Category Archives: Do Over

Do Over

McDonald’s vs. Chick-fil-A.

What’s your fast food guilty pleasure?

Don’t say the Outback or the Olive Garden. Those aren’t fast food technically. Those are sit down restaurants. Those aren’t guilty pleasure. I’m talking about the place you go when you’re alone on a business trip. The place you only go through the drive thru. The place that serves food you eat in the car on a road trip.

For me, that’s Taco Bell. I just can’t quit the Bell.

I make terrible food choices there, ordering multiple items even though I know they’re all constructed from the same seven ingredients served from a squirt gun strong enough to deliver beans.

McDonald’s doesn’t feel that way. I’ll sit in a McDonald’s and not worry if anyone sees me. I don’t eat McRibs, because I’m not crazy, but I never feel shame about an egg McMuffin. Recently though,dr I saw something in their parking lot that surprised me.

I saw this sign in a location on the North Shore of Massachusetts.

Why was this interesting to me?

Because it’s a sign showing you where to park if you use the drive-thru.

Can we please agree that 50% of the words in “drive-thru” are “drive.”

The whole point of a drive-thru is that you don’t have to park. You don’t have to stop. You get to stay in your car, moving about your day. Sure, you could always park and go in, but you’re an on the go person. You’re making moves and getting stuff done. You’re too busy to go inside.

So then why does this sign even exist?

It started the way a lot of things start, McDonald’s identified a problem.

The drive-thru wasn’t working properly. Instead of receiving food at the second window, customers were told to pull over and park. Sometimes, there weren’t any close parking spots and they had to circle the building waiting for a Big Mac, like a hamburger shark. This is a breakdown in the system, but things don’t always go perfectly, especially at a fast food restaurant.

At this point, McDonald’s had two choices:

1. Fix the drive-thru so that people got their food faster.
2. Print up a parking sign.

One approach takes effort and practice and deliberate thought.

The other requires a printer who can do waterproof signs and access to a pole.

You will face problems in your job.

You will face problems in your business.

You will face problems in your life.

When you do, you will be offered two choices:

1. Fix it.
2. Patch the symptom.

The first is not always simple. I worked with Chick-fil-A and they faced this same obstacle. To deal with it, they built a life-sized drive thru and studied every inch of the experience. During busy times, you’ll see trained staff members taking orders outside the restaurant so that the car line doesn’t get that long. Car by car, the smiling employee walks down the lot to check on orders.

In Georgia, they had a small podium in the drive thru line that was staffed with an incredibly helpful team member. They kept the busy restaurant hopping and ensured fast service.

Have you ever seen a McDonald’s staff member outside with a clipboard making sure the ordering process is working smoothly?

The second approach is easier. Let’s not even pretend.

It’s easier to put a band aid on a big wound than it is to go to rehab. It’s easier to sweep a relationship under the rug than it is to repair it. It’s easier to move on than it is to stay and fight. It’s easier to buy a bigger pair of jeans than it is to eat kale, which tastes like wet sadness.

But when you do that, you miss the magic that happens when you’re brave.

You miss the magic of a long term fix to a real problem.

You miss the magic of what happens when you actually care.

You end up with a sign but the same amount of frustrated customers.

Problems we patch don’t get better, they just get bigger. That’s the real damage. When you ignore real problems, it sends a message through your entire team that shortcuts are OK. The easy way out is the best way. Difficult solutions are not to be explored. The customer doesn’t matter.

Don’t ignore the problem.

Fix the problem. Save the day. Screw the sign.

The drive-thru was meant for driving, not parking.

P.S. Every Thursday, I write ideas like this for entrepreneur’s. If that’s you, don’t miss the next one. Sign up for the Entrepreneur’s List.

Do Over

9 Gift Ideas for College Graduates

I’ve written about this before, but this month, college graduates will have a hard time finding jobs because their parents refuse to move to Florida. It’s not the pythons, alligators, sharks, panthers or bears preventing the exodus to the Sunshine State, it’s the money.

Boomers can’t financially afford to retire like they used to. In a 2014 Gallup poll, half of the Boomers said they plan to work past the age of 65. They’re not leaving their jobs, which means they’re not vacating positions for Gen X employees.

My generation bumps into them and has a hard time climbing the career ladder, because the top positions are filled already.

