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Monthly Sponsor Spotlight: An interview with Jon Acuff, author of START

Monthly Sponsor Spotlight: An interview with Jon Acuff, author of START

We’re excited to be promoting START by Jon Acuff as one of our featured monthly sponsors in August. We had the opportunity to interview Jon and get to know him a little more recently:

Jon, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a writer and speaker.

Before I started working for Dave Ramsey, I was what my wife called a “Serial Quitter.” I had eight jobs in eight years. I would leave one job for the next not really knowing what I was going after. After realizing that the common denominator was me, I knew I needed to do something different.

I have always had a passion for writing and speaking. In 2008, I started a blog in my kitchen called Stuff Christians Like. I didn’t expect it to grow as quickly as it did.

Then, I thought it would be interesting to write a book, and I began doing more speaking. After speaking to Dave Ramsey’s team a few times, and interacting with his company on a regular basis, he asked me to join his team in 2010.

Tell us about your latest book, START, and specifically how it applies to moms?

The book started after I had a conversation with a grandmother on a plane. She asked me, “What do you do when all your excuses for not chasing your dream are gone?”

It was a profoundly sad moment, because for the first time she was looking back on her life and realizing it had passed her by. I started wondering how I could avoid the same situation. How could I get to 80 and not look back on life and realize I had missed my purpose?

I’ve found that a lot of moms give up on their dreams because they don’t think they have time, or they’re afraid to take a chance. START shows people how they can live the lives they want to live, whether they have a family or full-time job, and how they can include their family in their dreams.

A lot of people don’t start on their dreams because they don’t have time. What would you say to that?

I hear all too often that “I’m just too busy” or “If only there was more time in the day.” Well, I’ll tell you where you can find more time. Wake up at 5:00 a.m. every morning before your kids and spouse wake up. Or stay up an extra 30 minutes.

If you’re going to go after your dream, then you have to carve time out in your day. If your dream isn’t worth 30 minutes, you’ve either got the wrong dream or you’re just pretending you have one.

For those who have recently lost a job, or have a spouse that lost a job, how can they stay encouraged?

First, remember that you lost your job, not your identity. Fear and doubt try to make you think you lost who you are, but you can still be a great wife, a great husband, a great friend, or anything else.

Next, make finding a job your new job. Don’t ever think as yourself as jobless. Finding a job is your full-time, forty-hour-a-week job. Use social media and get plugged in with a community of people.

Remember, this is just a season. And although it may take longer that we want, it will come to a conclusion.

Many people have dreams, but don’t have the resources to fund them. How can they go after their dream if that’s the case?

When I started my blog, I didn’t have a fancy design or photos. I used a free template. With the free technology we have at our hands, anyone can play. Moms are making thousands on blogs, and teenagers are starting businesses on Facebook.

But social media isn’t a silver bullet. Start small. If you’re realistic about your present circumstances, you’ll know whether you should invest the time and money into your dream.

Money is certainly a legitimate obstacle to your ability to pursue your dream, but it doesn’t have to be. If you approach money in the right way, it will fund and fuel your dream, not curb it.

Fear plays a large part in people’s decisions, especially when starting something new. How can people overcome fear?

I’ve found that the voice of fear only gets loud when you’re doing something that matters (click here to tweet this!). There are a lot of haters out there, and a lot of things that will try to crush your dream, including your own voices of fear.

When people are dealing with fear, I tell them to do two things. First, write your fears down. The minute you see your fears on paper, you usually realize how stupid they are. Second, share them with others. Fear and doubt like to make you feel alone. Find someone who can help you see what’s really going on and can encourage you.

You talk a lot about purpose. How does someone find their purpose?

One of the worst things people can do is try to find their purpose in life. Not only does it put tremendous pressure on you, but it also paralyzes you and prevents you from starting on anything else. The problem is that we think our purpose has to be perfect and that we only get one.

I’m not a fan of finding your purpose, I’m a fan of living with purpose. Purpose is not a final destination. You don’t have to know the finish line before you cross the starting line. Purpose is attracted to motion, and if you start where you are you’ll probably encounter purpose when you least expect it.

How can we stay focused and encouraged on what you would call “the road to awesome?”

It’s possible to honor all of your commitments even while you completely change your life, but it will take some hustle. Anyone can be average, but if you’re going to be awesome you’re going to have to work hard, sacrifice, and do it with energy and enthusiasm.

Don’t wait to start on your dream. Start where you are, and start today.

To learn more about Jon and START, head over to Jon’s website.

Interested in becoming a monthly sponsor or advertising with us? Find more details here.

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  • Guest says:

    Two quotes that I love from this post:

    “I’m not a fan of finding your purpose, I’m a fan of living with purpose.” This resonates so clearly with me. In my experience, it can be paralyzing to try to figure out your perfect purpose. Instead, keep moving by making thoughtful decisions and living in line with your values and beliefs. That’s where the opportunities are.

    “Fear and doubt like to make you feel alone.” Wow. This is so absolutely true. I love the fear is false evidence appearing real. When you talk to other people you often realize that what you’re fearing isn’t actually true or realistic.

    • Carrie says:

      Yes this! I loved that too. It can be paralyzing and overwhelming to worry about finding your perfect dream. But if you just start doing stuff, you’ll find your purpose. So freeing!

  • Kim D. says:

    Thanks for sharing this interview. There are so many important truths here. I needed to be reminded of them today!!

  • Jana @ Jana Says says:

    Thanks for sharing this interview! Jon’s books have been a huge inspiration to me in finding my way on the road to awesome. I keep taking wrong turns but I know it’s all part of the journey.

    I love the philosophy of “start where you are, and start today”. It’s so simple yet so profound and inspiring. It’s the attitude I’ve taken with my mentoring program and other projects and it works. Have a plan, have goals. But just start.

  • Julie says:

    I read Jon’s Start book at the end of June, and had to go get a pen to underline & make notes in the margin. Fabulous read! Really made me re-evaluate some things.

  • Ruth says:

    I gotta say, I’m a little jealous that you got to interview Jon Acuff! Love hearing him speak, love his books, love his message. Awesome.

    • Crystal says:

      I’m a HUGE fan of Jon and have been so inspired by him! (And PSST! for those who don’t have START yet, we’re giving away some copies tomorrow!)

  • stephanie @ Housewife Mama says:

    I own Start and haven’t started reading it yet. (Sigh). I think maybe its because I don’t know what I am afraid of starting. Am I the only one confused by what I just said?!

  • Lora C says:

    I am going to have to buy this book and read it after I finish Jeff Goins’s book. Thank you for bringing these great resources to our attention. I got so much out of the interview!!!! I know the book will be a tremendous blessing!!! Thanks again for all that you do!!!!

  • Andrea says:

    We just started a new series at church called START.NOW inspired by this book! I bought it and am currently reading it! So excited!

  • Carrie says:

    I have been on a Jon Acoff kick lately. I read 3 of his books this month and am really enjoying his blog.

    A few things I love about the book Start: 1) His advice about ignoring the voices that tell you negative things about your dream 2) Being selfish at 5 AM. I’ve been getting up at 5 lately to work on my business.

    There’s much more of course…

  • Kaitlin says:

    I read this interview yesterday and automatically had a strong response. I recently started a blog to find my purpose – so it made me feel bad when I read that that is “one of the worst things” I could be doing. But it also inspired me to write a blog post and maybe organize what I am really doing. I’m not expecting a concrete, final answer and I guess just felt the need to clarify (for whatever it is worth!) But I’m hoping to get my hands on this book soon as it sound right up my alley! Thanks!

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