Stop Waiting to Be Picked

The reason publishers are signing authors who have built their own platforms is the same reason YouTube sensations are appearing on car commercials. It’s because they’re not waiting to be picked.

These people are choosing to start in spite of the fact that no one’s given them permission. And this is what makes them so attractive.

These are the trail-blazers, the trendsetters, and true difference-makers of our day. They’re the ones “crazy enough to change the world.” And you could be one of them, too — if you would just stop waiting.

We all want to be picked

Of course, this is natural: the desire to be chosen, to fit in with society’s standards, to be liked by the cool kids. It’s also a myth.

For every person or group that picks you, there is one (or a hundred ones) that doesn’t. You can spend your whole life trying to please them all. Or you can focus your attention on something that matters, like finding your tribe.

You must pick yourself

The real trick is to not wait, but to pick yourself, to “turn pro” in your head (as Pressfield says). To believe you can do what you’re asking others to believe about you.

That’s how you become “legit” in the eyes of others — not by waiting for acknowledgment, but by acting as if you already have it. And here’s the crazy part: When you do this, you get the permission you’ve been waiting for. Not by asking for it, but by proving yourself.

The paradox is you get what you’re desiring when you stop desiring it. In other words, the less concerned you are with appealing to an audience’s sensitivities, the more appealing an audience will find you.

It’s the classic “cool guy” routine that gets the girl every time by acting as if he’s not interested. Of course, he is. He’s very interested in her. But he moves on with his life as if he’s not. And she finds him absolutely irresistible.

Our heroes do this

This is what we love about our favorite movie actors and athletes and rock gods. They don’t care about the system. They care about creating art or breaking rules or just being themselves. They are above reproach, have somehow transcended the need for acceptance.

But of course, we know this can’t be true. We have read enough biographies and seen enough interviews to know that our heroes are just as human and insecure as we are. They just do something different with their fear. They don’t let it debilitate them. They choose to create and share their work, anyway.

They work through the fear instead of waiting to feel unafraid before creating their best work. And if they can, maybe you can, too. Maybe we all can.

Need help getting started with picking yourself? Download my free three-part series on building an audience so you never have to pick yourself again. You’ll get it free when you join my free newsletter.

This article also appears on and is published here with the permission of the author

Written by Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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