goins

       Nancy, that may be the bravest thing we do: keep going.

  • Rocco Capra

    “You don’t have to want to be a writer; you are a writer. You just need to write.”

    Wow. That, for some reason, make stotal sense to me! It seems like I’ve been waiting years to hear that bit of wisdom.

    • Jeff Goins

       Rocked my world, too.

    • Michele Cushatt

      I liked that too, Rocco. A car is a car whether it’s parked in the garage or taking a road trip through the Rockies. Better to explore and live than remain in neutral.

  • Mike Hansen

    Wow-I don’t know if I have! Without divulging too much, my passion is closely tied to a major character flaw (redeemed as I am, this is something that has deep roots) and being able to help those with a similar flaw would ignite my passion. All the emotions are associated with it: fear, helplessness, hope. Writing also offers an avenue to reach out as well. Thanks for sharing practical steps…

  • John Richardson

    Insightful post, Jeff. Fear is an interesting enemy. It comes at us when we least expect it. Many times it’s caused by a flight or fight response, caused by a little part of the brain called the amygdala. To overcome fear, there are two techniques that have been proven to work. One is to take incredibly small steps to a goal. Since these are so small, they don’t trigger a flight or fight response. Robert Maurer has a great book on this technique, called One Small step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way. While this method works, progress can take  a long time.

    The other way to get around fear is to have an impossible goal. A goal so big that excitement overtakes the fear response in your brain. One that fires you up and gets you out of bed in the morning. In your case, after receiving an insight from a friend, you became a writer by just declaring it. How exciting is that!

    I think everyone should have at least one impossible goal. One that makes an impact in your life or the world around you. Something so big and exciting that you can’t possibly do it yourself. I put a post together the other day with a couple of mine.

    I must say Jeff, your writing has become much more powerful since you “became” a writer. Your posts have been a great encouragement! Thank you for helping me see that I’m a writer too…

    • Michele Cushatt

       I agree, John. Impossible goals can be invigorating! I find that setting a goal like that (with a definite time deadline) can be the exact fuel I need to move forward.

  • Kari Scare

    About a year ago, I started pursuing a writing career. Writing is a passion I’ve had since I was a small child. Your story is an inspiration. Wish I could have you as a mentor!

    I read in a book last night that confidence is really having faith in something, which speaks to your point about having faith in yourself. I like the idea of defining confidence by where you place your faith. Confidence has seemed like a nurturing trait to me up until recently, and I’m not realizing that confidence really depends on where I focus my faith. Still working out the thoughts in my head, but hopefully the point is still somewhat clear.

    • Jeff Goins

      This makes sense to me, Kari. In my experience, confidence is everything.

  • D

    Michael and Jeff – thanks for the guest post.  You really keep challenging me to pursue my dreams.  In such a negative world, where everyone is saying: you can’t do it, don’t try, just settle; it is REFRESHING to read/hear people say: you can do it, here’s how to do it, I’m doing it, believe you can, work hard at it, persevere.

    I sincerely appreciate it!

    • Jeff Goins

      Thanks, D! You’re welcome.

  • Kari Scare

    I get this, Mike. What I mean is, a part of what I feel is God’s vision for my life goes against my strengths. But, He is strong when we are weak. I get the emotions too…

    • iiesha


      Kari, God never
      gives us strengths He doesn’t want us to use, but timing is everything. God
      leads us in the direction that will serve Him and grow us. If God is leading
      against your innate strengths, He may very well be trying to strengthen you up.
      I know I am a writer, never been published, few have ever seen my work and few
      ever will. It isn’t the right time in my life for it. But I have every
      confidence that; as life continues on it will come to pass.

      I will disagree
      on one point, you don’t need confidence to write. You need only yourself, as
      you are. The confidence goes with being published and letting other read your
      work. There are many talented writer’s whose works where never discovered until
      after their passing. We read them in school to learn form and as examples of
      the pinnacle of expressive talent. Yet they had not confidence to share with
      another their great works. So my suggestion to you is: write. If God’s plan
      seems to differ from your strengths, write about that. Write about everything.
      Write about your journey. Write about your fear. I saw an interview with
      Stephen King when I was young and it left an impression on me. 1) He said the
      ideas he gets for his books comes from his own fears. 2) His demeanor was not one
      of confidence; He was asked what made his books so great and he said something
      to the effect as he didn’t think they were but really glad other people did.

      I hope you
      continue writing and I wish you strength on your journey; wherever it takes
      you. Remember God does imbue within us with anything He doesn’t desire for us
      to use. We just need to have the patience to let if fully bloom, the strength
      to see it through and the grace to give Him the glory.

      Thank you for your time. 

      • iiesha

        Sorry for the weird spacing. using my kindle, guess it doesnt transfer well.  Also, that last part should read ….”doesn’t imbue within us….”. 

        Thanks again.

      • Kari Scare

        Ahh… patience. Certainly one area that has been growing as I am challenged in a variety of ways. While I may not be confident in myself, I am learning to be okay with that because I have confidence (faith) in God. He takes my strengths and uses them. He takes my weaknesses and uses them too. Both are in me for a purpose. What you say, iiesha, is well put. Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Daniel Decker

    Great post Jeff. I have a sign above my desk that says “Stop Talking. Start Doing.” It’s a regular reminder to me that ideas are great but worth very little unless pursued. 

    • Jeff Goins

      Love it.

    • Michele Cushatt

      And sometimes the talking can be just as satisfying as doing, without the positive results. I’ve been working harder at talking less and doing more, bottling the energy and excitement that I’d usually spill in talking about it.

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  • Karen Barnes

    I’m pursuing my passion despite a lot of fear right now. We uprooted our lives and moved for my dream of working at one of my favorite non-profits. I’ve learned very quickly that pursuing your dream requires a lot of risk, a lot of challenge, and the acknowledgment that it definitely won’t be easy. But a lot of prayer, and the determination of knowing that God is in the plan, will get you through.

