All It Takes Is A Goal

ATG 12: Soundtracks: How 3 simple words can completely change your overthinking

March 29, 2021 Jon Acuff Season 1 Episode 12
All It Takes Is A Goal
ATG 12: Soundtracks: How 3 simple words can completely change your overthinking
Chapters
All It Takes Is A Goal
ATG 12: Soundtracks: How 3 simple words can completely change your overthinking
Mar 29, 2021 Season 1 Episode 12
Jon Acuff

The last thing an overthinker needs is 800 new ideas about transforming overthinking. So in this episode, I simplified two years of research into three words. How?

Well, I'll tell you exactly as I read you the entire Introduction and Chapter 1 of my brand new book Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking. Want to learn how to make your thoughts fight for you not against you? Listen to this week's episode and make sure you pre-order your copy of the book at soundtracksbook.com.

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

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

Show Notes Transcript

The last thing an overthinker needs is 800 new ideas about transforming overthinking. So in this episode, I simplified two years of research into three words. How?

Well, I'll tell you exactly as I read you the entire Introduction and Chapter 1 of my brand new book Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking. Want to learn how to make your thoughts fight for you not against you? Listen to this week's episode and make sure you pre-order your copy of the book at soundtracksbook.com.

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

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

Jon Acuff:

Hey everyone, and welcome to the All It Takes Is A Goal podcast. I'm your host, Jon Acuff, and I love goals. Why? Because a goal is the fastest path between where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. And best of all, finishing a goal feels amazing. You will never forget the first time you hold a book you finished writing. You will never forget the moment you cross the finish line of a 5k race. You will never forget when someone paid you to do something you love doing. That's why restaurants have their first dollar bill framed behind the cash register. They did it. They finished. It's not about the amount of money it's that they did it. I want that feeling for you. I want you to have that moment. I want to help you cross the finish line of whatever goal you care about the most, because the future belongs to finishers. That's why I'm doing this podcast. In today's episode, I'm going to do something I've never done before as an author. Seven books in and this is going to be a first for me and hopefully, for you too. But first, 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, let's jump into today's episode. I have a new book called Soundtracks coming out on April 6. It's about overthinking and it's my first book in four years, so I'm really excited about it. What's a soundtrack? Well, that's my term for repetitive thought, a thought you hear inside over and over and over again. I've heard people describe thoughts as leaves floating down a river, clouds passing in the sky, or cars driving on the highway. But for me, I think about them like soundtracks. They're the background music to your life and they're a lot more powerful than you think. The fun thing is that you have the permission and the power to change the soundtracks you listen to and when you do, anything is possible. For my new book, the publisher, Baker, and I had a soundtrack we've been listening to for the last few years as we got closer to release date. The soundtrack we listened to was "all in." We decided years ago that we weren't going to hold anything back with this book. We decided we were going to try new things and do everything possible to make the book and the launch as awesome as we could. So what does that mean? Well, it means that I asked more people for endorsements than I ever have before. I went for a huge array of endorsements, which is why folks like Laird Hamilton, one of the greatest surfers of all time, and Jim Gaffigan, one of my favorite comedians, endorsed it. "All in" means I launched the Overcoming Overthinking Challenge, which nearly 10,000 people from all over the world took. "All in" means we printed the inside cover not just the dust jacket. I don't even know what you call it. Inside cover? Is that the right phrase? It doesn't feel like the right phrase. I wish this was a visual medium, because when you take off the dust jacket, the actual cover of the book is gorgeous. I've never done that before. I've written seven books and that's a first. "All in" means that we're giving away a whole copy of the audiobook to anyone who pre-orders. That's right, if you pre-order a copy of my new book before April 6, and go to SoundtracksBook.com to fill out a quick form so I know where to send it, I'll give you the entire audiobook for free. Not a chapter, not a sample, not a smidge, not a taste. You'll get the whole audiobook for free. I was really surprised the publisher was willing to do that. And today, "all in" means I'm trying something else that I've never done before. Today, I'm going to redo the first 22 pages of the book. Why 22? I mean, doesn't that, that feels oddly specific? It does. But that's what makes up the introduction and the first chapter of the book. I'm not just splicing a section from the audiobook on the back end of this podcast. I'm going to read you the pages today, and probably, probably add a few comments along the way. I realized a couple weeks ago that I always give people a digital copy of the first chapter, but I love audiobooks. I'm an audiobook guy. And I've never given anyone the first chapter of the audiobook away. So I thought that would be fun to do in the form of a podcast. So Okay, enough preamble, sit back, relax, and enjoy the introduction and the first chapter of my brand new book Soundtracks. Introduction. I waited 13 years to share the secret. I apologize for taking so long, but it seemed too good to be true. I kept thinking the other shoe was going to drop. The Secret seemed so simple and so obvious that at first, I thought I was wrong. Maybe, maybe it was a fluke. Maybe it worked for me, because my situation was unique. Maybe everything that happened was an accident. And if I tried to teach someone else how to do it, it wouldn't help. Maybe if I shared it, people would think I was weird. The neon green shoes are certainly unusual. The coin is a bit of a surprise, the post it notes are a thing. Better to keep it to myself. So I did. This secret moved me to Nashville. It helped me hit the New York Times bestseller list. It sent me to Portugal and Greece and even parts of Canada that I can't tell you about, because it would melt your face right off. for 13 years. I kept this secret in my back pocket, using it to transform my career, my relationships, my health and every other part of my life. Eventually, though, I got curious. Was I the only one this secret could help? I launched a survey with my researcher, Mike Peasley, PhD, and asked 10,000 people if they struggle with the thing I figured out. More than 99.5% of them said "yes." Okay. Okay, so I'm not the only one. I still wasn't ready to share the whole secret. So I cut off a sliver and tested that with 1000s of people from around the world. Mike Peasley, PhD analyzed the results, and we were both shocked at what happened. I mean, genuinely surprised, not BuzzFeed "You'll be shocked at what this celebrity's feet look like" surprised. I'm also going to use Mike Peasley PhD's full name, including his doctorate every time I mentioned him. Because at times in this book, you'll be tempted to think the writing is so delightful, there's no way it can also be scientific, but it is. Ask Mike Peasley, PhD. He was there. After 13 years. I'm finally ready. If you'll lean in close, I'll tell you what the secret is. I discovered how to turn overthinking from a super problem into a superpower. [Dramatic Music Impression] Bum bum bum! That's the end of the introduction. It doesn't say "bum bum bum" in it, but I feel like in an audio version, you need to be like "What?! Cliffhanger! Bum bum bum!" Felt better. Alright, that's the introduction right for chapter one? OK, Chapter One. The title is "I think I can do this." Overthinking is when what you think gets in the way of what you want. It's one of the most expensive things in the world because it wastes time, creativity, and productivity. It's an epidemic of inaction, a tsunami of stuckness, and 13 years ago, it was dominating me. I was the king of "some day." High on thought, low on motion about a litany of things I'd do eventually. "Quit overthinking so much!" coworkers would beg. "It's all in your head," my wife would implore. "Get out of your own way!" school children would yell as I stumbled through the streets like a heavy-brained monster. Did I want to have 1345 thoughts about whether there would be adequate parking at the new restaurant we're going to? Did I want to donate an afternoon of brain space to reviewing something dumb I said to a friend three months ago in the grocery store? Did I want to put off asking for a raise for one more month, overthinking the myriad of ways it could go wrong? Of course not. But what could I do? Thoughts are something you have not something you hone. I mean, we can't control them, right? That's why whenever we talk about thinking we describe it as something outside of us that operates on its own agenda. We say things like "I got lost in my thoughts," "My thoughts got away from me," "She got carried away by her thoughts." Even if we are very deliberate in other areas of our lives, we tend to treat our thought life as something we have no control over. For example, a simple trick to ensure you go to the gym in the morning is to lay out your workout clothes the night before. Picking them ahead of time helps you achieve the result you want. Have you ever heard someone say that about thoughts? "Hey! Make sure you pick the five thoughts you want to have playing in the background of your head in that meeting tomorrow." Has a coworker ever said, "I heard some gossip about our new manager, but I don't want that to color our relationship. So I'm going to leave my three judgmental thoughts at home so that I can get to know her without any bias." No one has ever said anything like that to me. If we don't control our thoughts, then I guess our thoughts control us. No wonder I spent decades overthinking every little decision, never fully pulling the trigger on the things I really wanted to accomplish. One afternoon, out of the clear blue, I got an email from a marketing coordinator in Oklahoma. He'd been reading my blog and asked me a question I never saw coming. Here's what he said. "Can you speak at our conference?" The answer should have been "No." I'd never been paid to speak before. I'd never written a speech with main ideas and transitions. I'd never worked with an event planner. I'd never been to Oklahoma, though I assumed it was very