All It Takes Is A Goal

ATG 13: Small Towns, Big Dreams: How to achieve an authentic goal and live it out with Joseph Sojourner (Sojo)

April 05, 2021 Jon Acuff Season 1 Episode 13
All It Takes Is A Goal
ATG 13: Small Towns, Big Dreams: How to achieve an authentic goal and live it out with Joseph Sojourner (Sojo)
Chapters
All It Takes Is A Goal
ATG 13: Small Towns, Big Dreams: How to achieve an authentic goal and live it out with Joseph Sojourner (Sojo)
Apr 05, 2021 Season 1 Episode 13
Jon Acuff

How does a goal go from an idea in your head to something tangible you live out every day?

Joseph Sojourner AKA Sojo is a rapper, public speaker, sneakerhead, and good friend of mine. Like a lot of people, Sojo was once just a small-town kid with big city dreams. So how did he go from Akron, Ohio to traveling the country, working on movie sets, and living out the dreams he’d had since middle school? Listen in to our discussion to learn what it takes to pursue authentic goals, take control of your story, and actually finish a goal.

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

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

Show Notes Transcript

How does a goal go from an idea in your head to something tangible you live out every day?

Joseph Sojourner AKA Sojo is a rapper, public speaker, sneakerhead, and good friend of mine. Like a lot of people, Sojo was once just a small-town kid with big city dreams. So how did he go from Akron, Ohio to traveling the country, working on movie sets, and living out the dreams he’d had since middle school? Listen in to our discussion to learn what it takes to pursue authentic goals, take control of your story, and actually finish a goal.

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

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

Jon Acuff:

Hey everyone welcome to the All It Takes is a Goal podcast, I'm your host Jon Acuff and today's episode is a special one. Today i get to talk to Sojo. Sojo, if you've never heard of him, has one of those introductions that it kind of sounds like it's made up. He's a rapper, he's a public speaker, he's a leader, he's a creative arts movie studio dude, he's a sneakerhead, and he's probably added a few other titles to his resume because I haven't talked to him in a couple of weeks. He's just that busy, that creative. We first met when we were sharing the stage at a summer camp in Panama City Beach or PCB, baby as it's known. We spent the next six years traveling around the country on tour with the Orange team, which gave us a great chance to get insight into the way he thinks about goals. In one car ride from the airport, I remember clearly him breaking down his annual process for goal setting and it fascinated me. This is going to be a really fun conversation where we cover what he's doing at the movie studio in Atlanta, what he's learning from mentors, how he changed the city he was born in, how he grew up with goal setting, which pair of shoes, because he's a sneaker head I mentioned, which pair would he leave if the apartment was on fire. If there's one pair, it's a pair of Jordans, I'll give you a little spoiler alert, it's an amazing pair of Jordans. We have a really fun conversation including what he thinks are the three greatest rappers of all time and the number one rapper to come out of Atlanta. The conversation's all over the place but it all hinges on how do you figure out a goal. How do you lean into a goal? How do you finish your goals? It's going to be an awesome conversation, ladies and gentlemen Joseph Sojourner, or as he's commonly called, Sojo. Today's episode is sponsored by Medi-Share. Have you guys ever had buyer's remorse? You know that feeling of intense regret because the thing you thought you just had to have was only something used once or twice? For me it was the time I bought a really expensive road bike because I thought I was going to get into cycling. I proceeded to hang it on the wall in my garage and feel ashamed for six months. Well, I know some of you are experiencing buyer's remorse right now for something much more frustrating. You know what I'm talking about. It's the healthcare you rushed to get during open enrollment last December. Well, I have some good news for you. You've probably heard me talking about our main sponsor for this podcast, Medi-Share. And these guys have the answer to healthcare buyer's remorse. Check this out, members of Medi-Share save up to 50% or more per month on their health care costs. They say the typical family saves up to $500 per month. And here's the best part, you can become a member at any time. So that means it isn't too late to ditch your buyer's remorse and switch to a more affordable health care that will save you money and help you sleep better at night. If this is your first time you're hearing about Medi-Share, it is the best alternative to health insurance that allows you to share the burden of medical bills, offers access to 900,000 plus health care providers, and has a proven 25 year track record. Plus in addition to saving hundreds per month, as a member of Medi-Share, you will also have access to free telehealth and free telecounseling. You won't find that with any traditional health insurance provider. Guys, it only takes two minutes to see how much you could save. Go investigate that for yourself and your family at Medi-Share.com/Jon. That's Medi-Share.com/Jon. Remember Jon doesn't have an H in it. So it's a M-E-D-I, that's Medi, share, S-H-A-R-E dot com slash J-O-N. Alright Sojo, Thanks for joining me today I'm going to be honest I'm not a very good interviewer. I want to come right out say that. But i promise three things, number one I'm not going to talk over you. I read a bunch of one star reviews on other podcasts and people hate that, so I'm gonna use every bit of listening I've learned in counseling, marriage counseling specifically, because you don't have to learn how to listen when it's just you. Number two, if I can't find a natural transition to my next question, I'm just going to say like "Hey I have another question" and there'll be no flow. And number three, I won't mention that you're a handsome, single, successful guy living in the greater Atlanta area and open to love, because I don't want things to get awkward. The last thing I want is just people trying to find you.

Sojo:

Oh wow. This is a great way to start I don't think i've ever started a podcast so

Jon Acuff:

Well I mean everybody starts the same way like "What do you do? How's your year?" Like and because we're friends, I can start this way.

Sojo:

I was supported. I was offended. All in one. One opening.

Jon Acuff:

It's kind of a potpourri of emotions. So the thing we're going to talk about today is goals. We got a bunch of great goal questions, but i want to start our conversation with something you're not doing. You deleted all your posts from Instagram and your bio just says "Loading new chapter..." So, what does that mean?

