Give Yourself the Gift of Done: Jon Acuff

Episode 04

With the new year comes new pressure to CHANGE. OUR. LIVES. This is the year we’re finally going to lose the weight, finish the project, clean out ALL the closets. Time after time, so many of us find life gets in the way. And when we can’t attain the lofty goals we set for ourselves, we feel like failures. Jon Acuff joins the show to give us permission to finish, even if we only get part of the way there. Jon is the New York Times bestselling author of 6 books, including Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done (which just conveniently came out in paperback!). Today he reveals how we can be honest about our goals and kinder to ourselves, even when our efforts come up short of our expectations—or where we perceive others are. Jon and Jen talk about why the pursuit of perfection can be the biggest hurdle to “getting it done,” and how cutting goals in half raises our chance for success through the roof. Jon reveals we might need more than a year to get some things done (What? Resolution sacrilege!) and shows we’re really NOT wired to do it all, despite what others’ social media pages may depict. And with that realization alone, life becomes much more enjoyable.

Episode Transcript

Narrator:  Hi everybody, my name is Remy. Welcome to the For the Love Podcast, with your host Jen Hatmaker, my mom. She writes books and speaks to crowds. But she mostly loves talking to amazing people every week on this podcast. Thanks for listening! We hope you enjoy the show.

Jen:  Hey, everybody. Jen Hatmaker is here. I am your host of the For the Love Podcast. Welcome to the show, you guys.

Right now, we’re in a series called For the Love of Good Change. Look, it’s not the normal New Year, new you business. I’m so not into that. If I’m going to make a change, I wanted to come from a place of intention, not shame. So in this series, I’m talking to experts who come alongside of us in numerous ways to help us examine our thoughts, and behaviors, and help us shape the way we look at ourselves and interact with the world.

Every single guest I’ve talked to has lit a fire under me in the best possible way. I cannot say this enough.If you’ve not listened to this series, I beg you to go back, start at the beginning and listen to the whole thing. Really phenomenal conversations, ombatting this horrible idea of “do better and be better and try harder.” There’s just no shame in this at all. It’s very healthy and productive and nurturing. I hope that you are enjoying it as much as I am.

I’m super delighted by today’s guest. A lot of you probably already know him. He’s a friend of mine. His name is Jon Acuff. You might know him as the New York Times bestselling author of six books. For more than 20 years, I guess, at this point, Jon has helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story: Home Depot, Staples, Bose, Dave Ramsey team, just goes on and on and on. He speaks to hundreds of thousands of people around the world every year. He’s just this really clear voice of encouragement helping individuals or corporations or companies or nonprofits imagine their goals and examine them. Then he equips them with the tools to reach for them.

You’ve probably seen a ton of his hilarious tweets because he’s really, really, really funny. We talked about that a little bit. Back in the day, if your intro to Jon may have been mine was which was when he started this runway online hit called Stuff Christians Like. I mean, I’ll link it on the transcript page so you can go back and see some of his best archived writing. Hysterical, if you grew up in Christian subculture.
He’s just this treasured trove of wit and good ideas and good counsel and healthy practices. I knew he would be an amazing guest for this series because last year, he released a pretty phenomenal book. I read it cover to cover when it came out. It’s called Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done. Isn’t that a great title? Doesn’t that make you feel relieved? If you are a living, breathing person, chances are you’ve probably started a thing or two and at some point, thrown in the towel because doing things is hard.

What I love about Jon is that, A, he is a very funny person, and you know how I like jokes. B, his advice is so straight to the point and practical. You’ll find yourself reaching for your pen to take down notes. It’s not a chore. He makes this fun. In fact, we talk about how to build fun into these works as we set goals and reach for them. He just makes it all very, very doable.

If there’s a little project tucked into a drawer or in the back of your closet or in the back of your mind, this conversation, I promise you, it will help you dust it off and polish it off, polish it up and put it into practice. You’re going to want to stay for the whole thing, some of his very best advices toward the end of this entire conversation.

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Jen:  I’m so pleased to share my conversation with author and speaker and friend, Jon Acuff.

Jon Acuff, my friend, welcome to the podcast.

Jon: Thanks for having me.

Jen: I’m happy to have you on here. One thing that some folks may know about me and you and some don’t is that we are Twitter compatriots when it comes to live tweeting live events. That’s what we do well. It’s our skillset.

Jon: Definitely. I took the Golden Globes off because I’ve had so many interactions with globes these last few years that I’m just like, it’s enough. I’m in a sphere place. I’ll definitely be around for the GRAMMYs, so that’s what I’m working on.

I can appreciate those boundaries. It does run its course, it does. I will give you though that the GRAMMYs does . . .  It feels like it gives us fresh opportunity. There’s just always something a little bit new and wild. There’s always some artists that I’ve never heard of, they’re I’m going to say between 16 and 18 years old. It feels like new content.

Jon: They might be huge. They might be the biggest group from Korea you’ve never heard of.

Jen: That’s right. That’s right.

Jon: You go, “Who’s BTS?” People go, “Are you an idiot?”

Jen: Totally.

Jon: “You don’t live in South Korea, you monster!”

Jen: It’s so true. They’ve outsold Beyoncé, and we don’t even know. We just need to know. It’s so cool. Good on them. I thank you for indulging me in a little bit of live tweeting talk. I appreciate that because we share it.

Look, I’ve told our listeners about you a little bit and what you do. A lot of them follow you already, of course.

A few years ago, you wrote another book called Start, which by virtue of really clever naming entitling, helps people begin to do something. Did you know when you wrote Start  that you were going to write a book called Finish?

Jon: No, I had no idea. I’m not that smart. I think that when you are on the outside of a book process, you think like, “It was so calculated and deliberate. It was brilliant!” Then you go, “Oh, wait a second. No, life generated it.”

I think the best books that I get to write are ones where I have an issue on my own life, I try to honestly solve it or at least deal with it, maybe not eliminate it. When people go, “How did you get rid of fear?” I go, “I haven’t. It’s there every day.” I think it’s about managing it and living with it versus eliminating it.

I think one of the worst things we do is think we’ll be rid of our anxiety. If you want to hate your life, think that there’s a thing you can do someday to be perfectly anxiety-free for the rest of your life. Oh my gosh, that goal cripples so many people.

I said, “Wow, I’m not good at finishing things.” Then I had all these kind people that would say, “I read Start, it was encouraging. I like that it helps me, but how do I finish? I can start a million things. I have a million exercise programs. I have 50 URL domain names. I have 10 half-finished books. How do I actually finish?”

That’s where I said, “Wait a second, there’s a need and there’s actually a curiosity on my end.”

Jen: I love that.

That was the impetus, was really your personal experience plus your listeners experiences from Start, which is also incredibly useful too, by the way.

