Book Review: START by Jon Acuff

“Punch Fear in the Face.”

“Do Work that Matters.”

“Escape Average.”

Essentially, Start by Jon Acuff is a motivational book that forces you to look at what you are doing and make changes that will help you become awesome instead of average.  I got a lot from this book, but one of the biggest things is the importance of being awesome.  

What does it mean to be Awesome?  Does it mean that you need to change jobs?  Being awesome does not mean that you need to change jobs.  You can just go from an average employee to an awesome employee.  The awesome employee is the employee who is noticed.  The average employee is not noticed.  So, go above and beyond at work.  Take tasks that other people don’t want.  Your bosses will notice and these items will make you a better person.  It’s also important to remember how important it is to remain awesome in other parts of your life.  Don’t let awesome at work make you an average spouse/parent at home.  You want to be awesome in all aspects of your life and the most important one is to be awesome with your family.  

What does it mean to be awesome at home?  It means taking the time to spend time with your family.  Go for a bike ride or a walk with your spouse and just talk.  Taking a Saturday afternoon, dropping all work and spending time with your kids.  Go on date nights with your spouse.  Take time to listen and talk to your family.  Eat dinner every night with your family and turn the TV off, so there can be conversations.  These are examples of things that you can do to become awesome at home. 

What if I no longer like my job?  Well, you can make a change by just ‘Starting.’  Jon talks about the importance of always starting and never getting complacent.  You can start a side business, while continuing to work at your current job.  You could start taking classes in something that will lead you towards your goal.  Notice, I used the word ‘goal.’  Goal setting is important, because you have to have a goal or a dream to start a new career.  This goal will get you started on the path to a new career.  Start listening to podcasts that focus on your new found career goal.  Learn as much as possible and start applying for a new job.  You just have to take a jump and go for it. 

Jon talked about how some people avoid awesome, because of fear.  This fear stops people from making a change.  They are afraid of starting a new job.  They are afraid of starting a side business.  They are afraid of what people will think of their dream job.  They are afraid that they aren’t skilled enough.  All these things deter you from becoming awesome.  You will remain average because fear will keep you average.  Does anybody want to be average?  Not me, I want to be awesome!  I am taking a chance!  I am going for it.  That’s why I started this blog.  I want to help people become better at handling money and I eventually want to become a financial coach.  I am hoping to start this business by blogging about finances on this website.  This is my ‘new start.’  I am in my sixth year as a teacher and that is what I know, but I want more freedom in my work schedule and therefore I have created this website to hopefully give me this freedom.  Could I have let fear scare me away from starting this website?  Yes, I could have, but I believe that my story is worth telling and there are lot’s of people who need to make better choices on handling money.

This book talks about more than just starting.  It talks about steps in starting a new career.  These steps take you from the beginning of a career to the end of a career.  The steps are:

  1. Start
  2. Learning
  3. Editing
  4. Mastering 
  5. Harvesting 
  6. Guiding

These steps all make sense, and Jon explains multiple great examples about each of these steps in becoming awesome.  I will give a brief description of each, but if you are interested in learning more, then you should read this book.  Starting is when you make a decision to change your career and ready to make a change.  Learning is the process where you will be learning about your new career.  Editing is taking what you have learned and mistakes that you have made along the way and tweeking them to make your new career better.  Mastering is the point at which you have learned and edited to the point that you are now a master in the profession.  Harvesting is the point where you need to continue improving on what you have already built.  In this stage, you can’t just get complacent and expect things to get easy.  Harvesting is hard work to keep up with what you took so long to build.  Finally, guiding is the point at which you help guide someone starting out like you were years ago.  Your guidance will help this person grow into the person that they were meant to be.

The most important sentence of the book came on the last page of the last chapter.  

It simply reads, “Start again.”  

That sentence is important, because it shows the importance of continuing to learn and continuing to push yourself towards awesome.  This idea can be applied to all things in your life.  If you are currently average in anything, you just have to start doing something that will push you towards awesome.  What does this look like?  Below are a few examples.

If you are trying to get out of debt, but are struggling to get any traction, then start doing something that will help you get traction.  Just pay $5 or $10 extra dollars a month on your smallest debt.  This will help you slowly start paying that debt down, but you started and by starting you can always increase the amount that you are paying extra, but you won’t want to decrease.  You could also start working a second job to help you get that traction that you need.  It all comes down to starting, because starting will allow you to become better with money.

If you are trying to save some money, but you find it difficult to find any room in the budget.  Start taking $5, $10, $50, or even $100 and taking that amount directly out of your paychecks monthly.  Just start by saving a little.  You can always increase how much your are saving monthly, but all you need to do is start.

If you have an average marriage, then you need to start spending more time with each other.  Turn the TV off for at least 30 minutes and talk.  Go on date nights.  Go on weekend get-a-ways.   Everyone should want an awesome relationship with their spouse, so start making a point to make it awesome!

Personally for me, I am an average Bible reader.  My goal is to read it everyday, but I have been slacking on reading the Bible.  So, I think that I could start by trying to read the Bible twice a week and then push it three times a week.  I want to be an awesome follower of God and to do this I need to be reading the Bible daily.

All of these examples are some possible ways that you could start improving your life.  There are many other examples and I strongly suggest reading this book to get motivated to change your life from average to awesome.