Stop saying, “I had to ask!”

“I had to ask!”

No, you didn’t.

You wanted to ask and there’s a big difference between those two things. In Do Over, I spend 25% of the book talking about the importance of relationships. Why? Because relationships often get you the first gig. Someone will take a chance on you because they know you and trust you. Someone will give you an opportunity your skills might not have earned yet because of a friendship. And phrases like “I had to ask” tend to wear away at relationships.

If you say, “I had to ask,” it removes the responsibility from you. Some outside force made you ask. Your hands were tied, there was nothing you could do except ask.

So you did and the person you asked for a favor said no. You responded to his/her no with “I had to ask!” Or, instead you said, “Well, there’s no harm in asking,” only that’s not true either.

There can be harm in asking. Maybe the person you asked feels used. You barely know them and have jumped gigantic intimacy levels by overreaching with your favor request. Maybe they felt manipulated by the ask. Maybe they’ve now quietly moved you from, “People who are my friends” to “People who just want favors” bucket.

Don’t kid yourself. There’s harm in asking, especially if you do it the wrong way with the wrong person.

Does that mean you shouldn’t ask anyone for anything? Of course not. Your friends want to help you. They’re excited to help you. The time you’ve invested in that relationship completely changes the request.

Asking is hard but it’s not complicated. Here’s a simple way to remember the right way to do it:

Ask friends for favors. Ask strangers for friendship.


Never trust a self help “expert” who owns a gorilla.

Success is like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.

An entrepreneur said this recently online.

My first thought was, “You probably shouldn’t wrestle a gorilla.”

I used the word “probably” because even in the quietness of my head I was trying to be polite, not honest.

You definitely shouldn’t wrestle a gorilla.

They’re incredibly strong and capable of ripping your face off. I don’t even think that’s their finishing move. I think that’s maybe an opening move, which says quite a lot about the ferocity of gorillas.

That’s just a meaningless motivational statement, something the Internet is populated with right now. Here are two others I just made up.

“Success is like playing backgammon with an antelope. You never know where it will leap next.”

“Success is like watching Netflix with a Gaboon Viper. Difficult.”

Those pearls of wisdom are not in my book Do Over because my editor had this strange thing about “only putting things in the book that will actually help people make the most of their careers and dreams.” Go figure.

If a self-proclaimed self-help expert ever says to you, “To be successful, you have to wrestle this gorilla,” you should really question what it is you’re doing with your life at that exact moment. Or maybe the better question is “Why does this guy have a gorilla?”

Why does his personal definition of success involve opposable thumb to opposable thumb combat?

If he’s honest, he’ll give you one of two possible answers:

1. He runs a terrible human/gorilla fighting tournament and tricking people into competing is the only way to drum up participants. (Convincing the gorilla mainly just involves the procurement of bananas.)

2. We as a society are running out of motivational statements to incorrectly assign to Abraham Lincoln and are now forced to make up our own even if they don’t make sense.

Either way, you definitely shouldn’t wrestle a gorilla.

Do Over

Announcing the 15-city fall Do Over tour!

Don’t call it a comeback! Actually, this might be the one time in my life where LL Cool J lyrics are not appropriate.

The spring Do Over tour went so well, we decided we not only wanted to comeback with a fall tour, but we wanted to make it even bigger.

Announcing the fall Do Over tour!


What if you could change the way you looked at your job and your career?

What if you could rescue Monday, reinvent your work, and never get stuck again?

Those are the questions I’ll be answering as I visit fifteen cities this fall to talk about my latest book, Do Over!

The last tour was awesome! In addition to signing books and hanging out with so many friends, I got to do a live illustration of the four career transitions everyone will experience.

A tour might feel a little old fashioned what with the webinars and the Lady Gagas and the hippity hop snapchat these kids are doing these days. But the more time I spend online, the more I realize offline matters more. That’s why I can’t wait to meet so many of you and hear about your Do Over stories.

The events are all free, but space is limited so you need to register to attend.

Register today to reserve your seat:

September 8 – Chattanooga, TN | Books-A-Million Register Here

September 14 – Minneapolis, MN | Half Price Books Register Here

September 17 – Seattle, WA | Half Price Books Register Here

September 21 – Santa Monica, CA | Barnes & Noble Register Here

September 28 – Lancaster, PA | Barnes & Noble Register Here

October 1 – Washington, D.C. | TBD Register Here

October 13 – Detroit, MI | TBD Register Here

October 15 – Indianapolis, IN | Barnes & Noble Register Here

October 20 – Kansas City, MO | Half Price Books Register Here

October 23 – Chicago, IL | The Book Cellar Register Here

October 26 – Charlotte, NC | Barnes & Noble Register Here

November 2 – Austin, TX | Barnes & Noble Register Here

November 5 – Dallas, TX | Barnes & Noble Register Here

November 10 – Tampa, FL | TBD Register Here

November 16 – Orlando, FL | Barnes & Noble Register Here

These events are going to be so much fun, hope to see you there!

p.s. If you haven’t ordered Do Over yet, pick up a copy today!


