All It Takes Is A Goal

ATG 1: 5 Ways To Do Terrifying Things

January 11, 2021 Jon Acuff Season 1 Episode 1
All It Takes Is A Goal
ATG 1: 5 Ways To Do Terrifying Things
Chapters
All It Takes Is A Goal
ATG 1: 5 Ways To Do Terrifying Things
Jan 11, 2021 Season 1 Episode 1
Jon Acuff

One of the few things that every goal has in common is that to accomplish it, you have to do terrifying things. You have to get outside the proverbial comfort zone. Here are the 5 steps I use and why they helped me recently with surfing legend Laird Hamilton.

Follow Jon on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

Order Soundtracks, Jon's newest book available wherever you find quality books!

Show Notes Transcript

One of the few things that every goal has in common is that to accomplish it, you have to do terrifying things. You have to get outside the proverbial comfort zone. Here are the 5 steps I use and why they helped me recently with surfing legend Laird Hamilton.

Follow Jon on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

Order Soundtracks, Jon's newest book available wherever you find quality books!

Jon Acuff:

I can't explain how excited I am to have sponsors for this podcast, because that means that I get to make a lot more episodes. So, about six months ago, a friend of mine at Medi-Share reached out and said, "Hey, let's have a phone call and see if we're both cool." That's not exactly what her email said, but that was the gist. We wanted to check in and see if either one of us was working on something cool. And if it made sense to partner together. It was an awesome conversation where we kicked around a ton of ideas. And then toward the end of the call, he said, Hey, do you have anything new coming out that you'd like help with? At which point I said, as a matter of fact, I have a brand new podcast!" Fast-forward one global pandemic, and today I get to tell you about my friends at Medishare.com. Now we all know that health care costs are a challenge for most Americans. But what you may not know is that members of Medi-Share save up to 50% or more per month on their health care costs. You heard me right. Their monthly health care costs are cut in half, just by switching to Medi-Share. The typical family saves up to $500 per month. Health care was one of the things that scared me the most when I decided to start my own business and work full-time for myself. Jenny used to joke, sort of, "Hey, Jon, um, make sure you don't get hurt out of network. We can't really afford that." You know you're in trouble when your health care plan is, "Hey, just try to be extra careful when you leave Nashville." If this is the first time you're hearing about Medi-Share, here's

a quick summary:

It is an affordable ministry-based alternative to health insurance that allows members to share one another's medical bills, offers access to 900,000+ health care providers and has a proven 25 year track record. A quarter-century of expertise is one of those things that helps you sleep a lot better at night. They have a huge community of over 400,000 members nationwide, that is there for you when you need it the most. If you're a mom, a dad, a small business owner, a single adult, or a senior,Medi-Share has an affordable health care option that will work for your budget. Medi-Share is not insurance and their members say it's better. I agree. Now if you want to start saving hundreds of dollars per month, you need to take a look at Medi-Share. It only takes two minutes to see how much you could save. Health care can be a confusing, scary, isolating, and expensive experience. But it doesn't have to be. Check out Medi-Share today. To quickly see your savings with Medi-Share. Text JON, that's J-O-N to 474747. There's no H in Jon. I just want to point that out again. It's text J-O-N to 474747. J-O-N to 474747. And huge thank you to Medi-Share for being my very first podcast sponsor. That means the world to me. Hey, everyone and welcome to the All It Takes Is A Goal podcast. I'm your host Jon Acuff and I am a goal nerd. I'm probably more of a nerd nerd than I even know. Because if you ever hung out in my office, you'd probably say, "You, you sure do have a lot of comic books and LEGO sets in here." It's true. But more than that, my walls are covered with goals I'm working on, my shelves are piled with notebooks full of goals, and my mini dry erase board that sits on the corner of my desk always has a list of things I'm hustling on that day. I love goals. Why? Because I think they are the fastest path between where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. That sounds a bit like something you'd read on a mug at Acuff Ideas LLC, which by the way is the name of my company. So let

me, let me say it this way:

Finishing a goal feels ah-mazing! I remember the first time I played Ultimate Frisbee when I was in college. My roommates Stu, people who are named Stu have at least a 78% chance of being awesome at Frisbee, asked me to join his team. I'd never played before, but I own a Frisbee so I thought, "How hard could that be?" The answer is very, very hard. But I would say the phrase "How hard could that be?" has gotten me into a lot of adventures. With Ultimate Frisbee, you're constantly running. It feels like you've never stopped running. You'll sprint down the entire length of a football field and then someone on your team will drop the Frisbee, which means you have to sprint the other direction. It was a cold, muddy day in February and we were playing in BUDA. The Birmingham Ultimate Disc Association League. You see what they did there? BUDA. It's a play on words. And I was terrible. I fell more than I ran, I didn't score at all, and at one point, I threw up on the sideline because I was so out of shape. Who throws up from Frisbee? Right? I mean, of the sports you would list as "This might end up in you throwing up" Frisbee should not be on that list but yet that's exactly what I did. But I had the biggest smile on my face as we drove away and Stu's beat up Oldsmobile with the blue interior, because I had done it. I had a goal to try Ultimate Frisbee, and I accomplished it. I was exhausted, but elated. I love that feeling exhausted, but elated. It's how I felt when I finished my goal to run 1000 miles in a year in 2019. It took me until December 18, which is the day before my birthday, just in case you're playing along at home. I love when people post on social media, "I just want to thank everyone for mentioning my birthday today." Because it's such a subtle way to get more people to go "Oh, it's your birthday? I didn't know!" "I didn't know you didn't know!" Okay. But I remember that day, December 18, I still remember exactly where I was, it was a Wednesday, and I was cutting through a neighborhood near my house, and I shouted out loud when I crossed that imaginary finish line. And it's not just physical goals that feel amazing. I've written seven books. And the best feeling in the world is when you finally get to hold your book in your hands. Not the printed manuscript, not a mock-up of the cover. I'm talking about the moment UPS drops off a box on your doorstep and you rip into it and you get to hold this thing. This thing that took you years to create. I've only had that moment seven times in my life. Well, technically six, because I haven't held the seventh book yet. But it's been worth every sleepless night, every early morning, every round of edits, every tsunami of creative doubt. It's worth it. I want that feeling for you. I want you to have that moment a lot. I want to help you cross the finish line of whatever goal you care about. And I know you can! How do I know? Because you send me the most amazing packages, emails, and direct messages. For example, I have an entire bookshelf of books you've written in my office. You've read one of my books, figured out how to finish your own, and then you did it! And then you mailed me a copy! I have stacks of invitations to your graduations for your doctorate programs or the undergrad you finished. You sent me photos of your weight loss, your cleaned out attic, your sales numbers for the business you started. You've allowed me to celebrate 1000s of wins with you over the last decade. And in many ways, I think we're just getting started. That's why I'm doing this podcast. Because if there's one thing I've learned about goals over the years, it's that the future belongs to finishers. Each episode will be about 15 to 20 minutes long. Unless I'm interviewing someone, I could see those episodes being a little bit longer. In this first episode, I want to talk about shortcuts. Why? Because everyone says that they don't exist, and I think everyone is wrong. We've been told for years that there aren't any shortcuts, right? Here are just a few of the quotes I found about shortcuts. "There are no shortcuts to success." I'm going to read quotes in that voice so that you can distinguish. It's kind of like, imagine all-caps. That's my all-cap voice. I'm still figuring out this podcast thing, so I don't know if you're supposed to have different voices where it's like, "This is my italics voice." or "This is my all caps..." Let's just go with it. "There are no shortcuts to success." "There are no shortcuts in the quest for perfection." "There are no shortcuts to any place worth going." "A shortcut is the longest distance between two points." "Shortcuts aren't always." I like that one. It's like a riddle. "Shortcuts aren't always." "There are no shortcuts in life. Only those we imagine." And perhaps my my personal favorite, "If you take shortcuts, you get cut short." You know Who said that? Gary Busey. And he was in Point Break, so I tend to take anything he says very seriously. The evidence is