Sojo:

Yeah. I get to the end of the year and it was one of those things that we all look back at 2020 and said "What did we learn?" And the last four months of 2020, I just decided to just step away from social media altogether, period. And it was really just that personal journey of saying "Who am I without social media?" And I thought it was a really great process to start a small kind of build and in the end, it was, hey, this year, you found, you found yourself in ways that, that really you never had before. And so yeah, it was the last act, the rebellious act that happened at about 11:43pm. Spontaneous, but it just felt like the last thing I needed to do in 2020. And so it happened right at the end.

Jon Acuff:

Did you delete them individually? Or is there some sort of like death button you press on Instagram that's like 10 layers deep?

Sojo: It was 11:

43 to like 1:00am. One by one, they make you delete them. It's the worst.

Jon Acuff:

Ooo, that's like when they the gym makes you come and sign a piece of paper that says you're a quitter. Like before you can cancel your membership.

Sojo:

It's crazy, though, like... But, but like when you start doing it, you get like, there's like this moment where you get like five years back in your life and you're forgetting stuff. Because who scrolls down on their own grid unless they're like, well, narcissistic? You know.

Jon Acuff:

Nobody's narcissistic.

Sojo:

But I get down five years I'm like, "I'm gonna forget it." So then I'm getting sappy. Now I'm texting people at 1:00am. It's weird, these weird texts.

Jon Acuff:

That's so funny. Was it painful at all? Did you ever think like, "okay, I don't want to delete this. I'm gonna I can leave three. Like, what if I leave just like three of my best look inside?"

Sojo:

That's what I always do. That's why I said, "No, here's what you're gonna start doing. You're gonna start making excuses. And then you're gonna chicken out." And I said, "Nope. See this through. Start over. 2021, here we are."

Jon Acuff:

And I think it's important to know, because I think there's people listening that have gone through similar situations. Like, you've got 20-30,000 followers, it's not that you don't have any followers. Like, you have a pretty good core audience that you're not creating content for. And you have a great eye. Like your Instagram stories, you have a visual personality where you go, "here's this, here's this, here's this, here's this." Have you always thought, "Okay, I'm going to do some kind of reduction goals?" Because I would call this a reduction goal. Okay, this thing's in my life. I don't want it in my life. How long are you going to do it for? Did you set a time frame? Like walk me through it.

Sojo:

Yeah. So it was really yeah, practically speaking, I felt like I do love beauty. And so whether it's creativity,

Jon Acuff:

Do you think that certain social media platforms beauty, storytelling, that's what I felt like I had nailed on my grid and stories. But I felt like what I lacked was a little bit of a mess. And so I think like, you know, me, Jon. Like you'll say have coffee with me and get to see like the general that's confused, that doesn't quite know exactly what his next step is, or like how to handle in these moments and the stages and chapters. And so I felt like people were looking at my grid, they only saw the highlights. And so, and it wasn't eve intentional. This is jus someone who, every time I se beauty, I snap a picture an want to share it. So I'm no even trying to put on o anything. I'm just like, literally love it that much. Bu I thought you know what, if had to start over, of course I'm always going to pay homag are better for that than others? You know, would a podcast be a to beauty. But at this time, I' also going to be honest enoug to be like, I need to b intentional to capture more o the honest process, mess, whate er you want to call it. But yeah so hopefully, in the future it really will be, they'll h ve a deeper, more auth ntic understanding of me and not just kind of like what catches m eye and what I really respec and place where you can be more honest, where Instagram is like, it's visual, people expect the highlight, it tends to be highlight, you know, what, what are your thoughts on that?

Sojo:

Hands down. I mean, hands down. And it's also partially what you follow. I mean, you know, when I have my podcast list, it really is more authentic. Who I follow on Instagram, a long time ago, I decided to be really intentional as to who else is going to follow. And so a lot of who I follow is like culture shapers, creators, makers, artists and all that. So like when I open up my Instagram, my gird, I mean, I should say my timeline is just a bunch of you know, it's got everything on it. But it is a lot of curators and content creators, where as podcasts is conversations. So yeah, podcasts will always be a space where it's very easy for me to just enter, let's talk about it. You know, beauty aside, let's get into it.

Jon Acuff:

Did you delete the people you're following too? Did you unfollow everybody?

Sojo:

Nah, I didn't do that. I didn't do that. I felt like that'd be a fail. You know, people call on my phone. My mama'd hit me up.

Jon Acuff:

People would be like, "what did we do wrong?" Right?

Sojo:

You already know. They got that unfollow app. It's like why we got that app. You know bro?

Jon Acuff:

That shouldn't exist. That should just be called Insecurity App.

Sojo:

Thank you!

Jon Acuff:

Ruin Your Day App. I don't need to know who doesn't like me. I already think most people don't. I don't need an app that confirms it.

Sojo:

I'm just sayin'. That's it. You're 29. Delete the app. You don't need the app. [Laughter] C'mon man!

Jon Acuff:

Yeah, you're not trying to go to the prom dude. Like pump the brakes. You ain't asking for a prom date. You're a grown man.

Sojo:

You're the director over your department. Why do you have the app?

Jon Acuff:

You have a business card with raised letterhead. You know, like you have something embossed in your life. You should not have the unfollow app. Maybe they should say that on the App Store. "If you own a belt, please don't download this app."

Sojo:

[Laughing] If you own a belt.

Jon Acuff:

That's so good. Okay. You're not sharing stuff publicly. I'm assuming on Instagram, Twitter, like, did you go scorched earth?

Sojo:

Yeah. So yeah, I mean, I'm starting to walk back into it now. So yeah, now I'm beginning to kind of get back to, walk back into it. Determine my boundaries and say, "Oh, hey, how much" Because it really was just like, hey I never even, what's crazy is I never was even that irresponsible on social media as far as how much I use it. It really is a check it in the morning, check it midday, check it in the evening. It was more just "what do you want to say? And how you want to say it?" And so it really was that.

Jon Acuff:

So you're going back going back?

Sojo:

I'm going I'll be back. I've got a lot of DMs.