One thing that I really love about Finish, and I read it last year, is one of the first things you do is basically tell us to get over ourselves, which I appreciate that, to breathe, and to just sincerely embrace the fact that nobody is perfect. In fact, you beat the perfection drum over and over throughout the book. I really think you’re onto something there.

I know inside the community of women, this is a real thing. It seems like learning how to not just tolerate but even embrace imperfection and to your point is the key to finishing. Can you talk a little bit more about that and even how this advice can apply particularly to perfectionists?

Yeah. I think that perfectionism is so dangerous because it’s a poison that disguises itself as a vitamin. It’s the kind of thing when somebody goes, “What’s your worst characteristic in a job interview?” They go, “Give me a bit of a perfectionist!”

Jen: Totally, totally.

Jon: “I give too much.” That’s why it’s so deceptive. Nobody goes, “Lying is a good trait.” But we think it just means you get a lot done and you’re really on top of things and you’re detailed and you’re organized.

Jen: That’s right.

 But I think it’s a lot crueler than that. An example of a perfectionist is someone who will say, “I’m going to run three miles every day, but I only have time for two today so I’m going to do zero.”

Jen: Great example.

Jon: A perfectionist would rather get a zero than a C-minus. I think that’s really toxic regardless of your goal.

Then the other thing like when you say, “Okay, well, how does it apply to people outside that don’t start to go with perfectionism?” I would argue more and more people do because for the first time in the history of mankind, we have access to so many people pretending to be perfect.

Jen: Totally.

 I go back and say my mom, Libby Acuff, in the 1980s when we lived in Hudson, Massachusetts, as a pastor’s wife, couldn’t compare her motherhood to a mother in Seattle, Washington, or a mother in Austin, Texas, because she didn’t know they existed.

Jen: Totally.

Jon: She had a comparison set of five people on her cul-de-sac. Now, in 30 seconds, you have everybody. I think that’s the real challenge, is that we’re all exposed to it and it cripples us before we began. And then it makes us stop and it makes us feel terrified.

I like your approach to For the Love of Change because my approach to that is any change that starts from a deep place of shame will never be sustained.

Jen: Totally.

 If you start from “I’m a broken terrible person, and I have to change this thing or I’ll remain a broken terrible person,” you’ll never engage in the beauty of change and the messiness of it. You’ll beat yourself up.

The other thing is you have to hear that over and over and over and over again because you’ve heard the opposite over and over and over again. That’s why for me, perfectionism, it’s something I definitely struggle with.

I had dinner with some friends last night, and a mother there said, “Ugh, I was reading something that somebody wrote on Facebook about the things you shouldn’t do with your daughter. I’ve already failed at so many of them.” She was saying, “You shouldn’t say the word ‘carbs.’ You shouldn’t say the word ‘diet.’” There was this huge list that was meant to encourage but only discouraged.

Jen: Totally.

 As much as we have for that and that I can be honest in the reverse and come up with tools—like, that was . . .  My favorite part of Finish  was that I hired a PhD researcher from the University of Memphis. We studied 900 people for six months. So I was able to say, “This isn’t because I think this will help. This is what we saw in a study, and here’s why it’s challenging, and here’s a real life example. But here’s the science behind it to actually give you a big enough baseball bat to beat back perfectionism.”

That was really compelling, the research component and how thorough your investigation was and all the evidence that supported your work. I just found it honestly useful from beginning to end on virtually every single page.

You just mentioned that you have experienced battling with perfection. I do too, actually. Please indulge me just asking this quick question. Do you do the Enneagram? What’s your number?

Jon: I’m seven. I’m 7 on Enneagram.

 Oh, you’re seven. Interesting. I’m a 3.

 Everybody said something else. Everybody thinks I’m a 3. I think that’s just because I’m really good at trying to make people like me. I just look like whoever I think the room needs me to be. That’s where I’m working on stuff, because I’d rather just be me.

Jen: I like that.

Jon: It’s like being somebody else is exhausting.

Jen: It sure is. Well, and to your earlier point, we now have more rooms than ever that we are expected to enter and charm. Once upon a time, that was just your real life, like, whoever you actually live with and live by. Now, that is an infinite amount of audiences to win over. For an actual 3 like me or shapeshifter like you, it’s tiring.

We’re going off the grid real quick just because you mentioned that. We’re going to come back because I had a question that I was about to start. Just to your point, you said, “This is why I’m doing some work.” Can you just unpack that for us a little bit? What does that mean?

Jon: Yeah. I’m doing some work and going, “Okay, when I have a reaction to something to stop and look at the reaction, to be aware of the reaction and go, “Well, where is this coming from? What does it really mean?” If I see an insult immediately in a situation, why did I see an insult there? What am I afraid of? I heard somebody say, “Anger is more often born of fear than anything else.” What am I afraid of losing when I got angry there?

Jen: That’s good.

 Why did I think that because I was 10 minutes late to start my day, the whole day is ruined? Where did that come from? Why do I believe it? More importantly, how do I rewire that? I just got really convicted.

I was listening to Brian Koppelman, who’s a friend of mine, and Seth Godin do an interview on Brian’s podcast The Moment. Seth talked about a failure he had early in his career. It was a really tough failure.

Brian essentially said, “Well, how did you rewrite those negative voices in your head?”
Seth said, “I didn’t, I just replaced them.” He said, “I replace them with Zig Ziglar’s voice.”

Brian is like, “What do you mean?”

He said, “I had 40 hours of Zig Ziglar tapes, and I listened to them 100 times over and over because I couldn’t . . . I had to rewire it.” I thought that was really fascinating.

For me, the first step is being aware of the voice that I’m hearing and then being willing to unpack it and deal with it and grow it. That’s fun for me. When I get to invite people into that and go, “Hey, here’s this tool. It’s not going to make you perfect. You’ve got to adapt it to your own personality, and it’s not one size fits all. But here’s what I learned and here’s what I thought was helpful. I think you’ll like it too.” It gives other people the chance to, one, realize it’s not them. Perfectionism, one of its favorite lies is that you’re the only one. Everyone else has it. They actually are perfect, you’re just faking it.

Jen: I see what you’re saying, yeah.

Jon: Yeah. When you share, other people go, “Okay, I’m not the only one.” Then you get a tool that you can say, “I’m going to try this on for size.” That’s really, really fun to me. I would say an example of that . . .  I think men and women both struggle with this is what they call the “ascendancy narrative” or the “ascendancy fallacy,” the belief that the next thing will be bigger than the last thing. Somebody the other day asked me about, “How do you not compare yourself to other people?” I gave him an answer and it was probably rambling.

Jen: Sure.

Jon: Then I realized equally important, if not more, is comparing yourself to yourself.

That’s good.

 Because what happens is you compare yourself either a fictional version of you that doesn’t exist yet, and you feel shame because you’re falling short.


