Avoiding One Great Temptation Every New Dream Faces

This is a guest post by Jon Acuff, the author of Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job. He is also the author of Stuff Christians Like. He is a blogger and active on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

A month ago I was on the radio with Dave Ramsey. And I was terrified.

Two Runners, One Ahead of the Other - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Squaredpixels, Image #13951814

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Squaredpixels

Not because of him. He’s an incredibly kind interviewer, warm and funny and gregarious in person. It wasn’t the subject matter that had me scared. We were talking about my new book Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job. I love to talk about that. So why was I so sweaty, nervous and awkward during the interview?

I stink at being on the radio.

Although I love public speaking, the radio is a completely different animal. There might be millions of people listening—and in Dave’s case there are—but, in that room, it’s just me and him. There’s no audience to react to, no crowd energy to bounce around with, no playground of a stage to soar around on.

So I freeze. I choke up. I go way beyond the “Red Zone protection” the Old Spice Guy has assured me would make me as cool as the Matterhorn in such moments.

After our segment, I talked to Blake, Dave’s producer, and said, “I don’t know how he does it every day. He’s like Michael Jordan in there. Unbelievable. That’s hard!” Without even swiveling in his chair, Blake dropped a bomb on me:

“True, but remember, you’re seeing 17 years of practice and hard work and mastery.”

I wanted to hug Blake in that moment, but it’s awkward to hug people when they’re seated and you’re standing. It never goes well. So instead I thought I would tell you the principle I heard in Blake’s comment:

“Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

One of the great temptations for us as leaders and dreamers is to compare the start of our new adventures to the middle of someone else’s. You work on your first book and pick up Max Lucado’s 14th book and say, “Mine isn’t as good.” You post your first blog post and look at Michael Hyatt’s 100th and think, “Mine is nowhere near as great as that.” You give your first speech and watch Ken Robinson’s 1,000th at TED and think, “I’m not great like that.”

It’s true. You’re not. Yet.

This is just your beginning. Give yourself the gift of time. Love your dream and your adventure enough to allow it to grow slowly. Don’t be like me, sitting sweaty in a radio chair across from Dave Ramsey, beating yourself up and saying, “I’m nowhere near as good at being on the radio as he is.”

Of course I’m not! He’s been doing it for 17 years, and I’ve been on his show twice. I’m just getting my start, and maybe you are too. Go slow. Get better over time. And never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

I gave away 50 copies of Quitter. To qualify, my readers had to comment below. You can find the list of winners here.
Question: Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Anonymous

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Wow, great one John, I am copying and pasting that one. I will blog on it later :). Thanks for the good stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/mkilpatrick21 Michael Kilpatrick

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Of course. Poking the box, as Seth Godin calls it, has never been easy, but in order for me to lead, grow, and feel like I am going somewhere requires me to keep trying new things, ship, and take new, and sometimes scary steps.

  • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

    I have felt doubtful many times. My most recent…starting a blog! I decided just over two weeks ago to start a blog. I’ve been talking about this “dream” for at least a year now and, after reading “Poke the Box” and “Do the Work,” I decided to just go for it. It’s imperfect, but it’s something. At least I’m not talking about it anymore!

    Of course, after only two weeks in the game, I’ve already started comparing myself to other well-seasoned bloggers. I really needed to read this message today. Just yesterday I was already wondering if I really have a voice that others care about.

    It makes no sense to compare my rookie work to Micheal’s craft that has been honed and perfected over a much longer season.

    Great encouragement. Thanks, Jon!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you. Getting started is the key. As Seth says, “ship it.”

    • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

      Good for you, Jason. Keep at it. Make sure you know your reason for blogging and don’t get distracted!!

    • Brad

      Hi Jason,

      You may want to give this blog a look at “Blogging Your Passion.” They have many helpful resources for beginner bloggers looking to grow their passion through blogging. http://bloggingyourpassion.com

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Way to go, Jason. I checked out your blog, and it looks like you have a good start.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Good job on getting started Jason! I keep thinking about starting a blog and then I freeze. What will I write about? Who will read it? Will it be good enough?

      But it looks like you’ve overcome that part and at least started! CONGRATS!

      • http://www.philippknoll.com Philipp Knoll

        Hey Joe,

        You know what helped me to start me blog? Even before I started to set up WordPress I started to create a list of articles I meant to write. Pushed in that direction by Michaels posts I used Evernote to set up that list. It has all the headlines and most important points I want to talk about in each article. After only a few days my list had grown to about 40 articles – now I wish I had the time to write all of those. For each one I write I at least add two more to the list.

        Coming up with content ideas really is not that hard if you just get started and plan a little ahead.

        Hope that helps!

        – Philipp

        • Anonymous

          I love this idea. Will you be writing a blog on the steps do that? Would love to read it and learn from you.

          • http://www.philippknoll.com Philipp Knoll

            Dear sundijo,

            Thanks, I appreciate your feedback. Yes, I am planning to write a post on that – along with a growing list of posts I hope to get to soon. I’d be happy if you subscribed to my blog or connected with me on any other channel so that I can let you know when that post is online.

            Looking forward to hear from you!

          • Anonymous

            you got it! 

  • http://www.salessells.com Wim Wilmsen

    That’s some critical advice Jon! Just recently I got the comment from someone that he didn’t want to write a book on marketing (despite having a great blog on it), because Seth Godin does it so much better.

    Well, so I told him, I agree Seth is an extraordinary writer, thinker and storyteller, but what if he had gone through the same thought process as yours? He would never have started writing his first book, he would never have developed his ideas, he would never have become the highly regarded expert he is today.

    Just get started. It’s the most difficult step. It’s not because someone else is doing it already and is doing it better than you that your ideas don’t have the right to exist.


    • Jon Acuff

      That’s great feedback you gave your friend Wim!

  • http://twitter.com/knosmo Kelly

    I’m at the starting point of a “new dream” right now and it is absolutely terrifying. I keep reminding myself that I’m at a point of must-do now, and the longer I hang out in this fear and apprehension, the worse it will be in the long run, but it is still just about the scariest thing I’ve done.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Sure have. Starting over in the blog realm to say something different was risky and scary and hard, and I couldn’t help comparing myself to others (and even better versions of myself in which I succeeded at other tasks). I ever compare my middle with someone else’s latter middle or ending. Great post, Jon. Love your simply, pithy thoughts. Can’t wait to read Quitter!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are ahead of 99.9% of most people your age, Jeff. Be encouraged.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Thanks, Mike. Really appreciate that.

      • http://www.jeffdolan.com Jeff Dolan

         Agreed. Jeff, you will do amazingly well. And the great thing is, it’s rubbing off.

  • http://twitter.com/Mconley1112 Megan Conley

    I’m currently treading water in the pool of doubt. A fabulous opportunity has come up to move and start fresh but so many factors surround the decision. Do I leave my family? My church family? My friends? Will this job be better than my current job? Will I regret this change?

    The fact of the matter is I won’t know those answers unless I try. God is in control and when you feel the conviction on you heart you know he will take care of things.

    • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

      Megan, I know that God will guide you. When you said, “do I leave my family?”, I hope you mean your family of origin (parents/siblings) and not a husband/children type family. That would definitely NOT be God’s plan.

      Stay faithful to the last word you heard from God. He has it all mapped out!

  • http://twitter.com/duffbert Thomas Duff

    I’m dealing with that at work due to a technology change. I went from being the guru on one platform to being the rookie on the new one. And of course, I *do* compare myself to those who have been doing the new stuff for years… wrong, but it happens. I’d love to read Quitter…

    • Jon Acuff

      Wow, I hadn’t that about tech side of things. With so many new platforms coming out, there’s a lot of chances for us to compare ourselves in a negative way. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • Wendy Douglas

    Absolutely! I have begun a new journey this week and have had moments of doubt for sure.

  • http://twitter.com/MichelleWermuth Michelle Wermuth

    Have I ever felt doubtful? Oh yes! I am actually in the process right now of starting a new venture and the fear and doubt are almost, almost insurmountable. But I have faith that I am on the correct path. I know it is not a huge money maker or even that it will be appreciated by some. Right now the doubt and fear is very powerful. I keep comparing myself to other artists. To their work and style. I have to keep pulling myself back and instead learn from them and not try to copy them.
    I love your comment “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” How true is that! I will make sure to keep it in mind as I grow.

  • Burden Brian Russell

    In all honesty I find myself feeling that way today as I am working up the courage to pursue a dream I have had for a while but have lacked the confidence to pursue.

  • Silvia62

    Loving ….
    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” So easy to compare yourself to someone else further along on the journey… not understanding what they have had to do to get there… or imagine that they every felt doubt or fear.

    When I first took on the task of becoming a Pilates instructor, I was immensely fearful and compared myself to my instructor trainers… assuming I would never be able to get the words out as they do. You see, my background was many years in marketing and customer service.. so taking on the task of learning exercises and anatomy was a whole new thing for me. I hesitated, when it was time to practice teach…. because of the comparisons I was making in my head to other instructors. However, one of my instructor trainers gave me a wonderful piece of advise “remember you will always know more than your students”. Once I began.. of course things started to fall in place.

    Wonderful article. Thanks for the reminder to keep trying new things.

    • http://jonacuff.com Jon Acuff

      I love that advice, “you’ll always know more than your students.” That is awesome

  • Davidgeraldscott

    I am about to begin a new job in a new field. My primary roles involve leadership and communication. It is easy to look around at those I know who are successful in this field and find myself falling short. In fact, an organization known for it’s quality of communication with my demographic has also just moved into the area. I have had to remind myself that my best work comes when I focus on where I am and what I am supposed to be doing rather than trying to copy or compare myself to where they are. This blog comes at a great time.

  • http://www.powerfeedback.com/ Scott Gingold

    I don’t know anyone who has not had doubts about starting a new dream or adventure, either consciously or sub-conscisouly, myself included. They key for me has always been to keep the list of reasons why I chose this new path squarely in front of me throughout the process.

  • http://jonfulk.posterous.com Jon Fulk

    What a great story about small beginnings! I’m really good at starting new things, but I think my biggest obstacle to sticking with it is exactly what you’ve written here. For me, I think this is related to an idea that I will never be good enough, and when I feel this way,I think about the fact that I’m a son of God. I remember Gal. 3:26, and that reminds me that I “measure up” where it matters most. Giving yourself permission to grow is critical. Thanks, Jon and Michael!

  • http://www.mhmcintyre.us Mark McIntyre

    Thanks for this, it is encouraging to me.

    I’ve told my kids that anything that is worth doing is worth doing badly. Mostly this was in response to playing an instrument. But, feeling the pressure to do everything well has kept me from trying things things that might prove rewarding.

    • http://twitter.com/garymeinecke Gary Meinecke

      In his book ‘Primal’ Mark Batterson said something that immediately spoke to me and your comment reminded me of it. He is talking about writing but I apply it to recording/performing my own music:

      “…I was called to write… But my passion turned to frustration because of the curse of perfectionism.”

      That day, hours earlier, I had tossed a recording of a worship service that had lead in the trash because i didn’t like the way it sounded! Thankfully the Holy Spirit knew I was about to read that so my pity party didn’t last long! :-)

  • Allison Rivers

    Wow, thank you so much for this post. As a 24 year old who’s just starting off with everything, it’s so discouraging when the big dreams i have don’t match up with my humble attempts at beginning. I just need to remember that this time in my life is just that–a beginning–and it’s allowing me to make mistakes and learn and grow into my big dreams.

  • http://www.paulbevans.com Paul B Evans

    Almost all of use feel that way with a new dream.

    But as long as we’re more concerned about what others think about us in a negative way than the positive impact we will have – then we’re operating from a faulty perspective.

    And, as long as we’re comparing ourselves to those “better” as if that’s the standard – we’re operating from a faulty measurement.

    We can only bring our best as it exists in the current moment. It will grow. It will stretch. But we cannot hold back because of fear.

    The one talent man was afraid, so he hid the talent – and we all know what that got him! :)

  • Jviola79

    I LOVED this post!!! I need to remind myself of this as I am at the “beginning” in several projects right now. Thank you for sharing this!!! I would love to win this giveaway. I heard Jon speak at a small church in Western MA. & thought he had much to say. Was glad for the opportunity to learn of a new speaker, author & blogger!

  • http://profiles.google.com/pollywogcreekporch Patricia Hunter

    Yes, yes, yes! Much wisdom and encouragement here, Jon. Thanks for sharing your current beginning. It gives the rest of us courage to risk new beginnings of our own – even at my age.

  • Brian

    Doubt? Yep. It’s funny actually – I’m not sure I would have thought of myself as a quitter. In fact, I know I wouldn’t have. I would have categorized myself as a perpetual stall. Doubt often stalled my plans – I struggled to begin when I couldn’t see the end. I DID’T quit. I just didn’t start. And, as long as I didn’t start, I couldn’t be called a quitter. What I’m beginning to see is that this perpetual stall is really quitting the dream. Am I quitter? YEP. Driven by doubt? Yep. Yet, I’m hopeful since I believe that perfect love casts out fear. Praying the Lord displaces my fear with LOVE!!

  • http://twitter.com/kevin_gillen Kevin Gillen

    Very insightful comment about comparing ourselves at the beginning with someone’s middle. For a guy in the early stages of my career, this is a very useful reminder. Yes, I’ve felt doubtful over the beginning of a new dream, such as starting my own company, which I’ve done and am working hard to get it to the point of fully supporting my and my family.

  • Allen Marsh

    This is a great post and absolutely true. I know that I have to constantly remind myself of this principle. I think part of what makes this difficult is that our society is constantly telling us to compare everything! It is as if we are to just to be an expert right now in this moment. Thank you for the great reminder. And your blog is always great. I have followed it for the last several years and it is great to see what God has done through it and through you.

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    Wow, does this ever hit home….to me and to a zillion other people, I would imagine. We are so good at comparing ourselves to others and wishing that we had the anointing and gifting of others. I’ve done it and it is destructive. In fact, it is a slap in the face of God because in effect we are saying, “I don’t like where you have me and what you are doing with my life. I want to be elsewhere.” We are allowing jealousy and covetousness to rule the day in many cases.

  • Mark Porter

    Good stuff!! Inspired by the Phrase “love your dream enough to allow it to grow”. A good reminder to cut ourselves some slack when entering into new endeavors & expressing new passions. Thanks jon
    PS. Glad you avoided the very awkward & uncomfortable sitting/stand hug… It never ends up good.

    • http://jonacuff.com Jon Acuff

      Everyone loses in that hug scenario.

  • http://www.accidentallygreen.com Hilary Bernstein

    Thanks for the encouragement, Michael! It’s difficult to remember that at some point, everyone is a beginner.

  • Archie

    I use to literally dream about being a race car champion and / or a lead guitarist rock star. I use to think about it all the time, but then the other side of me would kick in, the negativity side (reality so I thought, otherwise known as a cop-out) would tell me that I couldn’t do either one. So I didn’t. Since then I have put 30 + years in at varios factories etc. However, since I’ve been involved in the teachings of Dave Ramsey, I have since got connected with some of the greatest folks on this planet! Want proof? That’s why I am reading and responding to your post right now Mr. Hyatt, and would REALLY like to have an autographed copy of Jon’s book!!
    I love to hang with folks that constantly dream, encourage others to dream, and then go put thoses dreams into action! While I’m pretty sure at this point in my life I won’t make it to the Nascar Championship status, or play on stage with Eddie Van Halen, I have more hopes, dreams and aspirations for a better tomorrow than I have ever had in my life!

  • http://twitter.com/Cam_Will_Iam C.A. Williams

    I have felt doubt about starting a new dream because you want to do well so bad and at the same time you’re not sure if you are good enough to take on the task. I often develop a paralyzing fear of failure, any tips on getting past it?

  • http://eileenknowles.blogspot.com eileen

    Excellent advice! Thanks for sharing this. We, too often, play that comparison game and we have to realize progress and growth wont just fall into our lap. It’s hard work and perseverance and walking through those things we fear. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Excellent.

    I am learning to only compare myself with myself – and know that I am here to please only the One. When I started Under the Cover of Prayer – I knew it was for Him alone. I didn’t put comments; I prayed before I started any post.

    I have to remember that in my new blog A Better Way; once again it is a beginning and everyone starts at the beginning at one time. Thanks so much Jon, for this post. I was beginning to doubt myself – I need this reminder. Thank you.



  • Matt Joy

    The tension you have described is a real one. Add that to the genuine wrestling match of determining which dream to pursue next – lived out in hearing and following God’s voice and not the opinion of others for your life – and it can present a healthy conundrum. Our family are on the cusp of launching out and are working through 2 incredible opportunities that can fulfill dreams that we have – now to determine the ‘best/right’ one…

    thanks for the challenge/encouragement

  • Gillard5

    And the reverse is true as well. Some people look at my middle and think they could never do what I do. I remind them that everyone has a first day at work, everyone has that first cold call, everyone suffers that immediate fear that all is lost when the first five minutes of the new dream doesn’t match up to our glorious expectations. You just got to keep putting one foot in front of the other and turn that first day into a second day.

  • Shari

    Love this reminder that there is no deadline on dreams…

    On the flip side – there are also people out there who don’t realize that they may be comparing someone else’s beginning to their own middle.

  • Fsuramey

    I am currently in that situation. For years I have said I wanted to write when the kids got old enough to not need me every waking moment. Well that time has come and I continue to find excuses to put it off. I have outlined and started two very different projects but I am having trouble making myself work on either one. I think I afraid that if I really try I am going to find out that I am not any good and that dream will die.

  • Youthconnex

    Mike, I really needed to hear this today…..I will use that lesson as my status update.

    Don’t compare your beginning to someone’s middle….

  • http://www.inspiremuse.com Peter Hoppe

    Thank you for this insightful reminder, Jon. I sometimes wonder if this is the reason many youth forsake pursuing their dreams “full-out.” Rather than becoming discouraged at where we are now, we should be inspired by a living example of someone’s story of how they have accomplished something similar.

    Sometimes, I think we err on the side of perfectionism. But we really need to enjoy the journey as we grow. I would love to learn more about what you have learned, so I can apply such insights to my life early.

  • http://profiles.google.com/pauladavispeace Paula Davis

    WOW! Doubtful for sure, uncertain, unqualified…the list goes on and on. There are so many “reasons” I tell myself for why my dreams “can’t” come true, either consciously or unconsciously. I’m working on that and working on doing what I can do and leaving the rest to God. Thanks for your encouragement. I will remember your quote about not comparing myself to others more experienced.

  • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

    Doubtful at beginning a dream? Doubtful would be an improvement. I’m terrified as I’m trying to redirect myself towards what I want to do and feel like is my calling, purpose, whatever you want to call it….

  • Amy Neighbors

    Feeling doubtful about beginning a new dream or stepping out into a new venture is an understatement for me. Picture a ping pong table, and my dream or venture is the ping pong. At one moment, I think and believe that I can do this because I am capable, somewhat intelligent (let’s not be overconfident) and I have God-given gifts waiting to be tapped. That moment fleets away with the swing of a paddle as another thought breezes into motion across the table that there is no way I can do this because there are so many other people better than me at this. Why on earth would anyone want to read what I write, or see what I draw, or hire me for a task? Just as I have convinced myself to let it go, the paddle swings again and back across the table I bounce to thinking maybe, just maybe, I could. Reading your article completely struck home with me! I have to stop comparing myself to others, because my God-given gifts are simply that…God-given uniquely for me and no one else. When I am ready to be tapped, the opportunity will come. In the meantime, I need to work on my beginning and that only comes with getting off the ping pong table and seeking a place to move forward. Now if I could just figure out how to get down from here…..Thank you for your words of encouragement!

  • http://www.lucaswalther.com Lucas Walther

    I’m currently in the process of transitioning from a career in computers to youth ministry as a full-time occupation, and doubt abounds… but I know that this is what I’m supposed to do with my life. Anything else would be a waste. Great advice for those seeking to follow their dreams…

  • http://twitter.com/Juanbg Juan

    Yes I have veen doubtful when I take on a new challenge or opportunity.
    Even when I have to present a proposal to a new customer.
    Doubt is always in my mind, those second thougths about something I just said, or did make me wonder – Am I doing the right thing, Am I following my destiny? What else is out there? What God has for me?
    I would love to win this book.

  • Phil

    This is great stuff from @jonacuff I at times always try to compare my self to my dad. My beginning to his middle, and that creates a struggle. Thanks Jon

  • drbg11

    All of us have dreams, but the few of us who have the courage to follow through and achieve that dream have not done it by luck or chance. It takes focus, hard work, sweat, blood and tears to do it.
    I have had a dream, or lets say a few derams, of making a difference, of starting some new ventures, of doing something I really like. However various reasons seem to hold me back – the horizon looks very far off, the trade-off looks risky, I seem to lack the confidence in my ability, and so on.
    However after reading some of these thoughts and tips on this blog, I feel I can start afresh. Though it is still a small beginning, it is a beginning after all. And I shall definitley reach that elusive ‘middle’ to be able to savour the success!

