Show #416: Jon Acuff – Get a Career Do-Over

Show #416: Jon Acuff – Get a Career Do-Over

You WILL hit a career ceiling. You WILL experience a career bump. You WILL make a career jump. You WILL get a surprise career opportunity. The question is, will you handle these invariable transitions victoriously? Of course, because you’re going to listen to this show and Jon’s counsel…

Hi, everyone, this is Kevin, and this is Ziglar’s True Performance Show, episode 416. Today we have a guest who is a guy I’ve heard about for years. We have many mutual friends, but we’ve never met…till now. And…I’m inspired, folks. Tom and I just finished a great discussion with…Jon Acuff.

If you don’t know him, Jon Acuff is the New York Times bestselling author of five books, including his most recent, Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work and Never Get Stuck. This is our focus for today.

For 18 years he’s helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose, Staples, and the Dave Ramsey Team. Most recently, he’s spoken to hundreds of thousands of people across the country at events for companies such as Microsoft, Whirlpool, and Comedy Central. Featured regularly on national media, Jon has been seen on CNN, Fox News, Good Day LA, and several other key outlets. He's also written for Time, the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Reader's Digest, and MSNBC.

In addition, Jon is a big proponent of social media with blogs that have been read by four million people and more than 275,000 Twitter followers. In 2010 he used his influence with his tribe to build two kindergartens in Vietnam. Jon lives with his wife, Jenny, and two daughters in Franklin, Tennessee, my old home town for a decade before coming to Colorado.

When I told my dad, Dan Miller of, I’d scheduled the interview, he immediately replied back with a text showing me a pic of him and John at an event together just the night before.

This show is posting just in time for you to participate in John’s acclaimed “30 days of Hustle” course.

You can sign up for the
September 30 Days of Hustle course at

Ok, folks, if you’re ready…here we go!

Jon, thanks immensely for being with us today. You shared that…you had lunch with Zig and his wife years ago, and Zig gave you some tips about public speaking that were extremely helpful, and also gave great advice on balancing your family with your work/travel schedule that you still follow to this day. Tell us what that advice was.

>>Hear Jon’s response on the show

So, Jon, your new book is called Do Over.

How do you want to inspire The True Performance audience today?

>>Listen to Jon Acuff’s response on the program

Today I was trolling on your social media and you posted a question that I feel is a thread for all we’ll talk about today.

Quick question!

The older I get, the more I realize that often the things that hold me back the most are the broken beliefs I have about life. For example: Somewhere along the way, I started to believe that "success is bad." I associated shame with success and assumed being successful meant you became greedy, selfish, and arrogant. Consequently, when I would be on the verge of success, I tended to self-sabotage.

I'm curious. Have you ever done that? Have you ever believed the wrong thing about life or yourself?

Have you ever self-sabotaged? (I'd love to see your thoughts in the comments! Thanks!)

[Within the first hour of posting, you had 35 pretty heartfelt and deep comments where other people shared.]

In dissecting your book, am I safe in saying this is a root issue that shadows everything we do regarding our pursuits of personal progress?

>>Listen to Jon’s responses on the show

In your book, Do Over, right inside the front cover you say, “You already have everything you need for an amazing career. In fact, you’ve had it since day one. Starting on the first day you got paid to scoop ice cream or restock shelves, you’ve had the chance to develop the four elements all great careers have in common: relationships, skills, character, and hustle. You already have each of those, to one degree or another. Now it’s time to amplify them and apply them.”

I’m going to hone in on, “You’ve had the chance to develop the four essential elements.”

As you know, many are going about their daily jobs, simply…doing the job. And NOT developing beyond this.

So, for many, I’m guessing you find that your message is a wake-up call?

>>Hear Jon’s responses on the show

In your journey, when was your most difficult time, even if it ultimately resulted in the most growth and later strength and wisdom, when was the most initially difficult time and what led up to it?

>>Hear Jon Acuff’s comments on the program

All your experiences, they aren’t exclusive to you. What do you feel has caused you to be…hungry? Hungry enough to keep pushing? Your driver?

>>Listen to the program

I want to do a walk-through of your book, but on your upcoming “30 Days of Hustle Challenge” initiative. What is the primary action or perspective people need to embrace to get the most out of the challenge?

>> Listen to what Jon has to say on the show

In your book you walk us through four major career transitions you say we’ll all invariably face:

Investment #1 The Career Bump – Relationships investment – Who you know

“We don’t often spend intentional time building relationships because the return on investment doesn’t feel immediate or measurable enough.”

We grow up in families, we spend so many years in formal education, but here is a primary success ingredient – relationships -- that very, very few people are not only not taught, but seldom even made aware of. One of my fave books of all time is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

How were you made privy to this success key?

>>Listen to the show

What are some key resources, including your book, on understanding relationships?

>>Listen to Jon’s responses

For those who listen or read and want to criticize that the focus is having relationships that you can use for your own benefit…speak to that.

>>Listen to the show

Page 29, “People hate change. Upon being confronted with change, our first reaction is to brainstorm reasons it won’t work.”

Decisions. Instead of doing the hard work of thinking how we can say yes and make a decision to do, it’s easier, much less burdensome and risky to come up with a quick reason why we can’t.

You’re talking about a mindset, a new personal culture that you’d define as what, Jon. Growth?

>>Listen to what Jon has to say on the show

Investment #2 – Skills – What you do – Career Ceiling – Skills Investment
“Everybody wants to be somebody. Nobody wants to grow.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (might be the coolest name I’ve ever heard)

“Relationships get you the first gig, skills get you the second.”

Skills – We often think they are stamped on our birth certificate at the hospital; you were either born a musician or not. But every bit of research argues otherwise. They can be learned. They can be grown. They can be changed.

When asking people what their skills are, after citing Liam Neeson in Taken, many people would say one of two things:

  1. I don’t know what my skills are.
  2. I don’t have (m)any.

Talk to us about understanding what you mean by skills in relation to the other labels we throw around such as talents, gifts, abilities.

>>Hear Jon’s responses on the show

It made me think of mastery. We do this in sports, see where a kid is naturally inclined, then train them hard to excel. Sprinter, endurance, eye-hand coordination. But we generally try to find a degree focus, get our paper, then try to fit in a job that will pay us.

It feels as if you’re calling us all to a new, part-time job of mastering some skills that transcend our mere job roles.

>> Listen to the show

Investment #3 – Character – Who you are – Career Jump – Character investment

If relationships are who you know and skills are what you do, character is who you are.

We have personality tests to understand our inherent personality styles.
We can take inventory of our skills and better understand and grow them.
We can learn healthy relational attributes and better apply them.
But character…where is the tool or measurement to understand our character? And further…grow it?

>>Listen to Jon’s responses on the program

Investment #4 – Hustle – How You Work – Career Opportunity – Hustle Investment

We all like the idea of hustle. I own the movie Jerry McGuire, love it. But in real life, those who actually hustle and make things happen are few. What do you find is often at the root of our desire to hustle, but often produces lack of follow-through?

>>Hear the program now

Skills and hustle, master abilities, and work hard at them…seem easier.

But creating and fostering healthy relationships and having truly good character traits are about true heart and care.

If you’ve got five minutes in front of an audience of 30,000, which is how many will listen to this in the next four weeks, what is a primary focal point you want to call people to?

>>Listen to Jon’s responses and closing comments