Or you compare yourself to the best win you’ve ever had.

My wife always talks about how she wonders sometimes if I ever got over the explosion of Stuff Christians LikeStuff Christians Like was this blog, it took off, thousands of people read it on day nine. And it’s really tempting for me to compare whatever project I do against the biggest project. If you want to cripple your creativity before you’ve begun, compare it to the most successful thing you’ve ever done and the next thing just has to be bigger. Being willing to engage in it and not put that rule on its success is really helpful. And that’s the kind of messy work you get to do when you . . .

That’s why a goal is bigger than a goal. I always say a goal is a promise you’ve made to yourself. That’s why there’s an emotional component of it. We have 50,000 diet books. There’s not new body parts that got invented in the last five years that were like, “Well, it’s the triple elbow. That’s the thing.”

Jen: Yes, totally.

Jon: Oh my gosh, I haven’t even worked out my triple elbow. It’s not a lack of information, it’s a lot of other things. That’s where I like to explore.

Jen: Yeah, that’s really good work. I very much subscribe to that devastating theory of ascension. I don’t mean to, but I’m a little bit like you in my work.

I’m thinking it through as you’re talking and going back to your initial antidote which is that replacement idea. Because I have that really mean voice that rattles around my head all the livelong day. I’m constantly worried about the thing I’m working on, that it is going to fall flat in some way that I’ve already prescribed. The replacement idea is interesting, not just attempting to silence that voice but rather do an overlay with a better, stronger, wiser, kinder voice. I think that it’s really incredibly wise. Who are you listening to right now that is feeding your better angels and your better nature?

One is my pastor, love my pastor, Kevin Queen, and that’s one of the voices. Another is The War of Art. A million people have read The War of Art. It’s an amazing book by Steven Pressfield. I didn’t understand there was an audiobook of it. This really magical thing happened, there’s a book series called Longmire by a guy named Craig Johnson. The books were amazing. They’re so beautifully written. The audiobooks are performed by this guy George Guidall. I think I pronounced his name right. He is a master. The books are beautifully written, and there’s literature interwoven out. It’s still like this interesting mystery.

I went to go get The War of Art book because Seth Godin had mentioned like, “Go find that book, listen to it 10 times.” I went and I found it. It’s read by George Guidall. It’s my favorite narrator reading one of my favorite books. Again, this is all an experiment. One of the ways you kill perfectionism is you experiment.

Jen: That’s good.

Jon: You go, “I’m going to try it without the expectation. It’ll solve everything.” I’m going to, this year, if I had to guess, I’m going to listen to that audiobook at least 12 times.

Jen: I like that.

Jon: It’s only two and a half hours, but to have that idea and that encouragement . . .  The PhD that I work with this guy named Mike Peasley, we met this week to talk about not the next book, but the book after because the research is long. One of the things we tested recently that was interesting was the importance of outside inspiration and how important that is. I think sometimes when you’re trying to change your life, one of the lies is you should be able to do this on your own. To need outside influence is weak. You’re not noble. You shouldn’t have to trick yourself. You should just do this stuff automatically.

What we found at least in this first study was no, the people who are good at seeking and building and relying on outside inspiration perform better over time. For me, the lie is, “I can stop my negative voice and just go, ‘Let’s buck up.

Jen: That’s right.

Jon: “’Let’s pull our bootstraps up.’” The truth is, you know what, I’ve tried that for 43 years. It’s like, I’ve got evidence, that doesn’t work for me. Let me try and experiment. Let me fill my head with a different voice, a true voice. I’m not out there seeking like idiots for advice.

Jen: Sure.

Jon: Let me try that. Let me see if that encourages me. Let it not just be one voice. I’d listen to the Brian Koppelman, Seth Godin podcast more than once. It’s so full of heart. I’ll listen to The War of Art. I’ll listen to my pastor. I’ll seek out multiple voices. I won’t try to go, “If Jon Acuff was a better person at growth, I could just make myself grow.” The longer I live, the less I believe that’s true.

Jen: I agree with you. I appreciate that, because there definitely is an idea out there that just has a lot of momentum that is sort of “just dig deep.” There’s something that you should just be doing on your own if you care enough, if you try hard enough, if you are serious enough. It’s a little bit debilitating just this idea that we supposedly contain all that’s necessary for any of our work in the world or any space that we’re moving into.

I actually really appreciate your research on that that the opposite is actually true, that we need teachers, and we need leaders and mentors and people who inspire us and pull us forward. That’s absolutely been true in my life and is to this living day.

Another thing that you have done that I love, speaking of battling perfectionism, is that you’ve done a couple of stand-up sets for the first time. I’ve been watching you, and I’m just tickled to death. Obviously, stand-up comics are known for . . .  I mean, that is vulnerable. That really is brave, because they get slammed pretty directly, pretty ruthlessly or at least they could. How did that go? Can you say why did you do this, and how did you work up the courage for this, how did you set aside “I’m going to do this perfectly”? What are you learning thus far?

Jon: Well, I said I was going to do it for 10 years and didn’t. One, I’d say if you’ve been saying forever you’re going to write a book, that’s okay. Welcome to the party. The water is great.

Jen: Sure.

Jon: The thing that triggered it was I went and saw a huge comedian, and I didn’t think his opener was good. I thought, I can do that.

Jen: You can do it.

Let me try that. Then I had my assistant find a venue. Nashville’s biggest comedy club is this place called Zanies. We said, “Hey, can we come do a show?” It ended up selling out two nights in like 72 hours, which was awesome.

Jen: Sure was.

Jon: It ended up being this creative kick in the butt that I needed to get out of a funk. Writing a 60-minute comedy set was really hard and really challenging. There’s things I’d do differently. I would say that like anything else and you learn to look at this and roll it around. I thought after it would be like this huge like, “Oh my gosh! All these phone calls,” the expectation is interesting that I had. I think that it taught me how to write again and write  with a voice I really like because it’s so easy to write with somebody else’s voice.

Jen: Sure.

 One of my favorite ideas was about how is a flight attendant supposed to prove that a dog is an emotional support animal? I did this thing where I bent down and I imagine the flight attendant doing role play with the dog and be like, “Okay, come here, Rusty. Your owner had a terrible day. Got passed over promotion because she’s a woman. Glass ceiling, Rusty. She’s dating a man but he’s like a 14-year-old in a 34-year-old’s body. He’s great at Fortnite. You know what he’s not great at? Listening. I want you to tell her, Rusty, she’s enough.” The dog is like, “Hey, good, good thing. If I throw up, I also eat that throw up. That’s what I’m about. I will support her unless I see free throw up on this plane and then I am out.”

 Oh my God.

Then I related that to every time I see a sticker that says, “My dog is smarter than your honor student.” I want to say, “Where did you go to high school?”

Jen: Right, you told me.

