There’s Less Rules Than You Think with Jon Acuff

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • An Introduction to Jon Acuff (0:49)
  • Testimonials from Fear-LESS Girl Bookclub Members (1:36)
  • My Son’s Favorite Takeaway (5:36)
  • The Day After Perfect (7:21)
  • Unwritten Chapter (9:03)
  • Fail It ‘Til You Nail It (11:07)
  • Jon’s Latest Life Lesson (13:38)
  • Be the Boss (16.25)
  • There’s Less Rules Than You Think (18:18)
  • Leave Room to Tell a Better Story (20:49)
  • How Do You Overcome Your Brain Bully? (23:42)


Today, I want to share my interview with Jon Acuff, author of Finish, Do Over, Start, Quitter, and Stuff Christians Like. Do you ever feel like you’re overwhelmed by your unfinished ideas? You’ll LOVE this episode. We cover continuing to prioritize fun in work, pushing through the day after an imperfect workday, failing it until you nail it, and truly being a boss.

An Introduction to Jon Acuff

Jon Acuff is the New York Times bestselling author of seven books including his Wall Street Journal, number one bestseller Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done. He has hundreds of thousands of social media followers because he is hilarious. He lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and two teenage daughters, and his latest book, Soundtracks, will be available nationwide on April 6, 2021, which is all about overthinking,

Testimonials from Fear-LESS Girl Bookclub Members

Reader Megan Grover said her favorite takeaway from Finish was about hiding places and noble obstacles. Jon calls out these easy excuses in a gentle but firm manner that reminds the reader they deserve more than the roles that have been put in place for them to uphold. Megan also reminds us to fight our perfectionism, another lesson from the book. External accountability is key.

Aaron Chase reminded us that it’s okay if our current contexts mean we have to cut our goals in half, even temporarily. This is particularly applicable to single-mothers who are sick of unhelpful productivity advice from single 20-something-year-old men. Sometimes getting through the day is a win.

My Son’s Favorite Takeaway

My son is very driven and sometimes too serious about his goals. He’s been sugar-free for a long time, but Jon’s advice to add fun has encouraged him to start baking healthy treats. Jon states that the work kids do now set them up for the rest of their life. The earlier children find lessons and truth, the more opportunity they have to set up a great trajectory for themselves.

The Day After Perfect

I am such a perfectionist and pushing through the day after an imperfect day can be tough. This concept was an aha-moment for me. This and the reminder that data is important– tracking reveals the truth– were both my favorite takeaways from this book.

Jon’s daughter told him he’s always “either OCD or No-CD” and this shows how compulsivity and obsession can damage creativity if you find yourself stuck in it.


Fear is an invitation to bravery quote from Jon Acuff on colorful background

Unwritten Chapter

I asked Jon what chapter or new idea he would add to his book if he had the opportunity. He talked about how helpful examples of how people use the information can be more helpful than the chapters alone. A man who dreams of owning a cattle farm can’t really just purchase one cow. Some people need to start bigger. Jon mentioned that readers benefit from various examples with whom they may be more likely to relate.

Fail It ‘Til You Nail It

Jon started his YouTube channel in 2012 but didn’t start adding videos to it until a few months ago. He describes the videos as clunky, but he knows that he must fail for a while in order to get better. “At first, I have to go through a bunch of awkwardness.” Anything new will be awkward.

Failing is the best way to learn, but most of us would rather learn through winning. We still have to try, fail, grow, and change as part of the process. Just start sloppy! “There’s no one who looks at a photo from eighth grade and says, ‘I nailed that look.’”

Jon’s Latest Life Lesson 

Jon realized recently that he brings chaos to his week, the week doesn’t bring the chaos to him. Despite many of his public speaking events getting canceled, Jon is still very busy and running as hard as he was prior to the pandemic. He is the boss and puts this level of stress on himself.

Taking ownership over your mental health and schedule rather than blaming your calendar can help you balance your life. Deep thought feeds everything you do. Distracting yourself with social media hits and instant feedback can prevent the long-term benefits of bigger goals like writing a book. These projects aren’t glamorous and are incredibly difficult, but feel like magic when they’re finished.

Be the Boss

I create goals and deadlines in my head but recognizing that I made these rules helps me remember that I control them. Jon reminds us all to “be the boss,” and to constantly tweak our rules to serve us. We may all be pretty far behind Mark Walberg, but that doesn’t mean we fail if we take the time we need to do things well.

There’s Less Rules Than You Think

I asked Jon what he would want to glean from his legacy. His response was, “There’s less rules than you think.” His daughter has sold bucket hats because there are no rules saying she can’t. So many people place fictional and unnecessary rules on themselves. Jon hopes that “mom-guilt” can be seen as unhelpful and “self-care” can be seen as unselfish.

“Life can be better than you think.” Rules are just stories we tell ourselves that are mostly untrue. Stop and ask the question. Ask yourself: Who told you that?

Leave Room to Tell a Better Story

If you’ll start a story and leave me room to tell it, I’ll use my own experiences to tell an even richer story because of who I am. Authors who overfill an idea don’t leave you room to see yourself in the book.

“Porsche ads are stark white with little content because the brand knows to let you envision yourself in the Porsche story.” A Porsche is a feeling. If you ask the right questions, you can pull the right answers out of yourself.

Jon’s speeches can touch people, making them hear things he may not have even saidbecause he uses the magic of questions. He leaves room for each audience member to fill his ideas in with their own stories.

How Do You Overcome Your Brain Bully?

This tribe exists to help women drop-kick their inner mean girl. Perfectionism is a huge problem and Jon’s new book about overthinking touches on this topic. Jon suggests training the mean voice to not just shut off, but to say different things.

If the inner mean girl has a ten-year head start on you, though, you need to give progress time. It’s unkind to expect too much healing or forward momentum from yourself too fast. “You shouldn’t be good at homeschooling. You’ve never done it… you should suck at homeschooling.”

When you give yourself permission to take some time you can keep yourself from beating yourself up. It’s okay to make mistakes while we’re learning.

Jon keeps affirmation notecards on his walls. These reminders keep him motivated when he is overwhelmed. Keep your reminders and affirmations visible! Don’t trust yourself to remember them. Stack the odds of success in your favor.

Resources from this episode:

Follow Jon on Instagram

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff

Follow Kelli on Instagram

Join the Fear-LESS Girl Book Club Here


Thank you so much for listening to this episode! I’m honored and excited to be on this journey toward personal growth and greater confidence with you. If you enjoyed the podcast, I’d love to ask you to take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star reviews on your podcast app, that way we can help even more women to join us as we #dropkickyourinnermenagirl together.

P.S. If you’re looking for ways to increase your confidence and silence your inner mean-girl, download by free workbook, 6 Ways to Dropkick Your Inner Mean Girl.





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