When you're a mailman, you shouldn't ask people if you could use their bathroom. In hindsight, I probably didn't need to learn that lesson via personal experience. And yet, there I stood on the front steps with today's mail and an awkward request. As a creative writer, I made for a pretty horrible mailman. I was disorganized, fumbling and prone to get pepper spray in my own eyes. One day I switched my morning route with my afternoon route, which meant people who usually got the mail late got it early. A happy homeowner told me I was way better than that other guy, unknowingly referring to me. I agreed, telling her, "He's the worst. Just a real jerk." My career arc would continue through places like “Apple Country,” a convenience store that did not sell apples, and “Maurice the Pants Man,” no Maurice but plenty of pants. I'd spend sixteen years traveling through corporate America, writing advertising for Home Depot, branding for Bose and marketing for Staples. I was laid off from one start up, fired from another, ran my own into the ground and then found and left my dream job. Along the way, I learned one lesson about work.

Recently, my youngest daughter told me that I’m not good at finishing things. I told her, “I finished writing 5 books.” (Including the new one Do Over!) She said, “Yeah, but it took 5 years.” Tough crowd at the Acuff house, but there’s a chance my youngest daughter has a high expectation of what it means to finish because of what her older sister just did with a rainbow loom.

A lot of times, people ask me, "Jon, how in the world are you so motivational?" People don't really ask me that, but sometimes when you need an idea for a blog you start it with, "people ask me" and then you make up a question you want to answer. But if they did ask me that, do you know what I'd tell them? This: 5 ways to be motivational on the Internets

If that headline intrigued you and you thought, “I bet it’s goshawks, authors never talk about goshawks,” you’re wrong. I talk about goshawks constantly. I’d go so far as to say “Goshawks are the queso of birds of prey.” No, what authors never talk about is...

It bothers me that I don’t own my own private library that has a ladder with wheels. Whipping around on a ladder with wheels, possibly singing “Seize the Day” from Newsies, is one of my biggest dreams. Unfortunately, our public library gets all weird when you bring your own ladder from home to use on their bookshelves. It’s time to start building our own libraries.

Realizing you don't fit into the system is a scary thing. Career books for instance are not funny. They are serious tomes of serious thinking. They must be boring, dry and dull to have any impact. Laughter is the best medicine, but not when it comes to your job. Work is no place for laughter, joy or happiness. And so I wrote a serious first draft of my latest book Do Over. My wife read it and said, "Where are you in this?" I told her, "I'm fitting in the system now. I wear belts and use big, difficult to pronounce words. I'm a serious guy who does serious things." "But you're funny. That's who you are. That's what's natural to you. That's what in an unbridled, nobody is watching moment you care about the most. You don't fit in the system." Jenny said to me.

The word “mastermind” feels like the name of a super villain. I immediately envision an evil genius slowly petting a fluffy white cat while plotting to overthrow the government of Luxemburg. But as I learned last year, a mastermind isn’t a super villain, it’s actually the secret way awesome people get awesome things done. Last summer, a guy named Kyle Chowning asked me if I wanted to join a mastermind. He also asked Jeremy Cowart, Derek Webb and Carlos Whittaker. The mission was simple: Community wins. Let’s win together. We’re not meant to chase a dream alone. We’re not meant to build a business alone. We’re not meant to do life alone. So every Thursday, from 8:00-9:30AM the five of us meet. (Sometimes it’s on the phone since a few of us travel for work.) The first thing we do is spend 2 minutes each talking about our wins from the previous week. We have such a #humblebrag culture that criticizes you for being excited that’s it nice to share something successful without getting ridiculed for it. I swear, humblebrag is Internet for “I’m jealous of you and want you to feel ashamed.” Then one person is on the hot seat each week. Whoever is must present a business problem or life challenge he is facing. The the rest of the session is then devoted to helping provide feedback. And it works. It’s been one of the most valuable things I’ve done in the last year. But why does it work?

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