  • Adam Rico

    Great post Jeff. I think one of the biggest challenges in pursuing a dream is the resistance you face from others who aren’t pursuing their dream. It can be easy to buy into what they believe about us. It is so encouraging to see you achieving your dream Jeff. I’m glad you aren’t listening to the naysayers.

    • Jim Martin

      Adam, you are so right about this challenge.  In fact, we should probably expect this reaction instead of being surprised by it.  

      Very good.  Thanks.

    • Michele Cushatt

      Absolutely, Adam. I tend to dream big. When I share my ideas, they can get shot down quickly. Sometimes it’s best to share with a trusted 1-2 people, and keep silent with others in order to protect the dream from death by committee.

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  • Shannon Steffen

    Jeff, wow, I’m blown away! Usually I come up with some “yeah, I know what you mean” comment. However, I can’t say that because, in all honesty, I’be never lived beyond the fear.

    Sure, some thing I’ve overcome and took blind faith but I’m a solopreneur and, although I’m awesome and passionate in what I do, I’m always afraid to live my dreams beyond the fear. I’m not sure why. It may be my upbringing or the abuse I overcame earlier in my life but those are all excuses. 

    I wonder… how do you get through all the excuses when you are trying to honor yourself? I mean, I’ve always been the champion of those I love (stepping beyond fear for them) but how do you take that step in faith when it is your own honor that’s in jeopardy?

    • Marnie Hughes

      Keep reminding yourself that you are awesome and passionate. We’re all just beings loved by God. If He thinks you’re worthy, so should you.

      • Shannon Steffen

        Marnie – you are truly a gem! Thank you so much for your kindness!

  • Michele Schwien

    Thank you for the inspiration. I started following my passion in spite of fear three weeks ago.   I’m stretching my muscles and have never felt more fully awake. I’ve got a long way to go so I’m setting my pace to intentionally pursue what I believe I’m meant to do.    

  • Jon Wilburn

    Great stuff here Jeff.  I recently have started taking my writing my seriously and something amazing has shifted in me … i feel like I’m a writer.  Amazing how that works.

    • Michele Cushatt

       You ARE a writer!

  • Dayna Renee Hackett Bickham

    Great post Jeff. Congrats also on the best seller lists on with your new book YOU ARE A WRITER.  

    Fear is a big deal. I think fear can be broken down into smaller parts though, and that makes it a little easier to overcome. I recently told someone about my insecurities and it got me thinking: insecurities and fear come from 3 things. 

    First, somewhere along the way we believed a lie, either one someone told us or one we told ourselves. For example: “you are not good enough” or “why would anyone listen to you?” These lies control the way we react or act, and in order to stop living in fear and start being what we want most, we need to stop believing the lie. 

    The second thing that causes fear is a lack of faith. Faith is just trust in action and one of, (if not the only way) to defeat fear is to step out in faith. To quote Nike: Just do it! 

    Finally, I believe fear and insecurities come when we do not understand who we are designed to be. We have a purpose, a destiny. Not one written in the stars, but one written and designed by God, who above all else loves us. 

    So when we stop believing the lies, start trusting and walking in faith, and believe that we are here by design and with purpose, then fear doesn’t hold as much power as it once did.  Now moving forward in our dream seems less intimidating and more like the adventure it really is! 

    At least, that is what I think.

    • Jim Martin

      Dayna, this is very good.  I enjoyed thinking through this as I read your comment.

      • Dayna Renee Hackett Bickham

        Thank you. Actually I just got finished writing about it on my blog. The someone I referred to here was actually Jeff in an email from his new website Irony or God’s timing…not sure which! LOL! 

  • Taradillard

    Providence says to fear not.

    Plenty to be afraid of.  I was the Queen of Fear until realizing I could ask myself, “What would I do tomorrow if I weren’t afraid?”

    With that question I get choices.  Choices that are not fear based.


    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  • Dannoman88

    I’ve had a lot to fear.  I was the child victim of a cult.  So when I decided to write and publish about that experience, I not only had to fear failure, I also hd to fear former cult leaders” and members’ reactions and possible consequences.  

    I started the process of dreaming big as a kid in music.  I’ve since written 100s of songs and then started working on my first book.  I recently started a blog as well.  I also received an M.A. and teach public speaking and feature writing.  On top of it all, I’m a single dad.  

    I agree with your article.  It’s great advice.  And my point is this:  if someone like myself can write a book about a topic that could get him physically harmed, than anyone can overcome fear.  My book is: A Train Called Forgiveness.  Learn more at

  • Liz Perry

    I needed this post today!!! Thank you SO much! I am organizing my first 5K run/walk to raise awareness about (and funding to prevent) human trafficking in Wichita, KS. This post was much needed today! I love the comment below about, “What if you’re great”, “What if people love you”, and focusing on what could be positive too. What an inspiring post! Thanks!

    • Rachel Lance

      So glad the post served you in such a meaningful way, Liz. Do keep us posted on your incredible project!

  • Tammy Helfrich

    Great post, Jeff. Also loved this quote from Donald Miller. “Fear isn’t only a guide to keep us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.” That hit home with me, as well as your post. We all need to start living better stories and embracing our God given gifts to make the world a better place.

    • Jim Martin

      This is a great quote, Tammy!  I have not heard this one.  Very good.

    • Rachel Lance

      Great quote, Tammy, thanks for sharing! 

  • Cynthia Herron

    This was so great today, Jeff. Mindset is so often an indicator of success/failure.

    And kudos to you for being your wife’s knight-in-shining-armor. We women love it when our husbands stand in the gap for us and do the honorable thing.

    Thanks for the inspiration today!

