You’re not chasing a dream.

If you don’t want to throw up you’re so scared sometimes, you’re not chasing a dream.

If you don’t look like a fool to people who don’t understand you, you’re not chasing a dream.

If you don’t cry sometimes when everything falls apart, you’re not chasing a dream.

If you don’t think you’re wildly unqualified to do what you’re trying to do sometimes, you’re not chasing a dream.

If you don’t fall down sometimes from the criticism, you’re not chasing a dream.

If you don’t cartwheel in joy sometimes when you win, you’re not chasing a dream.

If the nights aren’t long

the mornings early

the hands bloody

the coffee constant

the hope bordering on the obsessive

the trenches deep

the light at the end of the tunnel further away than you think you can make

you’re not chasing a dream.

But if those things are happening. If you looked at this list and laughed because THAT ain’t nothing. That was week one, sucker, what else you got?

Then you’re chasing a dream.

So am I.

Don’t stop.

About Author

Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff


  1. Crap, I am not chasing a dream! Now I feel like throwing up.

  2. This is “Man in the Arena” good, Jon.

    Teddy Roosevelt would be proud.

  3. As dreamers we put our boxing gloves on when we wake up. We get out of bed and into the ring. Day after day. We throw constant jabs and hope for the haymaker. And we also get popped a few times in the process. But when we get knocked down, we always get off the mat.

  4. Wow. Chasing a dream seems to have as many side effects as prescription drugs!

  5. Johanna

    Soooo…. all those are symptoms of pushing the envelope of what I have always done and how I have always done it? Feeling all that *might* just mean I am on the verge of becoming all I am truly meant to be and not just “failing at Monday”?
    COOL!!! Thanks! Seriously, thank you, because I was ready to crawl back into bed and give up, when you reminded me, I am actually on the verge of success, being who *I* really want to be and just have to tell Doubt to SHUT UP, because he doesn’t know what he is talking about.
    I can do this, because I CAN do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

  6. I think too often we dream about chasing a dream instead of really chasing it.

  7. Hi Jon,

    Taking a break from reading Start and had to track you down.

    Some of the statements apply to me and I’m hoping to add more as soon as I refine my purpose and calling on this planet. Your book is helping me do that.

    I’m glad I found you here as I was sure the Dave Ramsey link would eventually forward somewhere else. I guess not.


  8. Feeling terribly unqualified is definitely a thing.
    Feeling terribly unqualified when you are asking people for money to do that thing. Even more so!
    Thanks Jon!

  9. Joe

    23 months since the GMAT.

    11th hour at the day job.

    14 days until graduation.

    5 months until CPA.

    11 months until buying the house.

    Can’t stop. Won’t stop.

    Thanks for the inspiration Jon.

  10. Thank you for the reminder that it’s okay to feel all of those things!

  11. sarah

    how do i figure out what dream to chase? what do i do when i’m lost, stuck in your 9-5 job, want a change, but not even sure what to change to? How do I find out my dream?

    • Sarah, John has a great book called Start….It’s a good place to start 😉 I seriously highly recommend it. Another great author and podcaster that has helped me was Dan Miller of 48 Days to the Work You Love!

    • Also, his book “Quitter”.

      But seriously, what I did was sit down and consider a few things:

      1. What do/did I enjoy?
      2. Do people make a living doing that?
      3. Do I have the resources to attempt that?
      4. Am I inhibited by anything serious? (i. e., you have someone you have to look after but you want to photograph wild animals in the Amazon, you have no arms but you want to be a writer, your vocal cords were torn out by lions but you want to be a singer, etc.)
      5. Is there a particular hobby I enjoy that I wouldn’t mind making money off of?

      Being stuck in a bad job with no hope for something better on the horizon is soul-sucking, I know. (Hoo BOY do I know!) So find something you think is interesting and try it out! Or, at least, talk to folks who do what you want to do.

  12. Great post! Glad I am a weird dreamer. I told my wife yesterday I feel like I want to laugh, throw up, and cry at the same time. She said you have either found what you should be doing or you are menopausal . I hope it is the first one.

  13. Amy

    So I’m definitely chasing a dream. Now, let’s just hope it’s not a dream in throes of delusion!

  14. Jon, this is exactly what I needed to read. Sometimes I think I should find a dream that’s a little more accessible. Find something a little more my size. Like maybe my dream is pretty unreasonable, and who am I to think I can do it? Then I read this post and I know I must be on the right track.

  15. Cathryn Johnson

    Those cartwheels that were brought on by too much coffee which resulted in a crotch sprain and epic wipeout because I was dizzy enough to throw up which just left me looking the fool in the wee hours of the morning seem so much more awesome after reading this post. I’m feeling so encouraged, maybe I will try a back flip. Maybe not.

  16. Sheila

    Coffee is not constant, but the NesQuik chocolate milk is flowing. Thanks for putting my life to words (still strummin my pain with your fingers Jon).

  17. But…but I don’t *want* to throw up. x_x;;;

    No, but in all seriousness…feeling torn apart constantly isn’t always a good thing. And feeling okay and contented with life isn’t a BAD thing. In fact, that’s what happens when you accomplish your dreams: You start settling in to happiness. 🙂

    Plus, all of those things you listed can be displayed by folks who are NOT chasing dreams. I can’t STAND feeling nauseated, so I’m not sure I want to chase a dream if that’s going to be one of the constant symptoms.

  18. Wow! Nailed it! Here’s the one that really resonated with me:

    “If you don’t think you’re wildly unqualified to do what you’re trying to do sometimes, you’re not chasing a dream.”

    Thanks Jon.

  19. Melissa T.

    Great post Jon! Maybe some of us are that scared. The feeling of vomit froths in our throats. Just beneath others’ view. Yet, with circumstances beyond MANY peoples’ knowledge, opinions, perspectives…. we simply sit paralyzed. Overwhelmed and praying that if we actually “wait” on God, that we’ll be rewarded. *Cue the onset of optimistic, go-getter, plow-through-the-stuff opinions.* I appreciate this. More than you’ll know. I’m one of the #StartExp Alum. Life handed me (and my family) a situation that’s beyond explanation. (Yeah, forgive the grammar… haha (not)) Faith. Belief. Perseverance. Those are three (3) things people can try to impact in another’s life. I truly believe the only thing that matters in the end is… just that. The END. Real Christians help one another. They lift each other. They support each other. They offer ACTUAL first-hand advice, care and concern. That is their commitment to loving like Jesus. My prayer to God (daily) is the “Christians” who persecuted my minor son (who wanted to be an Evangelist) to the point of near-suicide, HAVE a major enlightening so they don’t end up in hell. Which is where they belong. Accepting the fact we all have mental health issues that require medication (yes, deal with it) after 10+ years of diagnosis is nobody’s business. Especially considering a past scored I.Q. in the 98th percentile. Not bragging. We have dreams. We have goals. Our family was destroyed. I tried to move forward with #StartExp and have only opened myself and family to further persecution. Sadly. People recommend I repent daily. I do. They need to swallow their own pills…. take their own advice. Just my 2-cents since it’s soon to be a moot point. Thanks though. Christian haters are more toxic than those who aren’t religious. Think about it… Actually, try acting on it. May be more effective.

  20. Shane (biggeek)

    Strange how “Runnin’ Down A Dream” become the soundtrack in the back of my mind while reading this post – there’s something good waitin’ down this road. Great post – more coffee, please.

  21. Wow John. That is Epic! Thank you for this. I seriously needed to read this today!

  22. Whoa. Thanks Jon. I just realized, I’m living the dream. Thanks for the heads up and for making my day. I thought I was neurotic. What a relief.