dusty. At the time, I had a 10 year history of making small incremental changes in my career as a corporate copywriter who never spoke publicly. If you looked for evidence that I was a public speaker, there was none. The only thing I had was a new thought. "I think I can do this." I chose one small thought, which led to one small "Yes," which led to a completely different life. Long before a single speech. Long before I wrote a book that the NFL Players Association teaches players. Long before I opened for Dolly Parton at the Ryman, I changed the way I thought about what I was capable of and that changed everything. That day, I took the first step toward learning something amazing. You can control your thoughts. You can turn overthinking into action. You can use all that reclaimed time, creativity and productivity to create the life you want. And it starts with recognizing your thoughts for what they really are, a personal soundtrack for your life. If I hear sweet child of mine by Guns and Roses, I can smell the newsprint from the pages of Thrasher magazine. I can see myself sitting on the floor at 2 Edgewood Drive in Hudson, Massachusetts, cutting out photos of skateboarders for my bulletin board. That's when you really knew you were skate-or-die, when you maintained a suburban scrapbook of California skaters. If I hear "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, I am instantly transported to Dave Bruce's basement. We are memorizing the lyrics as fast as we can, shouting them back and forth to each other and wishing we were rich enough to own Z. Cavaricci pants. Do you remember those? So many belt loops. "I'm not internationally known, but I'm known to rock the microphone." If I hear "Mr. Jones" by Counting Crows, I can see myself in the Framingham Mall parking lot trying to get my date to listen to the lyrics. I'm in my mom's blue minivan with faux wood paneling. And it's bothering me that Heather isn't as moved by Adam Duritz as I am. It wasn't easy to rewind tapes. It was a very imprecise art and the longer she talked over the song, the harder it was for me to find the part I wanted her to really connect with. Those songs are from bands that will probably never share a stage. I can't see the Counting Crows doing a collab with Guns and Roses, for instance. But what they all have in common is that they each hit me at the sweet spot when soundtracks are formed. The New York Times did a study to figure out when a song has the greatest shot at getting added to your permanent soundtrack. That list of songs that will always impact you. The title of the article that followed was "The Songs That Bind" and it's a fitting description of what a soundtrack does. Using data from Spotify, an economist named Seth Stephens-Davidowitz found that the most important period for men and forming their adult tastes, when it comes to music, were the ages 13 to 16. For women it skews a little earlier with the ages 11 to 14 being most important. Just hearing my list of three examples, probably called to mind a specific song and memory for you. I'm sure you thought of one. The playlist you unknowingly curate during your life makes for an interesting dinner party conversation. But music is only one small part of a much bigger story. Your thoughts are the internal soundtracks you listen to even more than your favorite song. Over the years, you've built a soundtrack about your career. You have a soundtrack for all your relationships, you have a soundtrack you believe about your hopes, dreams, goals, and every other aspect of your life. If you listen to any thought long enough, it becomes a part of your personal playlist. Soundtracks made of music have the ability to completely transform a moment. Restaurants know this. Movies know this. Gyms know this. No offense to Slash though, but soundtracks made of thoughts are even more powerful. They're much bigger than just background music. As retired Navy SEAL David Goggins says, "The most important conversations you'll ever have are the ones you'll have with yourself. You wake up with them. You walk around with them. You go to bed with them. And eventually you learn to act on them, whether they be good or bad." If the soundtracks you listened to are positive, your thoughts can be your best friend, propelling you on new adventures with creativity and hope. If your day is spent overthinking broken soundtracks, your thoughts can be your worst foe, holding you back from ever taking action on all the things you want in life. Decades before Bluetooth and Sirius XM, my college roommate Stu had a car with a broken radio that would only play one station, Disney radio. That's not a problem if you're a parent, because any Peppa Pig in a storm will do. But it's a little creepy if you're cruising around campus blasting Hannah Montana. My roommate didn't have any control over that soundtrack. And most of the time, that's how we think about our thoughts too. We don't think we can change them. So we tend to leave our soundtracks up to chance. Unfortunately, when you don't create, curate, and choose what soundtracks you listen to, the music doesn't stop. You just hear a bunch of songs that you don't like. And the problem is your brain can be a real jerk. So let's start with something though that we all agree on. You and I have brains. They are capable of some amazing things like logic, reason, and Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You." That song has made her an estimated $60 million in royalties. Don't you dare tell me it's not amazing. One