    • Michele Cushatt

       I concur. Love it when my man stands up for me. :)

      • Jeff Goins

         Thanks, ladies. Be gracious to your men. This stuff ain’t easy for some of us.

        • Michele Cushatt

          True. Good reminder.

  • matthewsnyder

    Such an amazing post, Jeff. I’ve been re-evaluating my dreams lately. With marriage coming up in August, I’m feeling things shift. What do you think about that? Should our dreams adapt and change to the seasons we’re in?

    • Lauren

      Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! It is truly a wonderful thing! 

      I can only speak for myself, but in my experience (I’ve been married since September) your dreams DO shift a bit. However, my husband and I are both experiencing the return of long-held dreams, albeit somewhat changed as we’ve begun to think of dreams in terms of life together. So don’t be alarmed at your dreams shifting a bit right now, that’s very normal. But realize that your dreams may return to your orignal desires the more you become comfortable in your marriage. It’s a good process. 

      • matthewsnyder

        Thanks, Lauren! We’re both really excited (three months away)! This is good to know. I’m a big dreamer and it’s normal to have new dreams, but not-so-normal to feel them shift in the vision so much. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Michele Cushatt

      Congrats! Dreams seem to shift and change according to life season and personal priorities/responsibilities. Sometimes it’s necessary to put them on hold for a time or maybe slow the pursuit of them. Marriage may bring some adjustment, as may the addition of children, needs of extended family, job changes, and other unexpected circumstances. But if I need to put a dream on hold, I remind myself that the dream is merely paused, not dead.

    • Jeff Goins

       Matt, I think they evolve with our maturity — which was one of the biggest adjustments of adulthood and marriage for me. I think like any dream, we have to sacrifice them so God can consecrate them and give them back to us. Much like Abraham and Isaac (if you want to spiritualize it). ;)

  • TCAvey

    “we become what we practice. And if you’re practicing insecurity and fear, what does that make you?”

    You’ve given me something to chew on this weekend.  What am I practicing? 

    • Jim Martin

      Yes, that is a great question.  Once I realize what I am actually practicing in my life, what are the implications of this?

      • TCAvey

        I’m still pondering!

        • Rachel Lance

          Same here! This is certainly an exercise in honest self-evaluation, even before we get to the fear of failure or success.

  • STurner2

    Clear point, impressive (manly) example of facing “the bully” and a
    challenging question.  This stuck out to me,”…we become
    what we practice.” I believe it to be true.

    We see the performer and fail to see the practice. We expect
    our first step into a new endeavor to be strong and sure while we miss sight of
    the toddling years. Toddlers keep toddling unaware of
    awkwardness or fear. Day by day, week by week then without notice they are
    running with the wind in their hair. The stumbling steps are forgotten.

  • Chris Neiger

    Great story Jeff!

    I love this line, “If you’re practicing insecurity and fear, what does that make you?” It’s taken me way too long to see this in myself and move away from. But it’s happening. Thanks for the post.

  • Audrey L Godwin

    Thank you for this post.  I have just recently learned my God given mission and taking action to live His purpose for my life has completely freaked me out every step of the way.  The one thing that has changed dramatically for me is that I see it in my mind and heart and truly believe it will come to pass.  I appreciate the part of the post where a friend told you that you were a writer.  I now realize that I was living a life based on what my job description said was acceptable, not who I really am.  This was just a great confirmation for me.  Thank you again.

  • Carina A. Wyant Brunson

    I have found a lot of comfort in this post and others of yours I have been reading this week. I am thankful that I found you, through Michael Hyatt. It has come at a time in my life where I am not sure where I should be headed, or if I am doing the right thing right now. Now I have more of a sense of what I need to be doing and have been playing with things in my head – categorizing my writings, thinking of things I have not finished – and now I just need to put all of that in action.

    Just as with faith and our beliefs, if we believe it and have that faith in it, it will become a reality, but we must put our faith and belief in action to keep it going.

  • Lorna Faith

    There is a lot of risk when we step across the threshold into something new and it feels very scary. I’ve had a lot of moments when I’ve thought about all the ways I could fail, but then something inside me says “wait a minute…I could also succeed!” I love what you said Jeff that “I believed in the dream before it happened. I didn’t wait for the fear to go away; I started living into the reality I was longing for.” Words to live by…thanks so much for an awesome post :-)

  • Hannah McKay

    Amen. Amen. Amen. I have too often believed the lie that I won’t really be a writer until I reach some arbitrary goal that I’ve invented. No one else is limiting me but myself. I am a writer. Writing is what I was born to do. So I will write.

    • Jim Martin

      Hannah, I also thought that line from Jeff’s post was great.  It is so easy to wait to become frozen by fear and allow it to prevent us from acting.

  • Brandon Clements

    Inspiring as always…love the story about the concert. Thanks Jeff.

  • Jamie Kocur

    When’s the last time I pursued a passion in spite of fear? Right now. I’m pursuing a dream of writing as well as singing and songwriting. I’m not real comfortable with putting myself out there and REEEEALLY don’t like rejection. I’m totally out of my comfort zone, but the satisfaction I have in doing something I love far outweighs all that.

    • Jim Martin

      Jamie, I wish you well in all three of these pursuits.  Great to hear about the action you have taken even though it is out of your comfort zone.

  • Trina Adermann

    This is a brilliantly written article. One many creative types and others should pay close heed to. I am currently trying my hand at it. It’s been a struggle and a journey but one well worth it. How indeed will you ever know if you don’t try? Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back from achieving the goals you set for yourself. If you do, you may have well missed your calling and half the journey of what you were sent here on earth to find!

  • Joyce Wheeler

    Thanks this was just what I needed.

