I am an avid reader of Non-Fiction and Cookbooks, and from time to time I like to share with y’all a book I find of special value or interest. Today I’m recommending Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff.
What I Loved About Finish by Jon Acuff
I bought Finish for two reasons. One, I kept hearing about it from business coaches and entrepreneurs whose opinions I respect. And two, I am the Grand Poobah of starting stuff and not finishing it. Oh I don’t mean my daily responsibilities and things like that. I mean big, important things – my dreams and goals. Is there anything more discouraging and self-defeating than a laptop/desk/house full of half-done projects or a dream that’s on death’s doorstep? Probably, but right now I can’t think of anything.
If I was ever going to accomplish my big goals in life, I knew I had to learn to finish what I start. I thought my problem was laziness, lack of discipline or some kind of poor work ethic. I hoped that Jon Acuff was going to give me the cure for that, as I imagined Finish was about productivity or time management or some other “work smarter not harder” methodology. Well, I was wrong on both counts.
The Key Premise of Jon Acuff’s Finish
Finish is not a time-management book, and my problem wasn’t laziness or lack of discipline. The premise of Finish is that we fail to achieve our goals – to finish – not because we are lazy, lack discipline or just don’t care about our work. We fail to finish because we let perfectionism paralyze, distract and defeat us.
I don’t know how I didn’t see that one coming. Perfectionism is a HUGE struggle for me. I knew it was sucking the joy out of my life. I didn’t know it was also sucking the life out of my life as well.
In Finish Jon walks the reader through all the ways perfectionism sabotages us and clever, simple ways to overcome it. If you struggle with perfectionism, reading and applying the techniques in Finish can absolutely, positively change your life. After reading Finish I finally started my blog – the blog I hemmed and hawed over and tinkered with for YEARS. Because, you know, I wanted everything to be perfect. hahahahahaha!
Jon’s writing style is smart, funny, engaging, and empathetic – he’s a great coach. I saw so much of myself and my struggles in his examples, and it was LIBERATING to finally figure out what the problem was and how to clobber it. Toward that end, Jon’s advice is practical, straightforward and easily actionable. My favorite chapters are “The Day After Perfect,” “Leave Your Hiding Places and Noble Obstacles,” and “Choose What to Bomb”. Who doesn’t want permission to flop at something!?
What I Didn’t Like About Finish
Not one thing. Seriously, read this book!
A Few Favorite Quotes From Finish
- “[There are two] doors we stand before in this book and in our lives. One is marked FINISHED and leads to untold adventures, opportunities, and stories. One is marked PERFECTIONISM and leads to a solid brick wall of frustration, shame, and incomplete hopes.” p 13
- “The harder you try to be perfect, the less likely you’ll accomplish your goals.” p 16
- “Perfectionism offers us two distinct distractions: hiding places and noble obstacles. A hiding place is an activity you focus on instead of your goal. A noble obstacle is a virtuous-sounding reason for not working toward finish.” p 75
- “If we don’t examine ourselves mindfully and gently, we may think that our failures to meet our goals are due to our laziness or bad strategy, when in reality they are caused by the secret rules that make our finishes impossible.” p 120
- “…in the middle of a goal, perfectionism is trying to convince you that the results aren’t good enough and that you should quit.” p 125
- “Keep in mind that perfectionism can’t stand self-awareness. If you’re self-aware, you’re more likely to know and accept your limitations.” p 157
- “For every Susan Boyle, there are a thousand shower singers who didn’t think they were good enough to even audition. That’s ultimately the worst thing that perfectionism does. It makes sure you never even try.” p 188
If any of those quotes resonate with you, I think you’ll benefit from reading Finish for yourself. This is one book that is going on my Hall of Fame shelf for books that had a big impact in my life!
Here’s to finishing something that matters to you!
For more from Jon Acuff, check out his website and blog.
For another great read, try Rory Vaden’s Take the Stairs