of the things our brains are capable of is overthinking. Think of it as the ability to have a persistent, repetitive thought. Overthinking is essentially when your brain spins on a thought or an idea for longer than you anticipated. Unfortunately, overthinking tends to lean toward the negative. Left to its own devices, it will naturally gravitate toward things you don't want to dwell on. I'll give you a few examples. Have you ever had to work hard to remind yourself of something dumb you said a long time ago? Did you need a to do list to overthink an embarrassing situation from the eighth grade, even though you're now in your 30s? Did you need a note on your calendar to make sure you'd spend the whole weekend thinking about why your boss called a meeting with you on a Monday morning? Did you write down "I've got a wave of dread scheduled for this Saturday at 2pm?" Is that what you did? Or did those thoughts just show up unexpectedly, not at all connected to anything else you were doing at the time? Those are called broken soundtracks, negative stories you tell yourself about yourself and your world. They play automatically without any invitation or effort from you. Fear does not take work. Doubt does not take work. Insecurity does not take work. I know all about broken soundtracks like that because they cost me seven years of opportunity. I started my first blog in 2001. I was sharing ridiculous personal content online three years before Facebook existed, four years before YouTube, five years before Twitter, and 16 years before TikTok. Now, I wasn't a tech pioneer because I didn't own enough hoodies. But I was way ahead of the curve. Record labels were reaching out. Readers were finding the content organically. And the faintest hints of momentum were sprouting. Things were moving along, but then I started overthinking everything. What if someone finds out that I don't really know what I'm doing? Where is this even going? What's the point if I don't have a perfect plan to grow it? Those three soundtracks and 1000 more knocked me off the internet for seven straight years. I didn't start another blog until 2008. Who knows how much further I'd be if I'd spent those seven years growing my audience and my content. The most frustrating thing is that all those broken soundtracks showed up in my life completely uninvited. Paul Rosen, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago studied this phenomenon when he realized that the English language doesn't even have a word that means the opposite of "trauma." Roy F. Baumeister, Rosen's collaborator, explained why in his book, The Power Of Bad, how the negativity effect rules us and how we can rule it. They said there is no opposite of trauma because no single good event has such a lasting impact. You can consciously recall happy moments from your past, but the ones that suddenly pop into your head uninvited, the involuntary memories, as psychologists call them, tend to be unhappy. You see, your brain builds on overthinking's habit of negativity by doing three additional things. That's the real challenge, it does three more things. Number one, it lies about your memories. Number two, it confuses fake trauma with real trauma. And number three, it believes what it already believes. We often think that our memory is like a GoPro, just capturing things as they happen in real time for later review. Simple things, complex things, happy things, painful things, it's all just one long film of our life that we can access later. If only that were the case. In his podcast, Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell brings his world-renowned brand of insight to the topic of memory. In one episode, he does the unexpected and attempts to exonerate news reporter Brian Williams. Williams was riding high as the host of NBC Nightly News, when his whole career came tumbling down with a preposterous lie. On March 23, 2013, he told David Letterman that he had been on a Chinook helicopter that was fired on by enemy troops in Iraq 10 years earlier. That seems like the kind of thing one would remember. For instance, I know right now, like sitting here right now, I haven't been on a helicopter that was attacked by a rocket-propelled grenade. You probably know that too. But Williams thought he was. How could he possibly get something so big, so wrong? In his podcast episode, Gladwell talked to memory experts who expressed empathy for Williams. They pointed to the considerable research around so called "flashbulb memories," dramatic experiences that create a vivid recollection in our heads. Some flashbulb memories are shared by an entire country. William Hearst, and a team of researchers did a 10 year study into the memories people have of 911 if I asked you right now, where you were, when the towers fell, you'd probably be able to remember. I was unemployed at home in Arlington, Massachusetts, listening to the radio. The problem is that as Hearst studied the memories of the participants over the years, he discovered something surprising. They changed. As time passed the details of what they remembered, morphed, and not just a little bit. Hearst found, on average, a 60% decline in memory consistency, meaning 60% of the answers changed over time. Now the crazy thing is that even as the accuracy of our memories declines, our confidence in them doesn't. In 1986, on the day after the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, Nicole Harsch and Ulric Neisser asked psychology students how they heard the tragic news. The students