mounting. If everyone is saying there are any shortcuts, it must be true, right? Only, I get really resistant when everyone says the same exact thing. I get really curious when people tell me to "go with the flow." I tend to dig my feet in when people tell me something has to be done the same exact way everyone else has done it. What if there were shortcuts? What if there were dozens, maybe even hundreds of better ways to accomplish a goal. But all this time, we've just been listening to the people who came before us, and assuming we had to take the same, long way they did. What if the planet was crawling with shortcuts? Do you feel a little guilty about the word "shortcut?" Right now, is it making your skin crawl a little? Are you remembering every coach, boss, or parent who told you, "There are no shortcuts in life." That's all-cap again. Fine, fine. That's fine. Just promise me you'll stop using Google. The next time you need to know something, write The Library of Congress a letter. On paper. With a stamp you have to lick with your own naked tongue. Those sticker stamps are a shortcut. That's essentially what the Wright brothers had to do in order to find somewhere to test their planes. They wrote the US Weather Bureau in Washington D.C. and asked where the best wind in the country was. A bureaucrat did some research, pulled together some reports, and then wrote them back. After they pored over the data, they picked Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Next, they wrote the postmaster there to inquire about what the island was really like. Then, they waited for his response. The process took forever, at least by our standards today, because now we've got shortcuts. Asking a Martha's Vineyard local for a beach recommendation is a shortcut. The answer, by the way, is Tashmoo. That's the best beach. We only found that out because we asked the owner of the Airbnb. We said, "What's the best beach on the island?" Because if you've never been to Martha's Vineyard, it's massive. It's gigantic. It's not like Wings. Remember, the show Wings? Ah, so good. That was about Nantucket. Martha's Vineyard is huge. And so when we stayed there, one week, my family and I said to the owner, "What's your favorite beach?" And she said, "Oh, it's Tashmoo. Let me draw you a map." And she drew us a map and it was one of those, like, maps that involves multiple dirt roads, where you think, "This is totally going to end in a meth lab and me getting bit by at least an above-average size Rottweiler." Like because we kept turning off a dirt roads going deeper into the woods, deeper into the woods, and then all of a sudden, it opened up into this tiny little beach parking lot with only three spaces. And this little cove that was two or three feet deep and you could dig clams and it was amazing. She gave me a shortcut. Turning WiFi off on your laptop when you need to focus on something is a shortcut. Refusing to keep ice cream in your house when you're trying to lose weight is a shortcut. The best ice cream on the planet in my opinion is Blue Bell's Cookie Two Step. I don't I don't want to hear any other arguments, you can take that to the grave, it's Cookie Two Step. It's the best. Those are shortcuts. Every goal has shortcuts. For example, let's say that you need to do something you're afraid of. That's one of the few things that every goal has in common. You'll need to do some scary things. You'll have to step out of your comfort zone and do something that feels awkward, challenging, or maybe even downright terrifying. There's something you've been putting off in your life right now. Maybe it's a difficult conversation. You're long overdue for a promotion at work, but you keep saying bring it up next month, and the next month turns into next month, which turns into next year. Maybe you know, you're supposed to start a business. But every time you think about charging somebody for something that you've made, or a service that you offer, you freeze up. You feel fine donating your time, but that charging threshold feels impossible breakthrough. That's a big threshold for so many entrepreneurs. Maybe you know you're supposed to write a book, but the blank page feels like this big pale monster every time you sit down. We all have things we're afraid of. I had to deal with one of mine recently, I have a new book coming out about overthinking it's called Soundtracks and you can preorder it in the show notes. Publishing a book has roughly two parts. Number one, writing the book. Seems pretty obvious. Number two, selling the book. Each one is challenging, but I see so many authors get lost on the second part. They don't want to come off as too self-promotional. So they release a book and then they never talk about it. By the way, the only people who are worried about being too self-promotional are never the people who are too self-promotional. The people who are too self-promotional. Never worry about that. They're just out there, like, slamming