Jon Acuff:

Yeah, I bet you do. Right now, that's a creative outlet for you. So the creativity doesn't go away. If you're using that to express beauty or share ideas, where are those ideas going right now. Okay, so now that brings up kind of like so, you know, for the past five years, people have known me for working in the church realm in the spectrum. It's been great, but in 2020 everything shifted. And so I ended up working on a movie studio lot now. And so now I'm walking with people who some of which are fond of the church, other people don't really care about the church, other people don't like the church. All of which you're making these relationships talking to these people, you're creating art together, no matter what you think, believe or, or do. It really was a place that kind of awakens you again and says, "okay, man, these people really value authenticity." And when I say "these people" that just like us, like people value authenticity. And so it really just made me stop and say, "I think you can be challenged to do even more," you know, and that's the beauty of these type of places. And by saying that, I mean, Trilith Studios here in Atlanta. And so it really challenged me to say, "you know what, are you being as honest? Are you be is a story you're telling truly your story or pieces of it?" So. Well, and let's jump back to that. Because in the intro, I'm probably gonna say you have one of those resumes that sounds almost made up. There's so many different facets of it. There's like rapper, public speaker, leader, artist. So you're working at a movie studio. It's a movie studio in Atlanta, which is kind of on the forefront of a lot of movie studios moving there, developing things. You've got Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, all these things that are kind of in the pipeline have really blown up. How did you get connected to the movie studio? How do you make that pivot?

Sojo:

Come on, man. Isn't that crazy? Like I was so two years ago, I'm hanging with some friends and New Year's, the ball drops. And every time I'm like, "you got to make a bold, crazy" And so I'm known as like a guy that goes around talks about Jesus. And I'm like, man I went to college for, for electronic media production and theater. Those are my two things. I always wanted to be like a director got scared at the last second chickened out. And so I was like, "You know what, I want to go back to my first love." And that is like storytelling, but I said movies. But now we would say storytelling,

Jon Acuff:

It's meta, it's more meta.

Sojo:

Then in California, I'm out teaching and I bumped into a guy that is pretty key and integral here at the studios. We start chatting, he's like "Let's just bring you down and show you around." And when I'm going around, I just start commenting and kind of doing what I do. And that is, "Hey, what do you, what do you think about this? Why don't you guys think about this? And why don't, why isn't there a place that doesn't just care about what we create, but also about the creatives who created it." So once we have that leads to more conversations, which leads to a podcast on doing it do that for about six months. And that's really when the studio began to say, these creators that are here are going to this podcast because really, yes, for their live recording, but also for the networking and community that they have. And then they're begin to make relationships. And that's I think, when the studio placed priority on saying "We need someone who's a Director of Experience. And what is the Trilith experience?" And that's thankfully what I was asked to lead.

Jon Acuff:

So it didn't exist. So cuz that's an interesting idea. Like you talk about goals. Sometimes you go "I want to apply for a job, but it doesn't exist." And you go, yeah, there's a lot of jobs you have to create before they exist.

Sojo:

Come on now.

Jon Acuff:

And that's, that's what happened in this situation.

Sojo:

Yep. It's being bold enough to see what's not there. And yeah, which is entrepreneurship, right?

Jon Acuff:

Yeah. What was the name of the podcast?

Sojo:

So Studio Gathering. It was The Studio Gathering podcast, yep.

Jon Acuff:

How is this different than another podcast? You know, because it sounds like it got some momentum in a different way.

Sojo:

What was interesting is it was, the equipment they had was pretty janky. I can't even lie wasn't like the best equipment. So a lot of times I'll say these first few episodes didn't love it. But the room felt great because there's a live audience we would do it with. So the room felt great. And the hang after the podcast was better than the podcast. And so it made us take a pause and say, "Okay, if we were going to do this, let's do it right." And so we're in the process of looking at it again and launching it in a way that's a little more appropriate for the excellent flow that Trilith would expect.

Jon Acuff:

I love the hang after. Do you see other parts of your life where you go in thinking this is going to be the thing, and then it's the hang after or the hang before that ends up being the thing?

Sojo:

Yep, yep. What's that once somebody said, "Someone's gonna hire the person they want to hang out with at 3am in the morning." That was, that was they said the easiest way. But I really think that it more or less is saying like, are you someone that I trust? That's a witty way of saying, do I trust you? Do I enjoy your company? But more importantly, there's so many ways you can learn something, but there's not a lot of ways you can authentically connect with someone. And so you're right, the hang after it ends up having way more value to your heart. Then just another tidbit of information for your head. So yeah, definitely realize in design. As you know, before this, I had to convince companies. So that's why I've been working with a lot of conferences. But yes, I would say designing conference after conference, gathering after gathering,from business to whatever, it was very clear this next generation does value time to just authentically connect.

Jon Acuff:

And they're not getting it right now. That's the, that's the challenge with kind of the current state of the world, I would say that it was the hang after or the hang before, we really got to connect both at camps and touring with Orange. And in one of those car rides, because we would do the thing like a lot of events we're like, "Hey, we got four speakers coming in, like let's make them all get into a Kia Sportage together. And then they can ride to the hotel together." And so it creates this community. But I started to talk to you about your goals, and it was in the fall. So it was kind of tail end of the year. That's when we were traveling together. And you had a really specific, deliberate, thoughtful, life-giving way to kind of think through your goals. Like imagine somebody listening to this, and maybe they didn't set some new year's resolutions. Maybe they never have. Maybe they've never set goals, but they want to go "Okay, I want to kind of reevaluate some things." How do you reevaluate the year you just went through and the year you're headed toward?

Sojo:

It's grown over the years, it used to be simple, but here it is in three buckets. October now, October is my personal reflection. So it's like, who was I to my friends to my family. So my buckets are personal and professional, and then who I want to be my future. So my first bucket is personal, so I'm like "Who was I as a man to my friends?" And I mean, I go through it. I would say for a lot of years, that was a hard one for me, because I always felt like I want it to be the best kind of friend I could be, the most intentional kind of brother, son. And then comes professionally, okay, who I am professional, I might get out of my comfort zone. That's November, hard. Maybe anyone that works for me knows like November Joe's gonna be quiet, very introspective. And then comes December. And December is when I say okay, now that you've learned everything from October to November, it's time to figure out who you want to be. So December is all making my plan for January, which is why you'll see that such a big action step at the very end of December before going into 2021 and building the whole grid. It's time for us to start. But that comes after some reflection, October and November and then comes a month of planning as to "Okay, so how do you grow? How do you do better? How do you never stop learning and growing?" Necessary.