Divorce is so ordinary we sometimes forget the extraordinary pain it causes.

Yesterday on my flight, a 13-year-old boy who was traveling alone sat next to me. Before we took off he lowered the tray table in front of him, put his head in his arms and started sobbing. Big tears covered the tray as he wept in his seat.

I asked him, “Are you alright buddy?” He told me he had spent 3 months with his mother for the summer and was flying back to another state to live with his dad.

Sometimes the frequency of divorce makes us forget the heartache of it. It’s such an ordinary thing these days that we tend to rush right by the extraordinary pain it causes.

If you grew up with divorced parents, are going through a divorce or are divorced, I’m sorry for all the times that I didn’t understand how hard that experience can be. It might be common, but it’s never easy.

I wrote those four paragraphs on my Facebook page a few days ago.

Four hours after I did, the mother of that little boy messaged me. A friend who follows me sent her the post. After confirming the details of the flight and his name to make sure it was actually her son, she thanked me.

It had been a hard day for both of them. The division of family, whether for the school year after a summer with mom, or the weekend after a few days with dad, is never easy. I started to cry in the airport while I read her message and had to pretend the tears were falling because I was eating a really transcendent airport food court burrito. You know the kind, no rip down the middle, great structural integrity, bite after bite? Burritos, is there anything they can’t do?

But then a strange thing happened, people started commenting on the post. They started sharing their stories. About dads who did their best and moms who carried homes through storms and hurt that hasn’t disappeared but has healed. The Internet reminded me for the thousandth time that we’re not in this alone as people started to share their stories. (You can read the comments on Facebook right here.)

If you see someone on an airplane crying, ask if he’s OK. If he’s not, talk to him about his favorite football team so he’ll forget he’s sad for a minute. You might think you’re flying to Dallas because you’re supposed to talk to 10,000 people at an event, but there might be just be one person who needs a few words of encouragement even more.


How to apologize to 27,000 people.

Last year I had a Viking funeral for my email list.

I don’t know if it was technically a Viking funeral because our pyre was a portable fire pit and we put in our driveway, not a river. I also lit it with a bic lighter instead of an arrow that had been set aflame.

I would have done the arrow thing, don’t doubt that for a second, but our HOA would have killed me if I started shooting flaming projectiles at makeshift funeral pyres in our neighborhood pool. (It’s right there in our home owner tenets next to what kind of siding you can have on your house.)

I lit my email list on fire because it had become a sore spot in the Acuff house.

Read More


Join me for the Ask An Author Anything Webinar on August 18th!

“What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to write a book?” is one of the hardest questions I routinely get asked. (You’d think that “Where’s the best place for queso?” would be, but the answer to that question is easy. “In my belly.”)

Don’t get me wrong, I love handing out sage pearls of wisdom more than banks love handing out lollipops, but one piece of advice for something as complicated and nuanced as writing a book…that’s tough.

What kind of book do you want to write? Fiction or non-fiction? When are you writing it? Why are you writing it? Do you want to go with traditional publishing, self publishing, or scrimshaw? Do you have an audience already or is your goal to build one with the book? (Needless to say, there’s a lot of factors.)

That’s why I’m excited to join Author Launch for a FREE webinar on writing a book next Tuesday, August 18th!

aaaWe’ll take an in-depth look at the writing and publishing process behind Do Over, and I’ll answer some of your questions about writing a book.

It’s a part of their Ask An Author Anything series, and it’s free, but you have to register to be a part.

Want to have your question about writing a book featured in the webinar? Ask it here in the comments and we’ll pick a few of them to use!

This is going to be a lot of fun, so I hope you can join me on Tuesday night, August 18th at 7pm Central (8pm Eastern)! The replay will be available to everyone who registers, as well.

AWESOME BONUS NEWS EXPRESSED IN ALL CAPS: Author Launch is going to be giving away 50 signed copies of Do Over to folks who register for the webinar! How awesome is that!

Sign up here and I’ll see you next Tuesday night! –>  Ask An Author Anything with Jon Acuff