wrote down their answers. Nearly three years later, the researchers asked those same students that same question. More than 40% of the students answered the question differently the second time because their memories had changed. The researchers pointed out to participants that the two memories they wrote down were different. They showed them the initial memories they themselves had written down. Confused, participants admitted, "You know what? The handwriting is mine," but still wouldn't admit their memories were inaccurate. They said, "I agree. It's my handwriting. I agree I must have written that down. I don't know why I lied, because I clearly remember that I was in the dorm. Even though this piece of paper says I was in the cafeteria." One of the things that causes flashbulb memories is the degree to which the memory of the event is rehearsed, i.e. how often are people likely to recall the event? That's overthinking favorite jam. Can you imagine something you rehearse more than the negative soundtracks in your head? That's what overthinking does. It finds a negative soundtrack and then plays it over and over again. I've listened to "Sweet Child of Mine" 1000 times. I listened to "That friend didn't respond to your text message because they're mad" 100,000 times. The memory doesn't have to be as tragic as 911 or the Challenger explosion either. Have you ever been fired? Have you ever been dumped? Did a coworker ever yell at you in a meeting? Did you ever miss a flight because you overslept. Those might not seem like significant events compared to national tragedies. But that's when your brain leads into the second reason it's kind of a jerk, you have a hard time distinguishing real trauma from fake trauma. Researchers at the University of Michigan medical school found that when we experienced a social rejection, our brain releases the same kind of opioids, it releases during a physical trauma. Even when the participants knew ahead of time that the social rejection was fake and part of a study, the result was the same. Our brain hits the panic button and dumps opioids into our body to help us survive the perceived emotional pain. When faced with fake rejection, your body releases real chemicals. As a parent, it's so tempting to tell your kids "It's no big deal. It's no big deal!" when they share something they're worried about. In the grand scheme of things. Losing your favorite seat at the lunch table when you're a high school sophomore, is insignificant. But a lot more is going on than just a cafeteria misunderstanding. That 16 year old daughter is awash in real opioids, indicating real danger. It's very much a big deal. And let me pause for a second and just tell you I had to go back to the studio after recording the whole audiobook to say the line "opioids" again. And I don't even know if I'm saying it right in here. Like it took us so many takes. The poor audio engineer was like, "No, that's not how you say it." So if I'm not saying it right, right now, just know, I know it's a difficult word. I don't know why I wrote in the book so often. It was not very kind to me. And once I got into the studio, I was like, "Oh man, I'm not gonna be able to say this word." Alright, back to the story. So our memory lies, and our brain has a hard time telling the difference between real trauma and fake trauma. Now those two challenges are daunting enough. Now comes the third member of the overthinking trifecta, confirmation bias. Our brain likes to believe the things it already believes. We're magnets for information and experiences that confirms the things we already think about ourselves and the world. If one of your soundtracks is that you're the most disorganized mom ever. Then being three minutes late to the after school pickup line will confirm that. Even if that morning. You got both kids to school on time, worked a full time job, planned dinner, and scheduled weekend carpooling for a soccer tournament, your brain will still convince you to ignore any new evidence that doesn't agree with your broken soundtrack. Okay, now that you know your brain can be a real jerk, do you want to leave your thoughts to chance? Where would successful people be if they hadn't made a decision to choose new soundtracks to listen to? Think of all the opportunities and adventures you'll miss out on if broken soundtracks are in charge of your actions. Broken soundtracks are one of the most persuasive forms of fear because every time you listen to one, it gets easier to believe it the next time. Have you ever judged an idea as to dumb to even write down? That's a broken soundtrack. Have you ever told yourself the same story I do about why someone didn't text back? That's a broken soundtrack. Has it ever felt like you have a pocket jury with you, cross examining each new opportunity until you dare not chase it? That's a broken soundtrack. Now, the good news is that you're bigger than your brain. It's just one part of you and it's under your control in the same way as an arm or a leg is. We know this because you and I have the great fortune of living in the age of neuroplasticity. Your parents generation didn't know they could change the shape and function of their brains. Their parents generation thought cigarettes were good for cyclists in the Tour de France because the nicotine opened the capillaries in their lungs. Maybe my kids generation will be the one who figures out how to make vegan queso not tastes like organic sand. Every generation learns something new. Neuroplasticity, which is