Jon: With your honors program? Have you ever heard somebody say, “Our honor students are amazing, but if they hear fireworks, they lose it. We are to get thundershirts on them right away. Kyle is great at calculus but if he gets a problem he’s really excited about, he urinates everywhere.”

Jen: That’s great.

Jon: I didn’t sleep for two or three days. When you give a speech, one of the emotional rollercoaster hills is when the crowd is laughing. And that might happen maybe even 10 times an hour-long speech. Let’s say it was great. That is the expectation that will happen 50 times in the comedies. Imagine the adrenaline, endorphins, dopamine, whatever the word mean and “feel good” is that was really interesting. There’s a bunch of stuff. It challenged my public speaking and taught me a lot. It was really fun. I also know it’s not going to be my career.

Jen: Sure.

Jon: I felt like this great gift of like, Okay, I’ve tried that. There, I checked that off the box.

Jen: It will be so neat to watch and see how that experiment affects some of your other work in every way, that way that you deliver a talk.

Jon: Yeah. It’s totally impacting my next book in a great way. I’m excited about it.

Jen: No doubt about it.

Another thing that you say that I really like is this, you say, “The day after perfect separates the starters from the finishers.” It’s pretty powerful statement. Can you explain it a little bit?

Jon: Yeah. The funny thing is we’re always surprised. We think, This will be the year we do a perfect streak and go 365 for 365. Maybe it’s that we don’t talk about it enough.

The day after perfect is the day after the thing didn’t work. It’s the day after you skipped the gym, you ate the cheesecake, you smoked another cigarette, whatever it is the thing you’re trying to do. It’s the day after that. I think, one, we don’t talk about it enough. Two, we never come up with a plan for it. So what happens is you get stuck with streak thinking.

I just met so many people myself included over and over that would say, “I went to the gym 11 days in a row and then on day 12, I messed up and I never went back again.”

You go, “But you had 11 days where you were in . . .  ” You had even started to enjoy it a little bit. I can look from where I’m sitting right now in my home office and look at 30 half-started Moleskine notebooks. Or there’s this German brand I like now even more.
Jen: Same.

Jon: I can’t pronounce it. It’s like, I’ll go, “This is going to be my serious-thoughts notebook.”

Jen: Sure.

Jon: Then I write 18 pages and then I want to write something funny, so I write something funny. I’m like, Ah! Screw it! This whole thing is wrecked. Then I go buy another one.

That idea of I really think that matters is the day after perfect is where you go, Yeah, yesterday didn’t go how I wanted, it just didn’t. Guess what? Today is a new day, and I’m going to start my thing. I’m not starting over. I’m starting on day 13. I had the good five days. 

I think that’s really important. Just part of beating perfectionism is admitting you’re going to have a day after perfect. When you think about it logically, it’s insane that we think, “No, I’m not.

From here until death, I’m probably going to knock it out. It’s going to be pretty good.”
You go, “No, it’s more about giving yourself permission to fail, forgiving yourself, being kind to yourself.” Those are not popular things to talk about in goal setting. I think we think we have to be perfect in order to sell the book or sell the thing. But then that doesn’t really help people.

I like to live in the tension of like I want to encourage you, I want to be positive. I want to give you lots of tools. I’m a hype person, I’m 7. I’m high energy. I also don’t want to send you down a path that doesn’t actually work. That’s the tension. It’s going, “Yeah, yeah, yeah come on, come on. This is going to be fun. This is going to be good. We’re going to work hard in it. Also, when it messes up, we’re going to forgive ourselves. We’re going to work on it.”

Jen: Yup. There’s literally no other path through. I don’t know when we lost our resiliency. I’m not sure that our parents’ generation had the same crippling tendency to catastrophize whatever went awry for one day or even one week. Let’s live in the real world. That does not mean that there’s not a place to reenter the story. I sense that in my own self that I can really just think, Oh, forget it. It’s so silly, I don’t know whoever taught us that. I appreciate that part of your instruction there is to say it on the front end. There will be a day that this go sideways.

Jon: Yeah, and just get it out of the way. Let’s just go ahead and put on the table.
What’s interesting about that is in some aspects of life, we’re okay with the idea that it might not be perfect. An example, that would be football. We have a thing called “it’s a rebuilding year.” There’s a new coach, we don’t expect that year to be amazing. We might not even expect three years to be amazing. You go, “Yeah, we’re the Cleveland Browns, we lost a bunch of games. Now we lost slightly less. That’s a pretty good year!” Why can’t we as humans go, “It’s a rebuilding year”?

Jen: That’s good.

Jon: We won’t even give ourselves a rebuilding week. They go, “I’m going to drink so much water, that will do it. I’m going to drink 1000 ounces of water a day. That should go ahead and take care of it.” There’s all these promises. The only one that’s fulfilled is like you go to the bathroom all the time.

Jen: All the time, all the time. You wonder why are you doing this.

Jon: We have to carry water around. That’s the other thing. I think it’s hilarious we don’t understand that nobody in the 1990s brought their own water places.

Jen: That’s a great point.

Jon: It’s like no one had a meeting and came with a jug and was like, “No offense, I get very thirsty. I don’t know if this meeting was going to have water, but now I have my water. I’ll be fine.”

Jen: That’s so true. It’s trendy too. Hand at the heavens, our kids and all their stockings, we have five kids. Every one of them got an outsized personal Yeti—not a little one, a huge one—that they can now decorate with their stickers because that’s a thing. It’s trendy, it’s on brand.

Jon: We have so many at our house. Every time I do an event, my kids are like, “Did you get a cooler? Did you get a water vessel?”

Jen: Okay. I’m laughing. I wish you can see how many water vessels we have. It’s stupid.

Another piece of advice in Finish, speaking of, which this is so in my alley, “cut your goal in half.” That might be some of the most underrated advice I’ve ever heard. I think to all the people listening, it might sound like cheating or coming up short. What’s the benefit to that, to lowering the bar, perhaps? How would you talk about “cut your goal in half”?

Jon: Here’s what I’d say. If you feel like cheating, you’re probably on the border of being kind to yourself. If you feel like you’re lazy, you’re probably on the border of being kind to yourself, especially in the context of a goal.

Here’s what I mean by that. A lot of people will go, “Okay, Jon, I’m going to start running.”

I go, “That’s great.”

They go, “I’m going to do a marathon.”

I go, “Have you done a half marathon or a 10k or a 5k, even just a K?”

They go, “No. I’m going to go to Kona tomorrow and do the Ironman.”

Jen: That’s a good point.

Jon: We believe this kind of myth of “aim for the moon because even if you fail, you’ll win amongst the stars.” That sounds amazing on mags and Instagram. It doesn’t work out that way. Here’s why. If people try to lose 10 pounds and they only lose 8, they don’t feel like they almost got there. They feel like they failed by two.