Jon Acuff:

So are you, from a specific practical approach, is this a notebook you're using? Are you carrying over questions from the year before that you're always like, "It's good to ask this question." Are you asking other people like, are you sitting down with friends or going "Hey, here's how I thought, what did you see?" Like, walk me through some of that.

Sojo:

Yeah, it's a conversation that needs to be had, a lot of it is me sitting down with a blank page. And I just learned that for me plus a blank page is where magic happens. And so even if I were to sit down right now and say, Jon and me, how do I think I could be a better friend to Jon, what I'm going to put on that page, to me is my truest self. And I don't know why it's harder for me to do that, verbally, if we were to just sit at a coffee shop and try and talk. But it's like after that coffee shop, if I write about it, it just comes alive in a way I'm able to kind of look at it outside myself. And so it really is a lot of me writing to myself in the personal and professional. It's funny, like, especially when you write for staff, you start writing about them, and then they come alive and just, I'm pretty nostalgic and sentimental. So that's probably why that happens. But when you start writing about them, you see them differently. And when you see them differently, you talk to them differently. And so it's a lot of just writing.

Jon Acuff:

You're doing this process, you're using paper, pen, computer. And then it transitions from reflection, personal, professional, to what you know, where's the step where or how do you grind all that reflection into "Here's a practical thing I'm going to do this year." Like are you doing number based? Is it like, I'm going to try it, like one of my goals is I want to run with my buddy Rueben 26 times this year. We run on Sundays. And like it's a great moment for us to connect. We talk and I know we're not going to do it every Sunday because that's, that's not reasonable because he's got four kids. I got two kids. It's not happening. How are you turning all that into trackable, cross-off-a-list-able ideas?

Sojo:

Yeah, so it's one, one, and one. So I'd take one track, I guess I would say trackable. And so personal, I'll say "Hey, you know, personally, I want to do better at texting back because I the work." So that was the my personal side. The one thing that seems consistent through all these, texting. So and then professionally, I want to be more confident in my decision making for creativity and less stop overthinking things and worrying so much. And then one dream, we've put that dream, which right now I think I'm still trying to format exactly what I want that dream to be. But yeah, so that's practical. And then there's the 100 more personalized ones that to do with each person, but those aren't as much like the defined ones as far as like, boom, boom, boom. Those are more "next time I see you, I remember everything I wrote. And so now I'm going to talk to you different. And probably tell you some of the things I now see."

Jon Acuff:

Yeah, here's something I was reflecting about. Here's

Sojo:

Yeah.

Jon Acuff:

Here's something I care about. What was a goal that you felt really good about accomplishing in the last two years? Because 2020 was a weird year. But like, in the last two years, when you're like, "Oh, I really worked on this thing. And I did this thing. And it, and it worked."

Sojo:

Yeah, being present. I think that's started. Naturally, I'll always go future. I mean, if you let me run my truest self, I'm not even going to really pay attention to the present, let alone the past. It's like, what's ahead? What, what new, exciting idea? And so yeah, I would say being present in these last two years, I have put so many things in place to make sure I stopped and reflect. Which is kind of what you're seeing several different ways to stop and reflect. And a lot of the end of the year is because I'm so future forward. I'll never look back over a year. I mean, if I didn't intentionally have this system, at the end, I will keep running into a new year talking about "Forward, forward, forward!" and never really be able to give appreciation to everything I've done. And that just came off having conversations with people where you're telling them that "Hey, you remember me told me this, look at this. Hey, remember, we told you we're gonna do this? Look!" and then they're like, "Wow, I didn't notice that." Now I'm like, man I don't even do that. Like, how come? I don't do what I do for others. And so it's more or less like, hey, be present and notice what's happening right here, right now.

Jon Acuff:

Are you good at celebrating?

Sojo:

No.

Jon Acuff:

Like, because a lot of high performing people, they're on to the next thing. And somebody goes, "Oh, that was amazing!" Like, "Oh, was it that was that was yesterday. It was like a year ago." Are you good at celebrating milestones?

Sojo:

Real talk? I want to lie right now and be like, "Man, I'm so good. I celebrate." But I know all my friends and work people who work for me love you, so I know they're gonna listen to this. And they will call me out and say, "We have told you over and over. You don't celebrate." And I'll be like, "You're totally right." It is because you're right. It is hard and not to sound cocky. Because it's not at all. When someone's like, "Did you think that this would happen?" I'll be like, "Yeah, remember?" I always explain like this, first base is my celebration. And I have to tell staff this every time they work with me. I'm like most people celebrate when they get their home plate. I celebrate when I see it on first base. And so when I see something, I'll run around the office, I mean, I'm running like "Did you see this? Do you see this idea?" In that moment, I see it all. I mean, I see everything. And then so by time, five months later, when we're there, and we're doing it, that is a five month old vision. And so people were like, "Man, isn't this awesome?" I'm like "Yeah, but well, yeah, I already did my celebration." And I tell them it's not that I don't celebrate, it's that I celebrate on a different base than you do. I celebrate on first base. So I've had to learn to also celebrate on home base for those who work alongside me, so.

Jon Acuff:

That's good, because some projects, I mean, if you release a book, it's a two year process. So if you celebrated getting the manuscript accepted, and it doesn't come out for a year, then you know, like, the home plate is a long way from first base.

Sojo:

Which is why you got books and I don't.

Jon Acuff:

So funny.

Sojo:

That's why your book Finish was so important. It gave me a lot of keys because I think I need a carrot.

Jon Acuff:

So your background, you're you're a goal guy. Did you learn that from your parents? Is that something that you would say, "You know what? I saw my mom do this. I saw my dad do this." Like, where did this come from?

