Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

You Are . . .

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Every morning I go through the same routine.

The alarm interrupts the precious quiet of the early morning. After hitting the snooze button more times than I can remember, I finally sit up on the edge of the bed, and begin the slow, short march to the bathroom.

Finding my way to the sink, I rub the sleep out of my eyes and stare at myself in the mirror. And every morning I ask the same question.

Who am I?

The question is simple, but the answer couldn’t be more complex. I see who I am and I imagine the person I want to be. What I do and what I desire to do. I see the me of today, but I hope for a me of tomorrow.

When I stare at myself in the mirror, I see the gap between my reality and my dream.

Isn’t this the story of so many? We have a dream. But then a harsh, unforgiving world wakes us up and when we stare at our reflection, we see the same person we see every day. That same person doing the same thing we have always done, hoping that one day, our dream will magically come true.

Like sleeping beauty, we are waiting for a knight in shining armor to come and kiss us, waking up to find ourselves his princess. Waiting for a day that will never come.

The dream remains nothing more than a dream, all because we don’t understand how to turn it into a reality. The dreamer unchanged.

In his new book You Are a Writer, Jeff Goins tells us his secret to finally seeing his dream fulfilled. The answer is remarkably simple.

You are what you do.

Like most of us, Goins imagined something better for himself. He was holding on to what seemed like an impossible goal. To be a writer.

His dream came true, but not in the way he expected it to. Yes he had a hope and desire, but instead of waiting for someone to come along and anoint him a, like a ceremony of knighthood, Goins got out of bed and started typing.

Rather than stare at himself in the mirror and hope that today would be his lucky day, he put on his own armor, grabbed a sword, and started killing dragons. He stopped waiting for permission and started doing.

He discovered that the road to success lies in the daily of act of doing the work. A process that add up over time.

Goins reminds us that anything worth doing will require work.

Nobody ever tells you this. That writing takes more hours and energy than you’d ever be able to plan for. That no one cares about you as the writer until you’ve actually written something. . .  That, above all, if you don’t love it, you’re kind of screwed.

Once he started doing this work, a work that he loved, he found his own path to getting noticed. From marketing to building a platform, from establishing and maintaing relationships to gaining permission, Goins learned how to become a writer by being a writer.

And in this book he shares everything he learned with you.

You are a Writer is a gut check for all of life. Whether your goal is to become a writer or to simply break through the mold of an ordinary life, the same principles apply.

We have two options. We can either wait for someone to hand us our dream on a silver platter or we can get busy being the person we choose to be.

What will you choose to do today?

Do you agree that you are what you do? Have you started the process of becoming the person you want to be?

Tell me you dreams in the comments.



About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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33 Replies

  1. First let me just say…you’re one those people?  The ones that hit the alarm clock multiple times before getting up?   My husband is one of those people too.  I will never understand it.  Seems like self-inflicted torture. 😉  

    I am really looking forward to Jeff’s book.  His advice has been so helpful and motivating.  

  2. It’s awful. I use my phone and set it for 3 different times just in case I turn it off instead of hitting the snooze. Absolutely awful. Thankfully my wife doesn’t seem to ever notice it. : )

  3. Jeremy, I am actually comforted by your struggles. I’m EXACTLY the same way.  It really is a challenge to get up early isn’t it! 

  4. Lorna Faith

    I sooo enjoyed Jeff’s new book! I had my own ‘aha’ moment when Jeff explained that I don’t need to wait for a publisher to pick you. Pick yourself. After all I am a writer.’ Love that:) Somehow I think in the back of my mind I was waiting for permission from ‘somewhere.’  I like what you said Jeremy, that ‘You Are A Writer’ is a gut check for all of life…so true. So I really have started the process of becoming the person I want to be…it’s exciting :-)

  5. I too appreciated Jeff’s book.

    I just started “going pro” in my niche …reaching out to creators and communicators with resources and guidance. Our tanks run to empty and we need this sort of nourishment. 

    I invite you check out what’s happening with that. 

    It’s you and your audience who can be the beneficiaries of this effort.