  • http://twitter.com/jeremylovesYHWH Jeremy Stephens

    I initially feel doubtful about every new adventure…until I realize that our God is a God of adventures and loves to show us things we could never accomplish on our own get amazingly conquered.

  • Skidmorex7

    I just did a half day of quite time with God. Questions about if I was on the right path and really hearing from Him. What His plan is with my husband starting his own business… I was comparing us and didn’t even realize until I read your message. Everyone should read this even for everyday life not just starting something new. New mom vs seasoned moms, new christain vs christian with longer growth, the list goes on.
    Thanks for this!

  • http://profiles.google.com/writingzombie Hanne Moon

    Have I ever felt doubtful? Oh my gosh… YES!! Especially when life and circumstances made it seem like I was fighting an uphill battle just to get started. And then when I would read the stuff I wrote and compared it to other authors out there – well let’s just say at that point I wondered where this delusion I was a writer came from. I still have my doubts, and they rear their ugly heads several times a week. That’s where having support from more established friends in the field helps, people who are willing to give me honest feedback and constructive criticism that helps me hone my craft. I saw a clip recently of Dean Koontz, and he said on days he still feels like he’s an imposter, and the words he’s putting down are garbage. If he still struggles with his self-doubts, after such an amazing and prolific career as a writer, then that helps me put mine in perspective. Am I the most terrific writer with the great American novel just ready to break out? Probably not… :) But neither am I the worst either. In any dream or adventure, we should not view the end as the goal. We should view the journey, and the skills and relationships we develop as the most important aspects of what we gain, not the prize at the end. There will always be someone better, more established, and more successful than I am. But the chance to learn from each and every one on the journey… well that’s something to be treasured.

  • Teresa

    I have struggled with this my entire adult life. Mine reaction stems from a lack of self-confidence. One helpful thought, we all learn things at different times and at our own pace. That doesn’t make me better or worse than someone else.

  • Sheila

    *LOL* I could be the Queen of Doubts! Just thinking about venturing beyond my small world, raises my anxiety level and makes my fingers ache as I type this. Gives me that same sick feeling that I get when faced with standing on a surface that is more than three feet in the air.

  • Drew Carpenter

    I compare my self to others all the time. Sometimes it’s prideful as if I am better at this than they are. Mostly it ‘ has to do with thinking I am not on par with others who seem to be better communicators and leaders. I’ve heard it said and repeat to myself and others “you don’t always know how far they have come, and you don’t know how far they are going”. Venturing into something new is difficult. You have to leave some baggage and security behind. You might also have to check your pride at the door to a new opportunity, because chances are that you will make plenty of mistakes along the way.

  • Trev Hamm

    I have absolutely felt doubtful about the dreams in my heart–I still do at times. I’m just trying to learning and make the most of opportunities to get better. Thanks for this post!

  • http://twitter.com/TonyVerJr Tony Verguldi Jr

    When have I not felt doubt?

    Going to college – That was a huge leap as I went 300 miles away from my family. Would I make new friends? Will I make it on my own.

    First job (and every job since) – Do I have the skills to do this? Did I p[resent myself accurately and honestly? Will they find value in my work?

    Getting married – Will she accept? What will our future hold? I am glad to say that we just celebrated our 12th year anniversary. Love you hunny!

    Having kids – Will I be a good father? Will I have patience? Will they grow well. Glad to say we have 2 beautiful kids that I love very much. Both are doing well and I am an ok dad (work in progess).

    So many other areas I could list. Everything has a start and that start is scary, but once going it is not that bad. I hope to pass thjat onto others – my kids in particular.

  • Garland

    Starting a side venture with a friend, and it’s hard to fathom the possibility of ever leaving the “security” of a regular job. It feels lIke the last 13 years have been leading up to this, and this internal clock is pushing us to do something with our gifts and talents before hitting 40. The thing we laugh at is it’s not even about money, but the frustration of not being able to use our gifts and abilities.

  • Deneen

    Quitting my “day job” to stay home with my first baby years ago was the scariest thing I’d ever done–until now. My babies are no longer babies, and I’ve just been offered a job. in children’s ministry. This has been a dream of mine for a long time–a nice, “safe” dream because the possibility seemed so far away. Now the opportunity is here I’m wondering is the timing right? Jumping into a new adventure is frightening and exciting! This was a timely reminder that even later in life we have new beginnings and shouldn’t compare those to other’s “middles.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/juliahartlieb Julia Hartlieb

    I am just starting out in children’s ministry and I am not at a “just starting out” age. I know, at a cellular level, that this is what I was born to do but the scare factor is definitely at 11.

  • http://www.carlestercrumpler.com/ Carlester T. Crumpler

    This is exactly what I was praying about this morning… my frustrations with the “process of becoming….” And I had to come to the realization that, despite my doubts, I am right where God knew that I would be. Thanks Jon for the encouraging post!

    • http://jonacuff.com Jon Acuff

      That’s a great way to look at it, “right where God knew that I would be.” Thanks for sharing that Carlester.

  • http://bohemianbowmans.com/ Jessica

    Ack! Yes! THANKyou! I’ve been just starting to understand this about blogging, after 6 months of it. I finally feel like I’m crawling out of my beginning and picking up some “better” along the way.

    But the real scaredy-cat #quitter within me is about the book I feel like God is trying to drag me kicking and screaming to write. And I keep resisting, thinking it wouldn’t be good, no one would want it, or it would just be too hard. :/

  • http://www.wesdraws.com Wes Molebash

    I feel doubtful about beginning new dreams all the time. As a cartoonist, I come up with new ideas for comics and cartoons on a seemingly daily basis. I try my best to pin down one idea to chase after, but eventually I’ll start to feel overwhelmed by the creative process and discouraged that my work isn’t good enough.

    Sometimes you just have to buckle down and put your nose to the grindstone, which is what I’m trying to do with a particular idea I’ve been fleshing out for the past several weeks.

    Thanks for the post, Jon! You’re inspiring!

  • Karl Mealor

    I’m there right now, man! I’m at a decision point in my life right now, and it’s weighing heavily on the ol’ brain cells. I’ve been teaching and pastoring for the past two years, and I’m trying to transition into more time as a pastor. I was more sure of myself about 6 months ago, but now that we’re at crunch time…let’s just say that, yeah, I’m doubtful.

    If any readers haven’t checked out http://www.jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike/, you really should. Despite this guest post, even his early stuff was hilarious. Warning: reading one is like eating a Lays potato chip…

    • http://jonacuff.com Jon Acuff

      Thanks for the kind words Karl, the Lays chip compliment was really awesome!

  • Catejthomas

    Almost every day I feel doubtful when I compare myself to others, but I’m trying to get better at not doing this comparison thing, except for when it is useful to use it as motivation … recognizing that someone else is at their ‘middle’ and you are just at your ‘beginning’ sometimes helps to give the push needed to keep progressing towards your own ‘middle’.

    The mantra “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” is brilliant, and one that I’m going to use in my mentoring – so many times my students or colleagues get overly impressed with what I’ve done and refuse to believe it when I say that I’m no different to what they are and they too will one day be mentoring people amazed at their own achievements – but this idea is the missing link which may make it easier to understand. They are no different to me, except they at their beginning and I’m further along my path. For the students and colleagues I mentor, if their beginning is anything to go by, they’ll far surpass my middle and that’s a wonderful thing to watch!

  • Carissafiggins

    Dang! Timing is everything ! I’m in the very initial stages of opening a nonprofit. From management to board development to fundraising, everybody else seems to have it all figured out and figured out to a T. I feel pressure from myself to have my little fledgling organization look and operate like its been around for 20 yrs. Thanks for this reminder. It granted me peace of mind. And stuff to blog about.;D

  • Kgoza

    I have been working for the same company for 37 years, “my day job.” I wonder and dream of something else. Something that would make an impact in the latter part of my life. It would be interesting to read “Quitter.” The quote “never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle, ” is very insightful

  • Blake Lawyer

    Of course! I think most of us do. It’s a slippery slope that has to be climbed as we push for developing those skills we aspire to have.

  • http://Busyness.com Dr. Brad Semp

    Jon – what an awesome reminder to all to plow forward with blinders on! One of the biggest things that distracts us from achieving our intended results is the environment that surrounds us. The standard environment of people & technology interruptions is enough to paralyze our productivity. However, when we start to compare ourselves against other perceived “successful folks” the paralysis ratchets up a notch or two. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sanfordashley

    I can relate to Jon’s experience. We judge our progress on the success of others. God has spoken to us and said “This what I have called you to do.” Yet we still must go at His pace,not others.
    Great words of encouragement!

    Sanford Ashley

    • http://jonacuff.com Jon Acuff

      You’re right, it’s “his pace” not ours. Thanks for sharing that.

  • Rogerhaynie

    Right now I am doubting the value of the product I intend to launch. The market niche I thought would absolutely love it has so far been totally non-responsive. I have to keep reminding myself of all the positive feedback we got when we were developing the product and sharing it with people to test. I have to keep reminding myself of the fun times because right now it is not so much fun.

    It’s kind of like life and faith. When I am really struggling, I have to remind myself of the times in the past when God has pulled me through. Sometimes we have to remember our successes in order to press thru the doubts of today.

  • http://www.salvationlife.com Daniel Harris

    I’m right in the midst of feeling doubtful about beginning a new dream!… I’m in the process of changing my role in a good, stable, well-paying position to pursue things that are more authentic to me and (eventually, I hope) of more benefit to others. Trying to get my eyes on every good resource like this I can find- and if it’s as funny as Jon’s stuff is to boot- all the better.

  • http://twitter.com/danalbyers Dana McCallian Byers

    I’m in the early stages of diving deeper into a dream I’ve been living out for the past 3 years. I find I’m getting better at some parts but living it out in faith means there are always new elements and challenges that cause me to have to dig deeper and fight the temptation to compare. Great post, John!

  • http://www.susanbaganz.com Susan Baganz

    I’ve been writing and receive a lot of affirmation – but haven’t reached publication yet. I try to remind myself when I see other authors on twitter and facebook doing their book signings and reaching an audience and feel so inept – but I haven’t pursued publication hard yet because I want to make sure my writing is good and I’m reaqlly enjoying the process and realize that I’ve not had many rejections because I haven’t put myself out there enough yet. When God opens the door I want to be really ready for that. I have to trust that my unique journey is in HIS hands and I do not have to compare myself to others.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=681268510 Mike Kirkham

    I’m not sure if I really feel any doubt when starting a new adventure. Well, I’m not sure that I’m aware anymore. That kind of feeling gets rolled into all the other feelings and whatnot when I do start new projects. I tend to focus on so many things that I really don’t have time to be worried about being worried. If I do have difficulty, I don’t so much reflect on “I knew this would happen.” I look at things more like “Ok, now what do I need to do?”

    I’m a procrastinator by nature. I’m too good at talking myself out of doing things. I’m lazy. If I bought into dealing with doubt, I’d never get anything done. This point of view does get me into trouble, often. However, what fun would life be without a little chaos?

  • Anonymous

    This is something that hit me a few years ago. I had just finished my allegory novella and then read Pilgrim’s Progress. Talk about feeling inferior.

    At the start of that work I felt nervous and apprehensive. While I had written many stories, this was my first attempt at real literature. I was not 100% convinced that was the way to go until I read C.S. Lewis’ Christian Apologetics Essay. Then I was on fire for the work, and I realized that this style of writing is one that either do or don’t do, there is no middle ground. Either you like burying meanings and metaphors into your work or you don’t. Once you start, you can’t stop. Despite my apprehensions, and my inferior feelings after reading Bunyan’s work, I became more convinced of my desire to writer stories with meanings.

  • http://twitter.com/teitr teitr

    Sure. Questions pop up in my mind such as “Is this really what God wants me to do?” “Who am I to take on this task? Am I qualified?” But they are fleeting doubts to be conquered. I believe God does want us to stretch ourselves, to take the first steps and trust Him to guide us. As for being or feeling qualified, the more action I take, the more acts I have in my portfolio and the more I learn about the task and about myself.

  • Beth

    I have felt so doubtful, that I would not even start. I could not make a mistake, and even when in college, I had to know more than the teacher. How exhausting. So I tried something completely different, where I knew nothing about the subject. I tried welding. I could make a ton of mistakes since the subject was so foreign to me. I could not do well at first pass. And it was okay, very okay. Freeing, even. now it’s to increase your rate of sucess, double your rate of failure. Life is a lot easier now. I’ve welded, built a boat, tanned hides, any number of things I NEVER would have tried.

  • http://twitter.com/ECowgill Edwina Cowgill

    Every day I wonder whether I’ve done the right thing by starting a writing/speaking career. But I can’t let go of the dream. I will not give up.

    • Brenda

      That’s my dream @Edwina Cowgill, but I don’t even know where to start!!!  All I know is I feel I’m supposed to speak, minister, encourage, and comfort, Christian women. 

  • http://twitter.com/ECowgill Edwina Cowgill

    Every day I wonder if I’ve made a mistake in starting a writing/speaking career. But I can’t let go of the dream. I will not quit.

  • http://aaronconrad.com Aaron Conrad

    It is so interesting that this post and opportunity come at this time. With pending reorganization changes with my employer, I have found myself looking at a potential new opportunities and dreams. I’ve had to step back and ask myself what do I really want to do and what are my dreams. I’m looking at plan B’s and C’s when I was pretty happy with plan a. Ironically enough, plans B and C might just lead my family and I to Nashville, TN. While it’s a scary time, there is a real energy and spark to do something big. Quitter is on my must read list. Especially right now.

    Thanks for the opportunity Mike and John. “Stuff Christians Like” is one of my favorite books and “giving the gift of going second” is a concept I’ve used many times since reading it in that book. Look forward to reading Quitter as well.

  • Bcole39

    The hardest step is always the first step. Every time I’ve looked at the possibility of embarking on a dream, the knot in my stomach remains until I take the first step.

  • http://twitter.com/johnharbors johnharbors

    I can say that I definitely felt doubtful when I opened my coffee house. However, I could not be more happy about the decision and the life experiences during that time. That decision was a personal choice though. Closing the coffee house for various reasons and trying to start a new adventure, a new dream was even more challenging. I mean, putting to rest the accumulation of what my life had lead up to and my hopes had hinged on to now attempt to find direction in a new path that I never imagined… that was (and is) truly difficult. I am, however, again happy. Happy to know I’m still a dreamer. Happy to know I can still dream. Happy to begin to dream again…

  • Jcmilligan


    This was a BIG encouragement to me and very timely. I have been blogging since 2009 and have begun to see some real momentum in the last year. I decided to stretch myself and decided to hold a webinar series with another fellow blogger. We have has several sign-ups and did the first one last week. it was incredibly energizing and frightening at the same time.

    I know it moves me closer to my dream but at times I feel inadequate. This was a great reminder that the journey is just as important (if not more important) than the destination. Great encouragement!

  • Rssavingalot

    I think I always feel doubtful about starting a new adventure or dream. In fact, I am at that crossroad in life now as I recently quit a job I hated, but do not have another one in place yet. I can’t seem to realize where the next step is. My ability for risk taking is low. I want to be sure of success. It is especially hard when these decisions will impact your family.

  • http://twitter.com/JackUrich Andrew Rider

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Well put. Its something I often struggle with. I’m an up and coming stand-up comedian and am often on bills with people who’ve been doing it much longer than I have. My immediate reaction after they’ve left the stage is, ‘Why can’t I do that? That was amazing. Why am I not like that right now?’ Forgetting that the person I’m comparing myself to has 100-200 shows under their belts and suffered for their art already.

  • http://twitter.com/GabeSmith Gabe Smith

    I always have all these ideas floating around in my head and when I share the ideas with people they (usually) say something like “Yeah someone should do that!” But there is a big leap between idea and execution that few people, myself included, are willing to make. My doubt usually lies somewhere in that chasm. “I’m not a ______. I can’t do that. I don’t have the skills.”

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I can share one small incident from my past. Years back, when I completed my graduation, I was clueless. Though I realized that I should be doing professional accounting certification of my country (which was touted as one of the toughest examinations here – pass percentage being 2%), I was running away. I never wanted to move beyond my ‘comfort zone’. After so much of resistance (like Moses in the Bible), I decided to pursue the same with my own average and mediocre intelligence. It was too big for me to achieve. I feared failure. I felt sleepless and restless during those initial days. (In fact, I was confident inside me that I will fail in this venture. There was not a bit of hope in me.) But, once I began, things started falling in place. I started to take assistance from all my family members who contributed uniquely and substantially to my success. After I completed the same, I realized that the blessings God showered on my small little faith ‘leap’. Just the initiation from my side was required for Him to pick me up and bless me.

  • http://twitter.com/levittmike Michael Levitt

    Awesome insight and advise. Too often we long to be the next Michael Hyatt, Dave Ramsey, Jordan, Chris Tomlin, etc..

    God made each of us to excel at something, and our gifts and purpose in life is best lived when we aim to follow the path Christ has laid out for us.

    He will make our path straight.


  • JP

    I have felt doubtful about beginning a new dream because I knew it would completely change the life I know now. I guess when it all comes down to it, I’m afraid of change! The new dream is almost always worth the risk, so I guess it’s just a matter of learning to trust your dreams and have faith for what’s in store!

  • http://www.taintedcanvas.com/ Jonathan Sigmon

    This was a great reminder and thought to start my day. Comparing never gets me anywhere healthy in my brain. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/DKJThompson Dianne Thompson

    Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Even now in reading others blogs and loving words, yet pondering over something ‘meaningful’ to say, to share. This was an ‘ouch’ ….. so today I begin… giving myself permission to simply write. Thank you!

  • Victor Lee

    Freeing, and encouraging. Eager to read the book!

  • http://justiceandlife.org Matt Lossau

    Great thoughts in this post! It occurs to me that this same advice can also apply to people who look at someone’s ‘middle’, and decide they shouldn’t even start. That has defined me for most of my life, but I’m moving into a new phase. I’ve been going for it on a part-time basis (in my free time), but am wrestling with could I (*should* I) move into my dream full-time. But, I’m on the journey, moving forward, and this is a timely post for me. Thanks!

  • Emil

    This is good. I am chasing a dream right now and I don’t so much fear failure as I do fearing success. Do I have what it takes to sustain it once I get it is my question.

  • Ryandayministries

    Have I ever?! What a great post…thanks Jon & Michael.
    The most recent “event” was when all of my future seemed uncertain. With my bride, two teenage sons, and dog for support, we moved across the country twice in less than one year. We were “chasing the Wild Goose” as Mark Batterson puts it. From CO (where we had lived for a decade) to WA (where my wife and I grew up) to IL…a place we had never been nor did we really know anyone except the pastor who called. We heard the voice of the Lord calling within the voice of the Pastor calling and so we made the move.
    I can say it has been an incredible journey…but on the day we were pulling out of CO and WA…we were really unsure about the future…except that it all was in His hands!
    Thanks again for the post!

  • http://twitter.com/stellabonita Alexis Weatherspoon

    I’m feeling entirely doubtful! I’m currently back in school for my Master’s in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. I eventually want to open my own homeless shelter. Thinking about it, I feel so overwhelmed, because I’m only 26 years old and I’m constantly questioning my qualifications for such a great endeavor. The good thing is, I know that I have a passion for the homeless community that far exceeds my qualifications and that’s a good place to start. I know more education and training won’t erase ALL of my doubts, but it will keep me motivated enough to press past those doubts.

  • http://titus2345.blogspot.com ET @ Titus2:3-5

    Doubtful? Daily. But I’m secure enough in my calling to know that those feelings of doubt are based in lies. The truth is, if I keep on walking where God has called, I’m right where I ought to be. I sure did need to hear this today! Tweeting and Facebooking the post now!

  • Ross Patterson

    I’m feeling doubtful right now. Aligns to the dream job vs. good job. I left a job that paid me very well, and that I enjoyed but didn’t love. I’m working on creating my own business. The good is that I’m confident I can add value, and as I’ve talked to people the need exists. But I have no background in marketing and sales — so not sure that I’ll be able to attract clients. And beyond that not sure if I can charge enough to make it workable.

    But I continue to pursue it. I think in terms of the odds — what is the potential upside vs. downside. Even now I’m enjoying the process and learning a ton. If it doesn’t work I’ll still have that, and can find another corporate job. If it does work I’ll craft a role that I love — get paid for doing work I’d do for free.

    Mainly I keep reminding myself that I don’t want to look back and say “what if” or “I wish I’d tried”.

  • http://twitter.com/rwanjema Richard Wanjema

    “Go slow. Get better over time. And never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”-this can’t be said enough. Thanks for the post, great stuff!! Definitely reposting this one.

  • Jessi

    Funny you ask that because my husband and I are moving in July to start a new adventure. He has accepted a position at a church in FL as Associate Pastor. It’s exciting, but terrifying at the same time. We’ll be moving 800 miles away from our families so I often have doubts and have to reassure myself that we’re making the right decision.

  • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

    Great thought! Many of us become discouraged because we compare ourselves with others, and our dreams are never realized.

    Yes, I have been doubtful about some of the dreams I have, but I have taken action on some of them. This post is a good reminder to take the next step now, and one day you’ll be one of the people at the “latter” part of their dream.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  • J. White

    Baby steps!! Sometimes it’s difficult to see the end result through the never ending challenges to seem to lay ahead of us. In the span of a day, I feel as though I’m attacked by so many different reasons to NOT persevere, that stepping back and realizing that success often takes time. God will fulfill his promise on HIS time, not mine.

    Thanks for your post this morning, I feel like I needed that! It was a pretty good laugh too!

  • Sbdugger

    I have definitely felt doubts and fears about pursuing a new dream or adventure. I am not a risk taker naturally. When God tells me to do something out of my comfort zone, it is frightening. It takes a huge amount of prayer for me to step out, and, unfortunately, sometimes my human thought processes and fears get in the way and result in disobedience.

  • Suzy West

    Dreams: I live near the Magic Kingdom and see dreams realized in the faces of children often. Mine appear to be an unattainable
    I won’t give up, but I feel like it quitting daily. I’m looking forward to your book as to offer some hope to a tired soul.

  • Anonymous

    I remembered another “inferior feeling” moment. I was reading a chapter of Les Miserables that is typically removed in abridged versions on the sewers of Paris. One of my now favorite quotes is contained in it, “Tergiversation is useless.” I felt inferior not just because he knew the word tergiversation, but Hugo–a non-English, non-English speaking for a main tongue–had a better grasp of the English language then anyone I have ever read before or since. Perhaps it was the translator, or that it came from a more descriptive language, but it was an eye opening expericence for me.

  • Josh Bishop

    I’m doubtful about it right now, wondering if I have what it takes to leave my desk job writing for Other People and start writing for myself. I’ve got a whole library of material inside me, but I’ve spent years writing travel articles about destinations I’ve never visited (and don’t especially care to) and communication pieces for sundry organizations. It’s time to write what I love. Or is it?

  • http://twitter.com/AshleyM_Moss ashley moss

    Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? >>> Absolutely! And lately, I’ve felt doubtful about taking a detour path on a new dream or adventure. I’d psyched myself up for a job that like it had great potential to bring me closer to a professional dream.

    Less than three months later, office conflicts and unethical practices had me running for the door…I’m so grateful to have found a new position that’s much more professional and where I think I’ll learn more in the long run, but there’s a steep learning curve and it’s definitely outside of the realm I thought I’d be in.

    This post was exactly what I needed, today; thanks!

    Ashley M Moss

  • http://www.storywrought.wordpress.com Lizzie

    Never compare your beginning with someone’s middle. That’s great advice! As I’m starting out writing right now, I often compare myself to the writers whose pieces I read in National Geographic or to the Pulitzer prize winning authors who have accomplished so much. It’s insane, but I still do it. Hearing practical advice like this works wonders though. Thanks so much for that. Every time I sit at the computer, I’m crippled by self-doubt, but I’m going to have to push through those feelings if I ever want to truly quit my day job for the life of a full-time writer.

  • @GerberRob

    What a great thought today. How often do we compare our beginnings to someone else’s middle? It’s like not using our Talent Level 1, 3, 5… because someone else is at level 10 in the same Talent.

  • http://twitter.com/tlareeves Tammy Reeves

    Wow, this is exactly where I am in life, trying to find a way to start my writing career so I can leave my teaching career behind. I am certainly glad I went down the road I did with teaching (middle school English and social studies), but I am ready for a change for the other half of my adult life. I’d love to read the book and claim at least on piece of advice to make my dreams come true! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • http://twitter.com/mortond David N Morton

    I have made a decision for my future and it is not going to be very popular. I have the backing of my wife, but that is about it. I am in the doubtful stage now and am trying to pray/work/practice my way out of it. Thanks for the post Michael and Jon.

  • http://twitter.com/DanNSurrealLife Daniel Sparks

    I’ve watched many dreams expire in the past few years before they’ve even seen the light of day, so I struggle with having any degree of optimism when beginning a new dream or adventure. If it’s unchecked, doubt rules the day. I question whether or not I’m “worthy” of success, whatever that means.

    I overcome this by preaching truth to myself…There’s no such thing as an overnight succeess (unless your life is scripted by a group of writers). One successful dream rises from the ashes of many failed ones. True success is getting back up when you fall even if you never “make it” in the eyes of the world.

  • justinwoulard

    I feel that way right now honestly. I’m going to be taking a big leap of faith with a new ministry opportunity in the next few weeks, and I’m scared because I know it’s something I cannot do. I’m excited to see God work, but know I can’t do it on my own.

  • http://twitter.com/hmgullett Helen Gullett

    Got me for sure! I am one of the people who always feel doubtful about beginning my new dream or adventure. I would get excited when I think about it but when it gets to the time to start or take the first step, I AM SO NERVOUS and WANNA QUIT.

    This post really open my eyes and understanding what is making me feel that way. I have been comparing myself with other who has been doing it for the rest of her/his life.

    I will always remember this one: “I will never compare my beginning to someone else’s middle.”

  • http://mudpuppy.wordpress.com/ Mud Puppy

    Absolutely. I am always questioning myself on whether something is a pipe dream or a God dream.

  • http://mudpuppy.wordpress.com/ Mud Puppy

    Absolutely. I’m always questioning whether something is a pipe dream, or a God dream.

  • http://www.hazelbasil.com Hazel Rider

    About 15 years ago, I did have my doubts in becoming a graphic designer. I lacked the confidence, I thought I had to just “draw really well”. Also, I’d never heard of it before, until I knew that I had to just study it/do it. Now, I still love doing what I do and have worked in so many different media. My next leap is freelancing on my own and actually starting my own full-time business.

  • http://twitter.com/TheCommonCup Micah Hasty

    Very doubtful. It means uprooting my family. It means trusting God more than I ever have. It means pushing myself beyond my own personal boundaries of growth and into a world I’m certain but uncertain of.

  • Anonymous

    I am struggling with doubt constantly. Trying to rekindle my creative pursuits and trust God are the two areas that bring in the most struggle. Thanks for the post!!

  • http://sandrapeoples.blogspot.com Sandra

    We are starting a new adventure as parents of a special needs child. I look at other parents of kids with special needs and marvel at how patient, encouraging, and positive they are. I have to remember they’ve had time to get to that point! Thankful for grace at the beginning of new journeys.

  • Grantparish

    I grew up in a small town with few opportunities. Just doing the normal things that most people do like going to college, getting a job, going on a trip all seemed nearly impossibel when you grow in in a place where few people do those things. When you grow up hearing, “People from X don’t do that” you feel destined to fail before you start. But, if you do start, if you do take a chance, if you pray for courage, God will make a way and somehow you find you are able to do expand your world and that the things you thought were impossible for someone from X can indeed be accomplished.

  • Brannonjmarshall

    Absolutely – having a certain measure of doubt is probably why they’re are called “dreams.” If we were able to remove doubt from the landscape, everyone would already be doing what we’re dreaming. The courage to actually “ship it” is what I’m digging deep for these days.

  • Dean Deguara

    That’s what I call a true teaser! That post was so good, I definitely have to put his book on my reading list…would love to be included in the top 50 for this one. I actually read it, review it, and tell others where I get my books! Thanks for your generosity.

  • http://sarabstacy.blogspot.com SSquared

    I read the question and went, “Uh, yeah” with a snarky facial expression. I’ve not only felt doubtful, I’ve felt nauseous, fearful, and sweaty. I love this post, and the statement that I’m at the beginning of something that I see others in the middle of, or in the near retirement of in some cases, and question my ability to start. I’m beginning to realize it’s not MY ability in it, but God’s…I just have to trust in Him to work it out for His good, even when I doubt.

  • Bigdaddychilds

    So can relate…just started teaching a bible study…and can’t wonder why I am not as good as our pastor who has been doing it for….uh…35 YEARS!!!
    Thanks Jon…I needed that.

  • http://www.brianandkrista.com Brian French

    The great ones who are at the middle and end are always willing to invest in other’s beginnings as well, despite the “quality” of the beginning.

    Kind of like putting your kid’s artwork up on your fridge. It’s no picaso, but it’s just the beginning. Love how Dave Ramsey invests in those “still getting it”.

    Can’t wait for your book to come out!

  • Brenna

    “Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?”

    This is timely. Just recently, I remember lying flat on my floor, agonizing about whether or not I was cut out for my dreams. (Making comics). I had started down the path of comics before I was saved, and I was doing it all for me. But a little while after I got saved, I began to question my motives for doing comics. Was I still doing it for me? Or was I doing it to glorify God? I also wondered whether or not I was a talented enough artist or a good enough writer. I’d see other artists that were my age and so much better. Part of me would be inspired, but a big part of me…terrified. Could I measure up? Ever?

    Next thing I know, everything falls apart. I lost financial aid for my last year of school (studying for a degree in Comics, no less). I left home anyway, with $75 in my pocket and no clue as to what I was doing, except that I trusted God would lead the way. It’s funny how after everything fell apart, and after throwing myself into the Word and into prayer, that God started giving me a clearer vision. I KNOW I’m cut out for my dream now, because I know He wants me to use my stories and art to glorify Him. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that God lets things fall apart so He can put them back together His way.

    So yes, I was very doubtful in the beginning. I’m still kind of in the beginning, but I’m past the doubting phase. God is good, and I’m thankful everyday that He is in control, not me.

  • AAB

    What if I’m in the middle and people at the beginning are doing better than me? I need a new career. Or new motivation. Or being a SAHM would be nice. Sigh.

  • http://twitter.com/championross championross

    It’s funny you mentioned this blog as an example.

    I decided earlier this year to start a new blog about fantasy baseball. As I was setting it up I kept checking my favorite blogs to get ideas for the layout. To say that I felt completely unfit and overwhelmed would be an understatement.

    In fact, I postponed my opening for a month to “get a better handle on things”.

    In truth I got caught up in the feeling that I had to have a great setup like Michael’s (or Seth Godin’s) blog right from the get-go. I finally decided to just open the blog, start writing, have fun, and evaluate it after one year of content. So far I am really enjoying it and as I work through it I am discovering which things I truly need to figure out and separating them from the things I thought I needed before. I can’t wait to see where it goes over the next year.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Procter

    That is such an awesome insight.

    Thank you
    for the encouraging word.

    Thank you
    for sharing Jon with us.

    I want this book because I want to be a “quitter”. I’m at the tale end of an MBA (18 days left) and I have big dreams I want to chase (wisely of course).

    I have bought both of Jon’s first two books and they were incredible, funny and struck to the heart of matters in a real, down-to-earth sort of way.

    Congrats Jon.

  • Kent & Jennifer

    As a defense contractor, I change jobs all the time. Everytime I change jobs, I am scared and apprehensive about what lies ahead. However, God has provided for me and my family and he will continue to do so.

  • http://www.brianandkrista.com Brian French

    PS – Not implying you are still getting it, Jon. :)

  • http://twitter.com/Terri_McG_Brown Terri McGauley Brown

    Kind of like @JonAcuff’s beginning, I am on my fifth career and in the midst of creating a life plan and find where my passion meets a need. This post is a great encouragement because I have recently started writing a blog, and I read lots of other blogs and compare mine to those. Bad blog writer! I know that my style and purpose will rise to the top, so to speak, soon enough. I will now only compare my beginning to my beginning, trying to improve before I get to the middle!

  • Alang2

    Yes, I have. Sometimes it feels as if nobody is interested in what you are trying to do, or nobody supports you. Sometimes you even question your own motives when starting an adventure or dream.

  • israel941

    Yup, feeling doubtful right now. My wife and I have dreamed of starting a business together, and even though we’re nowhere near this point, it terrifies me to think of quitting my stable job.

  • http://twitter.com/CoCoPufffs Colette

    Yes, I have. I am currently in the process of pursuing my dream of getting a Culinary Arts degree. It’s been hard and will it continue to be hard but I know that it will be rewarding because this is what I love and I know that this is what God has been pushing me towards this last year.

  • http://www.megmassey.com Meg

    I am very doubtful about pursuing my dream of writing. When I graduated with my Master’s in English, I was crushed when I couldn’t find a job in publishing. Thankfully I found a marketing job, but my heart is just not in it. I love to write, but I am so afraid of rejection that I just stay where I’m at, even though I loathe getting up and heading to my cubicle each weekday.

    I really liked Jon’s quote above, “This is just your beginning. Give yourself the gift of time. Love your
    dream and your adventure enough to allow it to grow slowly.” I think that’s where I’m at. I’ve been slowly but surely recording my thoughts again on my blog, and allowing myself to open up to the possibilities again. While I have my doubts, I really do believe that anything can happen. I just have to start doing my part to make those dreams come alive again.

  • Paul

    I am in the midst of doubt right now about either quitting my job to make my side work my full time focus or to just stay and focus on my job. Tough decision.

  • Csk201

    Once I catch a dream and feel God’s confirmation, I start opposite of doubt: zealousness. I feel that doubt can point to caution, but more often than not, doubt is an enemy of forward progress. I take the “been in it 17 years” guy and use him as an initial example of the possibilities ahead, and then set my aim of what I want inspired by the potential they have enjoyed.

  • Lina may

    Doubtful?! Are you kidding me? Some days that would be an upgrade from what I feel! This is one of my favorite scuff posts that I will refer to again. Thanks Jon.

  • http://learningsolutionsathome.com Merry

    You know I never thought of it as quitting. It always seemed circumstances (life) put obstacles up, things that had priority over something as selfish as following a dream. Now I’m a 52 year old, incredibly blessed mother of 11 year old twins. I realized that I need to throw off the “Martha” in me, set aside the chores that will always be there, and finally take up the promise that God will light my path. I have a dream and I am on my way.

  • Becca

    Absolutely. When I first started pursuing life in ministry, I looked around and everyone had gone to some big name Christian College. I had gone to affordable state University. Everyone else had grown up in the church. I had not. I felt like I knew nothing. Everyone’s parents had come from so highly educated background, mine had not.

    Did I say everyone, that probably isn’t true, it was just how I felt. Eventually I found my footing and press on past my insecurity. I learned that my different experience was valuable because it gave me an entirely different perspective.

  • Kelly

    doubtful? all the time! For me, even the doubt is an adventure, one I don’t want to miss out on. I do not want to be 10 years further down the road and think ‘only if”

  • Teresa Roberts

    Yes, I have felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure. I have been working on my “dream” for the past few years. I get to a certain point and then I tend to back off, telling myself.. your too busy to do this..focus on your real paying job! God has placed so many people in my path that I can see he is leading me; however, I do second guess and tell myself that others already do it better. I love “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”…it hit home for me and is now in large print over my desk! My passion for my dream has been renewed! Thanks…

  • http://twitter.com/lettner Michael Lettner

    Thanks, Jon! This goes right in line with Craig Groeschel’s message this past weekend that we label ourselves and say we can’t do that because of our past, but God wants to give us a new name, a new purpose, and a new future. I am not bound to my name of Michael the Timid, but if God gives me the new name of Michael the Bold, I’m not going to be bold, yet. God is just showing you where you will be going. Craig used the example of Simon when he was given the name Peter and on him God will build His church. But he messed up many times on the way to living in that new name.

  • AdamS

    I am a big dreamer. Always have been. There are always a series of doubts thrown my way by myself. They usually “What if…” “You won’t ever be good as him..” “Maybe when you are older..” “Maybe you misheard Gods call..” It kills. But I won’t give up until God tells me to move on. If God doesn’t want me doing that, He will let me know!

  • Michelle

    Often! Was given the opportunity to be a part of a start up unit in my company last October, and I am totally not qualified. My excitement, while still high, is now mixed with a constant struggle with doubt. Every minute of every day I am around people who are so much further along than I am, so much more knowledgeable, and doubt is something that raises its ugly head just about every day.

  • http://twitter.com/sangeethajames Sangeetha James

    I just started with taking the step of faith with respect to my dreams. This is a real great post and I needed to hear it today as I always compare my beginning to someones end or middle. That had caused me to be always hesitant in proceeding with my dream. Now this is a timely post for me and I’m going to keep reading it till it goes to my heart and I accomplish what I have started in my mind.

  • Doug

    @ 38, I took a big step and went from an established church to being a church planter. I’m not there yet but we are making strides to be great church planters to help build God’s Kingdom! Quitting has never been an option.

  • http://twitter.com/jpgtx John Griffin

    Yes! Thankfully, in both recent cases, I chose to move forward anyway. The most recent was going back to school for my MBA. I’m 44 years old and a business owner, so the question was, “Why now?” After revisiting my long term goals as a reminder of the journey ahead, the answer could only be, “Why not?!?”

  • Danceswifhooves

    Oh boy, have I ever felt doubtful. I’m in that phase right now as I consider a complete career change which will require me to quit my current job to return to school full-time and complete my bachelor’s degree. The “what ifs” have me scared, but my determination is strong!

  • Kris

    Oh wow – that is a lightbulb moment. I never thought of it that way. Thank you so much for that brilliant comment that I am going to take to heart. I am going to share this with my 13 year old daughter who has a dream of being a professional ballerina. In her awkward feeling young adult mind, she has the doubts that plague her of can she really do this. I can’t wait to put this transforming truth in her mind. ~Kris

  • http://profiles.google.com/mezzo.martha Martha Vance

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream? Of course I have. I feel that way now. I’ve been out of college for a year, have a full time job, and am itching to find something new. Do I like my job? No. Do I like the security of a paycheck and comfort that comes with relative job security? Yes. But at the end of the day, I know I won’t be happy with this in five years, so it’s just deciding what path I want my dream to take.

  • Anonymous

    I every time I start something new my stomach drops and I don’t want to leave the house. This is a great principle to store. Thanks, @73c2e366e009a14733d617604105594a:disqus I will keep this thought close to my heart and my Evernote

  • Nikka

    Right on target to how I start to feel EVENTUALLY after I start working towards a big goal/dream/project. When I am doing the research for the project, I always come across inspiring articles or people that have made it, and I start to wonder if I will ever get there or not. But then, I pause for a moment to snap myself back into a positive mode and remind myself on how far they’ve gone compared to my just beginning.

    I look up to my entrepreneurial dad and his successes inspires me. He told me about the amount of work, determination and persistence he had to have and go through to get to where he is now. And that always reminded me of patience and to not compare my 1-2year experience to someone’s 20-30 year experiences. I believe in daily reflections of oRight on target to how I start to feel EVENTUALLY after I start working towards a big goal/dream/project. When I am doing the research for the project, I always come across inspiring articles or people that have made it, and I start to wonder if I will ever get there or not. But then, I pause for a moment to snap myself back into a positive mode and remind myself on how far they’ve gone compared to my just beginning. I look up to my entrepreneurial dad and his successes inspires me. He told me about the amount of work, determination and persistence he had to go through to get to w ne’s accomplishments and to be grateRight on target to how I start to feel EVENTUALLY after I start working towards a big goal/dream/project. When I am doing the research for the project, I always come across inspiring articles or people that have made it, and I start to wonder if I will ever get there or not. But then, I pause for a moment to snap myself back into a positive mode and remind myself on how far they’ve gone compared to my just beginning.

    I look up to my entrepreneurial dad and his successes inspires me. He told me about the amount of work, determination and persistence he had to go through to get to where he is now. Daily reflections of my accomplishments and my dad helped me to be grateful and proud of what I have achieved so far and to keep working towards my goals and dreams despite obstacles. Sure there’s doubts most of the time! And daily reflections really helped me.

    And yes, take your time and enjoy the ride! :)

  • Kari

    Absolutely! Now as a matter of fact. I’m a Stay-At-Home-Mama to a beautiful lil’ 3 year old girl. (My dream job actually…)

    I have recently purchased my first DSLR camera and am an aspiring photographer hoping to make it in the business eventually. I am learning online from some of the greats!!! Reading, practicing, reading, practicing, and so on…..

    I just keep telling myself, “This is how they started as well”.. I may not get to my goal tomorrow, next week, or even 6 months from now…. but I will get there ~ just like the greats did!!!

    Best of all, I no longer have corporate breathing down my neck 40 hours+ per week. I am so utterly fulfilled living life at home with my daughter following my passion!!

  • Chris

    Great Post Jon,

    I have felt this way for some time now. I ask God daily to guide me in the direction I am to go and I will follow. It seems that I really haven’t gotten any signs or at least I haven’t been aware of them. I have aspirations of helping people with their finances but struggle that I’m not as good as other financial coaches or that I don’t have the skill set to perform the job.

    I struggle with having not finished my BS degree and so much more. You have inspired me to keep dreaming and so I started a blog http://www.cowtowninsights.com but I have even had a hard time keeping this up. I’m not going to give up because I know as long as I’m sucking wind there is work to be done on earth. The crazy thing is everyone thinks I’m a rockstar at my leadership role at my current occupation, but I feel very complacent there. I began reading your book Quitter last night and look forward to finishing it. Thanks again for all you do.


