Your dreams don’t begin on the couch in front of the TV. Your life’s purpose won’t be found in bright shiny objects or the singular pursuit of money.
And although the keys to personal and financial fulfillment won’t be found in one book, you’ll get closer than ever with Jon Acuff’s new book “Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters.”
Are You On the Road to Average, or Awesome?
You know the drill: As a kid, grownups tell us if you go to school, study for a career and get a good job, you’ll make lots of money and be happy for the rest of your life.
What a load of crap.
If you’re a LiveWorkDream reader, you know as well as I do that this isn’t how life works. Even for the folks who were smart enough to study for a money-making career (I wasn’t), it all comes at a price. Time and personal fulfillment are the biggest sacrifices. If you want to ensure that you reach the end of your life as a happy individual who’s made a positive impact on the world doing what you love most, get your hands on a copy of this book.
“Start” is a roadmap for a trip to awesomeness. Acuff shares what it takes to be personally and financially fulfilled no matter how many times you find yourself in the unemployment line or just bored with your line of work. He lays out the steps that all successful people have taken, like his mentor Dave Ramsey, and clearly articulates the path to achieve awesomeness (fair warning: awesome is his favorite word in this book and mentioned at least a thousand times).
Unfortunately, just like the dogma we’re fed as kids, the road to awesome isn’t that easy either:
“If it’s that easy to walk down the path though, if the steps are so clearly marked, why don’t more people do it? Well, the bad news is it’s not the only path on the map. And, like a back road through the mountains, the path to awesome is much narrower than the other, more common path.
Billions of people have traveled and continue to travel the other path, and it grows wider every year. The terrain is easy – grassy even – and after a brief incline it follows a safe and steady decline that mostly allows for casual coasting.
It sounds nice. It feels effortless when you’re on it.
The trouble is that on this wide path, you don’t end up at awesome. You just end up at old. This path is called “average.”
So how do you get to be old and awesome? Follow Acuff’s book. Come to terms with the fact that “retirement” is dead and most of us will need to reinvent ourselves at least a half dozen times throughout our lives. Being awesome means harnessing the power of technology and the Internet to learn, to showcase your expertise to the world, to do good by helping others with the activities that rock your world and boost your bank account.
“Regardless of your age or station in life, it all comes down to one simple truth: you just have to start.”
Acuff is a witty, funny author with a razor-sharp style that encourages full-speed ahead reading. He takes you by the hand and guides you through the trajectory of a successful career and life by breaking up the road to awesome into five key areas
- Learning: Educating yourself about pursuits that bring fulfillment, not just money
- Editing: Winnowing down the activities that rock your world
- Mastering: Fine tuning your talents
- Harvesting: Reaping the benefits of your accomplishments in both personal and financial aspects
- Guiding: Giving back, passing on what you’ve learned to others
You’ll laugh out loud more than once, especially when he humorously but humbly describes his own less-than-successful career moves like stealing money from his grandma’s church or losing over 20,000 Facebook fans after he neglected to maintain the group that launched his career. Using what he’s learned, Acuff teaches you how to dream, but “dream honestly” so you can pursue your life’s passions without sacrificing your career employer, friends and family’s needs.
“Anyone can dream. It’s the doing that’s such a hassle.”
You’ll love the practical advice to help you discover if you’re really following your dreams or just talking about it. Tips such as
- Survey the seven key areas of your life: physical, spiritual, financial, family, social, intellectual and career. Which ones feel average?
- Do a seventy-two hour audit, writing down the thirty-minute chunks of time you spend over a three-day period [two weekdays and one weekend day]).
- Answer the question: “If I died today, what would I regret not being able to do?” Write down one to five answers, then ask yourself, “Are those the things I’m spending time doing right now?”
- Ask this question first: “What gives me the most joy?” Don’t ask, “What am I good at right now?” or “What will make the most money?” or “What will cause the least inconvenience in my life?”
- Create a list of people who are doing what you’d like to do. Research one to three things from each of these people that you can incorporate into your own road to awesome.
“Start” isn’t the kind of book you finish and forget about. It’s a reference book for the rest of your life, for every time that a little voice whispers in your head “Am I awesome . . . . or just average?”
If you’re here, I know that you aren’t average. “Get this book. Read it. Live it. Pass it on. Repeat.