Want to Reinvent Your Work Life? Here’s 11 Tips From Bestselling Author Jon Acuff - Hope 103.2

Want to Reinvent Your Work Life? Here’s 11 Tips From Bestselling Author Jon Acuff

If you’re feeling the itch to quit your job and fulfil a dream, or just need a change in your work or vocation, Jon Acuff’s advice could help you get there.

By Clare BruceThursday 6 Oct 2016LifeReading Time: 4 minutes

If you’re feeling the itch to quit your job and fulfil a lifelong dream, or just need a change in your work or vocation, Jon Acuff’s advice could help you get there.

He’s the New York Times-bestselling author of five books including his most recent, Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work and Never Get Stuck.

Hope 103.2’s Laura and Duncan chatted to Jon about navigating the journey of work, calling and career, and asked him for some keys for stepping into a new and more fulfilling chapter. He shared 11 tips, starting with a challenge to not settle for a life of work that you hate.

Tip 1 – Don’t Settle for Something you Hate

In America, where the standard annual leave is two weeks per year, many people suffer in a job they dislike, for just a fortnight of time to themselves. It’s a no-no in Jon’s book.

“Don’t ever buy that lie of ‘50 for 2’”, he said. “Who in their right mind would accept 50 weeks doing something you don’t like, just to have 2 weeks off! That is a terrible deal!”

Tip 2 – Overcome Fear: ‘Punch it in the Face’

Scissors cutting the phrase in

Facing up to your fears is another essential in changing your work life. As Jon Acuff puts it, we need to “punch fear in the face”. As you push through fear, by taking small steps that make you a little nervous, the momentum for working towards your dream will build.

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Tip 3 – Remember It’s Never Too Late

One of the challenges many people face when they’re stuck in a rut with their career or calling, is comparing themselves with others and feeling like it’s too late for them to change. But Jon encourages people of all ages and stages of life that it’s never too late to reset and start over.

Tip 4 – Give Yourself Permission to Change

Woman reading a book

One of the first steps towards changing your work life is to give yourself permission. Many people feel trapped into roles we are neither gifted for nor want to do. Giving yourself permission to be released from that, is the first step in your quest of moving towards your dream job, says Jon.

Tip 5 – Seek Advice and Feedback

Don’t make big changes in isolation, without checking in with someone you trust first. Jon’s advice is to “make decisions in community”. Whether you hire a life coach or consultant, find a mentor among your work or family connections, or simply go to friends and family for advice, it’s wise to develop your plan in a community that will spur you on and give you feedback on your ideas.

Tip 6 – Dip Your Toes In First

Writing ideas on pieces of paper

Rather than going ‘all-in’ on your dream, it’s a good idea ‘date it’ or test it out for a while. Jon calls this ‘getting your feet wet’. Rather than mortgaging your house to start a business, for example, start out working on your dream as a weekend hobby, and make sure it’s the right fit.

Tip 7 – Work On Your Character

In his book Do Over, Jon says there are four areas of your life you need to really work on: Relationships, Skills, Character and ‘Hustle’.

Character qualities like patience, honesty, kindness, tenacity, generosity and integrity will all help you to become the person you need to be to fulfil your dream. Check in with a friend, a pastor, a mentor or a counsellor, to improve yourself in these areas.

Tip 8 – Work On Your Relationships

Two women having coffee

Closely linked to character is relationships. Being able to maintain good relationships is a key to success, Jon says, and it’s an area where even the most successful people can stumble.

“People wonder why Tiger Woods isn’t great at golf anymore,” Jon said. “It makes perfect sense. When your skills and hustle are fine, but character and relationships explode, of course you are going to have issues!”

Tip 9 – Work On Your Skills


It goes without saying that you need to hone your skills if you’re planning to take a new career path. Enrol in a course, take up a class, read  blogs and magazines, find a mentor, and take time at home to practice your areas of passion. It won’t just look good on your resume, it’ll prepare you for your next chapter.

Tip 10 – Work On Your ‘Hustle’, or Momentum

Organise your week, schedule time to work on your plans and projects, and develop a routine and rhythm of life that maximises your ability to achieve your dream. It’s an activity that Jon (in true American style) calls ‘hustle’. In fact he offers a course dedicated to it, called ’30 Days of Hustle’. ‘Hustle’ is about making your dream a priority, but not at the expense of other people or work-life balance.

“Hustle isn’t an excuse to become a workaholic or roll over people,” he said. “Hustle is an act of focusing on what matters the most, in the right way.”

Tip 11 – Don’t Feel Guilty About Working on Yourself

Woman working on laptop

Jon’s last tip was an encouragement to all those mothers who experience ‘Mummy guilt’, and anyone else who regularly feels bad about the idea investing in their own life. Just because something doesn’t immediately benefit your family, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, he says.