  • Scarlett

    Yes, but isn’t that part of the challenge of following God’s plan for our lives? He’s not going to pave a yellow brick road and make it simple, but He will make it clear if your adventure follows along what He wants for you. Whenever I become fearful or doubtful I just remind myself that this door has opened for a reason. Doubts are healthy. I would be more worried if I or someone else had zero doubts about embarking on a new adventure or path in life.

  • LesaKMelchor

    THANK YOU!!!!!! I needed this.

  • http://twitter.com/knatradio Nathan Edwards

    For years I have been trying to finish my college degree. I began when I was 18 and almost twenty years later, still have not been able to complete it. I have been to 4 different institutions of higher education 5 different times and every time have either burned out or had something happen where I had to drop out.

    Two years ago, after having four kids and moving to a new city, I decided to go back to school one more time. Many people truly questioned why I would want to do this considering my past history and my current situation. But, I knew it was something I wanted to accomplish, if nothing else to maybe stop having those dreams where I show up to class three months late and have to take a final.

    After so many years, I am finally sceduled to graduate next summer. Many people may just consider a college degree just the next logical and obnoxious step in the education process. It is going to mean a lot more than that to me.

    • Brenda

      Good for you Nathan!  Persistance is key!  You have inspired me!  I started a few years ago trying to get my Associate’s, and had to lay it down due to lack of finances, and now we’re paying for our son’s college.  I’ll get back there one day, and not only finish my Associate’s, but possibly even get my Bachelor’s! 

  • http://lifeengaged.net Joseph

    Wow. Great post Jon. I’m doubtful every day. I write posts and delete them becauseI compare myself to bloggers who have 5-10 years experience. And patience is something I struggle with. I want my dream to be now. I want to be where the people who have done it 17 years are right now. Your posts always help to bring me back to earth and keep me on track.

    Joseph Waldrop

  • Courtney Foster

    Yes, I have most definitely felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure. Mainly because fear makes me question the future. It’s easy to make excuses to not dive head first into a new adventure.
    When Jon said, “Love your dream and your adventure enough to allow it to grow slowly”, it made me realize that having a dream is a bit like raising a child… You have to have patience, expect things not to go right all the time, & you get to help it grow into something amazing.

  • http://twitter.com/LeonaStahl Leona

    Thank you for the post. I needed to hear that. It is easy for me to feel inferior why I set my sights on a goal which someone else has mastered. Keep up the awesome thoughts!

  • http://twitter.com/gtkurtz Gary Kurtz

    Yes. Im sitting there right now. It’s terrifying and thrilling all at once.

  • http://LiveIntentionally.org Paul Steinbrueck

    I certainly feel doubt about a new dream/adventure…

    My wife and I decided to lead a missions team from our church to Kenya this summer. It’s been difficult every step of the way. People who said they were going with us backed out, we had challenges reserving flights, and on and on. Now we’re less than 2 weeks away from having to pay the $1900 per person for the flight. Most of us are well short of that. We have a dinner/auction fundraiser this Saturday and are continuing to ask friends for support through letters, email , and social media. We’re doing all we can, but it’s going to take an act of God for this to work out. So, we’re continuing on… and trusting…

    If anyone is interested to read more… My Dream of Leading a Team to Kenya – http://ow.ly/4S1Ju

    • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

      @PaulSteinbrueck:disqus I do not currently have the ability to contribute money, however I have shared the link on twitter. Good luck and God Bless. My prayers are with you.

      • http://LiveIntentionally.org Paul Steinbrueck

        Thank you. :)

  • Shawn Grant

    Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?
    The funny thing is sometimes I feel pretty confident, excited, or energized when beginning a new endeavor, but then something else happens. When the dream doesn’t actualize in quite the right way, or when there isn’t the initial success I hoped for that’s when the doubt sets in. Am I really capable to accomplish this dream? Do I really believe that failure might be a good thing, because it will lead to later successes? Have I made a giant mistake? The beginning is exciting, it’s the continued pursuit that sometimes leaves me fearful.

  • http://twitter.com/mullenixd Darren Mullenix

    Yep. So doubtful that I haven’t even started. And afraid to get out of my comfort zone for sure. At this point I am locked up in inertia.

  • Ray

    Graduating from university was a dream i always looked forward to. Now that I had accomplished that dream I had to get that dream job. By this time my second child was on the way, we were in the process of buying a house and I still had not found a job as yet. Instead of holding out for the job I really wanted I settled for a job with a company I really liked.

    Today I have decided what it is that I really want to do with my career and I have been making progress. I”m Anxious but I’m making progress.

    Not settling for what comes my way and going after what i want is an adventure I was doubtful about.

  • DreHoltman

    Doubtful? Not really. I usually feel hopefully and maybe a bit overly optimistic. It isn’t until I’m face down in the dirt with a big FAIL stamp across my back that makes me think there *might* be a chance of not succeeding.

  • Anonymous

    This is a simply fabulous post! I am so glad I read this this morning, and it really meant a lot to me. God bless!

  • James Reardon

    Of course I have felt doubtful about starting a new beginning! To me, starting out on a new beginning or adventure is like driving in a new town and thinking you know where you are going. And then, after a while, you get all sweaty and nervous thinking, “Did I miss my turn? Am I even going the right way?” I get that same feeling often when I start out on a new adventure.
    And sometimes, I clam up, shut down, and quit. As a result, I’m really looking forward to reading Quitter.

  • http://craigtowens.com/ Craig T. Owens

    What I love abotu Jon’s writing style is that he is brash without being irreverent; thought-provoking without being fight-provoking. I just started reading “Stuff Christians Like” this week, and it’s a tremendous book. Having watched the promo video for “Quitter” I’m sure the content is going to be equally as inspiring. I’d l-o-v-e to get a copy of “Quitter.”

  • Chris

    Do I ever feel doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Always. And I even feel doubtful often in the middle of that adventure or dream as I sometimes realize what I worked so hard to get can so easily fall away like sand sifting through the fingers of one’s hand.

    I carry on, but I often wonder how much more impact for good I could have if those doubts could change to wisdom to know what and when to advance and retreat.

  • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

    I have definitely felt doubtful – not so much that God can supply my needs and direct me, but more that I won’t be able to do whatever it is I’m dreaming about.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dianaflegal Diana Flegal

    Yes Absolutely! It is all part and parcel of stepping out.

    Because of that I really appreciated this blog. Thank you for the reminder- to baby step our way to our goals and realize, we are individuals, bring our own game to the table. Unique and qualified by God alone.

    I’m with Artie- loved that line- already cut and pasted and shared!

  • Nikka

    I have no idea what happen there to my post, but here’s the proper one! Sorry! 

    “Right on target to how I start to feel EVENTUALLY after I start working towards a big goal/dream/project. When I am doing the research for the project, I always come across inspiring articles or people that have made it, and I start to wonder if I will ever get there or not. But then, I pause for a moment to snap myself back into a positive mode and remind myself on how far they’ve gone compared to my just beginning.

    I look up to my entrepreneurial dad and his successes inspires me. He told me about the amount of work, determination and persistence he had to go through to get to where he is now. Daily reflections of my accomplishments and my dad helped me to be grateful and proud of what I have achieved so far and to keep working towards my goals and dreams despite obstacles. Sure there’s doubts most of the time! And daily reflections really helped me.

    And yes, take your time and enjoy the ride! :)”

  • http://profiles.google.com/david.uthmann David Uthmann

    Thank you for that hugely insightful one line – “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” That single thought really makes me change some perspective!

  • http://brettcohrs.com Brett

    Great goodness yes. I think the dream and adventure of starting a family was the most doubt-creating thing I’ve done. I knew I’d do it, but I would always fast forward to when my kids are 13 and wonder if I got the goods to build good stuff in them between birth to then to lead and parent them.

    The other thing is more about starting little mini-dreams and adventures within my contexts: work, church, family. Things that might nudge the status quo or might be frowned upon.

    Thanks for the post!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Change always seems to be hard. Even if it is your dream job you’re starting, doubt seeps in. One great place to practice change is at Toastmasters. Whether it’s a speech, a radio presentation, or even a TV interview, you can practice in front of a live audience and get great feedback.

    I can really relate to your radio experience, Jon. It’s tough not having an audience for feedback. Especially when humor is involved. Can you imagine being Dave and just talking to a microphone by yourself! Yikes! Or worse yet… talking to some unknown person on the phone… especially one with a creative sense of humor like yourself. Now that would be scary!

  • http://www.herebedragons.posterous.com Hannah Young

    Oh yes, I have definitely felt that but perfect love drives out all fear!

  • http://www.mustardseedyear.com Jason Wert

    Doubt seems to be the order of the day. I’ll be honest…I’ve let the challenges of life beat me down so much that I’ve looked at dreams and just believed they were for people other than myself. That not even God would give me the dreams I had in my heart and thus it wasn’t worth dreaming any longer. It’s dumb, I know, and God showed me recently when I went to Alabama for tornado relief that He can resurrect dreams and things that make our hearts come alive. Still, for the dreams I have to be a writer and speaker, there’s doubt infesting them both to a level it leaves me inactive. And I hate it.

  • http://www.thequeeninprussia.blogspot.com Aimee R.

    I have been doubtful and I am guilty at comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle. I realize that is my biggest hinderance. I loved Acuff’s statement, “Love your dream and your adventure enough to allow it to grow slowly.” That statement is so profound to me and I know it is going to stick with me! This post was very encouraging. Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/wmcmarketing Wesley Cole

    Great post for me right now as I work to figure out a dream/passion of mine that I want to really work on. I’ve come to realize that it’s not even always about what you are trying to accomplish, but it’s the process that you take to get there and the willingness that you have to accomplish the goal or dream that you have set before you. It’s a lot of work and you have to focus on the work for a long time before you can ever begin to say that you have started to reach your goal.

  • Chris

    Absolutely! My career path has gone from industrial product manufacturing sales, to distribution, to end-user / installer, and at every turn, I think, “yeah, I know this stuff, but THAT stuff is a completely different animal!” It was only after I took that first leap that I realized the experience I gained from the previous position greatly improved my chances for success at the next level.

  • http://twitter.com/action_djackson Dan Jackson

    Doubtful about an adventure? I’m in the middle of it. My days seem to be a constant struggle between what I know God has called me to do and what I see myself being capable of. Rather than comparing myself to someone else’s middle, however, I have to constantly remind myself not to compare my own fears, questions, and inadequacies with God’s omnipotence. He will be faithful, so must I.

    Good stuff, Jon. Thanks.

  • http://www.iamanoffering.com iamanoffering

    Already 172 comments! Well – my comment surely won’t be as good as….oh wait…:-) I’m not particularly scared of a new dream, I’m scared of the sacrifices it might take to get there and whether or not it will be successful. Great post, though, and so true.

  • http://karlakakins.com Karla Akins

    Oh definitely I’ve felt plenty of doubt as I launch into my new life as an almost-empty-nester at age 50. I’m pursuing a life-long dream as a full-time writer and student and my knees are knocking! This is a great post and a great reminder. Thanks!

  • http://profiles.google.com/jakecdemp jakec demp

    Definitely! I’m in the middle of that right now! I just started a new job this week and it’s going to mean substantial change in a lot of areas of my life, which is nerve wracking and definitely brought about some uncertainty.

  • http://www.Hart4God.com Tim Hart

    I feel doubtful almost every time I start something new. I think that’s one of Satan’s ways to make us ineffective. (Did I just #JesusJuke Michael Hyatt’s blog comments?)

    • Joe Lalonde

      Tim, I agree. Doubt can be a tool of satan to make us stop and not do what we were made for.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Jon, I loved the quote “never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”. I tend to do that far too often. Looking at those that give a great speech, create great videos, compile great reports, have a great marriage… I then look at mine and think of how horrible I do in those areas, forgetting it takes time, practice, and work to get to that point.

    As for the question, yes I have felt doubtful about a new adventure. I started a computer repair business years ago. Listening to others, my doubt that I would succeed grew. Sadly, the business never got to the point I would have liked. However, it did lead me to my current job.

  • http://twitter.com/Amplivox Amplivox Sound

    I clicked on this link via Twitter and think that the title of the book perfectly describes where I am at right now. Love my job but know it is limiting my future. Thanks for the great post.

    To answer the question, I have been doubtful about dreams. “What if I don’t enjoy it” or “what if I disqualify myself from what the good I have going on now” go through my head a little too much. God is good though!

    Kevin H

  • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

    This is a killer for me all the time. I have a dream or an idea, and I see someone doing something similar and I give up on it thinking “I can never be as good/better than they are, so why bother.” Getting over that idea would lead to amazing things in my live, but sometimes (read alomost always) the inner monologue wins. @jon Acuff thanks for your words today. I look forward to following you on twitter. @Michael Hyatt Thanks for exposing me to others, who like yourself, provide the words I need to hear.

  • http://www.jdeddins.com JD Eddins

    What a great principle. I have to apply this one nearly every week. I am getting ready to start teaching an adult Bible class again at church, but I live in a town with a Christian university and our church has several Bible professors that attend our congregation. It can be nerve racking each week as I prepare my lesson. One thing I try to remember is that these people are not in competition with me, in fact that really want to see me succeed. It’s a much better use of my time to try and tap these experts as resources during my preparation than to wait until we are sitting in class and worry about making a mistake.

  • Grandmavp

    Personally, I think only a fool or someone with vast amounts of experience in their chosen area would not have doubts about beginning a new venture. I sure do! I feel that God is leading me in a particular direction, but I am sometimes overwhelmed with the challenges of getting there and daunted by those who already populate the landscape in that niche. However, what I do know is that this is what God has chosen for me; He will get me where He wants me to be, and that may not be in a prominent place within my niche, but it will be the place He has for me, with my talents and experiences. I can follow Him with confidence, knowing that He is the way. Having said all that, I truly appreciated your reminder today not to compare my beginning with anyone else’s middle. Profound, but oh, so simple and so true! How often our humanity snags us on elements of pride, which comparisons are always based on. And it happens without our even realizing what is really going on… Thanks, Jon!

  • pkhartz

    We’re in that vacuum of space between a rock and a hard place right now, so to finally have an option OUT might be the easiest jump off a cliff we’ve ever done.

  • Wes

    Doubtful is exactly what I am feeling right now! I have been wrestling with the idea of starting my own business but know that I must also be able to provide for my wife and two boys. I can see a future where the business would be extremely successful, but short term would be hard to get going and provide for my family. So, yes, I am feeling doubtful and fearful!

  • http://www.northernskyart.wordpress.com Beth West

    I have felt doubtful! I feel doubtful every day. My dream is painting and I’ve probably put about 700 focused hours in on it so far. I’m also a mom to 8 children, six of whom are still at home and being home schooled. Last year I began taking painting lessons with a master painter who has probably put in over 90,000 hours. Your line, “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle,” is likely to go on my easel so I can remind myself again and again as I’m always comparing my work to my instructor’s, everyone else in the class and of course all the great paintings I study. It is good to compare when we are doing so to learn and improve, but not necessarily to beat ourselves up.

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    Good thoughts, Jon. I LOVE Dave Ramsey… my wife and I have been motivated by him to start budgeting and telling our money what to do.

    What you’re saying is so true… and reinforces the 10,000 hours concept that Malcolm Gladwell introduced. When you first start something, your methods are crude and rudimentary. However, you shouldn’t expect to stay that way. I think so many people get discouraged and think they’ll STAY at the bottom.

  • http://twitter.com/garymeinecke Gary Meinecke

    Yes! About a year ago I joined our church staff as the worship leader for Celebrate Recovery and immediately felt inadequate as I compared myself to the Worship Pastor who has been leading that church for 12 years. The first time I filled in for him on a Sunday morning (leading three services of 700+ people) I was so nervous and of course felt like I didn’t do it justice after it was over. Thank you so much for this blog post. It is very encouraging and reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures that applies to this situation and many others in life:

    “The end of a matter is better than its beginning; patience is better than pride” Ecclesiastes 7:8

  • http://twitter.com/kdemerly Karen Demerly

    I think the question should probably be, have you NEVER felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Those would be the people we’d like to hear from! But seriously, I think fear in that situation is warranted, and overcoming that fear is part of the process.

  • Anonymous

    As a 26 year old in my first ministry, I feel this way all the time! I follow blogs, read books, listen to sermons – and find myself comparing a lot!

    Thanks Jon for the reminder that I’m just beginning and can’t possibly compare myself to someone whose been doing this for 20+ years!

    I think it’s also huge to remember that my gifts are not someone elses gifts and even in 20 years, the way I do things and the things I’m gifted at will be totally different from the next guy!

    I love the quote, “comparison is the thief of joy” – Dwight Edwards…My joy is so easily stolen when I find myself wishing I was somebody else!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Amen, David! I feel the same way. But even though I feel totally
      inadequate when I compare myself to people who’ve been doing it for 20+
      years, it also kinda motivates me to work all the harder.

  • http://twitter.com/jimmyproulx jimmyproulx

    I think doubt creeps in when you are about to jump into or start something that you have never done before. Uncertainty is the beast that desires to strip you of your dream. There is a fine line between excitement and freaking out. I believe that when God gives you a vision, the vision is so great that you know that you cannot accomplish it by yourself. When you get past the doubt and realize that God is going to see you through, you are ready to pursue that vision that God has placed in you.

  • Cat Russell

    Doubtful?!? I think the word your’re looking for is cold, raw fear! Thanks for the encouragement!

  • http://twitter.com/homefathermn Richard England

    I doubt daily. I am thinking of starting a blog, and catch myself saying, “I am no where near as good of a writer, or as funny as Jon Acuff.

  • Amber

    Sometimes I don’t even trust my judgment to pick the right thing for lunch, so I definitely have felt doubtful when starting a new dream or adventure! Case in point, in 2010 I was awarded one of sixteen grants for a graduate program. Right before I started classes, I was terrified! I never really had doubts as an undergrad, but this just floored me. I haven’t been the best student, but I’m halfway through the program now, and I’m so glad I didn’t let doubt or worry stop me from pursuing this!

  • http://dchristian.net David

    Yes! Right now!

    My wife and I are looking into adoption and it scare me to death. I’m sure all new parents go through this stage of thinking, “There is no way I am ready for this”. I am in my 30’s, so I’ve had a long time to live life according to my schedule. Kids change that in a HUGE way. And that doesn’t even include the pressure of raising kids with all of the challenges they will face today. Being a parent is easy, being a GOOD parent is a lot of work.

  • http://www.thedailywalk.net Adam

    I surely have! I think the main reason is worrying about failing at the dream. Wanting it so badly, and then having it fail. However, how would you ever know if you just do not go for it! Right?

  • David Ramos

    I love this so much! Im finishing my senior year in college and want to eventually go on to get my phd, and as much as I love the library sometimes its really discouraging – to think “wow, I really know so little compared to these guys.” But most of them are well past their middle and I’m still getting through my beginning. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Deeann Anderson

    Love your quote, “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle!”. I’ve been telling my kids this forever!

  • http://twitter.com/davethecfre Dave Tinker, CFRE

    I’ve felt doubt all of the time – I think doubt is God’s way of making you take a second look before you leap – and He wants you to leap.

  • http://todaymade.com/blog Garrett Moon

    Doubt about starting a new dream defined my life for two years. I felt clearly lead to start a business and was provided many great signs an blessings during this time. I was hesitant even though it was what I wanted – badly. One day, the Lord took control and I lost the job I was afraid to leave. It was exactly what I needed and now I wish it had happened sooner!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Sometimes losing your job can be the best thing! I’m so happy for you.

  • http://ergliangel45.wordpress.com/ Kathleen Langridge

    I dreamed of visiting England at age 51 I moved there and stayed for 12 years. Now my husband and I have been in Latvia for 2 years, it was never a dream. We have a farm, that was certainly not a dream for me. He is raising sheep and I am writing, that was always a dream

    • Joe Lalonde

      Kathleen, that sounds like quite the adventure you’ve had! Congrats on going for your dream.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Kathleen, that sounds awesome!

  • Tracie Snipes

    Umm no never. Of course! I’m actually walking through that now. I have been given an opportunity in ministry that I pray turns in to a full time opportunity. And I fight all the time not to compare myself to the last person. Great word. I will be ordering the book if I don’t win. Might order it anyway.

  • Ljlmbo

    I would love to read Quitter. my son and husband are working on getting a company up to help churches and it’s been slow with little finances. I’m sure this would be encouraging.

  • Luke Langholz

    Valuable words. As a young artist trying to establish my own studio and market, I find myself regularly doubtful of life’s direction and where to go from here, fearful that I’m not good enough, or whatever. “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” is a very good piece of advice.

  • http://twitter.com/fgantz Frank Gantz

    Yes…as we speak. My wife and I want to start a dream biz together, but haven’t yet been able to pull the trigger.

  • Jennifer

    This is such a wonderful post! I constantly compare my “work” to others and quit because I feel I am ‘not good enough’. Thank you for such great truth…

  • http://twitter.com/Wright_James James Wright

    Absolutely. It seems like every time a new dream opportunity comes up I second guess myself dozens of times. I wonder if I am making the right decision and if it is even where God wants me to go. Lately I have had to just go along for the ride and see where He takes things instead of trying to figure it all out myself.

  • http://seekingpastor.wordpress.com seekingpastor

    I felt very doubtful when my wife suggested that we become foster/adoptive parents. It wasn’t anything that I had ever thought about doing or wanted to do. Plus, I had heard the horror stories that get spread around. After adopting 4 beautiful children, I can say that it is one of the best decisions that we have ever made.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rebajhoffman Reba Hoffman

    What a great blog! The precepts are profound. I’ve always tried to live by this: “Don’t predict your future success based on your past failure”.

  • http://joeandancy.com Joe Abraham

    Thanks Jon for the post. This is timely!

    When I began blogging, I decided to post at least twice a week. But of late I was tied up with some new projects and I couldn’t do well with my decision. So what began as a passion was slowly becoming a requirement. And it brought in thoughts of comparison and that made the situation more worse. And here comes your post! This is purely prophetic!

    Thanks Michael for posting this, especially today! Our God is so good!

    I really like to get a copy of the book.

  • http://movethemountains.blogspot.com Chad Jones

    I frequently doubt myself and my abilities, but have learned to press through in spite of them.

    In fact, I blogged today about Owning Your Dream

  • http://hopefulleigh.blogspot.com/ HopefulLeigh

    I’m full of doubt right now! A few months ago I decided that my goal would be to write full-time within 5 years and that I would stay at my current job for just a couple more. In the meantime, I’ve questioned whether I’m crazy for dreaming I could write full-time, feared that no one will ever read what I write and like it, and so on. To top it all off, my job circumstances are changing and I may be quitting in the next couple of months! I’m trying to quiet my heart during the turmoil and listen for God’s direction. And in the meantime, I’m continuing to write because I can’t not write. This book won’t let me go. I can’t control the outcome but I can do my part.

  • http://profiles.google.com/bobbalkcom Bob Balkcom

    Yes, I ‘m sure we’ve all felt doubt at starting a new adventure. I have. I’m struck (stuck?) thinking of applying this like you are – in your career vs. applying this in the situations that come up in life. I’ve been through a few of those. There often isn’t time to think about how others have gotten through it – succeeded, even. We just learn to take it one day at a time…that’s really all you can do. If you do happen to meet someone who’s been through something similar, and they’re humble, you’ll learn that’s how they did it too.

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

    I think this is a very good comment,
    – and it applies to everything!

    Thank you!

  • Clif Davis

    Thanks for this wisdom! A new dream for us at College Wesleyan Church is significantly impacting the local public elementary school in our area. Some people have suggested the worship arts people form an after school music club. I think fear has been feeding my procrastination–so this is a strong reminder to “Give myself the gift of time to love this dream… and allow it to grow.” I look forward to overcoming doubt and seeing kids build life skills through making music together. Peace!

  • http://twitter.com/mataikhan Matthew Carroll

    Doubtful about a new adventure?

    Nine months ago I was laid of my day job as buyer for a Christian bookstore in Southern California. We had two small boys and we were expecting our third. My dream job is to have a ministry training pastors overseas who have limited access to good training resources. So I seized the moment and we jumped into the deep end. Now we are in Brazil, there’s no going back–we couldn’t afford to return if we wanted to–and I’m hustling to establish our home and a ministry. Yesterday I saw my name on a roster of conference guest speakers along side the director of Brazil’s largest Christian university and the author of the first systematic theology written and published in Portuguese (not translated from another language). Am I doubtful? Sometimes. Intimidated? You betcha!

    But I didn’t really quit. I had no choice.

    Thank you for the counsel not to compare my beginning to someone else’s middle. That is golden, and just the reminder I needed this morning.

  • bodowd

    When I started as a vocalist on the worship team of my church, I was very apprehensive about it. It was something I had wanted to do for years but I knew how difficult it could potentially be. Ministry is difficult anyway, and then add to that the aspect of “creative-minded” people, and you have tons of potential for some “creative tension” that can really be difficult to work with. Three and a half years later, being a worship leader has definitely had its ups and downs for sure, but “I press on toward the goal to win
    the prize…” (Phil 3:14) and it has been SO worth it. Now, I have most assuredly been guilty of comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle. I constantly watch Hillsong videos and think, “Why aren’t we there yet?” But what Jon said is so true. It’s okay that we aren’t right now. We will get there. And the truth is that being apart of growing the kingdom of God through worship is incredibly fulfilling, but what is even more fulfilling than that is helping those in your team around you to grow spiritually and seeing spiritual growth within yourself. It has been said, “Nothing risked, nothing gained,” and I am so glad that I took the risk!

  • http://twitter.com/LindseyMBell LindseyBell

    Absolutely! I landed an agent this past fall, and she started sending my book proposal out to publishers about a month ago. Almost every day I question whether my writing is good enough yet. This post was so encouraging to me. My writing doesn’t have to be as good as Beth Moore’s. It just has to be my best, and God will honor what I give him. Thank you!

  • Chad

    Sometimes doubtful, always hopeful!

  • Jmhardy97

    A great opening. We all want to compare ourselves to others. Everyone has a starting point. We need to create a plan and finish well.


  • http://davidlarteyblog.wordpress.com David Lartey

    Yes. I am at that point right now. I had this idea and since then it has been a tug of war for me to decide where to go from where I am with very little knowledge.

  • Karen Lea Cline

    I am most definitly interested in reading ” quittter” I have realized when road blocks come around, in business or a project I am working on, the best thing to do is take a little break and then go back at your idea and keep trying until you see the results!!! It alwaays pays out in the end.

  • http://profiles.google.com/brothermanandrew Andrew Brotherton

    Moving to Atlanta and beginning Bible college was definitely a time I felt very afraid. I had never been to a big city, never pushed myself beyond my boundaries, and just felt so afraid of taking such a huge risk. I took the risk and have seen how God can bless us if we just get out of our own way.

  • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

    First of all, I love this quote: “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

    Secondly, in answer to Jon’s question, I’m in that place of doubtfulness right now. I have a dream and I’ve started taking steps towards making it a reality, but my insecurities and fear of failure have been holding me back. I struggle to “sell myself,” and as such, I have convinced myself that I’ll never make it with this dream (social media consulting for churches and para-church ministries).

    At the Leadercast last Friday, I was challenged to step out and try, knowing that success probably won’t come right away. I need to take it one step at a time and build my own confidence level before I can convince someone else to have confidence in me.

  • http://profiles.google.com/irishturtle Shan Conner

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Let me be honest, here. Not only do I feel doubtful, but I also feel apprehensive, weak, unsure, fearful, and overwhelmed. Sometimes I think maybe I’ve gotten myself in over my head. Maybe I haven’t exercised enough humility. Maybe I’m making idols for myself. Or maybe, as Jon suggests, I’m comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle.

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewHulsey Andrew Hulsey

    Of course! At 27, it seems that my generation has grown up with this “instant gratification” philosophy where we expect everything to happen NOW. We all want to start out as CEOs without putting in the hard work, sweat and tears which help shape successful leaders.

    Every time I start out on a new venture – be it a job, a new hobby, etc – I tend to get a little irked at myself for not being as good “as the other guy,” who’s been doing it for years! (Notice this every time you go to the golf course…)

    I say we learn to take incremental steps and stop comparing ourselves to someone else’s success! We look too MUCH at other people’s success in life, and too LITTLE at what it took to get there!

  • http://twitter.com/milessteele Miles Steele

    Every day. I am currently working a job that is ok, but what I really want is to feel like I have enough experience (and courage) to start my own business. I find myself checking my knowledge and expertise against the people that I am working with that have been doing this for 20+ years and it’s disheartening. Thanks for this post Jon, it has been just the right words I needed to hear today.

  • Diana Frick

    Oh my goodness, YES! We (my husband and I) left the comfort of home and jobs last June to pursue a ministry dream and………it blew up in our faces…….We ended the year with a new mortgage on a home in upstate NY, no job for either of us, no food, a complete disaster…we have returned to our home state, my husband is working, I am still looking for a job and have lived in fear these past few months……then a friend posted your link on Facebook and after reading your ebook, I am ready to try again( with a stronger plan.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Keep trying hard, Diana. I admire your willingness to pick up and give it
      another go. Perseverance is a huge asset.

  • Jmhardy97

    I read somewhere that 99% of being successful is just getting started. Your encouragement to get off the bench and get in the game. Do not try and be Babe Ruth today, but get in the game and start swinging. The home runs will come. I look forward to reading the book.


  • http://twitter.com/SRivera SRivera

    Wow you really uncover the source Jon!

    I recently discover that the big thing that was feeding my doubts when I was about to begin a new dream was ‘overcomplicating things’ you just showed me where all the overcomplication comes from. The role models that I’m looking up to. They no longer have a 2 feet block structure but a castle wall. I need to stop considering how the guard is going to keep the gate safe, I just need to start putting blocks, one at a time!

    Will love to win your book!
    Thanks for sharing and for this opportunity Michael.

  • Chip Wilson

    Yes I have. As much as I realize I can do all things with the Lord’s strength, there is still the ghost of the “old man” clinging to me. It was there when I was 23 and it’s there when I’m 49. Symptom No. 1: I struggle with deciding between what’s good and what’s best!

  • Anonymous

    Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? I think anyone who has ever had a dream has fallen into this trap. I have been here more than once, but this is a message worth hearing again and again. I have been a physician for over 30 year. About 10 years ago, I went out to solo practice. It was tough going, but eventually I found my own style , stopped trying to be like all th all the people I learned from and made good progress.
    I am here once again as I start to blog, teach and preach. This missive could not have come to my inbox at a better time. I subscribe to blogs, obviously, but usually feel my own writing is lacking. I get to preach occasionally, and it is always a temptation to feel thatI am not as good at is as our pastor. Thanks for the reminder that he has been doing his craft for 25 years, and I can’t be in the same league…yet!

  • http://www.quirkyjournal.com Michelle

    Often! I was given the opportunity to start a new business unit in October, and I am totally NOT qualified. Everyday I am surrounded by people with more experience, more knowledge. My excitement, while still very much intact, has also become a daily struggle with doubt nicely intertiwned with the fear of failure.

  • Travis

    Michael, this is a great reminder. I tend to go through the same mental gymnastics when I compare myself to someone at the top of their game. This really comes into play in my current role of “job-seeker”. So many times I read the qualifications of a job and think, “I can’t do that.” or, “I’m not that qualified.” I tend to forget all of the experience that I have already, and all the things that I can do.

  • Trdiau

    Wow. Your post was well timed for me. I am just about to start a new dream of becoming published. I have been writing for years but I keep everything in my closet. My day job usually takes all my time, so I finally got the nerve up to quit. Feel doubtful? I am terrified. However I figured if I didn’t do it now, I never would. So I am taking a chance and hopefully I will succeed! Thanks for the post!

  • http://profiles.google.com/niki716 Niki Turner

    When starting something new, I cling to the verses “despise not the day of small beginnings.” And when having to persevere, I like what Paul said about one person plants, another waters, but it’s God who gives the increase.

  • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

    Yes, I felt unsure years ago when I decided to begin writing. I hoped I would be able to get some of my work published in magazines and other publications (and maybe eventually even a book — still working on that dream…), but I had no idea if I would be able to succeed. As I talked it over with my husband one afternoon, he said “you’ll never know if you don’t try.” I’ve been trying — and enjoying a measure of success ever since.

    Would love to win a copy of Jon’s book. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • http://www.theunblogger.com Marnie

    I pretty much ALWAYS feel doubtful about starting a new endeavor. But, I’m going to start taking your concept of, ““Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” to heart. Thanks for the advice and opportunity!

  • Jody Sneed

    I became an accidental entrepreneur 2 years ago after being laid off…friends had been pestering me to become a consultant for nonprofits, writing grants when other staffs were being reduced and organizations didn’t have the capacity or expertise to seek funds in that direction.

    I said no one would pay a decent fee for that service. Kept looking for full-time jobs to no avail and was feeling very despondent about the future. My son and my sister had both lost their jobs as well. Then to prove their point, 2 of my friends hired me. I did it just to make some money while looking for the next full-time gig and to keep them off my back.

    The every so often, I’d get a call or email from someone saying my name had been referred to them as a grant writer. Six months into my ‘stop-gap’ career, after hundreds of applications and too many interviews that didn’t even yield a follow up call, my wife corrected my thinking by pointing out the number of clients I had developed and new ones that were coming on board: “You’ve found the new gig.”

  • Monica

    Absolutely I have felt doubtful about pursuing a new dream. In fact, I feel that now. This doubt has crept in due to past “failures” that I have experienced trying to attain other dreams. I don’t want to go through that again.

    But after reading, “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle,” I was taken aback. How true that is! And how guilty I am of doing just that. Time to pull up the proverbial bootstraps and GO.

    This post reminded me of a Bible verse that my pastor emphasized in church a few weeks ago: “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the service in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). What a hard adjustment to make. But hands to the plow, even in my small beginning, is not to be despised. Thank you, Mr. Acuff, for this post.

  • Valerie Zumwalt

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”
    , excellent point. I am just beginning my dream as a knitwear designer and yarn dyer. I follow tons of others in the industry and think ‘if only I had those connections, designed like that, had that many followers’…etc. Your post here, and your tweet yesterday about blogging even when no one is reading – yet, are good reminders for me to be persistent. I’m only at the beginning and those folks are in their middle.

  • http://www.restorehaiti.com Theresa

    Definitely. Im learning its all about timing. I run a small non-profit “on the side” while still working full time in the corporate world. Im ready to fly and get out of my cubicle- its just not time yet…. patience is hard work!

  • http://www.kathink.blogspot.com Kathleen @ Kath Ink

    This is excellent advice. I had felt discouraged about my blog posts. But I realized that I was doing this — comparing my first to their 100th or more. So I went back to the beginning archives of some of my favorite bloggers and looked at their beginnings. I have kept on blogging. Slowly but surely.

  • Kerstyn

    I’ve definitely been doubtful about some of the adventures my life has taken me on. I got married at eighteen (which was an adventure in itself), and my husband wants every empty building he sees. He has so many great ideas for so many great projects, but the idea of pursuing those dreams is terrifying and in that terror I find myself being less than supportive. However…

    “This is just your beginning. Give yourself the gift of time. Love your
    dream and your adventure enough to allow it to grow slowly.”

    These are words I definitely plan to take to heart. If we grab the dream we love with both hands and just start from there, God’s going to take it the rest of the way. Thank you for that.

  • Anonymous

    I’m posting this on my workboard! How many times have I picked up a book and thought, “Gee that slushpile I have at home is nowhere near this good!” Well no, it’s my first book! Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Perfecting the craft is an action that takes time and practice..thanks for the encouragement! Can’t wait to get my hands on Quitter!

  • http://www.soulmunchies.com Crystal Rowe

    I am about to embark on one of the biggest new dreams/adventures of my life … and I am terrified. I wish I could share more details in this comment, but I have to be elusive for a little while longer. Stay tuned for an announcement in the coming months ;-)

    Although I’m positive this is the jump God is calling me to make at this time in my life, small doubts still creep in…so I’m trying to rely on God’s strength and wisdom to pull me through the doubts. Some times that’s much easier said than done!

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

    I needed to hear that more than anything else this morning – thanks Jon!

  • Brucebartolomeo

    Hi Michael, I’m entering a new season of life in the not for profit world after recently selling my business. After experiencing great success in something I’ve worked at for 30 years, it is a challenge to not compare what I would like to do with those that have been at it a long time. Your message today was quite timely. Thank You. Bruce Bartolomeo

  • http://www.mattrob.com Matt Robison

    “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” One of my favorites from Chesterton.

  • http://www.adamhann.com Adam Hann

    I certainly have. I’m actually at the start of that now with working on a new blog project that I’m hoping opens up some new doors down the road. I’m kind of stepping out in faith and doing my part. The challenge is that I need to continue to remind myself that this is my beginning. Thanks for sharing Jon!

  • http://twitter.com/kellibob Kelli James

    I hope that anyone who has ever begun a new dream or adventure would experience a little bit of doubt sometimes. Otherwise, it’s probably not a big enough dream or adventure. If we think we can “handle” it, then it’s probably not God’s dream or adventure for us! It may be a portion of it, or going in the right direction, but God always calls us to something that requires us to depend on Him! And I’m so thankful for that! If I had to do everything in life (especially parenting) with my own skills and in my own strength, I’d be sunk. But God calls us to our dreams and adventures and HE is the one who equips us and exchanges our strength (which is really weakness) for His strength!

    As a homeschooling mom closing my homeschool this year after 12 years (my youngest is graduating in a few days) I am feeling that doubt at this very moment, but I KNOW that God has a great adventure in store for me, if I just wait on Him and find peace in the transition, I know He will birth a new vision, a new dream, a new adventure for my life!

  • http://twitter.com/breatheingrace Shelly Warren

    I usually start feel doubtful about beginning a new dream when I’m not sharing the dream with a couple of friends. To keep them posted on how things are going somehow helps me stay motivated. I see it less as accountability, more as encouragement.

  • http://twitter.com/kellibob Kelli James

    Oh! And I forgot to say that May 17th is my birthday!!! I’d love a copy of @73c2e366e009a14733d617604105594a:disqus’s book for my birthday! :)

  • http://twitter.com/DamonReiss Damon Reiss

    It is easy to feel
    doubtful. Most of us American’s have been told from birth that we can do
    anything we can dream of. Then we walk into this new arena with a world of
    confidence and barely a seed of experience (and maybe less initial talent). We
    usually have two default categories our egos operate under: either
    “I am the greatest” or “I am the worst”. I constantly
    battle this. My goal the last few years has been to be comfortable, with
    “I am improving”. It has been tough, but when I am able to live in
    this space, my best me comes out, even if my best isn’t the best-best in the
    room. And that is pretty cool.

  • http://profiles.google.com/tiffany.malloy Tiffany Malloy

    I’m feeling doubtful about what life after seminary looks like. I have a vision of creating more small group curriculum for college students to help them to better understand God’s Word and how it applies to their life. I struggle to believe that I have what it takes.

  • http://twitter.com/CampbellCaskey Campbell Caskey

    I’m just graduating college, and at some point doubt comes across my mind with just about every possibility there is!

  • http://twitter.com/AlanBunn Alan Bunn

    As always, thank you for speaking a word of encouragement into my day, Jon!

  • http://janudlock.com/ Jan Udlock

    I was just talking about risk on my blog – used Christmas Tea pictures to show my point. Started 20 months ago with freelance writing, been published in 50 regional parenting mags but now what? I lurk on a professional freelance writer’s site and I feel like a poser. I’m learning Twitter, have my own blog (won it as grand prize) but what now? Then I find Mr. Hyatt’s blog. If there is a blog to be intimidated about…it would be this one. Mom of five, homeschooling my last three and now want to write a book to encourage Christian women to stop trying and live the life of freedom. Is this a realistic dream, Lord?

    Jon, loved your quote “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” A friend told me as I was whining to her about feeling like such a fraud and always feeling like I was running to catch up, think of yourself as an apprentice. What? An apprentice is someone who is learning new skills daily and refining those skills. Oh…well…in that case. I just may. Thanks, Jon.


  • Matt Soderstrum

    This post is all about me! In fact, I blogged about it yesterday as well – although not nearly as eloquently as you!

    I don’t know how many things I have dreamed about starting and don’t follow through as I look at what others are doing and I feel I don’t measure up.

    I do appreciate your blog very much! Maybe I will see you at the Storyline Conference!


  • Broccarter

    I think anytime you step out, you have doubts. I think it’s part of what makes us human. We have the emotion of doubt, it’s when doubt causes you to dream that you’re in trouble.

  • http://twitter.com/BarbaraThayer1 Barbara Thayer

    It has happened all my life every time I began something new. Inevitably, I would compare myself to someone who is “in the middle” of their dream and get discouraged. I just started blogging in earnest about a month ago, and it has been so easy for me to look at long time bloggers and get discouraged. They have hundreds if not thousands of followers…not me. But I am just beginning in the blogosphere. Besides…we all have to step back and ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing anyway. My goals may be different than another person’s so we cannot compare apples and oranges. We just have to work on what we have begun. We need to learn as much as we can so we can improve. God will open doors given time and our persistence. No dream is an easy walk in the park. Thank you
    @jonacuff:twitter for this wonderful post! I am encouraged, and I would love to read your book…no sweating here!

  • Anonymous

    Great line, Jon! I look forward to reading your book.

  • http://profiles.google.com/billywiginton Billy Wiginton

    Wow, great post.

    Have I ever? Absolutely, two different times in my life I have in fact been a “quitter” and started out on a new adventure.