Sojo:

I didn't have a dad.

Jon Acuff:

An appreciation of goals? Because it's not. It's not natural. I don't know that it's natural. I think some people are probably natural that way. But I think a lot of people learn it. And then they're like, "Oh, I just got me a roadmap. I'm going to use this roadmap going forward." How did it happen for you?

Sojo:

Yeah, no. I mean, I wish my dad was more present, but he wasn't present much after the second grade. My mom was definitely someone who was a goal setter, but she wasn't a dreamer. My mom was like, nah, she'll knock it out. Like everything she say she's gonna do in a week. She's gonna knock it all out. I don't know how she had capacity. But I was someone who was a little tight. I was like "I'm getting out Akron, Ohio. I know one thing is true. I gotta get out of his city." And so from there, everyone will be like, "Okay, what are you going to do?" And I got tired of looking stupid. And so you really got to figure out what you want to do. And then Okay, so then I had some really great leaders and men in my life who would then say, "Well, how are you going to get there? What's your first step?" And I feel like they didn't as much teach me goals, as much as tangible action steps. And once I saw that and realized "Okay this is all it takes. One step. One step at a time" I think I just naturally was like "I gotta make a move. I gotta make a move." And I'm naturally pretty, pretty ambitious and adventurous to be like jump, just jump. Like never really had that qualm. So I think once I see it, it's like I'm ready I'm ready to go right now, so.

Jon Acuff:

When did you first think "I got to get out of Akro ?" And that's not an insult to Akron but like,

Sojo:

Not at all.

Jon Acuff:

There's people listening right now that have a "I got to do blank. I gotta launch this. I gotta" Like when did you start to first get that feeling, what age?

Sojo:

I would say right around middle school for real. I mean because when you're a kid kid, I'm just trying to figure out. And so for those who don't really know my story I was bullied a lot as a child so I didn't have friends all the way till 12th grade. And so I think a lot of it was just my form of escapism of just saying "I gotta get this city doesn't understand me and a bigger city will." And so I would say probably was pretty skewed as a kid. And you don't know anybody, you're just like "When I get outta here." But I would say as I got towards college, I really was like "I want to go to a place where" it was such a blue collar town and I love that so much now. Like I'm like man and now i get why Akron. I am who I am because of the pace and the kind of people that Akron had all around me. But it was hard to dream. I think dreaming was something that was a luxury in Akron. And much different than in larger cities. So if you're a kid or someone in a small town and you're thinking "I gotta get out," that's an awesome thought but it's putting those action steps to it and then really realizing you're going to look back. Like Laney's new album, he's like loving Oklahoma now even though he went to L.A. You'll get to a larger city and then appreciate the foundation a smaller city teaches you. So I'm like, I'm so grateful for Akron now.

Jon Acuff:

And, your story because I know and I remember we had lunch at the Austin airport, me, you, and our friend Amy. And the Austin airport, their food bangs. Like it's good. Like it's actually I know you're like "Oh you ate in an airport, why do you hate Sojo?" Like it's it was good. It was good food. We talked about your family scenario. You mentioned it briefly a minute ago about your dad because I'd love to hear you riff on that a little bit because I think a lot of times people get to 20s, 30s, 40s and they go "I can't start a business because my dad never taught me how to be an entrepreneur. I can't you know be this because I didn't have a family structure" and they might look at a guy like you and go "Sojo must have had two parents that pulled him back like a slingshot and launched him on a foundation and his dad taught him how to throw a spiral football in the 11th grade and how to shave and put on a tie and" and i know that's not your background but what would you you know explain your family dynamic and then if you had a minute to talk to somebody who said "I didn't have a dad," what you would say to encourage them.

Sojo:

I mean I would say that from a young age I always loved the movies that had the underdog, the kid with the broken the orphan. We all love the stories and watch movies, right? And you're like an orphan kid had the resilience to keep going. And I really think I believed it. I was just crazy enough to say okay, so although there's 100 wounds you don't know you have when you don't have a dad, that probably don't begin appearing until your 20s and 30s, there's a lot of people right now who are probably like "yup", and you begin to say like, "Why'd I react like that? Why did I Why am i so guarded in certain ways?" There's also this fortitude that you're forced to have that really you can give thanks for down the road. So yeah I think it was one of those things that I look at now and I say, especially when I get around an extremely healthy family. I mean I'm around a lot of great families when I'm watching the little kids with their dads and I'm like "Wow that is a awesome picture that I never got to experience." However, what I did experience was a lot of men at my church, specifically, who were just really took a village is what they will say, so really I had some great mentors who poured into me. More importantly, I think I chose my friends wisely and I understood like, if I don't have a dad I need to be really really strategic with the kind of friends that I know are going to push me and challenge me and not just be yes men. And to this day I'm still the same way I'm like, hey, I'm as serious about my friendships because of the fact that I understood that the kind of friends I chose at a young age, really truly did give, offer perspectives I never could have had by myself.

Jon Acuff:

How do you think you put yourself in a position for mentors to help you? Because I think you can be mentor-resistant and go like "Oh, I just want wisdom" and then you've got like 50 walls and nobody can even get in. How did you as young man, as a current man, because I know right now there's wise leaders speaking into you, you know if your goal was "I want to have a mentor. I want to get more wisdom from somebody who's further down the road," how do you put yourself in that position?