Millennials then graduate and bump into Gen X employees who have not been able to move beyond entry level and middle management positions.

This reality creates a job traffic jam.

Maybe you’re a college senior about to enter the workforce. Maybe you’re a parent with a son or daughter who is on the verge of receiving a diploma. Maybe you’re a relative or friend who has been invited to a graduation party and doesn’t know how to help a college graduate.

Fear not, though the situation is challenging, it is by no means impossible.

There are 9 things every college graduate needs.

1. My book, Do Over.

Did you think I was going to wait until the last item on the list to talk about my book? That would be silly. (The paperback version is only $9.55 on Amazon right now, which is the lowest price I’ve ever seen it at.)

There’s a reason hundreds of parents have already given Do Over to college graduates and Library Journal said it was “highly recommended for the college graduate just beginning a career.”

Graduating from college can feel like an overwhelming experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Do Over will show them how.

2. A 4-lb bag of Hi-Chew.

What if your college graduate already owns Do Over? Give them the next best thing, a 4-lb of bag of Hi-Chew, the candy that currently sits atop my Candy Power Poll Rankings. Nothing says, “Good luck in the real world, kid!” like 48 ounces of re-sealable deliciousness.

3. Connections.

One of the best ways you can help a college graduate is by opening your rolodex. (That reference just made it seem like I graduated 20 years ago and am super old.) Share your network of connections. Everyone has heard the cliche, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” because it’s true. One of the best gifts you can give a graduate is an introduction to someone you know who can help with a career opportunity.

4. A sneak peek into the future.

We adults aren’t just adults, we’re time machines. We’ve been to the future and can tell graduates what we’ve learned. For instance, despite being in my 40s, one thing I remember about the 20s is that they can be a lot lonelier than anyone tells you. It’s hard to make friends as an adult. You have to work hard to build community. When you share something like that with a college graduate, you’re giving them a sneak peek into the future. Don’t be afraid to fire up the Delorean and and tell a college graduate a little about where he or she is headed.

5. Encouragement.

You’ve got a choice. You can be the person in a graduate’s life who tells them how much working sucks, or how bad the job market is out there right now, or how everyone loves their job at first but eventually they hate it. Or you can be the person who gives encouragement. Tell them you’re proud of what they’ve done so far. Tell them they’re going to do great things. Remind them that they’ve got a support system behind them no matter what happens. Choose encouragement over discouragement every time.

6. Gift cards.

Money is awesome but it tends to disappear quickly. Give college graduates gift cards instead. Starbucks, The Home Depot, the grocery store, everyone has a gift card option and instead of the money getting swallowed up by life, they just might actually use the gift card for something they need.

7. A 1-liter bottle of Listerine Total Care.

To be paired with point number 2 above.

8. Time.

College graduates need some runway to put their lives together. We adults tend to think it will happen instantly. As if perhaps when they get their diploma they will also get a job, an apartment, a life purpose and a golden retriever named Disco who wears a red kerchief. They won’t. Those things take time. (Except for the kerchief, you can get those anywhere.) Don’t put undue pressure on an already pressure-filled moment. Give college graduates time.

9. A copy of Do Over.

Oh, you didn’t think I would double up on my own book in this list? Again, that would be silly.

Listen, most graduation gifts are boring and useless. A college grad doesn’t need a lacquered piece of wood with a motivational statement on it or a hamper for dirty laundry. (They can buy that with a gift card.) They need a guide to one of the biggest career Do Over moments they will ever face, graduation. They need a fun plan to build the four investments every great career requires (relationships, skills, character and hustle).

Give graduates a fighting chance in a world where it’s increasingly hard to find a job.

Give them Do Over and these other eight things and then make them pay for Starbucks with a gift card next time you go out for coffee.

Do Over

What the magician wanted me to tell you.

At first, I was going to ask him about our pizza.

We were waiting at a table in a small restaurant in our town. A man in a suit approached and I naturally assumed he was the manager.

Only he wasn’t, he was a magician.

His job was to entertain guests on busy nights when service was a little bit slower.

My kids absolutely loved it.

One night, my friend who is a musician came over for dinner. I told the kids he was coming. When he got there, they stood waiting, staring at him. Finally, one of them pulled me aside and said, “Is he going to do any tricks?” They thought I told them a magician was coming over and were very disappointed.

After a few tricks, the magician finished his show and then said, “I’m here doing magic full time because of the principles you teach in your books!”

We talked for a few minutes and then Tim moved on to another table.

I think Tim would want you to know something about your own life.

He’d want you to know it’s possible.

He’d want you to know your dream matters.

He’d want you to try.

Chasing a dream isn’t for other people. It’s for all people.

I wrote “Do Over” because of people like Tim and maybe, people like you.

It’s helped tens of thousands of readers around the world. I dare you to give it read today.

Who knows just how magical a little bit of hustle can really be?

Do Over

The winners of the 200 book giveaway

Last week we planned on giving away 100 copies of Do Over but we were so blown away by the number of entries, we decided to double the amount of books we gave away!

It’s really fun to give people who are excited about the book a chance to read it for free, and I can’t thank my publisher, Penguin, enough for helping me pull this off!

If you were one of the 200 winning entries that we chose, you already received an email from us earlier this morning. Congratulations!

If you didn’t receive an email, thanks so much for entering!

The good news is you can still get a copy of the paperback on Amazon for only $10.59! Order a copy for yourself or for someone you love and make 2017 the year of the Do Over!

Do Over

The old rules don’t apply to this new world.

Sit still.

Stay quiet.

Keep your head down.

Work your 40 hours for 40 years and get a gold watch and a one way ticket to Florida.

Dream about what might have been but wasn’t.

For years, maybe decades, those were the rules.

Dreams were frivolous, gossamer that the average person didn’t have access to.

But then, the Internet happened.

When my grandfather was my age, he couldn’t build an audience easily. What would he have done? Run for local government? Try to get a radio show? Write for the city paper? He couldn’t reach a million people with a tweet. He couldn’t live broadcast from his own house with his own phone. He couldn’t sell something on Amazon.

When my grandmother was my age, she was one of the first female vice-presidents at a national bank. It was an amazing opportunity for an amazing woman, but it also had to be an isolating experience. She couldn’t start a Facebook group for women around the world who were breaking glass ceilings. She couldn’t get encouragement from other women on Twitter. She couldn’t easily connect with anyone outside of the town she lived in.

She had to live by the old rules, the old limitations and the old opportunities. But I have some good news.

The old rules don’t apply to this new world. That’s what I wrote about in my book Do Over.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately because in a few weeks, I’m speaking on a cruise ship with Sandi Patty. That’s a crazy sentence.

For a week, I’ll get to hang out with hundreds of other people floating about the Caribbean. I’m also going to win the first annual Jon Acuff & Sandi Patty Table Tennis Tournament.

I don’t know who originally came up with this idea, but God bless them. (The cruise is already sold out but here’s the team I’m going with.)

How did it happen? In 2008, I started a blog.

I threw my hat in the ring.

I tried.

I did something weird.

I decided ordinary wasn’t fun anymore.

I don’t know what you’re going to do with your life, I really don’t. But know this, you have opportunities unlike any generation in the history of mankind.

You have chances no one has ever had before.

You have tools.

You have resources.

You have community.

Don’t waste your new life living by the old rules.

Do Over

I’m giving away 100 copies of Do Over. Want one?

Every few days, someone who read Do Over will email me. The messages are always a little different, but they tend to say three things:

  • I used your book to find a new job.
  • Your book helped me get a raise at my current job.
  • I feel hopeful about my career for the first time in a long time.

I love hearing stuff like that. Now that the paperback is out and the book only costs $11 more people have access to it.

Even knowing that the price is so low, I realize there are lots of people who can’t afford to pick up a copy. Maybe you’re working the envelope system right now. Maybe you’re on the grind and saving every penny you can. Maybe you’d read Do Over ASAP if there was a way to get a free copy.

Well, now there is.

For the first time ever, I’m giving away 100 copies of my book. Why? Because there are 100 people who need it.

Is that you? Is that someone you know? Is there a family member or friend you’d love to give it to?

I have 100 copies. You pay absolutely nothing.

Want one?

Fill out this quick questionnaire before Friday, February 10th at midnight Pacific. On Monday, February 13th I’ll announce the winners.

Life is too long to stay stuck at a job you don’t love.

It’s time to rescue Monday.

Apply for your free copy of Do Over today!