  6. The struggles are too long to list, so feel very encouraged, Jim.

  7. I’m excited hearing you describe it. It makes me want to go write something right now.

  8. I loved this post, Jeremy. You are a writer. It’s true. 

    I don’t agree that we are what we do, though. Doing is important, but do we really need to trick ourselves into doing by making it our identity? 

  9. You are what you do. I love that.

  10. Good question, Joe. I think that’s a tough one. I think we are not JUST what we do, but we do become what we repeatedly do. Didn’t Aristotle say that?

    Tozer, I believe, said something like, “We are the sum total of our conscious thoughts.”

    In other words, life is practice.

  11. it depends on where your sense of security and identity come from. Eventually you can be so caught up in the work that who you are is of little importance. To me, that is the goal. A work that is worth putting all of myself into and actually putting all of myself in that work.

    I think I’m confused now, though.

  12. I agree. Jeff’s book was packed with valuable information, and I’m looking forward to reading it again every now and then for inspiration.

    You are what you do. So simple, so crucial. I’m a writer because I’m tackling a little more writing every day. (I refuse to call myself a waiter though…that’s just the night job getting me through.)

    I hate the thought of sitting still, so I’ve decided to pursue a grant writing certification alongside of my creative writing. That way I’ll be able to write fiction someday AND work for non-profits. 

  13. DDF

    Jeremy,  I like your posts a lot.  You encourage me; you inspire me.  You make me want to ride to the top of the hill and take a look.  Reading your posts makes me want to meet you, as you seem to be the kind of guy I want to do life with and want go to battle with.

    Deep down, though, when I can get to a place where my spirit gets quiet,  I feel like being is much more important than doing.  And yes, I struggle with that almost every day.  I still hear my dad saying to me, “Work harder.”   (I love to read and usually want to read fast so as not to be ‘wasting’ time.) 

    My dad was a God-fearing man who got his value from his work.  I loved him a lot but he was not very good at “being.” 

    “Why is that?” I ask myself.  Well, “Because we are what we do.” 

    Fundamentally, I disagree with that.  Truth is, we are who God says we are. 

    Recently I have been having this very conversation with a fairly young executive (early 50s) in a care facility whose is still sharp but can no longer work.  Once a high level person in a major company, he has use of his right hand only.  

    I leave those conversations every time saying, “God, this man is incredibly valuable with so much to give.  He should be my teacher.  Help to realize that being who you say I am is the essence of what it means to be your son.”

  14. Great review Jeremy. I love that this book could be applied to almost any area of your life. Whether you’re a musician, a leader, or a teacher. Only you can decide when you truly become one.

  15. Awesome Lisa! Sounds like you’re on the right track. Have you found success as you’ve started to reach out to others?

  16. Yes, Joe. For just getting started, I’m surprised how many have gone out of their way to spread the word, encourage, and join in. Spreading the word seems like half the battle (unless you just have junk, then nothing works!).


  17. That is great to hear Lisa. It’s amazing how generous people can be to help spread the word. Keep it up and you’ll do terrific! 

  18. It is both a liberating and a frightening concept isn’t it?

  19. thank you for this comment. It is rare to find someone willing to disagree, although I know people do.

    With the post I was trying to persuade people that what they choose to do affects who they are. Most of us are sitting around waiting to become something. If you want to write, then we should write. Some are better at it than others, but everyone needs practice to get better. 

    And even thought practice is needed to get better, some get better faster than others. 

    But i absolutely agree that some of who you are is out of your hands. I am nearly completely bald. I had nothing to do with that, but I do get to choose whether I cut my hair short or let it grow long. I do get that choice.

    It’s a difficult balance isn’t it? For me I look at it this way. We work as if everything depending on God, but trust him as the creator of all things.

    One identity that I have that has nothing to do with me is that of being the beloved of God. I did nothing to earn this or deserve. It is his free gift to me because of how much he loves me.

    If you want to talk to me more shoot me an email. 

  20. the more you write and the different styles you do it in (even grant writing) the better. It sounds you may have found one small way to combine something you love and something you can get paid to do.