  • Tredertot

    Hi Jeff,

    If I wanted to submit a book for publication that I have written because “I am a writer”, how polished does it need to be? Do I need to agonize over every detail of it, or does that part come after it is accepted by a publisher? Please forgive me for sounding ignorant, but I AM! Thanks!

  • Brandon

    Pure awesomeness!

  • Jim Woods

    I’m a writer, so I write. Some days I feel like I just don’t have anything to say, but I write anyway. I write to help myself first and to help others second. My goal for writing is to help or serve others.  Not for personal fame, glory, money or anything else, just to help. 

    • Jeff Goins

      Love this, Jim. You’ve come a long way.

      • Jim Woods

        Thanks! You’ve helped me A LOT on this journey so please give yourself a little pat on the back :) and I owe you a high five when I see you next week at Luminous.

  • Kari

    but the obvious question is, what about the people who call themselves writers but obviously do not have talent for it and will not succeed? don’t we all know people like this? do they get steered into maybe finding their true heart and passion in something else or are they to stubbornly ignore all signs and continue on in frustration and futility.

    • Jeff Goins

      Kari, this is a good question. The reality is every professional has to begin somewhere, and usually when you start, you’re not that good. So you practice. And what do you need to do before you start practicing? Believe you can get better. The way to do that, in my opinion, is to believe (in faith) that you ARE a writer. Now, you just need to write.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Love your explanation Jeff. Thanks for the inspiration!

        • Jeff Goins

           My pleasure, Joe. Thanks for reading.

  • Charles Specht

    Great article, Jeff…as usual.  Keep it up!

    • Jeff Goins

       Thanks, friend.

  • Lisa Gomley


    Great post! I agree completely. I have a vision board, above my desk, that is dedicated to becoming a published author. I also have a sign that says “I am a writer”. It has been a dream of mine forever and I knew it would remain just that unless I did something.  I am working on my second novel, contacting agents for my first, and feeling more at peace with my life’s direction than ever before!!

    • Jeff Goins

       Awesome. Where can I get one of those?

  • lwwarfel

    I remember the first time I wrote my resume to say that I’m a writer. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be! It took me only 2 months to find a company that agreed with me. That was 20 years ago, and I’ve been doing what I love to do most all that time. How different my life would have been if I hadn’t taken that risk back then.

    • Jim Martin

      Good for you!  It is great to hear about the risk you took and the implication on the years afterward.

      • Jeff Goins


  • Danita Clark Able



     At 51 (ummmm…really close to 52), I’m finally doing what I’ve desired to do since I was twelve years old. Write.  Putting my thoughts on paper has never been a problem for me…allowing others to read what I write has been another story. Terror only hints at what I felt at the possibility of having the folks read my thoughts.

    This past January I began Blogging….(until the day I started, I really didn’t know what it meant to Blog)…I placed an excerpt from my unpublished book on my blog. Mind you, not only is the exerpt my work, it is a memoir. Terror on a beefed-up, excellerated work-out routine somewhat describes the way I felt when I hit the ‘Publish’ button on my blog post.  I woke through the night, panic in my chest, anticipating what my ‘readers’ would think of me. I shouldn’t have worried…my first readers were my friends and family and they were supportive. A few had suggestions for me, such as “you’re a Christian, remove the language from your book”…I can’t do that because I can’t sweeten the truth, but still, I appreciated the comments…the feedback, even the criticism that eventually found me. 

    I’m passing your article on to another ~

    • Jeff Goins

       Thanks, Danita. Good luck with the blogging. Way to hit publish! that’s a scary thing.

  • Sundi Jo Graham

    “Until we act, our values are just dreams.” Love this. It’s so true. 

    • Jim Martin

      Sundi, this like was my take-away as well.  I need to remember this one.

      • Sundi Jo Graham

        me too.. 

        • Jeff Goins

           Thanks, guys!

  • T. Marie Kennedy

    Thank you Jeff for writing this and Mike for sharing it.

    Like a few others here, I have recently stepped out to live the calling inside my heart. Though I’m still shaking in my shoes,  I keep reminding myself of a quote that I love by John Di Lemme: “Faith doesn’t make sense, that’s why it makes miracles.”

    When the negativity tries to overcome my thoughts, I listen to stories of others who freely share their humble beginnings. After all, every successful person started out somewhere. In addition, I’ve been studying Abraham, Gideon, King David, and other Bible characters where God demonstrates HIS Strength in on our weakness.

  • Denise

    The timing of this blog is a sign to me. I am always fearful of pursuing avenues that truly challenge me and excite me. Just last night my hubby and I were discussing how we are going to pay for another year of private school for my son, on one salary. I immediately said, “I have to go back to work.” My husband reminded me how unhappy I was at work and even more unhappy with who I had to be & was while being a gov’t contractor. I tried rebutting his argument but I didn’t have a ground to stand on. We made the decision for me to stay home 5 years ago to raise our son w/one stipulation, I would (do what I cherish most) write. He ended the conversation with  “you need to hold up your end of the bargain and get your writing out there. There are only so many courses you can take, only so many critique sessions to attend, why don’t you believe in yourself?” 

    Needless to say, he is right and I have to take more risks by believing in myself and believing in my talents. 

    I’m very blessed to have such a supportive (and confident) husband. 
    Thank you! 

    • Jim Martin

      Wow, what powerful and affirming words from your husband!  Thanks for sharing this story, Denise.

    • Jeff Goins


  • Vanessa Tachenko

    My husband and I are moving to TN from OR in less than a month so I can chase dreams and degrees. This post was a perfect read for me! 

    • Jeff Goins

      Interesting. I had a couple of friends move from GA to OR a few years ago. That takes courage and confidence. Good for you.

  • Renee

    What a hero you must be in your wife’s eyes. Mahalo for facing your fear and standing up for her honor. Having experienced the opposite when my then husband said “O he wouldn’t do that” after his friend made a blatent pass at me, I know how safe you made her feel. When a woman feels safe she can blossom to her full potential. Again Mahalo.