Jen: That’s true.

Jon: And they give up. We, me and the researcher said, “We’re going to get the focus group to cut their goals in half.” So I essentially said, “If your goal is to lose 10, I dare you to lose 5, aim for 5.” Because I knew what would happen is that when you lost eight, which was the same eight, you won by three.

Jen: That’s right. That’s right.

We’ll try again. My big thing is most people don’t have New Year’s resolutions. They have January resolutions. The joke I always do, which is just true is, I’d ask the cashier at the Publix near our house, “When do people stop their diets?”

She said, “Third of January.”

I said, “How do you know?”

She said, “That’s when we stop selling salad.”

I thought, Isn’t that true? My big thing, I care more about your February than I do your January.

Jen: That’s good.

Jon: I care more about your March than I do your February. We ask people to cut their goals in half. They were 63% more successful.

Jen: No way. Wow.

Jon: Now, what I think is interesting is that that’s one really indicative of how bad we are at the initial process of coming up with a goal. We go, “It took me 10 years to put on this weight. I’m going to lose it in the next six weeks.”

Jen: Totally, gosh.

Jon: “I gave myself a decade to gain it.”

Jen: That’s right.

Jon: “Now, my expectation . . .  The gaining part, by the way, was very easy. All it involved was eating. That’s the easiest thing in the world!”

Jen: Totally.

Jon: “The losing part is hard.” Why is the losing part so much shorter in our minds and the gaining part are like coming out of debt all these things. I love that especially in a context of personal goals.

When it comes to a corporate goal, it’s different and that the goal is already set but you had wisdom go into it. See, that’s the problem. A corporation uses analytics and data and reality and spreadsheets. They still stretch, but it’s a really refined goal. The average person that’s listening right now goes, “I don’t feel good about my body, so maybe 30 pounds.”

Then the number comes out of like the heavens and you go, “Well, what? Have you done that before? Did the doctor tell you that? Do you have a plan? What are the steps?”

They go, “No. I saw somebody on Instagram, they lost that amount and I was like, I could do that.”

Or, “I weighed that in eighth grade.” That’s what a bunch of us say.

 I weigh that in eighth grade like I want to get back to my wedding dress.
You want to go, “Were you happy? Did you kill yourself to get into the dress?” Maybe you didn’t. Maybe you did and you’d go, “Oh, you’re right. Those last six weeks . . .  ”

Jen: Nightmare.

Jon: “I loss dress weight.” That contribute to it, that’s a bad goal. I think when I say cut your goal in half, I really want you to be kinder to yourself, but also be honest about the goal and what is the next four weeks really look like.

If you’re about to go to Disney, don’t make a weight loss goal. Nobody likes a person like, “I know I’m on a vacation, but I really need to find superfoods.” No one wants the person in Animal Kingdom going, “Where’s your special keto menu?”

Jen: Totally.

Jon: Do you have a turbo keto? Turbo keto is a thing now, because regular keto is too slow.

That’s stressful.

I love what we do to ourselves.

Jen: So stressful. That’s really great advice.

I work with a lot of aspiring writers, you do too. They will periodically say things to me like, “I’m starting from scratch. I really want to have this done in two months.”

I’m like, “What planet are you living on? That’s unrealistic. That is the craziest thing I ever heard.” There is a bit of a pride in setting an absurd goal, almost as if we have some superhuman power to get to it, which we don’t, and then the disappointment is even worse. Cut your goal in half is really smart.

Jen:  I think you mentioned this earlier, but I want you to talk a little bit more about it. Because you say one of the most insidious ways we sabotage ourselves is with what you call our secret rules. We actually all have them, even if we can’t even name them all or even know that we have them, that’s why they’re that secret. Can you talk about how we discover what our secret rules are and how we get over them?

Jon: Yeah. Well, the example I always use and I use it in the book is from nature and it involves the cuckoo bird which is a real bird, not just in clocks. A cuckoo is what’s known as a parasitic brood, which means when it’s going to have a baby, it doesn’t build a nest. It finds another bird who’s already built the nest and there’s already eggs in there and it puts its egg in there. It has a faster incubation cycle than all of the other eggs. It hatches first and kills every other egg in the nest. The mother bird, which isn’t even its mother, ends up dying often from exhaustion, from feeding this gigantic species. If you go on to Google and put “cuckoo bird parasitic,” you’ll see the craziest photos of a really tiny bird feeding this Jabba the Hutt bird.

I relate that to the lies we believe that over time as we fed them time and energy and creativity have grown really huge in the nest of our lives, but they’re just not true. An example of that would be when I work with executives, I would say 95% of what I get to do is travel around the country and speak to the sales teams and executives and leaders. I also often meet executives that will go, “I’ve got this new opportunity, but it requires me to be creative and I’m just not creative.”

What they’re saying is, “When I was 12, a teacher told me my art wasn’t good so I believe that and I believed it for 30 years. Now, when I get opportunities that are like that, I pull back and I don’t even know why I’m pulling back.”

Or one of mine would be, “It needs to be faster.” What the . . .  Everything. What’s be faster than what you’re currently doing? If it takes you an hour to do that single paragraph, it should have taken you four minutes. You go, “Where do I pick that up? Who first told me that?” Part of the work of this is that this is where self-sabotage comes in. You’ll have people that will get the boat back to the harbor and then sink it right before it docks because they’re afraid of the success.

Maybe they had a mom, maybe that mom who used to say the phrase, “Must be nice.” When they saw somebody in a certain type of car or a certain type of house would go, “Oh, must be nice.” It wasn’t a compliment, it was, “Must be nice to be so greedy,” or, “Must be nice to have things so easy.” Then you see the kid successful and the success, it’s like, “Oh, it burns the skin!” You can’t even sit in it, you’d rather . . .  Then you add insecurity that if you have that negative loop or you feel like you’re not good or you’re not worthy, criticism is a confirmation of how you already feel.

Jen: Sure.

Jon: A compliment is a pact, because it’s against what you believe to be about yourself. There’s all this self-sabotage.

I would say that when somebody tells you they want to write a book in two months, often that’s this interesting form of self-sabotage because what happens is they really know it’s impossible. When they fail, they’ll say, “Well, I just didn’t have enough time. It’s not that I’m not a good writer yet, it’s not other things that are sensitive. The calendar was to blame, not me.” If they gave themselves a year and really had the time to step in it and be patient and thoughtful and detailed and do the hard work of a year, then it would challenge them.

That’s what secret rules are. I think one way you get around them, like, the simplest way is to be in relationship.

Jen: That’s good.

Jon: I personally think 100% self-awareness is a joke. I don’t think we can ever be 100% self-aware because regardless of what you do, you’re so close to the painting of your life you can’t even tell what it is. We need people that are 10 feet back that can go, “Hey, I know you keep saying that but I just don’t think that’s true of you. Here’s what I see.”

