When I made the commitment to go “all in” last year and really throw myself into chasing the dreams that I had ignored for so long, I did it with more of a path than a destination. I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted to end up. I hadn’t really established a clear finish line. Instead it was more of a “I’ll know it when I get there.” I just knew I was ready to begin the journey and I had a vague idea of how I’d arrive.
I had 40 years of thoughts and ideas all trapped in my head and heart and something inside me kept saying that they were worth sharing. With all of the trials and tribulations that I’d wandered through, I knew there was someone out there who was going through the same thing and wanted or maybe even needed to hear from someone who owned those shoes. I knew that just putting it out there in the universe for someone to find during those times had value. I knew that I had something worth saying. But, for years I continued to put it off. I continued to ignore the dream and the path that I knew was right.
That is, until I made the “toughest easy decision” in my life. The decision to start.
Easy because even a child’s common sense tells us that every journey starts somewhere. Nothing worthwhile in life just happens. You’ve got to make the decision to start down that path.
But at the same time tough because every new beginning… every decision to start… begins with a face-to-face standoff with the greatest enemy in our lives… fear.
When I started to unwrap my personal story here on the site, It didn’t take me long to realize that fear really played a starring role in my story up to this point. The more I wrote and shared, the more I heard back from others about the same fear constantly popping up in theirs. No matter what the script looked like, fear made an appearance at some point in the story. Fear is kind of the Morgan Freeman of our personal biopic.
But… there’s hope.
Jon Acuff, someone who I’ve spoke about on a few occasions and credited with really helping me find my way to chasing my dream with his last book Quitter, has decided in his new book START to do something that we’ve all dreamed about – Punch Fear In The Face.
(Editor’s Note: Please do not mix my analogies and attempt to punch Morgan Freeman in the face. Your cooperation is appreciated.)
START, which was released this week, is Jon’s latest message for so many of us out there who are sick and tired of the average lives that we’ve found ourselves seemingly stuck in because of fear. As he says in the book, “…fear will always see you as wholly unqualified for anything you ever dream or attempt.”
Someone reading your mail?
Fear that we’re too old to chase our dreams.
Fear that we’re too dumb to chase our dreams.
Fear that we’re being selfish to even want to chase our dreams.
Fear is controlling our decision to stay average.
START takes you down a path and introduces us to the stages that we all go through in chasing a dream and does a fantastic job putting a name on them. Like a life-sized game of Candyland, Jon takes us through these five distinct lands along our path “from average to awesome” and calls out the important points and pitfalls of each.
The journey starts at LEARNING, where we’re all asked to do the work. No one is born an expert. The greatest virtuoso in the world had to put in the time here first.
From there we move to EDITING. We accumulate so much knowledge and so many skills during LEARNING that often there’s too much to carry down the road. That’s why we need to take the time to figure out exactly what needs to come with us the rest of the way. It’s here that we figure out what what we need to continue down the path and what’s slowing us down.
MASTERING comes next and this is where we ask average to go home. If we want to make it to awesome, it’s here that we put it the time. It’s not good enough to be good enough. You keep pushing until it’s great.
From there we move to HARVESTING where we start to see the fruits of our labor. You’ve mastered what it takes to fulfill your dream, but this is where so many people think the voyage ends. They’re satisfied to just sit back and eat the fruit today without ever thinking about tomorrow.
But, those who push on, finally make it to the fifth land, the land of GUIDING. The wise man doesn’t just just eat the fruit of his labor, he plants the seeds so that the fruit is always plentiful. During this stage, you share your story. This is where you use your experience to help the people that are still on the road. Your journey doesn’t only have to impact you. That is how you get to awesome.
Now… here’s the part where you’re saying to yourself, “That’s great, Clay, but I’m 55, worked the same job for 30 years and I’m just counting the days until retirement. I’m too close to the finish to start now.”
That’s absolutely the conventional wisdom. You start learning in your 20’s and, God willing, by 60 you’re ready to eat the fruit.
Conventional wisdom is average.
It’s never too late to chase awesome.
We don’t look at our children and say, “I really hope Junior has an average life.”
NO! We want awesome for them…. you should want to the same for yourself.
I don’t do reviews on this site. If I’m sharing something with you it’s because I believe it in. START is something that is more than a concept that I believe in. It’s the life that I’m living. It may not have all of the answers for you, but it’s a great place to start.