the power to physically change our brains by changing our thoughts, means that the solution to overthinking isn't to stop thinking. Why would we ever get rid of such a powerful, efficient tool? Wouldn't it make more sense to just run our brains with different soundtracks instead of the broken ones? I mean, a plane can drop a bomb or food. A syringe can deliver poison or medicine. A stallion can run a stampede or win a race. The same is true of our thoughts. If you can worry, you can wonder. If you can doubt, you can dominate. If you can spin, you can soar. The same brain, the very same brain that told you for years that you couldn't write a book can be taught to tell you just the opposite. You can write a book. You must write a book. It's time to do it. I should know. I published zero books the first 33 years of my life. I published seven over the next 11 years. How? I started listening to a new soundtrack. I didn't just give myself a boost of encouragement in 2008 when I chose to believe I could become a professional public speaker. I started changing my soundtracks in ways that changed the shape of my brain. Not just one day, but every day, which is all the easier because of neurogenesis. Dr. Caroline Leaf writes about that and here's what she says about neurogenesis, "Every morning when you wake up, new baby nerve cells have been born while you are sleeping, that are there at your disposal to be used in tearing down toxic thoughts and rebuilding healthy thoughts." Your brain is waiting for you each day. It's waiting to be told what to think it's waiting to see what kind of soundtracks you'll choose. It's waiting to see if you really want to build a different life. Now it's one thing to choose a positive soundtrack and then use it to create something good. But what about the reverse? Can soundtracks help us escape from bad situations? What role do they play when life doesn't go the way you want? How can you use your thoughts to rebuild something that's fallen apart? Colleen Barry faced these questions when she lost her job in Boston as a result of the dot com bust in 2001. She had to take three jobs that cobbled together what her previous salary as a documentary film researcher and distributor used to cover. One of her jobs was to answer the phones as a receptionist in a small office for Gibson Sotheby's International Realty. That was another word I had to come back into the studio to re-record "realty". Realty? Realty? Realaty? I'm still not good at that one. She said, "It was not the direction I wanted to go working as the receptionist." She said, "I was trying to move into a creative field, not make minimum wage answering phones." Overthinking could have gotten very loud in that moment and played any number of soundtracks. She could have heard entitlement. "I shouldn't have to answer phones. This work is beneath me." She could have heard regret. "My last job was so much better than these three others that I have to work just to get by." She could have heard fear. "What if the economy collapses again, I'll lose these jobs as well." She could have heard blame. "It's not my fault I lost my job. Life is so unfair." She could have heard resignation. "This is how things will be forever." Instead of listening to any of those broken soundtracks, though, Colleen decided to look at the situation with fresh eyes. She said, "I discovered something. I was doing this job as much for me as I was doing it for them." She said, "If I wanted to grow, I had to make the path because there was no clear path for just answering the phones. The company wasn't going to give me a path. If I wanted to find the path and enjoy the day, I had to change things." Colleen's dreams had been knocked off course, but she made a choice. Instead of listening to a soundtrack that said "I have a menial job," she came up with her own soundtrack "My job is to offer the best customer service." 1000 other people in that situation would let the circumstances dictate their soundtracks, as evidenced by every sandwich some grumpy person has served me in airport food courts. But Colleen did just the opposite. Once you've picked the right soundtrack, it gets easier to pick the right actions. That's always how it goes. Your thoughts empower your actions, which generate your results. She said, "I leveraged a connection to get us a coffee machine and some pots. I offered every visitor to the office and espresso or cappuccino." The tired, stressed out customers started to notice a difference. After a long day of seeing expensive rental properties in a city we're finding a place to live is a competitive sport where clients would return to the real estate office and be welcomed into Colleen's sanctuary. That's a nice story, isn't it? Colleen answering the phones politely and offering tiny little baby espressos to customers who weren't expecting such great customer service. The story doesn't end there, though. Colleen became the CEO. Please try not to step on the mic I just dropped. It's true. Colleen changed her soundtrack, which changed her actions, which changed her life. And today, she's the firm's CEO. Did it happen overnight? Of course not. It took 15 years. I don't care how amazing your coffee is. No one jumps from lobby barista to CEO in a week. It took me six years to become a full time public speaker, though I think the new anthem and chapter 10 Ooo, spoiler alert, new anthem chapter 10. I think that will help you shave some time off your journey. Colleen got an entry level marketing position. Then she ended up