Two days ago, I was saying, “Ugh, I don’t know about this one thing I’m going to do. I’m not a good teacher.” I said that a couple of times.

This person is like, “Well, I did that thing you did, and it was really helpful. It’s the reason I wrote my book. I didn’t come away from that thinking you’re a bad teacher. That was actually really helpful.”

My insecurity was saying one thing and this person is saying, “Well, if the proof of good teacher is if the student actually did something after, I’m actually a student.”

Jen: That’s good.

Jon: “I did something after. Here’s the truth.” I think a big part of figuring out your secret rules is to say to a friend, “Hey, here’s this thing I’m thinking about.”

I think the other thing is just to slower. If somebody moves a meeting, say you have a meeting and you get a text message and they go, “Hey, I can’t do that time. What about this time?” If you react out of like, How dare they change my day? Or they ruining my schedule or I’m not going to be able to get what I need to get done. I think you pause and go, Wait a second, why am I reacting that way? Is it that I don’t want to be flexible because I’ve been taken advantage of before, this feels like a micro act of being taken advantage of and I need to really be careful about that in my life?
I think that’s one of the big things where if you don’t start to work on this stuff, all the best goal setting techniques in the world don’t matter, because you’ll lose the 10 pounds and you’ll be just as unhappy, and then you gain 12 back. It’s not that you wait until you’ve worked on this stuff.

You don’t fix this stuff. That’s the other thing. You work on it. You come up with tools. I want to give my kids tools for when they’re not in my house. Not that I won’t make them bulletproof. I can’t. I have two daughters. I know one of my goals for them is they’re so full of love that when the world bumps them, they don’t empty. It’s not that world will never bump them.

Jen: That’s right.

Jon: It’s not that I’ll raise them in a way that they’re invulnerable to criticism. That’s not happening. That’s not how we work. I think that’s a big part of secret rules.

Jen: Yeah, golly. I’m doing my mental inventory right now. I’ve got several. To your point, it is almost always my people who correct it for me. It’s very rarely just a sense of internal maturity that overcomes my secret rule, very rarely.

Jon: Yeah, exactly.

Jen: Yeah, it’s somebody else saying, “You are full of nonsense. That’s invented. You’re making that up. That has no basis in reality.” I think that human proximity is you’re nailing that.

I would also want to talk about this: time is obviously our hottest commodity, our most precious resource. We can’t make any more of it. Almost everybody that I talk to, it just feels like that is a constraint that most of the women that I speak to cite: time, time, time. You say as it relates to how many hours we have in a day, choose what to bomb. Can you talk about choosing what to bomb and even bridge it forward too in that how do you think our need to do it all in the amount of time that we have connects to shame.

Jon: Yeah. I think that part of it is you’re not supposed to do it all. You have to start from there where you go, “Okay, I can’t. The expectation might be there but I just can’t. When I try to do it all, none of it’s enjoyable.”

I think about it this way. If somebody said, “I’m going to try to learn Spanish,”
I go, “That’s great.”

If they said, “I’m going to try to learn seven languages at once,” I say, “What?”

Jen: Right, that’s silly.

Jon: It’s not going to work. That’s not how it’s going to be. I think one of my favorite examples in the book was a working mom. The working mom said, and these are such true examples, she said, “When I’m in a busy season at work, the kids know the clothes get cleaned but not folded and put away.” She has the laundry chair. We all have a laundry chair. It’s like your third machine.

Jen: Of course.

Jon: She said, “The kids pick clothes off of there.” I loved it from a kid’s perspective, he’s like, “Oh, I’m really wrinkled. Mom must be busy.” She said, “When I’m busy, it’s not that I can’t refuse to feed them. They eat. It’s just that the meals are really simple and I give myself permission for pizza and hotdogs.” I think that’s a really powerful thing to go, “I’m in a middle of a really busy season, so something has to give.” It’s going to be my sanity or it’s that there’s three things that during another normal season, I’ll do them and I’ll focus on them then, and that’s okay.

The myth is that you can go off and do a sabbatical for six months by yourself and that will fix everything. Most people’s lives don’t have that luxury.

Jen: Right, nobody.

Jon: I think the greater reality is you go, “Okay, I’m going to forgive myself ahead of time for not getting these five things done. Here’s the flip.” You go, “Wow, I look at my week. I want to do 20 things. The reality is I can do 7 and maybe I got 10, but I’m going to do 7.” Then you say, “I’m not going to worry about these other 10.” In the middle of the week when shame goes, “You’re not doing those other 10,” you go, “I know. Thank you for noticing. I’ve put them down at the middle of the week, I perceive that as a compliment.” Versus I try to do them all and shame goes, “You’re failing,” and you go, “I am, I’m a failure.”

It’s such an interesting reverse approach to say . . .  Because most of the time we go, “Here’s how to be more productive. Here’s how to get a 25th hour of your day.” You go like, “You’ve got to do these 42.” It always cracks me up that we have things like five-minute children’s books, where it’s like for faster connecting with your child. My version of that would be it would be foolish of me during a speaking season to hold myself to the same standard of interaction with my kids as I do when I’m home.

Jen: That’s good.

Jon: That would be really unfair to me to think, okay, I’m in California, a different time zone, I’m not seeing them, they’re teenagers. It’s not like they’re like, “Hey, I’d love to talk on the phone like half an hour. That would be amazing.” Versus when I’m home and I can take a walk around the neighborhood with one of my daughters and ask them, “How is school? What was that about?” I don’t hold myself to those same standards. Now, do I try to be as connected as I can be? I do. I think the season has to change the standards, and sometimes we have a hard time admitting that and putting things down.

Jen: That approach has changed my working life for sure. Again, you’re running this thread through a lot of your counsel, which is expectations. It’s that appropriate mindset at the beginning of the thing instead of the messy middle or the shame based ending that didn’t come out right that it really does matter.

It sounds like a really simple switch to flip. I think that’s the setting of the expectations. This is all that will realistically fit in. It really is the difference between feeling vibrant in the season you’re in and just feeling mired in guilt. That’s exactly the way that we try to structure our household because our work is real seasonal and weird, like yours.
You alluded to it being no fun a second ago. Making your goal fun is another one of your suggestions that could potentially sound like cheating for our “do better, try harder” culture.

Jon: Sure.

Jen: “It’s all supposed to be hard and it’s supposed to hurt.” There are sayings that we say like that, just . . .

Jon: “Sleep when you’re dead.”

Jen: Yeah. Because I was trying to reach for one, that’s a perfect one. I wonder, how would you unpack this for us? What would you suggest about making goals fun and why that is a valuable approach?

