“Lest you fear I spend the weirdest Craigslist-initiated weekends ever, let me back up a second. I assure you I can explain my moonlit rendezvous with the man in the rainbow suspenders.”
This wasn’t the first line I highlighted in Jon Acuff’s most recent book, Do Over, but it was the first of many times I laughed out loud while reading it. If Jon is anything as a writer, speaker, and community leader, it’s that he is authentic – and consistently so. If you read Do Over for no other reason than a few laughs, it won’t be a waste of your time. It’s also pretty smart though too, as you may expect.
[spp-tweet tweet=””The reality is that a better job begins with building a better you.” @jonacuff”]
This is actually the first line I highlighted, and I think it really sums up – or rather sets the stage for – the rest of the book. While Do Over is a book largely focused on navigating new opportunities in your career path, it is much more than that; if it weren’t, I wouldn’t have been remotely in the target audience. The reality is though, that this career book dives into truths that are universal for all of us becoming better at whatever it is we do on a daily basis. There are magnificent gems of advice and encouragement for everyone – such as the idea of choosing your attitude in the first place, rather than taking on the difficult task of changing it.
One of the first themes of the book is that of RELATIONSHIPS. In a career, Jon argues that relationships influence the first step of any change – who do you know, who inspires you, who do you follow, who do you know casually that could have any sort of career impact? He discusses the differences between foes, friends, and advocates, reminding us how important community and friendship are in every area of our lives, regardless of who we are and what we do for a living. He also makes a shout out to Friends (“Pi-vot!”) and the most subtle reference ever to “Baby Got Back ” – so you know he’s pretty cool. In this same section, Jon provides solid, practical advice on mentorship, toxic relationships, and taking personal responsibility.
The next theme is regarding your SKILLS. I think that the most practical things that apply to anyone who reads Do Over are in this section. Jon walks us through methods to find out (or remember, recognize) in which areas we are skilled. He has readers take a look at past wins. He uses the word “tomfoolery” with perfect placement.
Finally, he begins talking about CHARACTER. “If relationships are who you know and skills are what you do, character is who you are.” He dives directly into which character traits to avoid and which ones – such as generosity, among others – to develop and pursue. He even takes head on the thing that robs many of us from being present – our phones. You won’t be surprised if you know the Acuffs to hear of a time Jenny put Jon in his place with a piercingly important sentence about his technology – but also to read how graciously Jon shares what he learned from that moment.
Do Over has things such as specific, actionable meeting room tips that make it feel much more like a true career book than his others. For this reason I would say I recommend reading Start over Do Over for anyone not currently in a career considering other work (or other positions, etc) – but that’s not to say it’s not a worthwhile read as well. Each chapter has a section of bullet points to remember about the content, which – if I’m completely honest – made it more acceptable to me to scan (not skip!) some of the content that didn’t seem to apply, knowing I wouldn’t miss the big stuff and could always go back in the chapter if it seemed I had.
For all of us, Jon reminds us that, “fear does not bother the stuck – because they’re already out of the game.” He reminds us that purpose is often a by-product of hustle, not a prerequisite. And while I was a bit skeptical of the hype around three “magical words” he uses to wrap up Do Over, I have to say: they may not have been magical, but they provided a life-giving perspective on trying new things.
[spp-tweet tweet=””fear does not bother the stuck – because they’re already out of the game.” @jonacuff”]
Oh – and my name is in the acknowledgments, so that’s another reason you should probably just go ahead and buy it 😉