Sojo:

Man, I feel like i'm naturally wired to choose to trust. Like I do think I'm gonna trust every single person that walks in the room until proven otherwise. But when it came to mentors, I just think you gotta trust your gut and a lot of ways and there's, there's sometimes like someone will just start talking, for example, the first time you may hanging out, Jon. I mean, all I know about you is, you know, you're a funny guy. You're a funny guy and clean cut, and you're on a bunch of stages. So I'm like, you're more of a caricature than a real guy. And it wasn't until you like opened up. And it sounds so whimsical, but like you can see in someone's eyes. You can, you can genuinely see authenticity and feel it. And when you feel it, you now have a decision, "Do I want to pretend or do I want to be the real me?" And so I feel like I've always understood that in the moment you feel the movie beginning, which is a scene between two people. It's like you're either in that scene present, or you're going to end up putting a mask on and pushing people away. And so I think basically, going back to your original point, for me, the greatest gift to have as an adult now is understanding that there's a story that happens in every single person's head. And I have more control over my story than anyone else. And I tell this to a lot of kids from the hood, because I'm like, it's gonna be easy to try to blame anyone else for your story. And some of that's legit, like some of it is like, I'm facing hardship, because of some obstacles that have been placed in my way that are pressing against me and wear me out. But even after that, you still have more power over your story than you could ever even imagine. And the more you see it, which is stuff that the men will tell me growing up, the more you understand what you can do, and they would shove me and like, "Hey, you have it, you have it." And I'm thinking like, do I have it? And sure enough, I began to see it. I'm like, oh my gosh, maybe I do have it. And to this day, it doesn't matter if I'm calling someone on lunch break, and I'm like, I gotta tell you the situation because I'm tempted to write a story in my head. Here's what's happening. They're like, "You did write some stories. Like Hey, don't, don't like right now. This is all that there is. All the rest of that is fiction." And so I do think always keep and hold of the story. Taking every thought captive is what the Bible said.

Jon Acuff:

Which is why I called you I mean, I called you when I was writing my book about overthinking. About you know, the title Soundtracks and we talked about, you know, you use the word "story", I'd use the word "soundtrack." What's the soundtrack playing right now in this situation. What is it a true soundtrack? Is it kind? Is it the one you want playing? I loved getting to connect with you about that idea. Because it was super helpful. And I think it's interesting when I ask you questions, you're quick to call up a story or an idea. I'm curious, do you have an idea capture system? So what I mean by that is you bump into you know, it used to be on Instagram you'd share something, but like you hear a story you learn something a leader speaks into you. Something good, some new idea blossoms, where does that idea go? Does it go into a notebook? Does it go into Evernote? Does it go on the wall? Like, I want to know like, they used to do that cartoon where like how a bill becomes part of the Constitution. Like walk me from idea to like, it's actually executed and it lives and breathes in the world.

Sojo:

Evernote built my career.

Jon Acuff:

That's the tweet! That's the tweet!

Sojo:

Evernote built that thing. The notebooks allow me to be able to capture an idea. But I did that also I'm definitely an app guy. So I'm like there's a new app called Things and so soon as I think an idea what I love about it is I'm able to capture the idea and then start adding on my to do things. And so I was noticing, and the reason why I went to Things over Evernote is because it is more of a task management app. And I'm fast to dream. Like literally today, I could walk in and be "Man, it'd cool here if we'd like did, like a Lemonade idea here." And I'll throw it down. And I realize I got 13 other ideas in front of it. And so I realized, let me shift and go towards I capture an idea, now as soon as I capture it, I give myself 30 minutes to put two action steps up behind it. And if after those two action steps, it doesn't feel like it's tangible. I let it go. I delete it. I delete it. and

Jon Acuff:

You delete it? You don't even you don't keep it. You don't keep it. I think that's key because you can keep a lot of old ideas that get in the way of the good ones.

Sojo:

You know, well, you told me that!

Jon Acuff:

You clear it out

Sojo:

We were chatting you were like there's like beer ideas and wine. And I remember you said it. And I said, dang, I think I got a bunch of beer ideas.

Jon Acuff:

Got a lot of Natty Light seltzer. Yeah.

Sojo:

So I remember when I got done talking I thought like, "I got to start figuring out which ones are my beer, which one's my wine." And that's when I decided to shift my app. And that's how Evernote lost me as a customer.

Jon Acuff:

So funny. That's when you move to Things.

Sojo:

That's when I moved to Things.

Jon Acuff:

I love that. There's no such thing as an average day, but walk me through your ideal day.

Sojo:

So an ideal day. Oh, an ideal day is

Jon Acuff:

That's a workday. I didn't ,you know, say if it's Saturday, and you're like I just sleep in all day. Like that's not that interesting. And it's an ideal workday. We're like, you're at peak performance, your peak connection, like all that. Any time you can hand me a dream, if it's your dream, and I can help you see it even clearly or even help figure out how to make sense of it. That's going to be an ideal day. It's the one thing I think I realized when I said, "What are you put on this planet to do?" I said, you can get paid for this, it doesn't matter if you're working, or an off day, you're hanging out with somebody around a fire pit, like, you're going to eventually get to their dream. And you're eventually going to say, "Hey, man, what do you think about this?" And, and I think I absolutely love the opportunity to handle some stream of care, which is what I get to do on a daily basis. Now as we as we build an entire town and continue to work with people's movies, you know they bring an idea in, they bring a shop that they want to do and they want to do gelato. And from that moment on, it's like, how do we want to create an experience around gelato? And I think being able to say, I don't think, I don't think you're daring to dream enough. I think you can go even more. And when that starts awakening in people It's crazy how people almost need permission to just be wild and dream fully. And so I get to do that on daily basis. Like why do you think they don't know that they have permission?

Sojo:

Man, ain't that crazy? I was with Bob Goff in his Dream Big camp. And I remember listening to people and I don't have any kids. So you know, my dream is like what I do to pass time because otherwise I'm kind of going crazy probably. But I never thought about the fact that a mother could say "I've dreamed about my kids for the last 10 years and I've got a great home. My kids are doing a really good. I feel guilty to think that I can now I should be able to dream for myself after I've been blessed with so much." And I remember him saying it and I thought "That is such an interesting perspective to say I almost feel guilty to dream." And then there's obviously the ones that are just too afraid to fail so they're just like when you just dream within moderation but for me I'm like, "Oh my gosh! Dream for the kids. Dream for yourself! Dream for your husband! Dream for your neighbor! Dream for the dog!" I'm like c'mon guys. It's never a bad dream and then what do you do about them? And so, but I do think it taught me a lot. I think it really, it really showed me that I said there's real life situations where people are just like, the dream is a luxury. And I'd rather deal in reality, I'd rather deal in dreams and then change reality. And so once I understood that about myself, I said okay, well then I guess I'll be, I'll be one of those. I'll be one of these guys who are, who are more gonna always be like, ah, let's get back to the clouds.