    I quit working a normal job, after recording an album, set out across the country to tour in support of it, did fairly well (radio, music videos, etc.) but then realized that being married and having a child didn’t lend itself to touring forever, so I quit and started working a day job.

    I wanted to pursue music in ministry full time so while feeling doubtful, I quit the day job, after volunteering for some time at a church and took over as interim worship guy. It has been about a year and I am now the associate worship guy working full time. I feel like I am living out my true calling by keeping worship fresh and authentic in the local church. I’m so glad I quit and began something new!

    Thanks Jon and Michael!

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, I have not really tried any new adventures, as I am not sure, at age 46, what my dream is. Not the answer you were hoping for, but there it is.

    James Williams

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      John, what are you passionate about? Do you have any hobbies? What is your
      job? What do you daydream about?

      • Anonymous

        Who’s John?

        • Anonymous

          Sorry. When this comment first appeared, it was not clear who you were replying to. Now it’s lined up. My name’s James, by the way.

          I don’t know that I can answer any of your questions. that’s my problem. I do a have a job as an IT manager, but that’s a means to an end. My “passion”, if one can cal it that, is that I am often saddened when I see the Church display actions or attitudes which are not congruent with biblical directives and values. I spent 90 minutes the night Osama was killed, begging my fellow believers to stop the over-celebrating and chest-puffing. Is that really a dream? A passion? To correct people? I have a hard time believing it would me.

          • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

            Sorry, James. I must have read your name wrong.

            I think that there’s a need for people that correct. Pastors are called to
            do this all the time–correcting, teaching, rebuking, etc. It might be
            something to consider.

          • Anonymous

            I started a blog about popular culture, but have not thought of much to comment on there. Still, I think there’s something in there I haven’t tapped into yet. http://highdefculture.wordpress.com/

  • Jim Meldrim

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” This is such a great quote! I wonder how many dreams are never attempted because we see what someone else has worked years to achieve and we believe we could never do what they are doing. Embracing the truth that God “will work out his plans for my life” (Psalm 138:8) frees me from comparison. I believe this is one of the most important ways we coach new leaders. Look forward to reading the rest of Jon’s work.

  • http://twitter.com/kelleyboles kelleyboles

    Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?
    The beginning never bothers me. At least the beginning of the beginning doesn’t. The dream phase is all upside, baby! I’m knocking down bariers and changing lives. Then it happens; I share my dream with someone. Friend, family member it really doesn’t matter who. The weird thing is that the reactions are never overtly negative (well, sometimes they are) but those people I share my dreams with always point out how I don’t have the money, time, connections, intelligence, skills, etc to do the things I dream about. I believe them. They are right. What a dumb idea. What was I thinking? I’m not one of those people anyway. Those people have charisma. They have friends with influence. I’m just this guy, you know? Who cares what I have to say? And so I go back to living in the “real world”. Another dream boxed away and stored in the attic. Almost forgottten, but not quite.

  • http://profiles.google.com/nicholas.t.christian Nick Christian

    Thanks for the post, Jon! As many others have said, taking the first step is critical and the most difficult. I work in higher education and am considering a move to a new role where the person vacating it has been in it for 35 years! It will also be a change for me by taking me out of the direct student assistance. I have an entire year to contemplate it (she won’t retire until then) but it is a great opportunity to be mentored and trained by someone who has a LOT of institutional knowledge I can only hope to gain. But as you have said, I am the rookie, she is the veteran. Just keep practicing and I may someday be the veteran! Thanks!

  • http://profiles.google.com/popculturegeek Matt Brier

    Yeah, I struggle with doubt pretty regularly now between trying to put together the skills I’ll need for the business idea I have in my head, launching a website for another idea I had, and trying to dip my toes in the writer’s pool. I want to be good at what I’m doing and I want to be good now. I occasionally have to stop and remind myself that I wasn’t good at my 9-5 job 5 years ago, it took 5 years of reading and doing to get where I am today.

  • Vivian Foster

    Exactly the word I needed this morning! I love how God sends the right word and JUST the right minute! Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/TJReid TJ Reid

    Yes! I’m doing that right now. We moved to Norfolk, VA to plant a church. It’s always been easier as a pastor going into an established church, b/c we had an established social network of people to hang out with. And we had specific tasks to perform.

    But now the fun starts of being accountable to God and the dream He has given us. That’s fun, but also really freakin scary!

    This post really helped me in remembering that I can’t compare my start to someone else’s middle. I need to learn from people and be wise in the season God has me. Thanks!

  • Scott Mc

    Yes, very much so. I started my iOS dev company with hope of going fully independent and filling our bank account with all the money I was going to make. Well, I wasn’t that naive, but I was hoping it would be easier. I’m still at it, but only part time for now.

  • http://Lbgtmsf.com Ted Werth

    That was so encouraging. Thanks for sharing.

  • Alan

    Last summer I went to the middle east on a mission trip. Since I am a law student I was really worried that I would be destroying my career by doing something outside the box. It turned out to be one of the best times of my life. I matured spiritually and learned a lot about another culture. Now as I’m about to graduate I don’t have it all figured out but I do have a sense of purpose. I know I want to use my education to reach the unreached. I simply have to exercise patience and persevere by working in another area of law for a time so I can learn the skills I’ll eventually need to help those who don’t know Christ.

  • Louie Zinc

    I have felt doubtful & fearful…but I often disregard my tendency to quit by examining promises in scripture in the lives of Joshua, David, Timothy & other young leaders. If anything is going to be accomplished, it will be done by the grace of God for the glory of God.

  • Shelby

    I totes mgotes do this all the time! I’m a freshman in college and I always find myself comparing my ability to manage time with seniors. They’ve been at this whole “college gig” for WAY longer than I have, who am I to compare myself to them and expect equal results? I definitely needed that reminder this morning. Thanks Jon and Mike (Is it okay if I call you Mike? I know we’re strangers but I like to imagine I’m on a shortened-first-name basis with important people. In return, you are free to call me Shelbs).


  • Gary

    I almost always feel doubtful when beginning something new, but I the feeling slowly becomes excitement once I really get involved in the new adventure.

  • http://www.dailyreflectionsforsingleparents.blogspot.com/ Scoti Springfield Domeij

    Love this quote: “Never compare
    your beginning to someone else’s middle.” I usually don’t compare myself to
    others. When starting a new venture or pursing a dream, fear fuels my doubts. For
    far too long fear fused me in my day job chair and to other’s visions,
    paralyzing my dreams. Then I started to take small steps and just kept on
    stepping to fuel my passions, not knowing where they’d lead. Finally one huge
    leap of faith into the unknown put me in a position to pursue my dreams.

  • Bridget

    I rarely ever felt doubt until I had someone doubt me repeatedly. Prior to that, I didn’t doubt, followed my dreams, & succeeded. That chronic doubter never learned the value of setting goals based upon your dreams. He rarely ever supported my efforts & criticized what effort I put into accomplishing anything. I soon began to not succeed because I would rather quit than hear the constant criticism. Then I stopped beginning all together. Now I am at risk of losing even the ability to dream.

    Reading your post, I can see that he is one who compares my early work to folks who have had success. I am going to try not to take the criticism personally now. He just has a different (negative) point of view, which is unfortunate.

    Thanks for this post that has renewed my energy in working toward my dreams.

  • Bernie

    I am of the opinion that the fear or hesitation of DOing your Dream often comes from the high expectation that everyone will or should buy into it. Not So. No one has ever had 100% approval on his or her dream. Even Jesus, as the Son of God did not get a 100% approval rating from the people. Yet it did not keep Him from fulfilling His dream / mission.
    With that said – remember – your dream is YOUR dream. Fulfill your heart and dream with the assurance that it ultimately only matter to YOU.
    Bernie Johnson

  • http://twitter.com/Schallmo Jonathan Schallmo

    When you have the opportunity to take that next step in accomplishing your dream, time can be your enemy and doubt will creep in. With time you begin to over evaluate the situation, your abilities, and your past… while distorting your future (at least in your mind).

    There are two (obvious) types of evaluations healthy/productive and unhealthy/restrictive. It is important to evaluate yourself and your situation; however, you must also protect your dream.

    Jump into it! If it is YOUR dream then you have already lived it in your mind, so the next step is to live it in your feet.

  • Kyle Tillman

    I have started and stopped so many times because of this exact principle, but couldn’t ever put my finger on it. I would see someone else’s success and quickly become discouraged because I never felt I could compare. What I didn’t realize is exactly what you pointed out here, I was comparing my beginning to their middle. I really appreciate you posting this…

  • Nate Claiborne

    This post is very timely for me. My wife and I are moving to Florida in 2 weeks after living in Texas for the last 4 years. I just graduated seminary and am job hunting and trying to reconcile what my dream job looks like with what I may end up doing over the summer to pay the bills. I don’t want to settle, so it will be interesting to see where I end up and where this step of faith takes us. Every now and then doubts creep in about whether this is the right decision, but I think this is really just because we are taking a risk by moving without fully secured jobs. Where God leads, he opens doors though and we are hopeful that this will be the start of an exciting new adventure. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

  • http://twitter.com/WoodswalkerMBA Joel Mullins

    Who hasn’t felt doubtful when beginning a new dream or adventure. I recently moved 1,000 miles across the country from the only state I had ever lived in to start a new job. You ca,tn help but wonder as you leave living in close proximity to everyone and everything you’ve ever known if you’re doing the right thing. You can’t win without sacrificing and when you’re sacrificing I think you would be somewhat un-human if you didn’t question whether you are doing the right thing.

  • Teshia

    As someone entering into several new projects over the next few months (and expanding a few I started this past year), I absolutely love John’s quote about comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle. It is just so easy to do in this modern age where we think because of technology and 24-hour access to “learn anything you want” that we should be further along than we are, but to know any craft takes time. That’s what we have to remember

  • http://profiles.google.com/onesoblessed Joanne Kraft

    I’m the best comparison shopper around. My first book is coming out in a few weeks and I’ve been sick to my stomach for the past month. I truly believe Moses had ulcers. God just didn’t want to bore us with the details. Looking forward to meeting you at the MOPS conference in Nashville Jon. I’m driving cross-country with my husband and the kids (from California). Trying not to compare an 8-day road trip to a 6-hour plane flight.

  • Jay Stinson

    Adventure, dream or simply a new job, all of these have people who have done them already. How many times is it these very people who inspire us to go for it? We love and admire them and what they do, so we want to do it too. But there is no way for me to start out as good as them. How many dreams have died because of this? I can’t begin to say how many projects I let go because of this. But having read your post i see the entire process in a new light…maybe I should say better light!

  • http://bringonthebooks.blogspot.com Jaymie Dieterle

    Absolutely! I have been working in fits and starts at being a writer for 6 or 7 years and every so often I wonder what I am doing, who do I think I am? I question if God has another purpose for me. I wonder where writing should fit in the larger scheme of things. And every time I step away from writing – when I stop reading the writing magazines, when I stop looking at writing books in the book store, when I stop journaling or blogging – I can’t stay away. I get drawn back in by an idea, an opportunity, or just the need to put pen to paper and process life.

    The dream lives….

  • Jnoahwatt

    So I am totally contemplating printing this out and hanging it on my refrigerator door so I’ll see it every day. (I eat a lot). I have been doing Student Ministry for over 10 years now and have had some great successes with it. But there are still days that I see other Student Pastors leading other Student Ministries that have been “in the game” longer than I have. And truth be told, I get depressed when I compare what they do and have done to my ministry.

    Thank you for the powerful reminder to not compare our beginning to someone else’s middle!

  • ttennheat

    Absolutely. So much so that I’ve put it in the back of my mind only to make appearances randomly.

    • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

      I am similar in this regard. I have 3 things that make random apperances every couple months/years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1057324622 Angela Mackey

    Such a great reminder!

  • http://www.foodmuses.com Angieverburg

    Yes…am still there as I embark on a new adventure. And, feel inadequate in many ways. Trying hard not to compare myself to those who are already seasoned is a great goal. Thanks for the wise advice!

  • Scott Barnes

    Five years ago, believing that we were in the definite timing of God, we packed up and moved our family across the country from a booming local economy to a declining economy to start a business. Crazy? Yes. Doubtful? Not so much at first, after all, we were in the timing of God’s plan for our lives!

    It wasn’t until the rubber really met the road, and the business was ramping slowly as most small businesses do, that the doubt began to set in. I remember reading trade magazines, and feeling like I would never ‘arrive’ in the industry. The doubt would be amplified as I looked at the ‘middle’ of someone else’s success while standing in the entry way of my own. I remember questioning why we made the move at all.

    However, we relied heavily on the belief that we were still in the will of God, and we are doing everything I can to make this work. Through a couple of simple introductions, doors opened, and we are now blessed beyond what we could have ever imagined!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Scott, thanks for sharing your story.

  • Annen

    Of course I’ve been doubtful about a dream or new adventure but I love the point of “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”! What wonderful advice as I do that all too often. I was doubtful when I needed to go from working in an office full of people every day for 15+ years to working at home (an adventure, not a dream). Would I be motivated? Who would I talk through an issue with now? Will it work out?? I can’t do that…it’s not what “works” for me! Well 3 years later it is working out, I still talk with co-workers, just over the phone now (and occasionally to my cats :) and I have the Lord to motivate me to get up each day & work instead of being tempted to turn on the TV, do the dishes etc etc.

  • http://twitter.com/eriklparker Erik Parker

    There is doubt with every first step I have taken toward a new dream or adventure, but it’s typically slowly covered with comfort as I have progressed with each new adventure…Hopefully that cycle continues…The doubt is a great motivator to work harder, and the comfort is a great encouragement, meaning I’m doing something right!

    Thanks for the post!

  • http://twitter.com/jonstallings Jon Stallings

    I have to admit I have felt very doubtful when starting a new dream. Most recently was just a little over 2 years ago when my wife and I started a church plant. It was a big stretch out of my comfort zone. Even now it is easy to look at other churches that have been around for a while. I have learned to stay focused on our dream and not someone else’s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=524489787 Katsy Brett Joiner

    I heard the interview- it was just great! I have read 37 things as well. I have been afraid to take that Step out into the unknown.. having children it takes you to a new “role” – MOMMY. Being in the workforce – even if it is something you are passionate about can still be daunting. Thanks for the encouragement and the real life tips to help get it done! I am learning to embrace my journey day to day and not to compare to others! BLESS YOU!

  • Anonymous

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” This is so true. And you can go on to say, “never compare your middle to someone else’s end.” This is a principle I wish I knew in high school. I would have made different decisions. It makes me think of Malcolm Gladwell’s principle in Outliers – the 10,000 hours rule. It takes 10,000 hours of work to become an expert in that area. Great post Jon!

  • http://twitter.com/alancornett Alan Cornett

    We can either react to the success of others by being discouraged (I’m not that good), resentful (he doesn’t deserve it) or inspired (hey, maybe I can do that, too!). Thank God there other people better than me. It gives me hope that I can be better, too.

  • Sjohnston

    What a great observation! I think every time I begin something new or different I feel doubtful. Right now I am beginning as the father of a newly graduated high school senior and I am having many doubts about whether I had enough sidebar talks with her about life and spiritual things. She is a wonderful young lady who loves God deeply and I believe she will be fine, but there are doubts I have about having done enough.

  • Linda Kennedy

    Oh My! Yes! Does this ever hit home. I’m on the edge of self-publishing my first novel. Evaluating the right move from every direction. Questioning if I’m really as good as I’ve been told. Afraid of sinking money into a black hole with nothing to show for it. Wondering how I can get speaking engagements…what will I say in a blog that will be meaningful and on a regular basis. Oh, yes, I’m there and nudging myself over the edge.

  • http://twitter.com/Dan_Eberhard Dan Eberhard

    Have I ever felt doubtful before starting an adventure, most definitely. Working through what it means to not compare my start to someone else’s middle or end like Jon was saying is great advice but tough to work through. Remembering who I am in Christ and that each individual person has been through different experiences and trials. No two people are alike and the fact that when we compare ourselves to someone else, we are taking 100% of what we know about our selves, our junk, mistakes, short comings, where we have let people down, etc to the maybe 10% that we are able to see of the other person.

    Such a great reminder and encouragement for me to know that I am not alone in working through this and very excited to read Quitter and take in more of the advice and wisdom that Jon has to share!

    Thanks for the opportunity and appreciate your blog!

  • Lisa Carter

    I am right in the midst of extreme self-doubt as I try to branch out from a well-established career in translation to a relatively novice attempt at selling my own writing. The advice here will certainly help. Thank you!

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    Much less doubtful, I didn’t even really start dreaming until last year. When I started moving forward this year with it, I definitely felt doubtful. Mostly because dreams are different than goals. Goals are attainable with hard work. Dreams are usually way bigger than yourself.

    I’m making small strides to whittling away doubt and seeing seeds of my dreams begin to sprout.

  • Louise Thaxton

    I needed this blog TODAY! One of the challenges I have encountered in writing is to compare my writing to the works of others (Max Lucado’s for example!) and then just chunk mine aside and say “I’m no good at this….”. Or compare my new established blog that I think is so great – UNTIL I compare it to Michael Hyatt’s blog – and then I say to myself “don’t publish it yet – it’s not good enough….” Today – I give to myself the gift of time. And in the MEANTIME, there will be hard work, perseverance and mastery of the craft.

  • Scott

    Heck, I think I live in that doubting place nearly every day. Truthfully, sometimes, it’s paralyzing. I’ve come to learn to be a bit more patient with myself, which helps a great deal!


  • http://worldofmusick.wordpress.com Ashley Musick

    My friends have been a great support to me as I’ve been trying to lose weight. They recently encouraged me to sign up for a half-marathon in October. In my current state, it’s definitely like taking on the impossible. 13.1 miles of running… and I can’t consistently run a mile without taking a walking break.

    It’s easy to compare my start to their middle… they’ve just finished their first half-marathon. When I look at their accomplishments and progress, it’s easy to believe that I’m in no position to start. The reality is that any day is a great day to start.

    Great quote and insight from Jon. Hoping to cross that finish line in October. There’s lots of hard days in between!

  • Lgrim

    Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. 

    Our responsibility is to practice our calling and get to the middle. There are no short cuts out of the starting gate. Practice to get to the middle, and continue to finish well. 

    Practice, practice! Nothing is accomplished with short cuts. 

    God’s way is going through the storms with the Holy Spirit directing our ways. It’s many times a hard life but Jesus brings us through. 

    Finally never settle for second best when God has His best for you. Trust Him for the journey. 

  • Tgm1215

    Yes, I have recently started a new business. I look around at some of my friends who have been going at it for longer and get very nervous! But this post was awesome! Fantastic word!

  • http://www.walkinginhighcotton.net Jamie (@va_grown)

    So true and such good advice. I feel encouraged already! And so often we compare ourselves to someone without even knowing where they are in their journey (or what they went through to get there!).

  • http://www.lifeasexperienced.com Sethcaddell

    I’ve felt incapable of starting a new adventure more times than I can count. But I’ve gathered an excellent group of people around me who support me and encourage me.

    Thanks for the great interview!

  • Cynthia Hickok

    Oh yeah! I’m the “just a mom” type and love it. Now that our kids are 23-28 I’m discovering my place in this world. I’d done Algebra tutoring back when they were in high school but haven’t touched the subject in three years at this point. (I was following another dream…being in the lives of young moms and Bible study…which was also a stretch when I started) Anyway, a boy called to do summer tutoring. Nervous a bit but strangely excited. Algebra floats my boat and it’s so much easier working with boys. So, I’m confering with my mentor Algebra teacher today and here we go!
    I flew to Scotland from Seattle in January via Amsterdam. I was a bit nervous about airports and crossing the ocean on my own. I’ll never forget my friend, Cathy’s statement, “Hey, we all need to do something every year that terrifies us.” She was right!

  • http://twitter.com/travileec Travis Christians

    Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?
    Are you kidding me, absolutely, especially because of the fact that I have graduated college and I’m beginning what seems to be the biggest adventure in my life so far, my career. Coming from a rural farm community and going to one of the cheapest state colleges around does not add a lot of prestige with it, and it showed when I first started job searching a year ago. I had and still have dreams of using my talents and skills in the area of graphic design to make a large impact, whether it is working for a large business doing graphic design or stepping out as a freelance designer. However, I also need to realize like John wrote, I need the gift of time, to grow not only as a designer but as a person. Doing so will lead be to be able to bring my passions and dreams to fruition. Sweet post John, I love your blogs man.

  • Lacey WIlcox

    Great thoughts here–we’re so quick to try and want what takes years to do/build…in so many things.

  • Rich

    I’ve felt like this last week! I’m a church planter with a vision to create an urban, multiethnic community in a city where less than 2% are even scratching the surface on this kind of ministry. I’ve looked at Efrem Smith’s church, David Anderson’s church, Harvey Carey’s church and have nearly thrown in the towel on the church plant here when I compare our little church to theirs. It’s not fair to anyone; me, my ministry team or my congregation…but it is no less a battle.

