The Portfolio Life with Jeff Goins

The act of finding the deeper part of you that never fades may be the most important task of your life. It is certainly the best place from which to create.

Direct download: am_I_still_me_-_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52am CDT

We're at the end of the 5-day Paid to Create challenge and so far, we’ve identified why we create, the importance of making money off our art, how to know what to sell, and to whom. Now, it’s time to sell.

Direct download: paid_to_create_d5.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52am CDT

Before you figure out what you want to sell, you need to first figure out what people are willing to pay for. Your job is to create something unique, something that at first meets a felt need of a person but then, in some way, goes beyond what they thought they wanted.

Direct download: sell_what_they_want_d4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:10pm CDT

To start a business, you need more than passion. Getting paid to create really is about getting clear on what people want. Before we get into the super practical work of actually accepting money from other people, we need to get clear on what we have to offer.

Direct download: more_than_passion_d3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:24pm CDT

There are, I think, roughly three kinds of creators in this world, each with their own path. Today, I want to share with you two things. First is the three kinds of creators, and the second is the path to building an organization around your work.

Direct download: What_kind_of_creator_d2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:56am CDT

Why do we create? To share a thought: an idea, a story, a paradigm. To help another person, perhaps, simply by saying something others are unwilling to say.

This week, I'm hosting a free, 5-day challenge to get you to take action. My goal for you is to go from zero to one. To get unstuck in a significant way that will allow you to create momentum in your work so that you can finally get paid to create. To find out more, check out

Direct download: paid_to_create_1_tpl.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what words can do. They can cut a person down or lift them up. They can overwhelm another with beauty or devastate their soul. I am always searching for the words that want to be said because when you find them, they can change everything.

Direct download: whatwordsdo_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

This past week, I shared the news of my marriage ending. This has been the hardest decision of my life, something I was nervous to talk about publicly, but how people responded more than surprised me.

Direct download: divorce_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30pm CDT

Distraction is no friend to a writer. But we all have had our dance with her before, haven't we? She is everywhere, all around us, from the devices we use to the websites we visit, to how we consume our news and media. If we are going to truly do work that matters, however, we can't just fight distraction. We have to understand it.

In this episode, you'll hear:

How most distraction starts from within and why all behavior stems from the relief of discomfort.

  • Why time management is pain management. If you don’t understand the discomfort you are trying to escape, then you’ll never master distraction.
  • Why you can’t separate what makes something engaging from what makes something potentially addictive.
  • The danger behind the word “addictive”.
  • How to make yourself indistractable.
  • The three nutrients kids are missing and why kids are drawn to technology, plus how to help them become indistractable.

Nir is the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and Indistractable. You can find him at

Direct download: nir_eyal_07312020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

These days, I seem to be going through a personal renaissance, re-thinking who I am, what I do, and my contribution to the world. I keep running into other writers, artists, and creative professionals who seem to be struggling with the same thing: What does nurturing your creative life in a pandemic actually look like?

Direct download: creative_selfcare.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:35pm CDT

Before you can create anything, you must first create yourself. The process of changing your life—of pursuing a vocation, finding a true love, even making a career transition—always begins with an understanding of who you are. But it doesn’t stop there.

Direct download: when_I_became_me_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:28pm CDT

What if the point of becoming a professional artist or writer was not what you thought it was? What if success wasn’t the ultimate goal? What if each phase of your journey, even the frustrating ones, was a necessary stage to better understand what it is you’re here to do?

In creative work, there is a spectrum from “starving” to “sellout,” and somewhere in the middle is where most of us find ourselves. How do we make sense of this? When you give yourself fully to your vocation, I think, what unfolds is a lifelong process of self-discovery. And so, this work reveals itself to us in stages.

Direct download: stages-artist.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:20pm CDT

The world is in crisis, and many people are telling you to do something new. But what if you didn’t have to do that?

What if, instead of pivoting into new and exciting opportunities, we who make things considered this a call to our true work?

What if we doubled down on our strengths, taking these familiar skills deeper than we thought they could go, seeking new ways to do old things?

What if we asked, “What role is being required of me right now?”—and then did that?

Direct download: Dont_Pivot.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:41pm CDT

How do you respond to something like a pandemic? A crisis when the whole world goes upside down. What role is being required of you when you feel like the thing that you offer the world isn't even needed?

In this week's episode of The Portfolio Life, I interview my longtime friend and mentor, Michael Port. Michael is a best-selling author, fantastic speaker, and co-founder, along with his wife, Amy, of an organization called Heroic Public Speaking, where they train communicators on how to change the world one great speech at a time.

What I loved about this conversation was Michael's response to the question of what do you do when you feel like your craft isn't necessary, such as during a crisis like we're experiencing right now. When the world changes, do you double down on what you've always done, or do you adapt and evolve? I think his answer will surprise you. His response to the current crisis we're all experiencing is that sometimes a crisis reveals your true values, and in many ways, forces you to focus on the things that have always been most important to you. What happens when you ask yourself the question, "how can I share these gifts and skills, in a way, right now, where they're actually needed?"

Michael and I talked about public speaking and communication, and how to respond both as an artist and as an entrepreneur when the world seems to be changing. I think you'll really enjoy it.

