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030: Tips on How to Finish What you Start and Punch Fear in the Face with Jon Acuff

Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of six books including his most recent, Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done. For 20 years he’s worked for some of the biggest brands in the world to tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose, and Staples. Most recently he’s spoken to hundreds of thousands of people across the country for companies such as Microsoft, Nissan, and Comedy Central. He’s also written for Time, the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Reader’s Digest, and MSNBC.

Top Takeaways:

  • “If you can’t see time, it’s fictional.” Jon talks the benefits of using a year-at-a-glance wall calendar.
  • Questions from your audience shouldn’t be seen as a sign of failure. Questions are guideposts for future content.
  • “Measure your hours, not your word count.” Creating content is a process. Don’t stunt your progress towards where you’re trying to get to by not appreciating how far you’ve come.

Show Notes:

[3:58] Jon explains why people don’t finish what they start and the role perfectionism plays.

[6:13] Done is better than perfect, and some is better than none.

[6:58] Find out what secret rules we follow that make us get in our own way for finishing the things we’ve started.

[9:16] The value of a year at a glance wall calendar “If I can’t see time, it’s fictional.”

[11:22] You have more time than you think. “Time won’t find you, you have to find time.”

[14:25] Humor can help humanize the story “It doesn’t mean a comedy skit. It means at the right time, you use humor to take the tension out of the room.”

[17:47 ] Jon talks about the career savings account from his book Do Over and explains how every career is a process of reinvention.

[21:00] How do you narrow down your list of topics and ideas for presentations when you have so much you want to say?

[23:27 ] Questions from your audience shouldn’t be seen as a sign of failure.

[25:07] Jon gives his opinion on what the young professionals of the industry can start doing now to be ready for the leadership positions down the road?

[27:50] The gingerbread method and how it can help you capture the moments from the day to use in your content.

[28:50 ] “Measure your hours, not your word count.”

[30:54] “Will you face the fear of today, or the regret of forever?” How you can begin to punch fear in the face.


Jon Acuff books we’ve read:

Start.: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters

Do Over: Make Today the First Day of Your New Career

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done

Jon’s book recommendations:

Longmire book series by Craig Johnson

Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny

This is Marketing by Seth Godin


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