  • Jim Martin

    Jeff, this is an outstanding post.  Your transparency regarding your own story has helped me (and I suspect many others) think through my own fear and hesitation.  I think there is more of us than I would like to admit.  Again, thanks so much!

    • Jeff Goins

       You’re welcome, Jim.

  • Tamara

    Beautiful! Love the 3 simple (thought not always easy) steps. They make perfect sense and are very helpful. As always, I leave your blog totally inspired! Thanks…

    • Jeff Goins

       Thanks, Tamara!

  • Meggie Joy Megan Burdzy

    You have changed my life.  So inspiring and everything I needed to hear (yes, I know that’s a sentence fragment:).  I will no longer reply ‘a stay-at-home daughter’ (due to a plethora of health issues) when asked what I do but will confidently proclaim that I am a RESEARCHER, WRITER, and PRAYER WARRIOR.  I’ve started already.  I’ve been doing the research part for a few weeks but just pulled up an “old” short story and am going to town on editing/re-writing it.  Thank you.  I can’t say that enough…my life has a purpose.  Thank you for exposing and drawing out that purpose.  God bless you.  You have been such a blessing to me.

    • Jeff Goins

       Wow. Thanks. And for the record. I. Love. Sentence. Fragments.

      • Meggie Joy Megan Burdzy

        LOL.  So.  Do.  I. :)

  • Margaret Feinberg

    Great post. My friend is going through a similar phase right now–only recently has she been able to verbalize that she is an artist, and not just dreaming to someday be one

    • Jeff Goins

       Thanks, Margaret. I LOVE your work. It’s an honor to have you comment here.

  • Michèle Simpson

    Great post Jeff!! I did just that recently…I faced my fears!  You see I have asthma and am partially deaf and the thought of diving was just plain, scary!!  I recently took scuba diving lessons (an early xmas gift from my guy) and to MY surprize, I can breathe underwater with a regulator…AND i can take my mask off and put it back on….AND I am not a water person, but lately have been challenging myself to do much more!

    First Marathon = May 2010
    First Triathlon = September 2010
    First dive in the ocean = May 19 2012 (I am very excited)

    • Joe Lalonde

      That is terrific Michele! Congratulations on overcoming your fears and taking a huge dive! I bet it will be something you won’t forget. 

      It also looks like you’ve done some amazing sporting events for an asthmatic! Keep it up!

  • Hank Osborne

    Outstanding post Jeff! Too many people build the perfect set of circumstances (caveats) that must be met before they take action.  Thanks for your encouragement today! 

    Oh…Michael just sold me an affiliate click for iStockPhoto. I LOVE that picture! 

  • Samrelates

    Well done!

  • Rob Clinton

    The only way to make waves is to know and believe that you are the wave, and be it. We do what we are… I love this post, Jeff.

    • Jeff Goins

      Love that, Rob.

  • Mike

    Another ‘timely’ post. This definitely speaks to where I am in life.  My biggest struggle is the HOW.  Like many others, I have a house and car payment, I have two young children that my wife stays home and watches. All great things, but I feel like I’m stuck in my current  job because I can’t take the (financial) steps backwards to start a career in the field I love and desire to be a part of. 

  • Marcia

    I read this blog almost every day and get a great deal out of it.   I agreed and appreciated the thought behind this, but one thing has nagged me all day causing me to post for the first time ever.  I have been in a situation where people harassed me and someone came to my rescue similiarly as you did for your wife which I appreciated, but I hope your wife (and all women/men) realize that they can stand up to drunken louts themselves and not feel that they have to leave.  Standing up to bullies/rude individuals can empower you, whether it’s for yourself or for someone else.  You did the right thing, but I hope your wife realizes her power as well.

  • kimanzi constable

    I’m on that path now Jeff, even though it can seem scary. You’re an inspiration.

  • Ngina Otiende

    Okay, am still hung up on how you stood up for and defended your wife!  You are an awesome husband! 
    I love this statement “You need to accept the value you offer, not invent it”  Wow wow.

    I am currently following my passion and living my dream – writing. 

    And teaching, training and speaking. 

    The latter 3 have materialized yet in terms of actual engagements BUT that hasn’t stopped me from calling myself a trainer and speaker. (I’ve done it before, just reviving the business again)

    I have been writing most of my life – but only began calling myself one recently (on a consistent basis) after I found your blog. You are a great coach!Thank you for helping me tell better stories.

  • Michele Cushatt

    In answer to your question, for the past 6 years! Public speaking was always my greatest fear, and I hated the fact that I felt captive to it, a coward. That is (in part) what pushed me toward public speaking–I wanted to overcome the fear, find courage in spite of the discomfort of the exposure. Now I need to do the same with writing. :)

    • Jeff Goins

      Wow. This is encouraging, Michele, because you are one of the best speakers I know.

      • Michele Cushatt

        Thank you, Jeff.

        • Jeff Goins

          thank YOU for having the courage to share your gift — I mean that.

  • Kelly Combs

    Great post, Jeff.  Believing it is the hardest part for me. Even at SCORRE when my mentor called me a gifted speaker, I had to fight the urge to think he was just being nice.  It was empowering to hear the words of encouragement, now I need the faith to believe them.

    BTW, what you did for your wife was really honorable.  Good job.

    Great meeting you this week. Looking forward to getting a copy of our photo together. 

    • Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Kelly. Great meeting you last week.

  • Sharon Hoover

    Thanks for your encouraging post, Jeff! And… awesome comments from readers. Resigning from the corporate world to go full-time into student ministry was a huge step for me (and my family). Fear surrounding reduced income has not hampered us at all; and, our son started college this year. 
    Second time to pursuing my passion has been stepping into blogging and writing this year. Lots to share from life and ministry (past and current!). Fear surrounding time management has always been my “excuse”. I’m working on managing that one! 

