This week’s interview is with Greg Goodman: Traveler, Photographer & Storyteller. Above all else, Greg believes that if you follow your heart and your passion, opportunities will present themselves. Greg is an incredible Goal Achiever who inspires others to get out of their comfort zone.
Greg’s photography has appeared in exhibitions around the world. His top 3 photographic experiences include starring in a National Geographic TV show, presenting his life’s work at the world’s largest photo trade show and a solo Photo Exhibition in Korea.
***All Photography in this post – photo credit: Greg Goodman***
The Achievers Story
Tell us who you are, where you’re from and something that people would find interesting about you?
My name is Greg Goodman and I was born and raised in New York City to a pair of awesome parents. Something that people might find interesting is that I consider myself a photographic storyteller.
Give us a brief overview about the goal you achieved and why it was so important?
I always wanted to be a businessman and graduated from college with a business degree. I was working in corporate America but something wasn’t quite right. So, I quit my job, sold my stuff, left the comfort zone and went to visit my girlfriend who was volunteering in Nicaragua. I went for 2 weeks; stayed for 7 months. Life was never the same and I knew I wanted to share that experience and inspire others to get out of their comfort zone.
Every story has a beginning, middle, and an end; where we’ve been, where we’re going, and everything in between. Give us an example of what your life was like before achieving this goal?
I thought life was pretty good. I was living the American dream. Overweight, hated my job but hoped to rise the corporate ladder, spent more money than I made, numbed myself with alcohol to dull the monotony of everyday life, dreamed of something different but didn’t know how to get there. Pretty standard, really.
Help us understand what caused you to move in a different direction?
It was 2006. The town we lived in was a 3 hour bus ride from the nearest phone or internet. On visits to “town,” I would quickly write up a summary email of what happened in the past few weeks, upload a few low-res photos to snapfish and click send. The response was overwhelming. Friends and family from all walks of life were so supportive and I frequently heard that they wanted to do something similar but couldn’t or didn’t know how. It was while sending those emails and reading the responses that I realized the power of sharing my experiences and how something as simple as being open and honest and true to myself could inspire others.
I’ve been a Web guy since the beginning – began coding web pages using only notepad and Netscape. So, I knew that the Web was the key to my goal. However, simple e-mails weren’t going to do the trick. When Carrie and I once again quit our job and sold our stuff to travel across India and SE Asia for a year, I first started a blog on Adventures Of A GoodMan. That was in 2009 and it was terrible. It was a wordpress blog crammed into a hand-coded photography site. However, it planted the seed.
In 2011, after working with my first freelancer – an awesome guy named Ufuk from Turkey – I realized that I wanted most to focus on telling stories and making photographs. Since then, I’ve used other designers and even now I’m in the middle of my 275th site overhaul. It’s a never ending process, but at every step of the way I’ve been achieving my goal.
Give us an example of what your life is like today, since achieving the goal?
It’s true – I have achieved my goal in many ways. That said, it’s also a goal that can never be fully “achieved.”
Inspiring others to leave their comfort zone and travel is the driving force that keeps me going. Every time I get an e-mail from a stranger telling me how I changed their life, it reaffirms that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
Sure, I’ve had some amazing experiences and met some incredible people. I’ve gotten to travel the world and reinvented myself completely in the process. But, my favorite days are the ones where I can help someone who has a question about how to travel or quit their job or pursue their dream.
Overcoming The Obstacles
If there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that obstacles like fear, time and money among other things can prevent us from or motivate us towards achieving goals. What are the top 3 obstacles you faced, why were they obstacles to begin with, and how were they conquered?
Quitting my job in DC. That was the very beginning. I had always wanted to be a business man and I finally was. I had business cards, khakis, people who reported to me. I had invested 4 years and tons of money in my fancy business degree. But in the end it was love that helped me conquer that. If it weren’t for Carrie, I might still be behind that desk.
Overcoming my ego about Web design. I always took such pride in hand-coded pages; but until I allowed someone else to do the backend and design and let me focus on content, I had no way to reach a wide enough audience because I spent all my time tinkering.
Making more money. Being a photographic storyteller has provided me with some great financial opportunities. However, it’s not the most dependable steady income. I often find myself getting down in the dumps and wondering how I can keep doing what I’m doing and live the lifestyle I want to live. Sure enough, something always comes along to rekindle my faith and remind me that I’m on the right path and to continue following my heart and my dreams.
The next part of the interview is the Triumph. The triumph is all about taking the success of achievement to the next level of personal greatness. The idea of greatness can be different for everyone. For me, greatness is all about the pursuit rather than the destination. What does greatness mean to you and how has achieving this goal contributed to that idea?
To me, greatness means being open and honest with the world. It means wearing your heart on your sleeve and putting it all out there – the good, bad, happy and sad. The ups and downs and ins and outs. And, of course, using that power for good. It’s not always easy to be a long-term traveler or to leave my comfort zone. I really really love my comfort zone. And I really really dislike it when things don’t go my way. But by sharing those experiences and learning from them, I feel that I can at least achieve personal greatness.
Roadmap To Goal Achievement
What is the best advice you ever received that helped you clarify and/or achieve this goal?
Go hire a freelancer! My dear childhood friend Bobby.
What are some of the resources or tools that helped you achieve this goal?
– So many facebook groups of digital nomads, travel bloggers and general inspirational people.
What did you do to stay motivated throughout the process?
The biggest motivational tool for me has been seeing the impact and success of my work. Every story someone tells me about their trip or every conversation I have about how similar every culture really is keeps me going. Plus, of course, the successes I’ve had due to my work are a great motivator.
Is there a book that helped you achieve this goal? If so, how?
Well I’m a huge James Bond fan, so I would have to recommend any of the original Ian Fleming novels. They are just so much fun.
However, for a more inspirational read, I just finished Shantaram: A Novel by Gregory David Roberts. In addition to the author having an excellent first name, it’s a story about love, courage, India and overcoming more adversity than I can recap.
What blogs and podcasts do you recommend?
The blogs I read most are about photography and the NY Mets.
If you were advising someone on how to achieve the same goal or something similar, what specific steps would you have them follow?
First, I would tell them to do it because you love it – not because you want to get rich. Most of the wealth comes from the knowledge that you’ve touched someone’s life for the better: even if it’s just giving them a smile for a few seconds at their office desk.
As for the practical side, I would say to start a blog and put a dozen of your best photos and stories on it. The home page should let people know who you are; and invite them to contact you for help or advice.
Then, spend the rest of your time guest posting on every single travel blog and travel web site out there – and make sure to get backlinks to your site in each interview. That way, Google is happy with the incoming links; people find your site, and most importantly, the inspiration spreads across the world wide web.
What’s the best way for people to connect with you?
Adventures Of A GoodMan – Through the contact form on my Web site