Jon Acuff:

Let's make it bigger. Let's make it bigger. Well, one thing I know that you love and me talking about dreams talking about passions. Is it fair to say you're a sneakerhead?

Sojo:

[Laughter]

Jon Acuff:

Okay.

Sojo:

One could say, sure.

Jon Acuff:

Yeah, one could say. You love sneakers. And I love that about you. Like that's one of the things that I really enjoy about you. Because when we get to do events, I'm essentially like, Joan Rivers, rest in peace, she's up there criticizing Jesus's clothes right now. One of the things I would say, "What are you wearing? What are those? What are those? What are those?" So how many and this is hey, there's no judgement. This is no like, "Oh, I can't believe he owns this." Like, I think people have a hard time with success. I think especially in certain circles. They get real shy about enjoying good things. We have an enjoyment problem, I think in a lot of circles, where we can admit we enjoy something and then ball out with it. Like you go all in on shoes. And I love that. How many pairs of sneakers right now do you own?

Sojo:

I'd say I'm probably about 50 pairs of sneakers. Ahh, about 45 sneakers because that does not include like boots, dress shoes, yeah, casual. So I'd say 45 sneakers. I've done a couple purges over the last few years and there's people who know about sneakers now. You might buy it at $200. But you can flip them for $700. They're investments if you know what you're doing.

Jon Acuff:

How many flips have you done?

Sojo:

Man. I've got a couple I'm holding on to that I think are gonna quadruple in value. But I would say I probably done I mean double digit flips. I mean, I'm not gonna act like, I'm like, I'm not I'm not a sneaker salesman. There are people who sell them out of the trunk of the car. But I'm like, I've gotten a nice amount of flips.

Jon Acuff:

Yeah, not MC Hammer selling his first album.

Sojo:

The problem is my friends be broke and so they be havin' to just give them discounts and I need rich friends.

Jon Acuff:

No, that's not You can't flip something to somebody who doesn't have the money.

Sojo:

That's what I'm saying. The problem is I'm too nice. I'm too nice as well.

Jon Acuff:

How many pairs of Jordans? 50. 45 pairs of shoes, how many Jordans? Jordans? There are probably about there's probably about eight, nine pairs. So I grew up in Akron, Ohio, LeBron James. So what is he on, sneaker 18 now? He's on 18. And so I've got every pair. I get each pair of LeBrons that come out. So we could One pair ot two pairs? Or you don't want to wear and keep? Just one pair?

Sojo:

Whatever the first LeBron that comes out. Because he does like he does like 10 versions of each shoe. And so I get the first version of the 18th, the first version of the 17th. And so yeah, the first versions of all the LeBrons. And so that's where a bulk a good chunk of my shoes come in and then yeah, then I'm a little bit sometime when I really calculate, it might be a bit more now. I don't know I don't really have to go in there and count the boxes now. I don't know.

Jon Acuff:

Where do you keep them? Are they all in your

Sojo:

You know, yep. It's crazy. Because when I look at the apartment? apartments, I'm like, you know, I got the loft, more space than I ever need. But I do a judge hard on a closet to see the closet space. I need to make sure it's up.

Jon Acuff:

They probably don't even show you at first. They're probably like "Don't worry about the closet." You're like "Hold up pump the brakes."

Sojo:

I mean, look at these vaulted ceilings. This balcony. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I need to get to the

Jon Acuff:

I'm not stacking shoes.

Sojo:

Yeah, get into the closet, this is an option. Now we can go back and check everything else. Yeah, they go up, they go up to the they, you know, I'm six-three with a great wingspan so I can get up there. I can stack 'em high, you know. This ain't for the short kids.

Jon Acuff:

I could probably own like, I can only own like seven pairs of shoes, it sounds like depending on how high this stack is. What's the craziest thing you've done to get a pair? And I mean, like, I stayed up till 3am for a drop. I went, you know, I waited outside. I camped outside in College Park. Like, what's the thing you've done where you're like, "Oh, man, that was my most sneakerhead moment?"

Sojo:

I would just say I'm really, I'm really good at knowing how to get there on an app nowadays. But I get to the store. So in Akron I had a bunch of connects. so I would have people at the Footlocker. They would hold, sneak and hold this. So it's relationships. It's how you love others, so they'll best show love back.

Jon Acuff:

This is networking.

Sojo:

It's networking. It's like you got to play to get gifts. And I'm like, value people and they're gonna be like, "Yo, I got you a size 12." And I say "I'm on my way." That's all it is.

Jon Acuff:

There's a fire. You can only grab one pair of shoes, sneakers, like what are you running out with? The Off Whites? Isn't that what they're called. I do have some Off Whites. I've got, I've got the Dior Jordan 1s that came out. And so I would say I probably, based on a true sneakerhead, you never know you need to grab those Dior Jordan 1s. And so. See, I think there's like seven people that are going to hear this and be like, "Awesome! Nice." I think a lot of people will be like, "Stop talking about sneakers man."

Sojo:

Why are they talking about this so long.

Jon Acuff:

Well, the reason I'm talking about it is I do think a hobby is part of a goal. Like I think a hobby is like just a goal with more joy on it. So for me, like I don't separate, there's Sojo over here doing all his goals and then he's got a hobby. I think it's all one person. One idea, one approach. And I think that high performance goal people don't have enough hobbies. I'm always shocked when I ask somebody, "Hey, what are your hobbies?" and they go, "Oh, I'm too busy for hobbies." And they say it like they're bragging. I think "Oh, that is like, that's one step closer to burnout." Like if you can't give yourself a hobby. What are your other hobbies other than sneakers?

