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“No one aims for average. No one sets out for status quo. No one longs for ordinary. But one day you wake up and ask yourself, How did I get here?” These are the words on the inside flyleaf of Jon Acuff’s book Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters. They are words that many of us have said and might even be saying now. We say them when we hit those transitions times in our lives. We say them again when we wake up one day and realize that it is going to be like every other recent day, and we’re just not sure we can take it anymore. We repeat them when something triggers thoughts of unrealized dreams, and we wonder if it’s now too late to make them a reality.
Most people intend to do something significant with their lives. I doubt that there is anyone who hasn’t had big dreams and had every intention of fulfilling them sometime. Of course, that is the key word here isn’t it: sometime. Too many of us are content to live on Someday Isle. Someday I’ll start that business I always wanted to own. Someday I’ll complete that degree. Someday I’ll spend more time with our children. Someday I’ll get serious about getting our finances right. Someday I’ll focus more on exercise and healthy eating. Someday I’ll….
The problem is someday never comes, and one day we realize that the opportunities to do those things we dreamed about are behind us. In his book, Acuff writes that fear is one of the primary reasons we don’t seek to live out our dreams. We are afraid of the unknown. We are afraid of failure. We are afraid of what others might think or say. Some may even be afraid of success. Until we address the fears that hold us back we will never live up to our capabilities or achieve the things we’ve dreamed of achieving. We have to stop listening to those voices within and without that creates fear. Acuff provides several specific things we can do to overcome that fear and move on with our lives.
Fear is what keeps people from starting that small business they’ve wanted to own. For owners of small businesses, fear is what keeps them from taking it to higher levels. We settle for normal because normal pays the bills and provides us with a regular income. We don’t want to risk that by trying to grow our business so we settle. But, while we’re settling we’re also stewing inside because we know we could be doing so much more.
I spend a lot of time working with church leaders, and many of them have settled for the ordinary as well. In fact, it’s safe to say that some have just given up. They have been beaten down so often by having their ideas rejected by small minded people with big pocketbooks they’ve stopped dreaming. They make no effort to lead their churches any more; they’re content to just manage what they’ve got. They have forfeited their role as prophet and leader and settle for becoming a chaplain. In some cases, they are hospice chaplains providing care for a dying institution.
Life is too short to do work that doesn’t matter. Life is meant to be lived with purpose, and part of that purpose is to follow your dreams and to achieve everything you were created to achieve. To do so will require some determination on your part and a plan. Acuff’s book can help you identify a plan. After all, if you want to accomplish something the first thing you have to do is Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters.