Turning that last page of a great book is both satisfying and a bit sad. Satisfying in that I have gained so much insight and empowerment in reading Jon Acuff’s Do Over. Sad in that I will miss this super-practical literary journey with Acuff. Such a great read and such a fascinating journey. Looking forward to your next project, Jon.
[Jon Acuff’s words are in italics or bold font. Enjoy.]
Jon starts his section on hustle with a quote by Jack Gilbert: “Music is in the piano only when it is played.” Writing as a not-so-musical member of a musical family, I resonate with this.
In Do Over, hustle is defined as “shorthand for ‘work hard’. Hustle is not just something we add to our Career Savings Account. It is something that multiples everything else we have in it.”
Remember Jon’s formula in Do Over:
(Relationships + Skills + Character) x Hustle = Career Savings Account
To apply hustle, you need grit, flexibility and awareness. As I plowed through Jon Acuff’s writing on hustle, it became very clear that to go after our dreams we have to let go of fear and doubt, all the “what-if’s”, and take hold of what we have to do to get us where we hope to go. It’s work. It’s doable, but we can’t go into it half-way. It takes grit.
“Fear hates hustle. Nothing enrages fear like deciding to actually work hard…Grit is being stubborn in the face of fear. Grit is believing in can when can’t is loud.” – Jon Acuff
Stephen Pressfield says, “The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist.” (p. 213)
Photo Credit: nathanmillsguitar.com
Flexibility enters in when you refuse to have a narrow view of perfection or success. Instead of believing fear’s lie of “I don’t have what it takes,” flexibility gives you the courage to say, “I have what it takes to try.”
“Fear is not the same thing as regret. Regret is a small stream that cuts a canyon into your heart slowly over time. Will you face the fear of today or the regret of forever? Will you attack your fear of failure, maybe even fail and try again?” – Jon Acuff
Make Grit Decisions.
Here is what Jon says every grit decision needs:
- Time – we think the world “hustle” has to mean fast, but it can also mean focus, intention, pace.
- Counsel – Lean on your relationships. Some of the worst decisions are made alone. Who are your advocates? Have you given them time to reflect on it or are you rushing right by the wisdom they have to offer? Let them speak into it. A year from now, looking back on the decision, you’ll be glad you made it as a team.
- Questions – Always ask awesome opportunities, awesome questions. We skimp on due diligence. “What am I not seeing right now?”
- Kindness – Give yourself permission to make the wrong decision, because…you’re going to. Break the tension of feeling like you’re going to be perfect by giving yourself some kindness from the outset.
- Honesty – When you look back on a decision, remember that you made that decision with the best information you had at the time.
Acuff encourages the reader to build a Grit List – those things you may not want to do but you know they are the things that will get you in position to take advantage of that career opportunity (stronger relationships, sharpened skills, deeper character). For Jon, one of those things was e-mail. He reconciled the hard work of writing and responding to e-mail in a wise and timely fashion. What would be on your Grit List?
Be aware. “The first half of hustle is addition [new relationships, new skills and new character], but you don’t get to add anything to your life unless you remove something else…You’ll need to find space in your life. “
Photo Credit: acuff.me
My husband says, “Whenever you say yes to something, you have to say no to something else.” What will you say no to, to say yes to this?
In review, at some point during your career you will:
- Hit a Career Ceiling and get stuck, requiring sharp skills to free yourself.
- Lose a job unexpectedly, or need one upon graduating, requiring strong relationships to survive.
- Make a Career Jump, requiring solid character to navigate the chaos that jumps always generate.
- And finally, in the case of hustle, you will get a surprise opportunity you didn’t see coming, requiring smart hustle to make the most of it. In moments like that, you’ll need awareness to recognize what to do, grit to actually do it and flexibility to respond to the surprises.
Jon tells story after story in his section on Hustle about ordinary people who overcame their fears and doubts and worked hard to have the careers they wanted. “Every Do Over avoided because of fear fails. Hustle, grit, and flexibility is ‘crawling through a window when the door is slammed shut.'”
“Let no one be deluded that a knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other.” – Mary Caroline Richards
Why not me? Why not now? Why not here?
“You really think you can do this?” You’ve probably asked yourself that question. Fear loves that question. On a walk in the woods, on a calm spring day I answered it for myself. “Apparently, I can.”
Finally Jon Acuff looks us straight in the eye, kindly, and says, “I think that can be your answer too. Do you think you can have a Do Over?
Apparently, you can.
[Buy Jon’s book, subscribe to his blog, follow him on Facebook and Twitter, listen to his podcasts. I don’t say this casually. He has won an audience by doing all the hard things he encourages the reader to do and then sharing what he’s learned for pennies when you think how much your life is worth. I’m on my own Do Over. Going for it. Thanks again, Jon.]
Photo Credit: SmartCreativeWomen.com