This interview is the third in a series of weekly interviews on the theme of adding value to the writing community. I am excited to introduce Jeff Goins as the guest interviewee this week. Please share your thoughts with us below in the comments section.
Jeff Goins is a writer, idea guy, and difference-maker. You can follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/jeffgoins) and connect with him on his blog (http://goinswriter.com). You can also check out his new eBook bundle: Every Writer’s Dream (http://goinswriter.com/get-published).
What benefits do you see in adding value to the community? In your eyes, why is it important to add value?
This is a hard question to answer, because it’s full of terms thrown around a lot in business. I prefer to think of it as helping people. What’s the benefit to helping your neighbor? Well, that’s kind of a silly question, right? The benefit is it feels good; it’s the right thing to do.
The same thing is true in blogging and just about any community. You treat people how you’d like to be treated. That’s the reward.
That said, what goes around usually does come around. If you help enough people get what they want, as Zig Ziglar said, they’ll help you get what you want.
How often do you feel that way? Do you think you are alone in feeling that way, or are there others in the community that you believe share your ideals?
That it’s good to help people? I don’t think it’s a natural human inclination (we tend to be selfish beings), but I don’t think it’s entirely unpopular, either. I’m finding there are more people than I thought who love helping people — not for any ulterior motives, just to help them.
Why do you think people are resistant to adding value? And how have you overcome that fear or resistance in your interactions with the community?
I think we are afraid. We are programmed to look out for ourselves, to survive. But the reality is we live in an age of abundance. Survival isn’t really an issue. We have more than we could possibly need. So why not be generous? The only thing holding us back is fear of change, of giving up discomfort.
How do you feel writers can add value to the writing community and to the greater community of readers in general?
Find a need and meet it. Don’t assume you know what it is. Start writing about your passions and see if they align with others’. You’ll probably zero in on a tribe. Then, ask lots of questions and do your best to help others succeed.
Do you think that there’s an ethos or method to adding value that can be cultivated, developed or learned?
Yes: “It’s not about me.”
What first lead you to this way of thinking? Has anyone or any event in your life inspired you and your opinions on adding value? Could you share with us a story about that person or event?
As a Christian, my faith is inextricably linked to my life. I can’t separate my understanding of the character of Jesus from how I treat people on a daily basis. I’m not always the model believer, but my belief in God nonetheless influences everything I write and all that I do.
On the flip side of adding value is receiving value; people don’t always find that easy. Do you have any experience or thoughts about what it means to receive well?
I used to tour with a rock band for which I played guitar. At the end of a concert, people would tell us how awesome we were — even on the nights when we weren’t. It was tempting to deflect the comment, to turn it down or say, “Well, I don’t know about that.” But I realized that was really dishonoring the person’s kind words. It was an affront to them. So I started just accepting them, which was far more humbling than rejecting them.
What’s the greatest insight you’ve received from your work?
It never gets easier. Creating always feels like war.
Do you see a vision or ideal behind your work, something that ties it all together in terms of what draws you to it?
Yes. In a word: hope. Things can always get better. There is more to life than we see.
There are many ways to add value. What would you recommend to others as a good starting point to begin adding value to their communities?
Give something of value away for free.
Do you believe everyone can benefit, if everyone is adding more into the community than they take out? What do you imagine that community to be like?
Giving is a gift in itself. Everyone who gives gets. Those who hold back and only receive ultimately lose.
Is there anything else that you would like to add – any final thoughts?
No, David. You nailed it! Thanks.
Thank you for adding value today.
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Do you feel you everyone who gives gets? What was your greatest insight? What do you feel you can do? Please share your thoughts below.