NOTE: I’m giving away a copy of Jeff’s newest book, Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life. Read below to find out how to enter.
If you’re a writer or blogger who is not familiar with Jeff Goins, run now and subscribe to his blog. Few people have taught me more about writing than Jeff. His advice on overcoming fear and inertia, while fighting the perpetual temptation to just give up, has prevented my blog from folding more than once. What Steven Pressfield has done for me in general, Jeff has done for my blogging: help me overcome Resistance.
When he encourages you to write short, punchy blog posts that get to the point, the advice is packed in a short, punchy blog post that gets thousands of shares.
When he tells you how to market and sell your eBook, he points to his own campaigns which sold tons of copies.
And when he writes about building an online tribe, his massive group of followers show up in the comment box, affirming his recommendations.
I also like that Jeff isn’t a full-time blogger. In his day job, he’s the Communications Director for a non-profit group called Adventures in Missions. He’s living proof that you don’t have to be a countryside recluse or writer-in-residence to be successful. Whatever your state in life, you can start a blog or write a book.
Jeff’s writing has been featured in many places like CopyBlogger, The Huffington Post, MichaelHyatt.com, and RELEVANT Magazine. But before he became known as a guru on blogging and writing, he founded a website called “Wrecked for the Ordinary” (which is still around today). The site offered stories of people who were “wrecked” after encountering God, stories of conversion, radical living, and a search for extraordinary things in ordinary places.
The site eventually led to Jeff’s newest book, titled Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into your Comfortable Life (Moody Publishers, 176 pages, paperback).
Jeff graciously sat down with me to discuss the book, the big questions of life, and what it means to be ‘wrecked.’
Q: In your new book, you use “wrecked” in a positive sense. What do you mean by the term?
To be wrecked is to be disabused of the status quo.
We all have our own comfort zones. We all are tempted to believe the lie that life is all about us. It’s not. Getting wrecked—having your world turned upside down—is how we cure this false belief and satisfy our restlessness.
Q: You deal with many of the Big Questions like “why I am here?” and “what’s life all about?” to which most people have difficulty finding answers. Where should they look?
They need to look the one place they aren’t: beyond themselves. The answer isn’t inside of you; it’s outside of you. We find our purpose where our greatest gifts meet the world’s deepest need. Start by serving — find a need and meet it.
Life is a big story, and you have a role to play; having your plans ruined and replaced by a better one is how you find your calling. It’s not always easy or pain-free, but it is good.
Q: A constant theme in your book is overcoming the fear of sacrifice and service. How do you work through that fear?
Great question, Brandon. And I like how you worded it: fear is not something we overcome but work through.
I’ll tell you what I don’t do: I don’t try to not be afraid or be more courageous than I am. I acknowledge the fear and make a decision based on the facts—not my feelings. What will be the outcome if I push through the fear? What will be the cost if I don’t?
Fear is a legitimate feeling, but it’s not an acceptable excuse to not act.
Q: The book is full of stories of people whose lives have been wrecked. Can you share one of your favorites?
I love Kari Miller’s story. She’s a former school teacher from Minnesota who moved to Uganda and has lived there for the greater part of the past decade.
When I asked her if she was numb to all the things she had seen—terrible atrocities and injustices—she said she wasn’t. That surprised me. I’ve seen poverty and pain myself (but nowhere near as much as Kari has seen), and I honestly feel a little bit numb sometimes. So I asked her how this could be.
She said, “I would say I’m no longer surprised by what I see…but I still feel something.” I love that. As you pursue a life of compassion, you may feel yourself start to become a little desensitized to what you see. This is natural, to no longer be surprised by injustice and pain in the world. The trick, it seems, is to still let it move you, to still feel something.
Q: I know you love books. Which three books have wrecked you the most over your life?
First, The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. That changed a lot for me, especially in regards to my faith and how God expects action of me. After I read that, I saw it as a privilege to be able to pursue God, not an obligation.
Second, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I read this book in college (a few times), and it gave me an intellectual framework for faith. It also informed a lot of content in Wrecked, especially about commitment.
Third, Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. This is a beautiful memoir that literally made me cry. I can’t explain why, but you need to read it.
Thanks to Jeff, I have one digital copy of his book, Wrecked, to give away. I’ll randomly select the winner at the end of the week, but to enter, just answer this question in the comment box:
Have you ever been wrecked?
Follow Jeff through his website, Goins, Writer, and also through Twitter and Facebook. Then check out his other two books, You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) and The Writer’s Manifesto.