A few things we discussed:

  • How training as an actor prepared Michael for a transition to author, speaker, and public speaking coach

  • Why he and his wife founded Heroic Public Speaking and their training center in New Jersey

  • Why he pivoted his mission to helping people stop speaking and start performing so they can create transformative experiences for audiences

  • What it means to embrace the art of performance and why it’s a good thing

  • How maintaining a rigidly fixed view of who you are and how you behave can be disastrous and why being flexible and fluid in your behavior can help you influence an outcome

  • The logic behind the idea of changing how someone thinks by changing how they feel and how actions produce emotions

  • How to pivot what you offer and how you offer it to the people you serve and what those people actually need right now

  • The dangers behind having a personal brand

  • Deep work versus surface work and distractions

Resources we mention on the show:

Steal the Show by Michael Port

Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port

Heroic Public Speaking

Download Michael's Primer on Virtual Presentations

Direct download: 223_Michael_Port.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am CDT

Hello there from quarantine. You might be feeling some shame for being unproductive or lazy or depressed during this time of crisis and social distancing. Please allow me to make you feel better. I am doing this worse than you, promise.

How are you coping in these times of uncertainty? What stable, stupid, and new things are you doing to stay sane? I’d love to hear about it.

Direct download: quarantine-wrong.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Is it an act of bravery to merely survive a crisis? Maybe. But if you have the potential to be remarkable, why wouldn’t you be? Now is the time to give your greatest gift to the world.

Direct download: greatest_gift.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:43am CDT

“What did you do with this crisis?”

This may be what our children ask us about this time.

And as you'll see, a crisis is an opportunity to create something new.

Links from this episode:

  • If you are a creator and in financial need, check out this fund that ConvertKit just created. Also, if you have the means to contribute, please do that. I’ll be making a donation later this week as I know these are hard times for many of my friends.
  • For a little levity, I am launching a cooking show on Instagram where every morning for breakfast, I’ll cook something different and show you how in my live feed. Make sure you’re following me and don’t miss it on Instagram.
  • On Wednesday, March 18, at 1:00pm Central time, I’ll be hosting a free digital meetup for writers and creatives to share their struggles and opportunities presented by the current coronavirus crisis. You can sign up for that right here. 
Direct download: more_than_toilet_paper.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:48am CDT

We don’t need more books in the world; we need better books. We don’t need another mystery novel or cancer survival story or career advice tome. We don’t need another seven steps or four laws or twelve rules for anything, really. Sorry. We just don’t. The world is full of bad books, and we don’t need any more of them.

This is a job. It’s a calling, a sacred responsibility that ought to be taken seriously. If you can get out of it, you should. When Augustine became bishop of Hippo, he wept. Any leader who grasps the weight of her vocation understands this. Writing is a gift and a privilege, to be sure, but it is not an indulgence. It is not something you are owed. Writing is work. And we need you to do your job. 

We don’t need more bad books. We don’t need another author in the world who takes a selfie at a book signing. We don’t need a book at all—at least not unless it’s going to be a better one.

Download the Better Book Manifesto here.

Direct download: better_book_manifesto_-_22720_2.13_PM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

This week, my first ghostwriting project, The Successful Speaker, comes out. This was a collaboration with Grant Baldwin, the leading expert on what it takes to build a successful speaking business. It was a lot of fun, but what I didn’t expect was how much it would make me a better speaker.

For more information on The Successful Speaker, visit

Direct download: I_Wrote_a_Book_on_Public_Speaking.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:43pm CDT

I tend to think of life as a journey these days far more than a destination. If I could summarize what I believe about almost everything in life, it would be this: Clarity comes with action.

This is harder than it sounds. Do I quit my job or not? Do we make that big move or stay here another year? Do I take the risk, letting go of my fears of what I want, or is that selfish? How do you know what the next step is? The wisest people I’ve met have all said the same thing: You don’t. You may have an intuition, a sense of what should be. But there is no absolute clarity. Fear is always strongest before the first step.


Direct download: You_Dont_Need_More_to_Start.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

"Why do we need art?" In a world that seems to more and more focused on "work works," is there still a place for beauty? Do artists matter anymore? I think they do.

Direct download: Why_We_All_Need_to_Act_More_Like_Artists.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

There are three messages creativity can communicate, and these messages are what connect us as human beings. Which is to say, without the arts—without the ability to creatively express who we are and what we care about—we lose a bit of our humanity. 

Direct download: What_Creativity_Can_Do_That_Nothing_Else_Can.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:23am CDT

We are all hyphens.

That's what Chase Jarvis, founder of CreativeLive, amazing photographer, and best-selling author of Creative Calling, told me in our recent conversation: we are all hyphens, and I couldn't agree more. 

In this episode, I have a chat with my friend, Chase Jarvis, a brilliant photographer, entrepreneur, author, thinker. Chase is a bit of a Renaissance Man. We have a fantastic conversation about creativity, the arts, and the business world and why we need you to do your art, why we need you to make things more than we ever have before, and why we need the world to care about art and creativity. This is a great conversation, a bit of a lengthy one at almost an hour, so get your coffee ready and listen in.

We are all hyphens -- we are more than just one thing. I love that.

Listen to Chase share all of his wisdom and be sure to check out his book, Creative Calling: Establish a Daily Practice, Infuse Your World with Meaning, and Succeed in Work + Life.

Direct download: 222_chase_jarvis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT

Whether you’re bored, out of work, or simply wanting a more fulfilling career, I believe that by embracing a portfolio life, you will finally have the peace and contentment you seek in your work.

Direct download: boredom_building_a_portfolio_life.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:36am CDT