their stuff into people's like h ouses, like "Buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff!" Those people are too self-promotional. If you're even asking the question, "I don't want to be too self-promotional. What do I do?" You're probably in a pretty good place. I always tell authors like that, "Well, the next time, don't release a book, write a diary." You never have to promote or pitch or sell a diary. You just write your thoughts down. You put it on your nightstand and then you have a sip of Sleepytime xtra-strength tea with extra alerian before a long winter's ight slumber. That tea is my am. I long to attain the level f peace that bear on the box eems to have. But that's easier aid than done. Right? specially if selling your book s one of your fears. One of ine is asking people to endorse y book. Why is that so hard? ecause it feels a bit like the dult version of asking someone o the prom. Do you remember oing that when you were in high chool? Was that fun? If you ould do it 20 or 30 times would ou think, "Yay?" And by the wa , if you're my age, I'm 45, ow glad Are you that prom propos ls didn't exist, or prom-p sals, didn't exist when your k d? Ugh! We just walked up to pe ple and said, "Will you go t the prom with me?" and we di n't have to rent like a hot air balloon, and like the Blue Ang ls, and shoot confetti cannons, nd didn't have to have a hash ag, it like we got off so easy, ut it's awkward to ask people to endorse your book. Now that mi ht not seem like a fear to you. That's what's interesting about fear. It's different to every person. I remember I used to do this thing called the 5am Club. And it was really simple. We get up at 5am and I teach a lesson and we'd encourage people, and like a lot of people to get up and hustle on goals with me. It was really fun, but it was too early. 5am is really early. And I asked about, "What are some things you're afraid of?" and this woman in the front row said, "I'm afraid of driving over bridges." That's not one of my fears. But it would be dumb for me to go, "That's easy. I can drive over bridges all the time, I'm amazing at bridges. I'm the best of bridges!" That would be dumb because that's not my fear, that's her fear. Fear is personal. So right now you might be listening to this going, "Oh, poor baby, you have to ask people to endorse your book, the book, you wrote that somebody paid you to write. Oh, wah and wah!" I get it, but fear is personal. So your fears won't match mine and, and vice versa. So I have to do this. Only in this case, I'm not asking someone to the prom. I'm asking someone to put their name on something that it took me years to create. Something that despite every obstacle that mounts itself against publication, I wrestled to completion. 81% of American adults want to write a book, according to the New York Times less than 1% do every year. Is that the craziest gap you've ever heard of? I need to do a whole episode on that. But 81% say they want to and less than 1% do. But let's imagine that you actually finish it. Let's imagine you right now finished your book. And now you have to ask semi-strangers to say that it's good. Now don't get your identity wrapped up in it. That's what they always say, of course. But to quote the movie Taken, "Good luck." Despite your best efforts, your identity gets involved a little bit. And you have to jump into this knowing that some people are going to say no, that's going to happen. And, and it should. I don't harbor any ill will to anyone who tells me no. I'll be honest with you. It hurts my feelings at first, it does. And what am I, made of metal? Of course it does. It feels like rejection because I guess technically it is rejection. I am disappointed to hear that someone does not want to endorse my book. But I get over it. Because I understand it's part of the process. And I tell people no all the time, too. There are a million legitimate reasons people can pass on endorsing your book. You know that in your head. But it's challenging, because fear lives in your heart and your belly. But if you believe in your book, and I believe in mine, you have to ask people to endorse it. You have to grit your teeth and push on. Every goal has these moments where you have to ask yourself, "Okay, I have to do this new thing. I have to do this scary thing. I have to do this uncomfortable thing. Do I believe in this goal, the outcome, enough to push through those moments?" And you're in that spot right now, too, maybe. Like you've known for maybe a week, or maybe a year, or maybe even a decade that you're supposed to do something. Let's pause right there for a second. What's the first thing that came your mind when I said, "There's a thing you're supposed to do?" If you're listening to this and you have a piece of paper nearby, write it down. Write that thing down. I dare you. You're supposed to do something, but you've been afraid. Maybe even terrified. So how do you do things that terrify you? Here are the five

