I'd been following @JonAcuff's content for a short while. I had heard of his first blog but really didn't follow him on social media until the last couple of months. That following on social led to me spending my last week of time on MART reading a new book on my Kindle.
Acuff's latest book is called START, a book about "punching fear in the face" and "being awesome." I initially had my reservations. Some of his online content was funny but I initially saw this book as another "ra ra...follow your dreams...quit your day job and go be awesome..." type of book. While I like the random shots of inspiration from time to time and will rotate quotes on my computer background from time to time but do get tired of the "quit everything and start something new." I feel like some of that motivational 'wisdom' disregards the rules of the real world like bills, family time etc.
Plus, secretly I was somewhat put off by his one post "To all the guys who think Pinterest is just for girls." The inner hipster in me was like "men on Pinterest was so last spring. Has he not heard of Board of Man?" I got over that brief and unnecessary ego trip quickly.
I also got over any pre-conceived notions I had about his book. After gaining a free Kindle version from a promotion of theirs, I realized that I had unfairly judged his book by its cover. Acuff pulls from his own life experiences and missteps along his path of times when he tried to quit everything and "live his dream"....and failed. The advice he provides is extremely practical and the book didn't take me very long to read. What did I learn?
There's merit in being an apprentice for a bit
I don't remember the exact word he used but the concept still applies. He talks about how he decided to work for Dave Ramsey instead of trying to set off on his own and be his own boss. Acuff knew that Ramsey was an extremely accomplished writer and speaker and a master at what he did. He said that taking the time to learn from Ramsey for a while would be more beneficial to him long term than anything. Taking time to work under someone and learn more is an ideal you don't see too often, especially in work motivation books like this one. Kudos to him on including this concept. I didn't see it coming but found a lot of value there.
Don't chase your dream at the expense of others
The family-life issue is one that I'm sure is a major factors for entrepreneurs or aspiring dream chasers. You want to drop everything for this new opportunity that may or may not be lucrative. You want to spend your extra hours working on the side gig. However, there's always the chance you'll not be able to have the income to support your family. You may be working on side gigs when you could (or should) be spending time with your wife and kids.
Acuff puts a lot of value in his book around not succeeding at the expense of those who are directly affected by your decisions. He had made some entrepreneurial mistakes in his past and brings them to light as a learning tool for the readers. What does he suggest to pursue your dream? Finding down time that doesn't take away from the things in life that really matter. His main suggestion? Getting up early. Which leads to the last thing I learned.
Get up earlier
I still struggle with this. I've blogged about it before but it was one of those posts where I was publicly trying to talk myself into an ideal. Acuff suggests just getting up 30 minutes earlier to put a dent into building your dream or working on that side project while the family is still asleep. He mentions how his kids rarely beg for his attention at 5 in the morning nor does his wife feel neglected when he was typing away in the wee hours of the morning. Some of the most successful people I know and/or have heard of are early risers. There has to be something to that idea.
The book was a great little jolt of electricity to put into my day job. I'm not going to start a new job on the side anytime soon or try and build a company out of my garage. The book doesn't really even push for that. It teaches that awesome could just be doing better in your day-to-day job that you already have. After all, in my opinion, that's a great place to start. If you can't be awesome where you already are, why would it change in a different location?
Below is a trailer to the book. Has anyone else read it?