    I appreciate Jon’s words and it helps to keep things in perspective for me. Our church is only 12 weeks old by the way and many things are going exceptionally well. The doubt I wrestle with is whether this dream is even attainable in Columbus, Ohio.

    Thanks for today’s insight.

  • Anonymous

    I am ending my second year of college and will be starting a year serving with Americorps’ City Year program in San Antonio (I’m from Massachusetts). Doubtful? Yes, somewhat. I’m completely leaving everyone I know, every place I know (I’ve never been to Texas), to volunteer for a year. It’s easy to think that I should just stay in school, or that I won’t be able to transition. Thank God He is with me at all times! I know it’s His will.

  • http://www.mollyslewis.blogspot.com/ Molly

    Doubt is the curse of dreams, isn’t it? I have made it past the starting point of my dream yet still find myself feeding the doubt monster. And yes, it is easy to fall into the comparison trap. Today’s message is the encouragement I needed to keep pursuing my dream, an affirmation that I am at the right place and doing the right thing.

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    Ah HA! I can so identify with the radio thing. I had to do it once a month to talk about Chamber happenings and I’d freeze every time because there just was zero interaction, and no one to give facial feedback. Give me a room full of 100 people or even just 5 over speaking on the radio… Yet, the radio is so very helpful in getting the word out! Plus it is so time cost effective.

    Marketing my book is so very difficult. I’m used to selling other things and have no problem telling people how wonderful yellow pages will be for their business, but I falter a little at promoting my book because I’m having to overcome that “boasting” thing. I know what I have to say has helped so many people because they have told me so. But, it’s the same as thinking God has so much other important stuff to do, why would He care about my keys being locked in the car??? And yet, He cares intensely about every little thing about His children. He doesn’t want my car to smell like stinky gumbo so He provides a person to unlock my door.

    So now, I’m in the process of overcoming that so that my dream can bear fruit just as God intended!

  • Anonymous

    Wow! Boy, did you nail it, or what! I’m at this point right now… getting ready to start over. Getting ready to quit what I consider somewhat of a false start to pursue a dream and a passion. For four years I’ve talked myself into remaining at the ministry I worked at, convinced that this is “Where God has me.” Only to come to this point where I feel that He is now forcing me out. But now I’m at this position of being at the beginning again – of being low on the totem pole, looking up at the guys in the middle and trying not to be discouraged by the long climb ahead. But what you said about giving myself the gift of time gave me a sense of peace that I hadn’t had before. I don’t know why all of this isn’t intuitive! But thanks for saying it… what a great post. I’d love to snag a copy of the book!

  • http://twitter.com/PeteBustetter Pete Bustetter

    Yes, I have totally felt nervous about starting something new! See the pros doing amazing work inspires and intimates. It would be revealing to see all the hard work that goes into the finished song, book, artwork, and so on. There should be a behind the scenes for every piece of art! I think when pe0ple do realize it is a journey that is only traveled through time, effort, and the help of others do they really get it. I know I have been encouraged to venture out when I read pieces like this one and when I do get a peek at behind the scenes. Thanks for the post!

  • Talktowaz

    I am one year away from graduating college. I started off with the goal of becoming the youth pastor, mostly because that was the “thing to do”. I know I wanted to help Christian culture connect more effectively with church culture and being a youth pastor seemed the best way to go about it. But in the past few years I’ve realized I love connecting wi th people through social media. If I could write, blog, and speak at conferences I would be in heaven! But there isn’t really a blogging degree so I am finishing up my degree in church ministries. But now I’m nervous about the switch. Im already having trouble explaining to family and friends exactly what I want to do because its such a new field I don’t even know what to call it. Some of my relatives don’t even know what a blog is. I know this is what I love and what I’m good at and it would be easier just to grab a youth pastor job in some small town but this is what I want to do. But it scares me to death

  • Jott25

    Yes, I was doubtful about chasing my dream, but I did it anyway. After all it was my dream. I believe God planted it there. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. I have never been really sure if that means He plants the dreams or grants the dreams, but either way, I knew He had a plan and I just had to open that door. I failed and went broke, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. Can’t wait to chase the next one.

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    Great post! I’m a college student, going to seminary in a year, and hope to plant a church one day. It’s very difficult to look at the pastors I admire and think I stink. I just have to convince myself that one day, they stunk too.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome! Love it! Get those 10,000 hours in and become an expert.

    Yes, I think everyone experiences doubt. It’s part of the process. It’s those who can use the fear in a positive way to rise above the fear and circumstances, and press through to success.

    “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10).

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I love that verse from Zechariah!

  • Ashley B

    I always feel doubtful! I always think about how I might fail and convince myself I probably will. A lot of times it deters me from even trying. Yesterday I saw a tweet that was very similar to what Dave said.
    “One reason we struggle with insecurity: we’re comparing our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” I recently took a risk and started something I wasn’t sure if I would be good at. It’s going to take a lot of work and practice. I’m excited to see how it goes!

  • singingfortunecookie

    It is so daunting to begin a new experience, even one that you know God has blessed you and called you into. I myself and in the middle of a two-year youth ministry internship right now, and it is an interesting place. I have one co-intern and we are pretty much on the same page, but we also work with two AMAZING youth pastors, and we quickly discovered that if we tried to compare ourselves to them, then we were going to be disappointed in ourselves. Our 2 years of volunteer work is no match for their combined 15 years of experience.
    But the ultimate beauty of this relationship is this: if we don’t have someone to model ourselves after, it is going to take that much longer to be successful. If we didn’t have others around us to push us, to challenge us, to encourage us, and to show us what it can be like when we practice, we wouldn’t succeed.
    I look forward to my middle, and encouraging others through and during my journey to that place. I think the most important thing I have learned so far is that we will never “arrive,” and the moment we think we have, it is time for a serious evaluation. So I keep moving forward :-)

  • http://profiles.google.com/matthewolson11 Matthew Olson

    As someone who graduated college on Friday I am extremely doubtful as I apply to my dream job and moving to start looking for a job that I will like.

  • http://profiles.google.com/stephenalynch1 Stephen Lynch

    I’m not sure “doubtful” is the best word to describe the journey of chasing my biggest dreams. Maybe “uncertainty” or “unknown” says it better. Maybe that’s because I’m only 23 and don’t know just how scared or doubtful I should be.

    I’m 4 months into my dream right now. Truth is, my dream evolves and becomes more defined every day. I try to respect and soak up as much as possible from people in their middles and even endings. I never want to be the young one who doesn’t know what’s he doing, but I know I HAVE to spend time there. I have to recognize my position in order to really appreciate what others ahead of me are passing down to me.

    I’m reminded of Pressfield’s “Do the Work.” Hopefully after 17 years I’ll be seasoned enough in my dreams to help guide others in theirs. And still naive enough to keep dreaming myself.

  • Tom

    Doubtful ? No first comes to my mind because I haven’t been solely for myself because I know God will place me where I need to be. Now doubtful for me dragging my wife and kids along, yes because they are so important to me I have to pray they can handle it. And you know what they have. Our last big step was without our kids because they have entered adulthood and are handling that as well without us being in the same house. Still we pray and always ask God for wisdom for the moment, and protection over our family in each place they are at this time.
    As I get older, the steps don’t seem as big as when I was younger. Maybe the faith, knowledge, understand, reliability we have in God is taking over and doubt and worry is not as large as before. Besides the normal day to day events we take in exchange students now and help place them as well. Which was another step in faith and getting to share that faith with other countries and showing them a God lead life in This “worldly” America they see on TV is such an eye opening experience. Of course there has been many, many issues thru my life that God allows me to grow with and thru. And doubt and worry always pops up but I still have to say that doubt is easier to handle then worry but nothing that prayer and prayer and prayer can’t handle.
    How I enjoy life, even the world we live in and how things seem to be upside down or backwards to many of the princilbles of a Holy life style. But we must remember we are holy in Jesus Christ alone… I know I am getting off topic but I haven’t read any of your books sorry, but the word quitter brings to mind an aunt of mine where she is deciding on having a divorce just because she will be able to get health insurance but if she stays married she can’t because my uncle is younger than her. So I would have to say that America is the quitter on the “married” to allow something like this to happen.
    If in doubt, pray,,,, so I would have to say that we all should be praying and believe that God does answer. Thank you. Tom

  • Acamann

    Great post! I faced many doubts when quitting my web development job to travel from Wisconsin down to Texas to join Teach for America and stand in front of a classroom for the first time in my life. There is an extra level of doubt when you are struggling through your “beginning” while handling “live ammo” in the form of the students that need you to be at your best from the start. I think it is helpful, however to compare yourself to others at their “middle” because I believe, for example, you can learn a lot about being on the radio by observing the way Dave Ramsey carries himself. Still, it is great advice to not get bogged down in this and become overly self-critical. Also good advice for those at their “middle” because like Ben Folds put it, there’s always someone cooler than you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kate-Dickinson/1008802531 Kate Dickinson

    First I’d like to say this was a great twitter gem this morning, not just this post, but this whole blog! I’m looking forward to setting aside some time to explore what is already here in intentional leadership.

    As for Jon’s question, I have felt lots of doubt and fear. Three years ago I heard about a job that was about to be created. This was my dream job, and the manager knew I would be his dream candidate. I was excited and scared, I wasn’t ready to make a move that was 800 miles away. Even though my skill-set was perfect for the job, my work experience was lacking. Well, the economy tanked and the position didn’t get created. But the dream was stirred up.

    So for three years I’ve struggled with the doubt of whether this job would ever be created, if I was really qualified.

    And now it’s time. The job will be posted soon and I will be interviewed. Even with God’s reassurance that this is the path He has set me on, I still have my doubts: Do I have what it takes to be a leader? Is there really something better for me 800 miles away? What if some one else gets my dream job?

    Honestly, I feel sometimes like God lined up
    Jon Acuff
    ‘s path as a special gift to me, so that Quitter would come out right now, so that his new blog would start right now, so that I would have the encouragement that I need to
    keep pursuing the dream, despite the doubts.

  • Katherine Hyde

    I knew at age 11 that I wanted to write fiction. At age 46 I finally made a serious beginning. Why the gap? One big reason was that in college I was exposed to so much great literature, I knew I could never measure up. Also, the trend at that time was toward the experimental, which held no interest for me at all. I let self-comparison kill my dream.

    But thank God, it refused to die. By age 46 I was through with living by other people’s standards and ready to do what I had to do to be happy. Now when I read a great book, I think, “I’ll never be great in exactly that way, but I can be great in my own way if I work hard enough.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/amanda.whitsel amanda whitsel

    To this, I answer a resounding YES! After being offered a job working with people I love, admire and enjoy being around, I hesitated as if being asked to walk across hot coals. Instead of seeing opportunities, I saw obstacles. Financial. Schedule-wise. Daycare. My ability. Thankfully, my wonderful husband and friends pointed out the path that God had taken us on to get to this point and once I let go and trusted my instinct as well as my desire, it beccame painfully obvious that this is where I was meant to be right now.

    I am blessed to be working with one of the most talented, motivated and down right awesome church-staff! My husband and I have been groomed for over 2 years to prepare us for this job, financially, emotionally and spiritually (thanks FPU!!). I’ve learned that when you are in God’s will, he always provides.

    You don’t have to know how or when…just why. Trust Him with the rest.

  • http://twitter.com/cheetosrapper Dan Greegor

    Really good post. I easily fall into the trap of self-inflictive depression because “I’m not where so-and-so is.” Duh! I’m not so-and-so. Their experiences, knowledge, and other factors contribute to where he/she is in life. However, I hope to be the person where someone looks at me as says, “Can I be like that?”. You bet you can.

  • Brent

    Not only have I been doubtful about beginning a dream… I have been hesitant to dream. Though, I believe God is beginning to birth something new in me, I am just not sure of what it is yet. I have recently begun following both blogs of Jon’s and Michael’s as well… but for different reasons. Jon is great inspiration for trying to find your dream and then practically go for it, while Michael is a fount of resources for leadership, intentional living, and finding experts in many subjects in those veins. Both bloggers are great mentors to glean from as I seek what God has next in my life.

  • AshSpence

    Last August I began the daunting task of heading up our church communications. This was a brand new position on staff, and I had no idea what I was doing. I’ve been making it up as I go along, but God has blessed in spite of my mistakes. I work with a gracious people who have put up with a lot of change in the last year, and there’s more to come.

    When I first started the position, I attended a conference full of communication directors, art directors, and other leaders in the church communications world. After the conference, I felt refreshed and ready to start working on all my ideas for improving how we communicate. Then I got back to my desk. I had no idea what to do with my ideas. I started thinking about the people I had met at the conference and how they had it all together. Talk about overwhelmed. But I took a breath, and just started chipping away at the tasks at hand. We’re now getting ready to do a brand overhaul and launch a new website. I’m excited, scared, and eager to see what God has in store for the next chapter of this journey.

  • http://twitter.com/ProverbsWife Saidah Washington

    I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t. When I first began pitching companies to partner with through my blog I was a wreck. It’s gotten so much easier with time. Experience has built my confidence and made it easier to accept the ‘no’s’

  • Wslay

    I started a new career about 3 years ago. I have felt doubtful about once a week. thank you for the encouragement Jon!

  • http://www.acforrest.com ACF

    Sure. I’ve started and stopped plenty of times. Sometimes, I honestly don’t ever make the transition from thinking and talking about something to doing it. That can be big stuff (like career level decisions) or small stuff (like running). Some of that has to do with doubt (about whether I can do it and whether it is worth doing), some of it has to do with discipline, and some of it is just plain old reality in this season of my life.

    But I think a little doubt is normal, and even good. If there’s not a little bit of it there, you might be getting cocky. It also might be a sign that you haven’t counted the cost of pursuing something. Curious to see if you agree.

    As for me, I’m still trying to figure out what my dream is!

  • http://twitter.com/davgraves David Graves

    In past situations I love to dream about the possibilities but would always freeze up when it came time to implement or take actions. Feelings of inferior or inadequacies played the loudest solos in my head. The past 22 months have proven different. I have stopped trying to frame how God works and instead chosen to be obedient in whatever it is. I heard a church plant pastor say, “faithfulness to God is lived out in real time.” By God’s grace now I focus on the next step with the bigger picture in mind instead of the other way around. This allows me to learn from @ArtieDavis:disqus , @73c2e366e009a14733d617604105594a:disqus , and others without envying their journey.

  • Pam

    I ALWAYS feel doubtful about new dreams and goals. And THEN I allow the doubts to win. Which is why I have, oh I don’t know, possibly a thousand really great dreams/ideas rolling around inside my noggin rather than out in the universe for all to see!!! Pam

  • BF

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” …was planning to post on facebook before I even got to that part of your post!

  • http://profiles.google.com/phyxdonim Nathan Eaton

    Man, @jonacuff:disqus , you continue to talk and write about where I’m at and what I’m thinking and you don’t even know me.

    I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a couple years and have always lacked the follow through. I tried again back in March and have been mulling over what to write about for two months. I just posted my first actual, legit post last night and have ideas for 4 more.

    So I’m at my start. And while you may look at Dave Ramsey and think, “how do I get to there?” I’m looking at you, asking myself, “can I get to there?”

    My humor/thoughts/writing are a work in progress, but with encouraging words posted by guys like you @tylerstanton, @knoxmccoy, and @bryanallain, to just keep at it, I’m buckling up for the long haul.

  • http://profiles.google.com/andreavernola Andrea Vernola

    This post is so appropriate for me today as I attempt to start something new in my career. I am scared but everyone has to start somewhere.

  • http://twitter.com/ProverbsWife Saidah Washington
  • Elysa

    Thank you for sharing this! I’m continually doubtful because I see other people succeeding where I stumble, but your words are true – I can’t compare my beginning to someone else’s middle. I’m very excited for you and your new beginning, and hope to soon be able to share my own story about my new beginning :)

  • Emily

    All the time. But I usually take it as a part of life. I feel I am always going to doubt my self but the one I can truly rely on is God.

  • http://twitter.com/douggamble douggamble

    Absolutely! As a pastor and church planter I have compared myself thousands of times to others who seem to be more successful. You offered a great insight because if you are going to comapare (and of course there are reasons you shouldn’t) you have to compare apples to apples not to mangos (You thought I was going with oranges didn’t ya?) and most importantly look for what you can learn. Thanks for the thoughts.

  • Bearyann

    At the beginning of a dream I am terrified! Often so much so I paralyze and don’t move forward to even begin. Once the first step is complete, then the paralyzation of moving to step 2. Does that ever go away?

  • Scott Place

    I’m starting and struggling with a new teaching ministry. This looks like it will be a tremendous help. I can’t wait to check it out!

  • http://coffeehousepilgrim.wordpress.com Cody Alley

    I definitely have doubts when considering new dreams and adventures; and I think this post addresses exactly what I’ve struggled with. I’ll look to the people who inspired me and think to myself, “I’m just not that good.” Thanks for the post!

  • http://mumblingbean.blogspot.com LinaBean

    What encouragement! I am guilty of playing the comparison game, which is dangerous because I also live on fear (of failure). All I’ve ever wanted to do in life is write. While I get to write for a living, I don’t want to do the kind of writing I’m doing forever. Just recently, God pretty much threw opportunities in my lap–to freelance and write a book. I am now working three jobs (!) but am putting in the hours toward making my dream a reality.

    It’s so difficult not to get discouraged. What if no one really cares about what I have to say? Thanks for reminding me that I CAN dream big. As C.S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”

  • http://cynthiaherron.wordpress.com Cynthia Herron

    Comparing ourselves. Wow! I think Satan often goads us into this, and that’s where fear takes hold, roots, and is allowed to grow if we don’t take care to tamp it down. I’m a fairly newbie blogger, as well, and I did find it rather daunting in the beginning. I’m learning and growing every day though, and now I quite enjoy it! I’m in a position where networking is so important, and I’m so thankful for blogs such as yours, Michael. This post today by Jon Acuff really hit home.

  • http://twitter.com/andypisciotti Andy Pisciotti

    Oh yeah, I’ve felt doubtful. Unfortunately it keeps me from achieving dreams. I’ve tried to start writing two books, one about Church Tradition, and one about my grandfather’s life…but every time I sit down to work on one I think about whether or not anyone cares about the topic, I wonder if anyone would read them, whether or not I have the authority to say what I feel like I’m being called to say, how people will react and how I’ll react when people disagree and bash me the way I see other people with good intentions being bashed, and called heretics. It piles up, fear grips me, and I walk away for a time, only to come back and go through it all over again.

  • Josh Maddin

    Yes, the beginning of any new job adventure is full of wonder and excitement, but also of doubt and worry.

  • http://www.gendads.com Gary

    Perfect timing, the book and this post. Thanks, Jon and Mikie. Last night at the San Diego Christian Writer’s monthly confab, four–let me repeat that FOUR–of my cohort brought out books published since last meeting a month ago. WHAT? I’ve got Acuff level jitters. People next to me actually published. Gee, they’ve seemed so “normal”. I’ve my once-in-a-lifetime book only as far as the Intro. It’s a Ramsey – Acuff moment. Now what? I get it. Assume, still, I’m operating under God’s hand, His instructions to me and the passion for my topic that won’t die or be intimidated. These are the moments you “calling” is tested. Thanks to these encouragements, I think I’ll get a passing grade.

  • MrDoubtful

    Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?

    Oh have I ever. This came to the for- front about 3 months ago. I work for a company that builds rail systems (ie. street cars, light rail). Three montha ago I was asked to move my family to a new city, some where we had never been and did not know anybody. My wife and I are very close to our extended families and always wanted our kids to grow up with those family members involved in their lives. We currently have three kids ranging from 5 to 10 months. So this was a tough situation for us.

    For the longest time I have always pictured myself as my own boss, wanting to own my own company. So this move brought that all to a head. Do I leave a well paying job to live my mantra “Why work for some one else’s dreams when you can work for your own.”, or stay with a company that has taken care of us and the relocation would be for 2 years.

    So began the conversation that I have with myself all the time. Is it the right time to go off on my own? What about my Family? What if I fail? What if I can’t support my family? How does anyone do this? All the usual concerns and doubts.

    Needless to say we have moved our family to a new place. Everyday I still think about, What am i going to do if the company I work for wants to move me again and its not back to our “Home”? How do I prepare myself better for making the decision?

    Sorry this is so long. This is something that eats away at me every day.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! I will be borrowing that quote! Thanks. At 27, I am still fresh on the farm of writing, speaking, radio, and blogging. I am surrounded by wonderful mentors of all ages. One in her 40’s, one in her 50’s, and one in her 60’s. I find it hard not to compare myself because I want to look as flawless as they do. But then my friend and mentor Suzette, reminds me that I too will look like that after 30 years of practice, mistakes, and failures. I’m reminded that I can’t have it all in the beginning. Thanks for sharing this blog post. Very inspiring!