Sojo:

Other than sneakers? Ooh, geez. My problem is I have too many There's nothing I don't think could be my hobby. You know me, I am the guy. But I would say I definitely love food. Now that I'm down here in Fayetteville where there's all this land, I've gotten really comfortable getting out. Off-roading. Love travel. I think travel is probably my number one hobby. I'm just getting out. And I'm a documentary nerd. Like nerd, nerd. A lot of people Somebody asked me and said "Let me put it like this," they say if you had to delete Netflix versus YouTube, um, I would never delete YouTube because it has so many little documentaries that are like 10 minutes to fifteen. And I'm like I watch probably a documentary a day. I mean, I'm a history junkie.

Jon Acuff:

I think that's a fun mix. Because you said three very different things. Documentaries, off-roading in Fayetteville, and being a sneakerhead. And usually like the Venn diagram of that human is pretty narrow. Like very rarely somebody's like, I love my Off Whites and I love my off-roading. Like those are my two. I got the Dior's and I got the duck boots.

Sojo:

One of those like, I'm exploring. And one of 'em like, this is a new hobby. Let's see if I can get into this thing. Okay, it's a bit crazy. I don't know if it's gonna last for more than a year, but we gonna do it.

Jon Acuff:

I'm gonna try. Did you, do you have an off-roading vehicle? Or are you going with friends?

Sojo:

No. So I got a truck. But now they everyone's got four wheelers. And so I'm like, okay, we got the four wheelers and there's so many little devices, I mean, little vehicles that everyone's hoppin' in. So I've really learned to Yeah, I'm like, "Okay, here we go."

Jon Acuff:

Okay, I love that. I love that. Last two questions. Top Five rappers of all time.

Sojo:

Oh my gosh.

Jon Acuff:

If you want to do top three, top three. Save some time.

Sojo:

Okay, Jay Z's hands down my favorite rapper of all time. I'm gonna say I got I'll give it up to Drake. I will say consistency, I have to give it to Drake. He's been consistent for over a decade now. Kanye his last couple albums were like "Ehh," but I mean it's just his first like catalog when he was in his prime that I still don't think can be touched.

Jon Acuff:

Like Graduation?

Sojo:

Graduation, College Dropout, My Beautiful Dark. I mean it's just like he was, he was on another level and so yeah, I'll give it to those three for now. There's so many great rappers.

Jon Acuff:

Now with the Saint Lunatics. a lot of people remember the Saint Lunatics.

Sojo:

I should have offended everyone and just say like Nelly, you know.

Jon Acuff:

Yeah, Sisqo. When he broke off from Dru Hill.

Sojo:

And like Nelly Furtado on Burst Free, like

Jon Acuff:

Nelly when she was with Timberland. What's the best rapper to come out of Atlanta of all time?

Sojo:

Andre 3000. Hands down.

Jon Acuff:

Yeah, it's a blowout right?

Sojo:

Oh, there's no doubt. Andre 3000, still.

Jon Acuff:

Yeah different, different level. Okay, last question Where can people find you? Because I think people want to know. You're going to start posting again. I've checked your blog like we're waiting. Where, you know, where can people find you?

Sojo:

Yeah, so exciting it's a lot of exciting adventures ahead here at Trilith. So you can find me at Joseph Sojourner and that's everything. So that's going to be JosephSojourner.com at Twitter and Instagram and trying to determine if I want to jump into this TikTok world. But yeah, Joseph Sojourner on all those, all platforms that you will be able to find me and let's run and have some fun.

Jon Acuff:

So you're not on TikTok yet?

Sojo:

No, I'm I have a page. But it's like, do I really want to do this?

Jon Acuff:

It just feels like I got to learn a lot of dances. And that's just I don't know if I have that amount of time right now for the dances. And I'm also a 45 year old dad. So I don't see a single way I can do it without looking like I should be in jeans and white new balances as a 45 year old dad. Like, I see no way around that reality.

Sojo:

A hundred percent.

Jon Acuff:

At least you're cool. Like if we're hanging out together. People would be like, "Man, that's Sojo is cool." And they'd say "That Jon is funny." And those are different, those different words.

Sojo:

I feel like funny plays well, I think. I just don't I just gotta figure out what I want to do. It's like well, how does this What is this? What's the point of this? I've only got how much time and then I got to So if I gotta just think about Even when you're on a day when you're doing these things that day. You got to think "Okay, what I want to do on TikTok." Like I can't capture something and show it. It's not that kind of app. You gotta know, you gotta, you gotta do something on this thing. And it's like, "Okay, what?"

Jon Acuff:

Yeah, I don't know. I don't know. We'll see. Again, or like Clubhouse. People getting on Clubhouse right now. Am I supposed to be on Clubhouse? So yeah, it's always interesting what comes out, what comes out new. But Dude, this was a blast. I really appreciate you doing it with me. It's always fun to travel with you. I hope we get back on the road here. And this will be the first person I got to ask about sneaker collections on the whole podcast.

Sojo:

There'll be more.

Jon Acuff:

Well, yeah, I mean, maybe I'll just start asking that'll be one of my regular rapid fire questions like people do at the end. And I'll just people be like, "I don't own that many shoes" I'll be like, "But how many?" And then I'll say "Which is your favorite pair?" and they'll be like, "They're just all shoes" and I go "Oh, that's right." Because the average person isn't going to care about their shoes.

Sojo:

No, they're not.

Jon Acuff:

A sneakerhead though is gonna say "I got the Lebrons from one to 18 right now."

Sojo:

They're not gonna say that probably.

Jon Acuff:

We're saying the Dior's. Okay, the Dior's now that's probably gonna go in the show notes. Like I'll maybe I'll get an affiliate link to some sort of Stock X. I'll be like hey

Sojo:

I'm a big fan of Dior's Creative Designer right now. It's always a story behind the shoe, like the crafting of the shoe that you gotta have a good craft, you know, I love it. And so that's why.

Jon Acuff:

Well, respect. Respect. Well, thanks. Sojo, I really appreciate it man. I'll let you know when it's up.

Sojo:

All right, man, love you.

Jon Acuff:

This episode of the podcast was brought to you by Medi-Share. Text JON, J-O-N to 474747 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.