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  • Adriel Booker

    Jeff, I’m beginning to realize more and more that believers often use the “waiting on God’s timing” thing to procrastinate or hide behind fear and save ourselves from the vulnerability of risk-taking. (Possibility of failure, rejection, etc.) Then it becomes God’s “fault” when our dreams don’t happen, instead of our own. (Even if it’s just subconscious.) I’m realizing I have done this and am actively changing some of my ways that are not faith-based. It’s not good enough to dream if I’m not willing to step out and pursue turning the dream into something tangible.

    • Jeff Goins

      Adriel, I love what Mike said about waiting and working in his last podcast. We’re made to do both. Doing one at the expense of the other, though, can be unhealthy.

      • Adriel Booker

        Agreed. And by personality I think we can be prone to favor one or the other. I’m more of a ‘worker’, my husband more of a ‘waiter’. We help bring balance to one another. Still need to be careful that I don’t swing to one extreme or another though.

  • Steve Martin

    Here’s a terrific poem by Bonhoeffer on how he lived his life when the dream came to a crashing end:


    • Jeff Goins


  • Amy Jane Helmericks

    The problem I’ve always had with this “do it anyway” mentality, is that some people don’t have the margin and/or support network to do the necessary start-over if failure is the result.

    It isn’t the failure (all by itself) that is daunting, it’s the shame and rebuilding that limited options (for example depression) makes too much. 

    I’m one of those types that others might see my gift before me (I *revel* in those off-hand comments that someone loves the way I describe something, or affirms I have a way with words).

    But when I make a point to do something with it (write a personal blog post, say, or tell my world I’m going to to NaNoWriMo), that’s when all these loving people seem to be trying to protect me from myself.

    I end up having to weigh (and it’s a hard weighing) between getting support/accountability so I don’t wimp out, and avoiding the nay-sayers.

    My last NaNo I didn’t tell anyone at church until I’d “won” (writing 50,000 words in 30 days). It gave me  a pretty clear view of who to tell next time and who to avoid. But after recognizing- naming- depression (specifically tied to the winter darkness) it’s difficult to cut myself off from people that I know love me, even when they really don’t get me.

    Fear is a reasonable name for what gives us pause, but people who count the cost shouldn’t be made to feel like cowards; not all fear is bad, just like not all ambition is good.

  • rameshraghuvanshi

     I think all premises of this article is wrong.Our destiny is fix up between age of 1 to 5.After that what we do our unconscious  guide to us.99 P.C.  of our life governed by our unconscious mind.We have no freewill.Jeff Goins says he have no idea that he will be writer.but his unconscious mind know that and pull him to his destination.You destiny fix up your carrier,your partner What may you do in your life that destiny do for you.18Th century  philosopher Spinoza wrote   ” Men believe themselves to be free,simply because they are conscious of their actions,and unconscious of causes whereby those actions are determined”
    Recent research did by Eric Kindel in Neuroscience supported Spinoza `s truth.

  • Deanna

    Great insight – until we act on our dreams, they are just good ideas. 

    For the first time, I acted on one of my “start-up” ideas  and now I have two people who are interested in being clients of mine. I believe that your posts and book gave encouraged me to be confident and take my gifts to the next level. 

    Thank you!

  • Skip Prichard

    Jeff, I’m so glad you took the action and confronted the man. Had you not done that, I think the evening would have had hugely negative ramifications. Congratulations on taking the action and thanks for a great thought.

    • Jeff Goins

       Thanks, Skip. I agree.

  • Amanda Williams

    Fantastic, Jeff. Something else about living out our dreams that I’ve learned from watching you — When we live  out our dreams instead of our fears, we inspire others to do the same. Thank you for doing that for me. And congrats on the amazing response to this post!

  • TNeal

    I love baseball and pursued it the last two weeks by going to minor league games in Corpus Christi (by myself), in San Antonio (with a brother), and in Round Rock (with two brothers). Pursuing passion was, for me, a great experience and to go to all those games took a decision and the effort to make things work out.

    • Jeff Goins

       Love it, Tom.

  • Dvtomassoni


    I believe that we have to take the steps to take action towards our goals regardless of the circumstances and this is what I am doing. You can only go so far when you need that open door to help you cross the gap. I realize things do not happen over night and God puts those in our path to get to the next level. I prefer acceptance letters over rejection, but I also know the process in that it’s finding the right agent / publisher.

    I have believed for some time I will get my book published and have been at it for awhile, even though I have received positive feedback in my rejection letters, I also am told unless I’m a big time celebrity chances are no one will look at my inspirational manuscript. I disagree as I believe there is a movement going forward that folks want something to grab hold of. They want to know the girl next door overcame not a celebrity who has money to fill their every need.

    I am living it every day and not dreaming..any advice?

    • Jeff Goins

       Love this dream. You don’t have to be a celebrity, but having a platform is important. Have you considered getting a literary agent?

      • Dvtomassoni

         Hi Jeff,

        Yes I have sent query letters to agents. Sending more today.

        • Jeff Goins

          It may be easier to build a platform. If you create a community around a blog, often the agents will come to you.

  • Tico & Tina

    God helped me to stumble upon this concept last year right before I turned 30. It was like I suddenly gave myself the permission to start going after who I felt I was supposed to be as a creative, even though I didn’t yet have the outside validation I wanted. It is SO great to see this all written out here, because you’ve spelled out what I feel in my heart, Jeff.

    It’s been a crazy ride so far, but so amazingly fulfilling beyond anything I could have guessed and we are going places I would never have dreamed 6 months ago.

    • Jeff Goins

       Thanks. As someone who’s approaching 30, I can relate.