  21. Thanks for sharing, Lisa.

  22. My general view is that I am not what I do. I am who God says I am (Someone has explained it well, elsewhere in the comments). 

    But I get the context in which you say this – that we end up being what we repeatedly do. This is in terms of action, not inherent value.

    Love your thoughts here, and love Jeff’s writing. He has helped me become a better writer, inspired me to take my writing seriously. Can’t wait to read the book when it’s out.

  23. I’m like that all during the Winter months.  Once Spring hits it becomes much easier to get up and go out on the deck with a cup of coffee. 

  24. You will be inspired, encouraged, and feel like you truly can pick yourself.  The book is Jeff’s best work to date.  I’m excited for you to read it!

  25. I was talking with Jim yesterday, and we ultimately came up with saying to each other “We are writer’s, because we say we are.” 

    Now the work begins.  

    Great way to frame this post today Jeremy.

  26. I agree with you Ngina and think it’s important to distinguish the difference between what we do and inherent value. Thanks for pointing that out. You will probably like my post tomorrow then.

  27. JBary

    I appreciate the spirit if your comments – we should not just sit on our hands waitiing for our dreams to be fulfilled. We have an active role to play in developing and fulfilling those God-given desires.

    I disagree that we are what we do. Our identity as individuals runs much deeper. In addition to our being created in the image of God, I believe each of us has a specific glory or calling to our lives. This calling or purpose is not a job, position, title or activity. It is the deepest, truest thing about us. God has crafted each of us to reflect his glory in a unique way to the world. We live out this calling (our specific, unique glory) in our everyday lives – in our roles (fathers, mothers, brothers, etc.) in our positions (doctors, brokers, writers, etc.) and in our assignments (at XYZ Co., at ABC hospital, etc.). Author Gary Barkalow speaks a lot about this concept in his book It’s Your Call.


  28. Thanks for the comment, Bary. I certainly agree with you. Did you see my post today on identity? I decided to write it as a complement to this one.

  29. iamwendydawn

    This is one of those posts which woke me up big time!!!! I know the Lord allowed me to stumble upon this today, and it was confirmation for me in so many ways. I must get my hands on a copy of this book. So many times people want to label us simply by what we do for a living. For instance, I’ve been a nurse for almost 13 years, but being a nurse is just one facet of who God created me to be. First and foremost, I’m a follower of Christ and a writer for Him. My occupation just happens to be one detail of what I do. It’s definitely not who I am. Thanks again for featuring and highlighting this book. – W.Brooks (This is my little space of Internet real estate —>

  30. Do you find that people have certain perceptions of you just because you are a nurse?

  31. iamwendydawn

    Side note before I reply: just ordered & downloaded the “You Are A Writer” book to my Kindle. YAY!!!
    Okay…. now to answer your question without stepping up on my soapbox or behind the pulpit…….Yes, I do believe people tend to have certain perceptions of me just because I am a nurse such as statements I have heard like –” your career in nursing should take priority over everything else… make plenty of money….since being a nurse you will always have job security, so you should work and do whatever they need you to do I wouldnt ever complain if I were you….especially with the economy and unemployment like it is now.” First of all, I depend solely on God as my Source…Period…not a job. Nursing is service occupation requiring love of people, being an advocate for the voiceless, and an extensive knowledge base in order to provide quality and safe patient care. But for many of my fellow nurses, nursing consumes them to the point they lose sight of who they are beyond their occupational title and career. This of course is my personal opinion, but those who cross the thin line from dedication and over into consumption find themselves burned out. So I took the detour off that burnout road several years ago on a missions trip to Thailand where I was face to face with the darkness of human trafficking, and realized I had put my life on hold because I was being consumed with a career. I made a choice when I hit U.S. soil that I had to answer the call of God on my life, and haven’t looked back. So although I continue to be a full time nurse, following the heartbeat of God takes priority in my life. And that in turns makes me a better nurse. ( I’ll sit down now and vacate the soapbox to give someone else a chance. 😉

  32. I love your soapbox. Thanks for sharing that story.

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