Starting tends to be one of the biggest hurdles that we must jump in order to find out what awesome we really have inside of us and let it shine. In the book Start by Jon Acuff, he gives great motivation and tactical steps for starting to find our awesome. It's a hilarious, inspiring, and practical guide.
Stages of an Awesome Life
All of us go through 5 stages of life on our journey to find our awesome:
These stages used to be tied to age or tenure. People used to go through them steadily, sequentially, almost a decade at a time. Getting to your awesome will surely require significant time and investment, but now and in the future the game has changed.
The game has changed
Retirement is dead. The economy will recover. The ideals of companies and individuals and governments won't. Don't expect to pack it in and sit for 3+ decades.
Hope is boss. For those that see themselves as wanted to add to something meaningful, the opportunities are many and they are now. You don't have to wait until you're 50 and have built a non-profit empire for you to add to something fulfilling.
The Internet. Opportunities are always open for anyone with access and a will to learn. You can enter a field and expand your influence in that field incredibly quickly.
Be 22 Again
You can literally be 22 at anything. You can decide to enter a field, begin accelerated learning, determine your focus, lay on the hours of practice, find a plentiful harvest because of your new talent, and eventually help others along the path you have chosen. Then you can do it all again. These days some people are doing this out of necessity as an "encore career" in the place of a retirement that will not arrive. We can all revert to 22 in a new field of study or activity in order to expand our exposure, increase or ability, or make our lives more happy and fulfilled.
There is a joy and a great feeling of accomplishment and purpose in the way that Jon outlines life. What taste would life have if it were not based on learning and becoming better? The values my parents taught me from the youngest age have been marinated in similar ideas.
When we're young, we literally feel like we can do anything. And we do, to our own ability. At some point, because of our own insecurity, we may tend to only keep going in the activities that others have told us we're good at or that we discover some aptitude in. There's nothing inherently wrong in this. In fact, we should take advantage of those things. The feeling that we need to get rid of is fear of starting anything else.
As we grow older, we can become more prone to pigeon-holing ourselves and our successes. We fear failure. We want to build on the good that we've already done. We don't want to fall from what we have built. If we remember the pure enthusiasm and joy of learning that we felt as a child, we will open up more fulfilling doors in our lives. We will continue to find more of what our own brand of awesome looks like.
Jon knows how to write a good book. This book, like Quitter, was very encouraging. Also like his previous books, I was laughing out loud as I read it. People on the train sharing my commute surely had moments they wondered about me as I laughed at Jon's prose. And I think my wife was surprised more than once by the unstoppable laughter that ensued after several especially funny bits. Jon's book reads quickly and happily.
Jon gives the kind of encouragement that I need. I don't feel greatly handicapped by fear. In fact, I feel quite confident in learning and making new successes in my life. But, Jon does help uncover some of the more subtle negative messages that I can give myself that tend to hamper my progress and lessen my enthusiasm, shooting holes in my own boat. And then he gives practical steps for getting the momentum of learning going in my life and taking advantage of those things for which I'm the trail to mastery.
So, what's next? There's only to start. Let new adventures begin.