Jon: Yeah. This was my favorite part of the book I think, because it was counterintuitive. I love to take things we commonly say and then see if they’re true. If they are, awesome. If they’re not, shame on us for pushing that hard. Let’s do the opposite if the opposite is true.

I wanted to figure out does having fun matter in the context of a goal? Like you said, it’s because most of the time especially in America, we think a goal has to be miserable to count. If you ask the average person name five words you think of when you think of goal, they say “will-power, discipline, hustle, sacrifice, persistence. They never say “joy, laughter, fulfillment, engagement.” We do that corporately. We do that with our exercise goals. There’s people listening right now that are running and hate to run. You see them on the side of the street and they look like they’re having the worst part of their day.

Jen: Totally.

Jon: “That’s how I know it’s good for me because I despise it.” When you study goals, you look at two factors. You look at satisfaction and you look at performance. Those are the two things you look at. A good principle, whether it’s mine or anybody else’s, should raise both of those. It has to raise both because if I only raise your satisfaction but not your performance, you’re smiling all the way to last place. You’re like, “Yay! I’m failing.” If I only raise your performance but not your satisfaction, you’re every rich, miserable person you’ve ever met.

Jen: Totally.

Jon: We’ve all met somebody who is really successful but really unhappy, and it’s because they crashed performance and they never cared about their satisfaction, their heart side of it.

Jen: That’s good.

Jon: We ask the people in the group to make what they do fun, and there was a huge increase. There was a 31% increase in satisfaction. But that one’s obvious. Of course, it’s more satisfying to do something fun than not fun. The crazy thing, they were 46% more higher performing. They performed better because of that.

Now, the pushback is always, “Well, not every goal is fun,” and that’s true. I think we do this next generation a great disservice by saying, “Always follow your heart.”

Jen: Sure.

Jon: “Always chase your joy. The second it’s not fulfilling your purpose, it must the wrong thing.”

Jen: That’s right.

Jon: I love my job. On the outside, a lot of people would go, “You have a dream job. You get to write books.” Last February, I went and spoke to the NFL Players Association because they teach my book Do Over about career transition. That’s amazing!

Jen: Sure.

Jon: There’s a lot of part of my job that are really hard that I don’t want to do, like, we’re in tax season. I hate that so much, doing quarterly taxes. When my wife says, “Hey, I want to talk about taxes,” I hear, “You’re not providing enough as a man.” She has not said that.

Jen: No, she did not.

Whatever is the word code, that’s the one I go to. It’s not about having fun, it’s about making it fun and about being deliberate. Then, this is a way longer answer than you wanted.

Jen: No, no, I do. Keep going.

The two types that we study are reward and fear or reward and consequence. When we hear the word consequence, we think of negative all time.

An example is, if you ever got something done on a Thursday because you had a Friday deadline, you benefited from the positive impact of a consequence. Most people will be motivated by one of those two things, often by both. If you go to a financial planner and she knows you’re a reward person, she says, “If you get your money in order, you’ll be able to retire to Florida and drive around the country in RV.”

If she knows you’re a consequence person, she does the reverse, she goes, “Hey, if you don’t get your money in order, your kids might not be able to go to college. It’s going to be challenging. You’re going to have to work longer than you want,” and kinda helps you understand that.

In my life, for my goals, I need to do the work of going, Do I need a little reward or do I need a little consequence? Do I need a little reward? A reward example of that would be there’s a guy in the book named Steve, really interesting guy. He’s got this huge Jacuzzi bathtub and he said, “I decided that every time I wanted to use the Jacuzzi, I had to do one of the things on my wife’s to-do-list that she had for me around the house.” He said, “Takes about 15 minutes to fill up. It was a perfect time to change a light bulb or whatever.” He said, “I do that so often that now I can’t get into the bathtub without doing that.” It’s from this little reward and it’s not massive.

The extreme version is a friend of mine, his business coach said, “Give me three signed checks and every time you miss your goal, I’m going to send the politician you hate the most some of your money.” You better believe my friend was like, “Over my dead body. No way.”

The flipside of that is you do it with your kids. You figure out what motivates your kids. You do it with your employees. Every manager’s had a situation where they try to motivate somebody with the wrong form of motivation, and it kills you. Because you’re trying to say like, “Hey, here’s this thing.” If they don’t care about it, they don’t even move.

Same with a kid, if you’ve got a kid who’s an introvert and you’re like, “You’re in trouble! Go to your room.” Oh, no . . .”

Jen: “Oh, shoot!”

Jon: Yeah. If you have an extrovert, that’s a very different punishment.

Jen: Good point.

You start to add those elements to things that suck. You don’t have to add them the things you already enjoy. I have to add them the things I don’t want to do that I go, “Ugh, this is the worst. I’m going to add a little motivation.” It’s going to help push me over the edge and here’s how. I’m going to have fun doing it. I know this doesn’t happen often because I’ve never had a manager that said, “Okay, here are your goals for the year. Hold on, are they fun enough? Is there enough fun baked in?” Nobody says that. Realizing that and having some data around that was this huge gift. It made me go, okay, that makes sense, of course.

Now I got to get to companies that do serious work. I help them find the fun approach to that. It’s really interesting to see them light up, but also not in a cheesy way. It’s cheesy if I just go, “Jen, you got to have fun. You got to see the positive side of doing that.”

It’s just a word selling.

Jon: It’s like, reward yourself. Do something that you’d actually enjoy. When I finished the manuscript because finishing . . .  Starting the manuscript is awesome. Finishing it, terrible.

Jen: Totally.

Jon: I said, “I finish, I get to buy myself a pair of ski boots.”

Jen: Nice.

Jon: I could have bought them before, they’re not crazy expensive, but I made that a reward that met me at the end of a finish line.

Yeah. That’s just working with our human nature and building in some incentives is just so smart.

Let me ask you this, some of us are not great at measuring progress. You’ve alluded to that a little bit too. We live in our head and then we’re frustrated when the reality we’re working on is not matching the beautiful perfect dream that we constructed and invented inside of brains.

Tell us how the way that you collect data when you’re in the middle of a project, when you’re in the middle of a goal and why is setting your personal standard to better instead of best like a healthier place to put your goal posts.

Jon: You’re going to iterate it. Most things in life aren’t completely forever finished. You’re going to write maybe more than one book. You’re like, “The laundry is never finished.” Part of it is you got to admit some things aren’t ever completely finish and that’s okay.

I think that the key is to make it simple. If you say, “Okay, I’m not measuring anything and starting tomorrow, I’m going to bullet journal 400 things, and I’m going to illustrate it with brush pins from Japan, and it’s going to be gorgeous.” You’re not going to do that.

I think a better thing to say is, “Okay, I can’t force the progress. I can’t force it the way I want it to. I can measure the amount of time I’m putting into it.

That’s good.

: I no longer measure words written, I measure either time spent, hours. “Wow, I put four hours in the book this week!” I can feel really good about that. Because words, I edit them, I move them around.