shortcuts I use:

Number one, turn the fear into a list. I can't act on a fear. A fear is too big and undefined and shapeless. I don't know how to approach it. But if I can take that seemingly massive blob of doubt, and stress, and anxiety, and turn it into a list, I can actually see some actions hidden it. Fear fears action. It's terrified that you're going to take the next step and discover the thing you've been avoiding is not in fact impossible. In the case of the endorsement requests, I made a list of all the people I wanted to ask. I made a list! I didn't think, "Oh, I've got to ask a bunch of people." "A bunch of people" is to shapeless. I needed to know I need to ask X amount of people. And the list went from folks I knew it endorse it, to impossible people like Yanni. Yeah, I said it Yanni. If you haven't ever listened to his album Live at the Acropolis. I feel so sad for your ears. This is not shtick or sarcasm, by the way. That is a desperate plea from me to you to listen to the greatest album ever recorded. The first thing I do is I turn my fear into lists. The second thing is I set a timeframe. Fear always says, "Forever." It says, "That thing you're afraid to do will take an eternity." I say, "By the end of the week, I'll be done." Fear can't stand deadlines. It wants to remain untethered by any semblance of time, able to storm through your days and nights unabated. Forget that! Set some timeframes for the actions you're going to take on that thing you're afraid of. I used three different timeframes. To help me with this particular task. Number one, I had a month-long deadline. Meaning that I had to have the endorsements completely turned into the publisher within a month. Number two, I had a week-long deadline for myself, meaning that I gave myself a week to send them all out. And number three, I would set an hourly timer each day that I worked on this project. I boxed fear so tightly into my calendar. It didn't know what to do. The third thing, tell someone. Fear hates being shared. Because if you share it with someone, they can help you with it. Don't carry it by yourself. You're not designed to shoulder every fear alone. I told multiple people that this was an endorsement week. I made it like Shark Week. I was like, "This is the week. I'm sending out endorsements this week. I got to do it." I put it out there that it was go time. It helps having some accountability and encouragement from friends. Fear grows best in isolation. It's where danger grows to. Last year, I went to Rocky Mountain National Park. Nashville is 500 feet above sea level. Estes Park felt like I was so high, I could touch the moon. Feels like a Jimi Hendrix lyric. While talking to a tour guide, he mentioned that every year they lose several hikers in the park. I asked him what puts people at risk and he said, "Two things. Number one, hiking alone. Number two, hiking without telling anyone where you're going." It's one thing to hike alone. That's an act of solitude. It's another thing to not tell anyone where you're going. That's an act of isolation. I told my friend Ben that I was thinking about chickening out from asking one of my heroes, Laird Hamilton, for an endorsement. If you don't know Laird Hamilton he's essentially the Michael Jordan of surfing that's him and, and Kelly Slater. He was Kevin Costner's stunt double in the movie Waterworld, helped pioneer paddleboarding, and does scarier things before breakfast than I do all day. You might have heard of his wife, Gabby Reese, the most famous female volleyball player of all time. When it came to writing about overthinking and mindset. I knew Laird would have something to say. Any guy who rides 70 foot waves that are traveling at 50 miles per hour knows all about the importance of getting your thoughts in order. I told Ben I wanted to ask Laird to endorse my book. But I was I was gonna chicken out. I was afraid to do it. Ben got really excited and challenged me to do it. He held me accountable. You've got to tell someone about the thing you're going to do. The fourth thing, ask, "What's the worst that can happen?" I used to hate when people would say things like that. "Like what's the worst that can happen? Someone says no?" I think, "Yeah, that is the worst that can happen. No is terrible. No is crushing. I can't hear that word." But the reality is, that's just not true. The problem is that fear is a kaleidoscope. It's a magnifying glass. It's an exaggerator. Right now, what's the worst thing that can happen if you actually do that thing you're afraid of? Write that down. I guarantee it's smaller