running the marketing department. Next, she jumped to business coaching, all while writing fresh soundtracks that moved her forward. For example, she didn't just see coworkers when she wakes up on a Monday morning, like when she shows up at work, she didn't see coworkers. She said, "I imagine that everyone I work with is a business partner that I'm trying to help grow. I have 350 partners. Was it always easy? Nope." She says that after the dot com bust, everybody was pretty depressed. "We had all come from making lots of money and fancy offices that ping pong tables and pool tables," she said. "You had to make a decision. Will I just try to collect unemployment while I do the work the way I really want to do it?" Now, did Colleen ever get annoyed answering the phones? She did. She said, "There are a couple times when it was frustrating. I would think 'Really? this is what my life has come to. I was in Cannes a year ago showing a film.'" But she didn't keep listening to that broken soundtrack. She said, "I have to be very cautious about taking the thing that I'm experiencing in the moment, and then making it a permanent thing." Our brains do that. But it's not the new normal. You're just having a crappy day. You're going to have a few of those. We all do. Three months into believing I could be a professional speaker. I attended an event and planned a meetup for all the people who were reading my blog. I wasn't speaking at the event because no one but me knew I was a public speaker yet. But the staff allowed me to use an empty room at the arena. I printed out 1000 stickers, and I brought a dump truck's worth of Skittles because I'd written a joke about them that I thought was funny. I waited in the room for readers to show up expecting a massive crowd. In 90 minutes, do you know how many people came through those doors? Two. One is a friend named Mike Foster, who happened to be at the event. The other was a father who walked in and said, "I don't read your blog, but my daughter does. Call her." He then handed me his phone. I had an awkward 30 second conversation with his daughter. And then he left. I, I think he took a sticker. If I listen to my broken soundtracks, that day was an abject failure. Only two people attended my event. If that same thing happened to me in my 20s, that embarrassment would have become one more reminder that overthinking played whenever I tried to do something brave. I would have quit that foolish dream like I quit my first blog, potentially sacrificing another seven years to being stuck. But this time was different. I was controlling my soundtracks instead of letting them control me. Instead of giving up, I chose to play my new soundtrack at full blast. "You can be a public speaker and an author." Instead of feeling crushed that day I recognized it for what it really was, a chance to share an experience with other people, failure. I had my friend take a photo of me surrounded by a sea of empty chairs. That night, I wrote about the experience and it became one of my most popular blog posts ever. 11 years later, I stood on stage in front of 8000 people. And I smiled about something that no one else knew. I was in the very same arena I'd been in when my meetup failed. I was about 500 yards from the spot where I had to carry 999 stickers back to my car. To be clear, I didn't have a perfect plan that carried me from the failed meetup to the keynote on the main stage. All I had was the soundtrack that told me it was possible. My entire world started to change when I decided to choose what soundtracks I listened to. The best part is that this process is a lot simpler than you'd expect. When I first started transforming my overthinking, I figured it would take approximately 92 steps, 14 techniques, and at least a few dozen acronyms. I was wrong. There are three actions to change your thoughts from a super problem into a superpower. Number one, retire your broken soundtracks. Number two, replace them with new ones. Number three, repeat them until they're as automatic as the old ones. Retire, replace, repeat. That's it. I don't know what your dream is. It's probably different from mine. But I do know one thing, overthinking is getting in the way. It's time to do something about that. Oh, okay. That's it! That was the first chapter and what's really fun is that I interviewed Colleen Barry from the first chapter for my podcast. That episode will come in a few weeks and you're going to absolutely love it. She is amazing. Okay, I hope you had as much fun listening to that as I did recording it. If you liked it, and you want the entire audiobook for free, which is read by me with bonus stories galore I say opioids right, I probably say realty right, because the engineer would not let me go until I did. If you want the whole audiobook for free, here's how you get it. Step one, buy a copy of Soundtracks. It can be a print version or the digital version. You can buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, a local bookstore, anywhere books are sold. That's step one, buy a copy. Step two, go to SoundtracksBook.com and fill out a quick form so I know where to send the book. The link to that will be in the show notes. But again, it's SoundtracksBook.com. It's that easy. Now you only have until midnight on April 5 to get your free copy of the audiobook, so don't sleep on it. Here's to being all in. And thank you so much for listening today. I'll 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 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.