  • Heather Hart

    Sadly the world teaches us to fear our dreams. I was told from an early age that being a writer wasn’t realistic, no matter how much I wanted it – it wasn’t practical. I’m so thankful that my impractical dream is now my reality!!

    • Jeff Goins

      That is, indeed, sad.

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  • Laura Rath

    we become what we practice. And if you’re practicing insecurity and fear, what does that make you?” 
    Wow, that really nails it! Great post! I’m about to tweet about it, and then I’m heading to Amazon to buy You Are a Writer.

    • Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Laura!

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  • Daren Sirbough

    I love the fact that you stood up for your wife in the face of adversity. That says something to young adults like me who live in a day and age of passive action.

    In regards to living out the dream/calling, I made a decision last year to lay it out on the table and to become a musician first and a teacher second. I got rid of days of teaching to practice. Today I am very happy, though it has not paid off yet financially. I am living the life that I want to be living. The next 10 years are going to be fun!

    • Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Daren. It wasn’t easy, but had to be done.

  • Karen Jordan

    AMEN. Love this statement: “Until you start living it, you’re only dreaming.”

    • Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Karen!

  • Eugene Ponder

    Thanks  for  this  post  ,  what  a wake  up call !!

    • Jeff Goins

       Appreciate it, Eugene.

  • Kent Julian

    First off, what a classic picture; I love it!
    Second, these lines were great: “Although we are not merely what we do, we become what we practice. And if you’re practicing insecurity and fear, what does that make you?”Life is an investment, which means the best life is one that “lives into dreams” instead of “dreaming about what could be.”Thanks for inspiring, Michael. Keep living it forward!

    • Jeff Goins

       Thanks, Kent.

  • Michelle White

    How do I live my dream when I am scared?  That is what I am hoping to learn, because I am just setting out on my new journey.  I finished my degree a little over a year ago and should have another two years to get the certifications I need to launch out on my own.  But in the meantime, I need to develop my platform, though I am not starting from scratch. 

    What happened is this:  I attended a workshop about two weeks ago and learned about identity engineering.  We were challenged to begin building our identity, but this is something that has been evading me for years as I went through school.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but nothing specific was standing out to me.  Then I remembered “do what you love” and was challenged to look at how I spend my time.  So I realized that I have been spending all my free time disciplining, coaching, counseling, and praying for my single friends in a non-structured fashion.  This is what I can do on a full-time basis.  And starting with these friends, I can begin to build my platform. 

    • Jim Martin

      I wish you the very best with living out this dream, Michelle.

  • Greg Gordon

    Great thoughts! We all can take these type of “ventures of faith” because we all get used to our own work and steps of faith and we need to really need to get out of our comfort zones.

    • Jeff Goins

       Yep. Totally agree, Greg.

  • Post guest

    Today I decided to start again, it doesn’t have to
    Be jan 1st to start again.

    • Jeff Goins


  • Post guest

    Btw Jeff, what would you say to all those who stood up for their “wives” and instead of an apology they got their butt kicked. Let’s be honest there is only a number of cinderellas out there and some have to face the sad reality.

  • AmericanWriter

    Absolutely FAN-TASTIC.  In that moment, I learned an
    important lesson: until we act, our values are just dreams. I believed in my
    wife’s honor—in theory—but until I stood up for her, it was just a good idea.  Michael – it so much reminds me of Dr. Henry Cloud’s concept: learn to hate well! Rock on brother!!! 

    • Jim Martin

      I thought this was an important lesson as well.  Moving beyond theory and a good idea to action and protecting her sense of honor.

  • Timothy Lynn Burchfield

    I am learning to go the final step of DOING those things I dream.  Most stop because they talk themselves out of doing great things.
    Fan the Flame and we will see great things.

    • Jim Martin

      Timothy, good point!  Our self-talk really does make a difference.

      • Jeff Goins

         The power of life and death is in the tongue.

  • Matthew Reed

    Jeff, the process of ‘declaring’ your dreams is so VERY important.  One of the first ‘assignments’ I gave myself when I left church work for the world of coaching was to make sure that I told someone everyday ‘I am a coach now’. That process really helped re-align my mindset and make my dream of my coaching business a reality.

    • Jeff Goins

       Love it, Matthew.

  • B.B. Baker

    I used to do things only to make my dad happy. I went to college because he wanted me to, I joined the military–only to be discharge a week in–because I thought it would make him proud. I never stood up for myself–like you did for your wife–or did things I wanted to do.

    I thought doing things my dad would want me to do would make me and him closer. But it didn’t. My dad thought my pursuit of writing was a passing phase.

    I started writing in eighth grade and I’m 36. I realized it’s not a phase I was going to grow out of six years ago. I started writing for me, because I love it, not for anyone else. The strength it took to get over the fear that I might disappoint my dad was tough to get through.

    But now I’m enjoying writing for me, and I only fear disappointing myself.

    Great article!

    • Jeff Goins

       Thanks, BB!

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  • E Deepakjain

    Great :) 
    Until you start living it, you’re only dreaming. 

    • Jeff Goins

       yep. :)

  • algonzalezinfo

    This is so motivational, thank you.  I am happy to say  I am living into my dream and working on the 2012 Sustainable Leadership Tour of Colleges to share ideas on how to lead sustainable teams. is the declaration of my dream. 

    I needed to read that believing works, doubt and fear are so powerful.

    Al Gonzalez

  • Artscriber

    Fear has sabotaged me all my life.although I’ve started doing some things in my heart fear always put an end to what I started. This week I heard someone say fear is a spirit– speak to it and tell it to leave. That is what I’ve been doing this week. As a result of that t
    I picked up my guitar that was collecting dust, opened the lesson book and plucked a while. Doing that awakened the desire in me that I’d let go to sleep. Now I’m going to fulfill my dream because I love music.