than you think. Fear would tell me that the worst thing that can happen if I ask someone to endorse my book is that they say, "No. It's a dumb book. You probably shouldn't even write books. This is your seventh book?! Gosh, how have you been tricking so many publishers for all these years? And your hair is far too gray for your age." That's what fear tells me is going to happen when someone tells me no, but that's never the case. It's usually, "No I'm too busy, but I wish you the best!" People who tell me no are always so nice. I can collect that L like a champ. You know that thing you're afraid of? It's not so scary, I promise. The fifth and final thing I do is I remember why I'm doing it. Want to know why I pushed myself harder on these endorsements than I ever have before? Because I believe in this book. It's about overthinking. And I think after the year we've had, everyone on the planet is going to need it. I believe in this book in my bones. And when I remember that, I'm more than willing to do things that make me feel uncomfortable and afraid. I spent two years writing and researching this book. I wasn't going to let a 10 minute task like asking Laird Hamilton for a book endorsement to derail that. When you have to do something that terrifies you remember why you're doing it? Don't stare so long at your fear that you lose sight of your vision. Oh, that's the tweet! Don't stare so long at your fear that you lose sight of your vision. Put that put that on a bumper sticker. Have you ever heard someone say, "If it were easy, everyone would do it?" That's true, sort of. Because it is easy. Sending those endorsement requests is physically easy. I know how to send emails. I know how to write emails. I know how to respond to emails. All of that is easy. It's the fear that makes it hard. The thing you're afraid of doing is easier than you think. There's just fear in the way. The next time you bump into it, do these five things. Number one, turn it into a list. Number two, set a time frame. Number three, tell someone. Number four, ask, "What's the worst thing that could happen?" Number five, remember why you're doing it. So, what happened with Laird Hamilton? Well, at 10:55am on September 16, I wrote him a direct message on Instagram, because I didn't have any other way to contact him. Here's exactly what I said, just in case you ever have to ask a surfing legend for an endorsement, "Laird, I don't know if you ever endorsed books, but I'd love to see if you're willing to take a quick look at mine. It's my seventh book and past endorsers have included Seth Godin, Jim Gaffigan, Sophia Amoruso, and John Maxwell. It's about overthinking and it's called Soundtracks. It's about how changing the soundtracks we listen to can turn overthinking from a super problem, into a superpower. It's not a surfing book. But you've always struck me as someone who is really deliberate with how their thoughts impact their actions. So I thought you might dig it. If you're willing to take a look at it, could you send me an email or physical address, depending on how you'd like to see the manuscript? Thanks for considering it. -Jon." 24 hours later, on September 17. His wife, Gabby Reese, responded with an email address. I sent her the manuscript and a few weeks later, Laird endorsed the book. Here's what he said, "Your thoughts have power. I spent decades on the water living by that principle. It's great to see Jon Acuff dive into the deep end about how important what we think really is with his new book Soundtracks. - Laird Hamilton, big wave surfer, innovator, and co-founder of Laird Superfood." I called my buddy Ben and he celebrated with me. Some people said no. Some people didn't respond to my emails or my direct messages. That's, that's okay. That's part of the process. But that's not going to stop me from doing scary things. And it shouldn't stop you either. Go do scary things. They're worth it. And so are you. Thanks for listening today. If you liked this episode, please review it and subscribe so you don't miss any more. See you next week. And remember, all it takes is a goal. This episode of the podcast was brought to you by Medi-Share. Text JON, J-O-N to 47474 for more information. Huge thank you to Medi-Share for sponsoring it. J-O-N to 474747.

Producer:

Thanks for listening. To learn more about the All It Takes Is A Goal podcast and to get access to today's show notes, transcript, and exclusive content from Jon Acuff, visit Acuff.me/podcast. Thanks again for joining us. Be sure to tune in next week for another episode of the All It Takes Is A Goal podcast.