: Sure.

Jon: It’s like measuring them but it’s really complicated. If it’s complicated, you won’t do it.

I think even if you said, okay, I want you to use data so that when shame tries to tell you a lie, you have the truth. Your emotions in the middle will go . . .  One of the things that your emotions always tell you is, “It was easier last time. I lost the weight so much faster last time. It’s easier last time.” If you don’t have data, you can’t go, “What are you talking about? I had to run 40 times. I had to go 50 Pilates classes. I did Pure Barre, so I thought my leg was going to fall off.” I want you to have that so that you have the truth of data.

The thing I say always is like data kills denial, which prevents disaster. The data will go, “No, that’s not true. Here’s what really happened.” I think you take your goal and you go, what’s the easiest thing I could measure that I’ll actually do? I won’t actually measure 10 things. Can I on a piece of paper maybe every other day write down here’s three things I felt good about that I put toward my goal.

The other trick is you measure against where you started, not where you’re trying to end.

Jen: That’s good.

 Say you have 100-step goal. If you’re at step 40 and you look at 100, you’re an F. 40 out of 100 is an F. Who’s going to feel good about that? If you look backward and go, I was a zero, now I’m a 40, that’s amazing.

Jen: Yeah, that’s great.

Jon: We tend to look ahead. Then worse than that, we move it. We move the 100.

Jen: Of course.

Jon: It’s eternally away from us. You go, “Okay.” I can look at the book I’m working on and go, “I didn’t have anything on this day. Now, three months later, I’m at this section.”

I think it’s helpful. If you were at 80% to 90% of your goal done, the finish line is encouraging. There’s this thing that happens at mile 25 for a race where you get some momentum. It doesn’t happen at mile 19. At mile 16, you’re like, “This was the dumbest thing in the world. People shouldn’t let me signed up for this. I hate this. I hate them.” Towards the end of it, it’s okay to look towards the finish line, but most of the time, I’m telling people like, “Look at where you started and how far you’ve come.”

Jen: That’s exciting.

So in this series, we are asking every guest these rapid fires, so just top off of your head. Here’s the first one. What’s the best small change you’ve ever made in your life, a small dial that you turned? Big impact.

Jon: I would say remembering I love to ski. I didn’t do it for 12 years, and a therapist told me I was terrible at having fun.

Jen: And you’re a 7!

Jon: Heck, yeah, exactly.

Jen: Discredit to your number.

Jon: I know. I really started to say like it’s okay to do that. It’s not easy from Nashville, but I’m going to actively try to ski more and admit that I like it. I grew up in New England and grew up doing it.

Jen: Sure.

Jon: I’m going to plug back into that.

Jen: It mattered.

Jon: Yeah, I went to Austria last year. It was amazing.

Oh my gosh, that’s a good decision.

Okay. How about this, what is one positive thing that you do every day?

Jon: Well, for me, drinking coffee is pretty positive.

Jen: Same.

Jon: I love the ritual of it. I’m not doing a pour over that has like 19 steps.

Jen: Thank you.

Jon: All my friends who are super into coffee always shame me and they’re like, “You’re missing the hills of Guatemala and the rich texture.” I don’t even care.

Jen: No, thank you.

Jon: For me to have to be a chemist would remove all the joy.

Jen: Totally.

Jon: Yeah, I would say coffee every day.

Jen: I love that answer.

Here’s the last one that we ask every guest at every series. This could be serious or not serious, it just whatever you have. It’s Barbara Brown Taylor. What is saving your life right now?

Jon: What is saving my life right now? There’s a couple of things. I think going slower, listening to the right things. I would say running.

Jen: Yeah, you’re good at that.

Jon: I know I whip on running a lot. Man, I need those endorphins, and so doing that. Then I would say my wife.

Jen: Yeah, she’s a good one.

Jon: My wife calls me back to the middle. I tend to live on the edges and there’s just disaster on the edges. She calls me back to the middle.

I would say all of those are . . .  Yeah, and again, I can’t speak highly enough for The War of Art audiobook. I love it. Again, it’s George Guidall. It’s my favorite character of one of my favorite books, telling me The War of Art. It’s just, man, is it good.

Jen: If you think I’m not going to download that, you are wrong.

Jon: It is so good.

Jen: I know. You’ve got a convert right here.

All right, for everyone listening, we’ll have all that link over on the transcript.

Hey, thanks for coming on today. I just am so happy that you did. I was so looking forward to talking to you. I sat here and if you could hear it on the microphone, I was just scribbling away taking notes.

Jon: Well, I can’t wait to see the transcript.

Jen: I know, right?

Jon: That was fun. I think we both said a lot of words. I said a lot more, but I was excited. I’m 7.

Jen: No one has ever accused either of us of being sparse with our language.

All right. On that note, thanks for being on today. I appreciate it.

Jon: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Jen: Talk to you soon.

I loved that whole conversation. In so many ways, a lot of the things that Jon talked about reminds me of my episode with Hillary McBride,? who talked to us about jettisoning body shame and body negativity and spent such an amazing hour teaching us how to love and care for our bodies with just nurture. And Jon sort of applies a lot of those same ideas to all these dreams that we have walking around. It’s kind. I think that’s the word I’m looking for, just feels kind. It feels generous and it feels reasonable. It’s not a bunch of inflated expectations with low-simmering shame, but rather just a really good friend cheering you on.

I mentioned it, but I’ll have all of this, as always, over at underneath the Podcast tab. Amanda builds out an amazing transcript page for you every single week. Gosh, I hope you guys are using it. I mean, it is full of pictures that support the conversation we’re having. We have additional resources. We have quote cards. Every single thing that we mention is linked including all the social media sites for my guest. Do go over there and use it. We will have Jon’s book and all of his recommendations and all of his socials linked over there, for sure. I hope that you are enjoying the series, you guys. I am just . . . it is filling my tank. I actually wish it was longer.

We still have more to come. I promise you, I’m not bringing anybody to this series that does not have your best good in mind, just your heart and your soul, your marriages, your careers and relationships, and dreams. I’m bringing in no bullies. These are good-hearted, kind-hearted leaders I think who have so much to teach us, and I hope that you’re learning as much as I am.

All right, you guys, that’s it for this week. I will see you next time here at the show. Thanks, you guys, for stopping by.

Narrator: That’s it for today’s show. Hope you enjoyed this chat. Be sure to subscribe to my mom’s podcast and give it a “thumbs up” rating if you like it. From the whole Hatmaker family, hope you have a great week and see you next time!

Narrator: That’s it for today’s show. Hope you enjoyed this chat. Be sure to subscribe to my mom’s podcast and give it a “thumbs up” rating if you like it. From the whole Hatmaker family, hope you have a great week and see you next time!

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