    Thanks for the great post.

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  • Betty Schuldt

    I just recently read a great book, “The User’s Guide to Being Human: The Art and Science of Self” by Scott Edmund Miller that has helped me search deep inside myself to find my inner talents.  One thing I discovered about myself is that my fears have been holding me back from following my dream job .  I am still trying to get past the fear, but at least now I know what I am capable of doing.  Thanks for the great post- it was very helpful!

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  • Brent

    Jeff your writing inspires me to take a leap of faith.  I am tired of excuses and procrastination.  I’ve read many of your posts and the one thing I have trouble doing is finding a mentor.  I am having a hard time finding other writers in my area.  Maybe I am just looking in all th wrong places.  Anyways, you are a total inspiration and I will continue to follow your blog. 
    Thank Jeff!

    • Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Brent!

  • Rocca Rooney

    The Breitling Boy’s growth up, read all the books and leap from Infinity to Beyond, tell HIM it can’t be done.
    Is life imitating art ? Or is art the expression of our subconscious ?

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  • Carolyn Kettle

    right on !

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  • Speechlessspeaker

    what happens when life has beaten you so bad that the thought of dreaming is out of the question?

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  • Amber

    I just quit my job to go for my dream to be a writer. I was tired of wishing and waiting. The urge to “just do it” was overwhelming so I did it. I had a government job that most people would love to have, but I was miserable. So tomorrow is my last day and the first day of living my dream. I will always celebrate 03/29 as the day I started living. You are a confirmation of everything I know is true! It’s amazing to me how many people told me they wished they could quit too, but they aren’t financially stable. I’m not rich but there are a lot of things I can live without. What I’m left with is much more than I’ve ever had. Who needs 300 channels of cable that I don’t watch? Do I really need Siri? Life is way to short not to go for it! The way I look at it the worse thing that could happen is I accomplish everything I dreamed about. I’m aiming for more…

    • Jeff Goins

      Love this, Amber. I left my job on the same day. Very cool.

  • Shannon_CC

    Thank you for reposting this article. It’s exactly what I needed today.

    • Jeff Goins


  • Mercedes Adele Consuelo Tomase

    Well….interesting article! I have being pursuing my fears for a year now…I am 59 and yesterday took my most difficult decision …..finally going back to school and get my college degree….I know I probably do not need it, I speak 3 languages, know much more than a lot of persons that have university degree, read a lot….but this was something I always felt soooo bad! From next week on and for a year and a half I’ll be studying and getting ready to get my diploma. Then, directly to University…still don’t know what but…..I will! It will be my dream come true! Thanks so much! Hugzzzzz

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  • Jennifer Gilhool

    Success is an option — great perspective. We are so quick to focus on the can’t that we do forget about the can!

    • Jeff Goins


  • Jane Bromley

    What a great post. I could not agree more.

    Don’t lead a life that is a pale shadow of who you really are. Commit. Believe and Take action. In other words, chose to believe in yourself!

    There are so many examples I could give. My decision to learn to event horses – which I adored. My decision to spend 5 months in Africa – one of THE best times in my life. Yet I was really scared at the start.

    Can I add a little bit? You see, for me at least, it is the “believe” part that is the hard part. You see it is about choosing to believe in yourself as well as “believing”. It is one thing to believe in an all powerful God and quite another to believe that you or I can make a dream reality.

    I do not have all the answers on that one but I have developed that belief many many times – even when I was quaking in my shoes…..

    Thank you.

    • Jeff Goins

      Well said, Jane!

  • Glen Hunt Fanelli

    Not sure where to start, but I am a collegiate tennis coach who is trying to find the right people who have the right resources to help me build a tennis club for our community that is different from most other tennis clubs located in the deep south. Also to help our school to obtain a national tennis championship at the University of West Alabama. I am not really afraid to my knowledge but I am unsure how to meet the right people and how to go about doing so. I would go to the conventional financial institutions but after going through a divorce my former spouse ruined my name and credit, that could help me get started again. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Glen

  • Carol Preibis

    Hello, I agree that fear is a often a factor that prevents us from pursuing our dreams. However, I do think that we need to consider other factors as well. Please read my post: Your Bucket List: Why You’re Not Living Your Dreams

  • kim

    I have lived one of my dreams and become a qualified Carer. I have now started living another dream and have moved and have a new job, but am fighting through, as I have never lived so far from my family and never worked in a residential care home

  • Magex

    It’s so true about fear. That’s why I came here. I am someone who dreams of being a successful writer too. I want it so badly I can taste it. And I’m terrified…what scares me the most is not necessary failing, but losing the dream–to have a future where that dream isn’t a reality and there isn’t even hope left that it may come true one day.

  • Patrick McNease

    Absolutely phenomenal blog post. I had to read this post after listening to Episode 17 of your podcast. I really appreciate what you do and @jeffgoins:disqus is amazing.

  • Kristy Cambron

    Michael and team ~ I’m a writer who comes back to this blog again and again. I’ve promoted the business savvy and leadership principles I’ve found here to anyone who would listen in my day job’s 53k associate population. And when my husband and I decided to put some action (and gain some traction) in our publishing dreams back in 2011 – I started by absorbing everything I could at and We put this lofty dream of full-time writing in God’s hands and rolled up our sleeves for the next few years of hard work.
    Now in 2014, my first book (with Thomas Nelson) just hit the shelves. We’re editing book #2. Rachelle Gardner is now my agent. And as for writing full-time? Next Thursday is my last day on the job at the company I’ve worked for the last 15 years. DREAMS do come true! I love that you continue to promote the hard work + big dreams model! I hope your readers continue to find the same encouragement I have here, and find that dreams turn into attainable goals when you continue to chase their heels.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Kristy. I’m so proud of you! This is really terrific.