Let me preface this post by saying I currently don’t have a desire to switch “jobs.” I’m home with my children, and I love it. But, I do have dreams–some with my children, and some alongside my children. And I can decide, even in parenting, if I want to trudge down the road of average or take the trail to the awesome.
“…the best map in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t know where you are.” – p. 9, Start
Start by Jon Acuff invites readers to “punch fear the face, escape average, do work that matters.” Some of you may know Jon from the hilariously honest (and insightful) Christian satire blog, Stuff Christians Like. Or maybe you read his business book, Quitter. (My husband is listening to the audiobook version of Quitter right now, thanks to an awesome NoiseTrade freebie a few weeks ago.)
Even if you’ve never read any of Jon’s writings before, if you have—or ever had—a dream or purpose (and if you’re reading this, you’re alive and you have a purpose), you’ll be interested in reading Start.
Start is a bit like a travel guide on the best adventure you’ve ever taken (you know, life) through the lands of learning, editing, mastering, harvesting, and guiding. Everyone travels through these lands, though each of our journeys looks different than the next person’s. We also can be in multiple lands at once, and often (and should) travel between these lands. (Jon explains this better in the book, I promise.)
Every step along the way, fear and doubt threaten to scare us back to living an “average” life, but we can always fight back. No matter where we are in our journey toward awesome, as Jon says, action always beats intention. We keep moving, we keep dreaming, we keep working hard.
Somehow Jon manages to logically explain the road to awesome while also telling you that you might have to ignore instances of logic in favor of unrelenting hustle to pursue awesome. This book is sure to clarify that not everyone will work his or her “one dream job.” In fact, we may have multiple dreams and our finish on each of those dreams might (will!) look differently than we could ever have imagined.
“The starting line is the only line you completely control. The start is the only moment you’re the boss of. The finish? Don’t kid yourself. That’s months, if not years, away.” – p. 28, Start
The section in Chapter 3 on ignoring those lying internal voices of fear and doubt really, well… spoke to me. If you’re not looking for a dream job, these chapters will still inspire you in other areas of your life. Much of what Jon writes is motivational, but he also includes very practical, applicable tips to start using today.
Jon is not just a humorous writer, but a good one, too. (Any “Serious Wednesday” post on Stuff Christians Life can support that statement.) I seriously laughed out loud on page 1, and I uttered many an introspective “huh” throughout the chapters. He’s open about his own failures, and he includes a variety of stories from others to help readers envision what their own awesome start might look like. Jon writes from a foundation of faith, and you can tell his intention and action stem from knowing God as Creator.
After reading about “doing the reps” and “action payments” in the “Harvesting” chapter, I see again how my parenting choices can be choices of “awesome” or “average,” too.
- Awesome is doing the “reps” of reading the same book five times in a row because it shows my son how much I care and his value to me.
- Awesome is taking the harder, more time-consuming route of teaching my children specific skills (rather than me doing it myself) because it prepares my children to serve and bless others.
- Awesome is not just making great lesson plans for homeschool, but acting and completing them because it guides my children’s development and supports my son’s therapies.
- Awesome is getting as outwardly excited as my kids do (even when I’m exhausted) when my husband comes home because it’s another way to show my husband he matters.
Simple actions, but with exponential results. Plus, there’s so many ways to be awesome in being intentional in my faith, with my time, in my writing, and more. Reading Start reaffirms I’m on my road to awesome. I just need to keep walking and not just sidetracked by “ladders of entitlement” or lures of fear.
We can apply Start’s advice to many areas of life. Want to gain fitness? You gotta start. Want to control overflowing dishes? Action always beats intention.
I love what’s written in this book so much, I actually wrote in it. (I usually cringe at writing in books.) Check out Start, read it, and then… start. See some more of my favorite quotes from Start here, here, here, here, and here.
What are you afraid to start? How have you punched fear in the face before?
Disclosure: I’m on the launch team for Start, and received a free ebook copy in exchange for my honest review. But, I also purchased a hardcover copy (to get the awesome pre-order deals and because I love physical books), so that shows how I feel about the book. Regardless, all opinions expressed are my own.