  • Zachary Johnson

    I think we all are doubtful when it comes to our dreams. If we were certain of our capability to make our dream a reality, we wouldn’t have a dream anymore. Our dream would change from a dream to a opportunity that just needs funding to be a reality. Our dreams are meant to make us think and grow as people.

    My dream is to create a ministry for students from across the denominational spectrum where they can come to be discipled and then return to their schools and workplaces to be missionaries to the unbelieving around them. I want this ministry to be on a neutral night (Thursday, Friday or Saturday, not on a Sunday or a Wednesday) and in a neutral place (skate park, coffee shop, park) free of the denominational stigmas that can tend to push students away. Too long the church has sat back and allowed the adults to use their gifts while denying that our students have gifts and talents that bring great joy to God. I want to empower students to use the gifting that God gave them to bring massive amounts of glory to God.

    But I am not a very organized person and I’m even worse at budgeting. This makes a dream of a ministry pretty difficult. But what am I going to do about that? Sit back and let my dream fade? Hire someone else to run my dream? Or will I strive to grow in those areas? That is the key to making a dream come true. Challenge yourself, set achievable goals, and never stop learning.

    I would love a copy of Jon’s book, so that I can work toward achieving my goal and dream without starving my wife and daughter. Thanks for all that you and Jon do! God bless!

    Check out my story at http://www.WhatIValueMost.com – search for Zachary Johnson

    Check out my blog at http://www.revjohnson.wordpress.com

  • http://www.iwascreatedformore.blogspot.com Tamara

    I left student ministry last year to begin work in children’s ministry. It’s practically the same, right? It’s just a younger crowd. Not so. Not even slightly so. It’s a whole new ballgame altogether. I spent several months around Christmas, when I led a Christmas pageant that bombed royally, cmparing myself to more experienced and successful leaders in the church today. Not just children’s ministry folk, but all leaders. I had to stop and realize that God has gifted us all in unique ways and comparison was going to get me nowhere. I have to be the best leader that God has designed me to be.

  • Rick

    Great post @73c2e366e009a14733d617604105594a:disqus . Last year I left what I once thought would be my “dream job” to begin searching for my true dream job. I’m finding the search to be quite a “pickle” but I firmly believe if you don’t love what you’re doing then it’s time for a self check. I make the least I’ve made in years, but I”m the happiest I’ve ever been. Here’s to everyone looking for their “dream job!”

  • http://profiles.google.com/lilykat00 Linda Thompson

    Thank you so much for posting this….this hit so close to home today. It was just what I needed.

    I have very definitely felt doubtful about beginning a new dream…I’m a semi-amateur photographer. I’ve been beyond blessed by my job, getting me some lighting equipment and letting me hone my skills…but I’m still very much at the beginning of my dream with photography. And just today, I got an email that we’re having a group meeting next week to have our photos taken. So my company has hired another photographer to do photos for us, knowing they have a photographer in their midst. Now, this wasn’t a job I would have really wanted yet anyways…my insecurities are still hard for me to push out of my way. Yet I still felt that pang of, “They must think they’re better than me.” And chances are, they are – they’ve probably been doing photography for much longer than the measly 2 years I’ve been working at it. Yet it’s still hard to shake that doubt and fear of if I should keep pressing on and growing in my craft.

    This message was exactly what I needed to hear after getting that email. I was doing reasonably well with not letting it bug me too much, because I realize there are better people out there for the job…but it always starts the doubts in my head. Know I’ve got a nice, easy way to remember to not compare my beginning to someone else’s middle. :) Funny how God works like that, huh?? :)

  • Susan Wilkinson

    Nice post. Michael, I really enjoy the guest posters that you choose. Thanks especially for this one because through it I discovered Jon and followed him on Twitter. I’ve been actively looking for people like him for months now! It’s not been easy so this is encouraging.

  • http://twitter.com/lightenupgear Erik Carlson

    Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?

    Totally! I have always wanted to start my own parody Christian t-shirt company. I’ve named it, branded it and created designs…but haven’t followed through with it…yet. I even work for a start-up that has given me the marketing skill set to be successful. But no matter how much training and equipping you get, it doesn’t produce courage. That comes from within. It’s time to pull the trigger.

  • Rich

    YES! I’m in a job that has long since lost it’s magic for me and I dream of moving forward in a new direction, my own internet marketing venture. But past business failures cause me to fear failure in this one. But I am determined to get it going, despite my “lizard brain”. I loved this blog post. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/Social_Sam Sam Bishop-Strand

    Boy have I felt doubtful – so much so that it’s still holding me back from pursuing my real dream of owning my own business. Working for “the man” is safer, guaranteed income, health insurance … I hope I can find the courage to get out there and live my dream soon!

  • http://garrickdconner.com/ Garrick D. Conner

    These are powerful words that all of us would do well to remember — regardless of our ministry or leadership role. It’s so easy to get intimidated by someone else’s apparent success, respect, or gravitas and feel insecure about our own lives. God is the one who does the shaping, and it’s all in His time. My mom always made a point to cook ‘today’s soup’ yesterday because the flavors had more opportunity to mesh. Most of the good things in life take time. Thanks for the reminder, Jon.

  • http://twitter.com/LoveInMarriage Love in Marriage

    I think that every time my life has changed course, I have felt that seed of doubt. Much of the time, I am grateful for that doubt because it causes me to pause. It reminds me to pray before I begin. I have too often started things or made choices without much forethought (an no, not just as a twenty-something :wink). In those ventures, I felt little fear because I simply leaped before looking.

    It is in the thoughtful planning that follows the dreaming where the fear begins for me. And that fear, as long is it does not paralyze me from starting, provides a healthy dose of reality and a strong reminder to pray and abide in God’s provision. To make baby steps. To surround myself with like-minded people and not go it alone (a strong trait in me). To read and learn about how others grew their dreams. And succeeded. People like
    (Don Miller) ,
    (Tim Sanders).

    My husband and I are there again. And this time, we are working through the fear with baby steps and written goals and written plans. And I heard Jon talk about his book on Dave Ramsey’s show. And as much as I didn’t want to hear it, I knew his point was what we needed to hear – it’s not yet time to quit the day job. And I would love to read more from Jon about his journey and when he finally quit (and why that time was the right time).

    Thanks for the timely post!

  • http://www.barbaraparentini.com Barbara Parentini

    I’m lifting my glass of almond milk to your wise words! I’ve found this temptation is not only true of a new dream, but also may present its ugly head at any point on the journey. The sad thing about falling into the trap of comparing our beginning with someone else’s middle, is giving way to discouragement and defeat. Quitting lurks to shatter our dreams.

    I actually live by your words to take my time and love the journey, but it has taken decades to do it! Thanks for this great post.

  • Josh Ketchum

    Yes, I have felt doubtful about beginning a new dream and adventure. I think my mine problem is I don’t dream big and often enough. Great reminder in the post today.

  • Anonymous

    Yes…. I am living it right now. I have a dream to begin a new adventure in my professional life, but the comforts of the current work environment are making it easy to push off any decision to move forward. I also find it easy to look at others around and second guess my abilities. Jon’s lesson “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” is striking to the chore and I need to remember that every day! Thanks for sharing this post with us!

  • http://twitter.com/jenniewrites Jennie Jodziewicz

    I’ve been using writing as a vehicle to help others hopefully overcome obstacles in their life since I was in grade school. I wrote poems, essays and stories about my life, and then grew that into writing articles for church newsletters and devotionals. Then, I began storing all these writings on website. My biggest mental hindrance: I’m not formally educated. I have allowed that to stymie any dreams I’ve had of being a published author. My thought always fell to, “I’m just not good enough.” All those other authors are brilliant, educated, articulate, good speakers, and so much more. Not me. I’ll just stay here, in the shadows. Maybe once I finally get to college… then maybe I can begin pursuing something more with my writing. Even with those thoughts going on in my head, others would recognize my writing skills. I even became a ghostwriter for an internationally known husband and wife pastor team – but I was very content to remain behind the scenes. People would listen to them. But why would they listen to me. They’re great. I’m nobody. I rarely go to book stores anymore. They scare me, especially the bargain book tables. I always imagined that if I ever did finally decide to pursue getting a book published in my name, that’s where it would go – straight to the bargain bin, like a movie that goes straight to DVD.

    This blog (and you too, @JonAcuff, as I follow you/your posts on twitter as well), has been an incredible inspiration to me. When Michael began advertising his eBook, creating your Life Plan, that blew me away. Mr. CEO of Thomas Nelson did an eBook. Really? That inspired me. I could do that. Why not! I could give it away. Why Not! Once I gave myself the freedom to dream – the ideas tumbled all over me like Niagara Falls. I have already written several books that have just been ‘sitting’ in the shadows. Now, by the end of this year, I’ll have up to five ebooks, digitally published, with my name as Author. Five! And that’s just the beginning. One is a book of mission trip devotionals. For 30-days prior to someone leaving for a mission trip, these devotionals will prepare them, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally to allow God to utilize them according to His plan, not their expectations. The LEAP foundation (@LEAP_Foundation) has already been utilizing these via email and on their website, I just have to get them all in book form. Another eBook is called Ragan’s Hope – a book I’m in the middle of creating right now for a charity (@RagansHope) that assists families who have children with extreme medical issues – I’m telling the story of Ragan, who wasn’t supposed to survive the day she was born. But now, 20 years later, she’s an inspiration to all, and helping others overcome as well. Then there’s Noteworthy – my gratitude book and resource guide of how to apply thankfulness to our everyday lives. Then there’s a book for my company that I’m completing about creating and passing down a Legacy – taking families from being successful to being significant in their community and beyond. Then, there’s A Hummingbirds Flight – a book about not letting your size affect your power, beauty and significance – allowing God to utilize His strength and creativity through you. Anyway – I’m so excited, and that truly is in large part because of the inspiration this blog offers me on a continual basis. At age 40, I feel like I’m finally finding my groove. But that all didn’t happen until I stopped playing that darn comparison game!

  • Catchamoon1977

    I felt doubtful the first time I wrote a blog.

  • http://twitter.com/oarolin Oscar

    I was just think and feeling the same way. But practice will get you there. I can’t count homw many times I have felt paralyzed by fear but doing it over and over again, has helped me, but sometimes I can still fell like I’m sweeting…!

  • Alfredhandy

    I have always been one who gets carried away with details and perfection even from the beginning of a vision or dream. I get too hard on myself especially when comparing myself with people who have been at it for several years. I am very grateful for this article. ”
    Love your dream and your adventure enough to watch it grow slowly”. This has been quite helpful as I can see that I have given up on some ideas prematurely.

  • Jason Otwell

    Last month, I went full-time at my counseling practice, which also means that I’m now the full-time director for 4 other providers. I’ve naturally been looking at other practices to poach wisdom from them and have felt like many have it all figured out while I’m just learning to walk. I hate how my shame and fear of not being enough close me off from opportunities to gather wisdom from those further down the path than me. John, thanks for the reminder.

  • http://www.themindfulmama.com Pauline Magnusson

    Wow, is this timely, or what? I love this post, and it’s so encouraging for where I am right now! As a result of the motivation to discover my dreams that I’ve gotten from reading your blog and working on my life plan, I’ve completed a career assessment and have scheduled my first meeting with a life coach next week to better identify/clarify my dreams and work out an action plan for reaching them. The book sure sounds exciting along these lines!

  • Lauralee41

    Super good reminder to have a healthy perspective and expectation on yourself. I mostly get fearful and doubtful when worrying about what my family might think of me as I stumble in the beginning steps of starting my business. That is the only time I think I could fail is when thinking of them, which isn’t the right perspective because they support me 110 percent. Being fearful of what they/others may think is putting my focus on the wrong places when it should be elsewhere! Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2RY5YP3HP56JUNTO64WKEYZLCM Brad

    I was very insecure starting ministry, but God has been good to me and I think I’ve alright.

  • http://twitter.com/davidallsbrook David Allsbrook

    @jonacuff I struggle with self doubt in just about every new venture. My personality is driven largely by outside feedback, particularly positive reinforcement. A bit of a catch 22; I cannot expect to receive any feedback until I commit to the adventure!

  • http://twitter.com/itsmecarina Carina Brunson

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? I have to say I do most of the time. I lack confidence in myself and think I reach too far. I have big dreams, and while I know I should be able to achieve them, I always think there are too many hurdles in the way that are going to stop me before I get close. Although I am currently on my chosen path, I am not quite where I want to be and can’t foresee myself achieving more until I break down some barriers within myself and outside influences. I started late on my dream, so I think it makes it a bit harder as well and I always wonder if the path would have been easier if I had started earlier.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MTFYGMA6NCRZGTP3PPQBSSKCGE Heidi

    Oh man totally! I think that’s probably my number one encumbrance when it comes to changing or starting something new. Looking at people I admire, who’ve been doing what I’d love to do for years, and feeling that I could never be as good as them. . . and so I don’t start :(
    “Never compare you’re beginning with someone else’s middle”!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

  • http://twitter.com/fr_israel Franklin Israel

    Yes I have. I woke up one morning and I had an Idea in my head to start talking to teenagers about living their lives to the fullest. I started with 5 and all of a sudden it got better and they became 20 and I did allow anyone else to join. We get together at my place, prepared food and drinks and when we have had fun we will share life issues and how it affects everyone of us and it has really made me doubtful and I never believed I could really go this far and we have been together for 3 years.

  • Jared P

    This idea of “never comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle” is so key to success in leadership. I have never seen it written so succinctly or memorable, but it’s something I need to remind myself of often. I’m still young, still beginning. Extra grace required :)

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  • David Adeola

    I’m at that point now and really unable to go forward for various reasons re: finance, trepidation about book I’ve written whether the publishers would just bin it! Really I’m at a crossroad at the moment! Good to read this. I find it helpful in a way!

  • Mmpoff

    I’m currently going through this struggle. Knowing that God has something crazy huge that is just around the corner, but doubting He will want to use *me* to help accomplish that. Scary stuff!

  • http://adameparker.wordpress.com Adam

    Big fan of Jon, love to read Quitter!

    I think most of us have been afraid of a dream, mine was taking the step of directing my church’s (basically non-existent) small group ministry. It’s grown significantly and I’m so glad to have done it.


  • http://twitter.com/wardrobedoor Aaron Earls

    Jon, you do realize that you have become “the middle guy” now for a lot of bloggers and writers, right? Well, at least you are for me. Thanks for the encouragement to continue to craft and speak in my own voice.

  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    This is good. I’m just about to to pioneer a new adventure in Africa. It would be easy to compare to what others are already doing… but I won’t. Thanks for the pre-emptive advice.

  • A Christopher Parks

    Insecure more like it. The days of transition begin with the dream, end with the dream and are filled with the dream. The hardest part is embracing the dream and putting feet to the dream. The path small the the dream is big. How does one get there? A lifetime of adjustments.

  • http://profiles.google.com/demetria.murdock Demetria Murdock

    Thanks for the encouragement to keep moving forward in the pursuit of our dreams. I left my job about 6 months ago to be home with my kids and pursue my dream of writing and life coaching. It took me forever to just even launch my website/blog because I wanted it to be just perfect. But I realized that perfectionist attitude is what was keeping me stuck! I decided that it was ok to “color outside the lines” sometimes. Here are my thoughts on perfectionism – http://www.promentumcoaching.com/2011/04/coloring-outside-lines.html

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Kyle C

    Question: Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?

    I an feeling doubtful right now as I contemplate heading back to school to pursue something seemingly overwhelming.

  • http://www.QuitToGrowRich.com Casey Sollock

    I have QUIT feeling doubtful about anything! :) I maintain open communication with God, and when there is God-peace about a decision, I go for it…no doubt, just prayer and faith. I launched my site, QuitToGrowRich.com a year ago. The question I love to ask people is, “What do you need to QUIT to lead your richest life?!” Sometimes we have to QUIT something good, to move on to God’s better! No doubt, no fear. My passion is to for people to lead lives RICH in purpose, rich in happiness, rich in relationships, rich in health, rich in God. Quit To Grow Rich! :) Congrats, @73c2e366e009a14733d617604105594a:disqus , on this book! I love finding people who “get” quitting! :)

    ~Casey, QuitToGrowRich.com

  • Anonymous

    Great insight. I had similar feelings when I jumped into the substitute preaching world a couple years ago. How in the heck do you pastor-types do this every week? My wife has passed along the same info to me, verbatim: It’s true. You’re not [that good]. Yet. Great to remember.

  • Ben Bobier

    I have felt doubtful about my dreams before. The fear of that unknown can be crippling sometimes, but as I get older, the more I have faith if it is meant to be, it will be. Of course I do not sit around just expecting it to happen…little by little I move towards those bigger dreams…piece by piece…day by day. If I stop growing…I have stopped dreaming.

  • Jen Wood

    Doubtful, fearful … yes, yes, yes! I’m over 5 years into my dream job, but only part-time. Can’t quite leave the security of the steady paycheck and the benefits (my husband is self-employed, so I carry benefits). Plus we have a 1 year old. There’s not much time left over to really work that dream while working another full-time job and caring for a baby. So many days I feel like it will never happen.

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Thanks for the encouraging post. Would love to read “Quitter”. Seems like comparing ourselves to others is an epidemic. The way it’s put in this post “comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle…” is a great way to look at it. Comparisons are not fair. We’re all created as individuals. We’re not created with all the same gifts, talents, skills, & drive. We’re not here to be saved in some collective salvation. (Ooo! Better steer clear of that.) We have to find our own path. Our own “thing”. A lot of times we’re given hints by what jazzes us. What our passions are. But love to check out “Quitter” to study and mark up the book. Thanks again for the encouraging post.


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  • http://twitter.com/DanielPKendrick Daniel Kendrick

    I have felt doubtful about beginning two new dreams/adventures just in the past 2 months! I decided to start blogging, and decided to run the Country Music Half Marathon. I’ve never been a runner, and never been a blogger (or journaler or diary-keeper). But I wrote my first 5 posts in about a week and a half, and have kept writing weekly. Also I finished the half marathon (but it wasn’t pretty)! Those are the successes, but I only just began those at age 27 because I’ve had doubts for years about whether I could be one of those people that succeeds at these things.

  • Flowsource

    I’ve looked at quitting my “normal” job to pursue my dreams, but put it on hold at the birth of my son.

    I’d live to take it up again now that my kids are older.

    This should be a fantastic resource to get me back on track.

  • http://twitter.com/leslielaughs Leslie L

    I often let dreaming big and seeking vision rapidly morph into discontentment and a pity part, fueled by comparison. So, I really needed to hear this today!

  • http://www.cfgears.com/index.cfm/2011/3/8/Im-going-to-work-with-orphans-this-summer-and-I-need-your-help Eric Cobb

    Tweet about it? I did better than that, I blogged it! :)


    I REALLY want a copy of this book, I’ve been looking forward to it since I heard about it. I just realized that Amazon finally took it off of “preorder”. I’ve considered going to Dave Ramsey’s office and camping out on the doorsteps until they sell me a copy (or call the police). Just think, if you were to give me a copy you would save me a lot of embarrassment, and possibly a criminal record. :)

    To answer Jon’s question, I always have my doubts, but I also have enough faith to know that if it’s God’s will nothing can stop me. And, if it doesn’t work out, it’s because God has something better planned for me down the road.

  • J. Ceniceros

    I have decided after 14 years to go to school to become a teacher. I am doing this just as me and my wife just had a baby girl. I think to myself everyday what do I think I’m doing but I know that God has a plan for me.

  • PaulS

    Yes, but sometimes when the dream is “not working out” is when I have my doubts…

  • http://www.keithmiller.com/about/jessica-lyon/ Jessica

    I joined Teach for America in 2002 and stepped into an inner city classroom for the first time in August of 2002 (I have a degree in Architecture). I observed master teachers (20+ years of experience) in my first few weeks of teaching and left their rooms feeling like such a terrible and inferior teacher. I had huge doubts that I would ever be a good teacher, let alone a great teacher! But with a lot of heart, time and committment my students and I made huge progress and I was named as one of two Teachers of the Year in my second year of teaching. I listened, watched and followed those master teachers and prayed a LOT! :)

  • Lkfischer

    I am reluctant to give presentations. I get, nervous, sweaty, and shaky. I have the opportunity to move forward in more speaking engagements yet won’t schedule them. There are far better speakers out there, why me? I have a passion for reading and I do want to share that with people through speaking yet can’t get over that nervous hurdle. Any tips from other speakers? Thanks to Michael, Jon, and all the people who comment on this blog. I have a lot of fun reading all of this. I will read Jon’s new book and I am sure it will help me progress.

  • http://twitter.com/TheTrueChrisVia Chris Via

    Whenever I don’t have people around me encouraging me that I can do something, the voice of doubt/self-consciousness/quitting is oh, so loud. I wish it weren’t that way, but then I wouldn’t be reminded of the importance of community, or at least having a mentor that can speak into my life. Thanks, Jon, for your transparency!

  • Chandler ?=^)

    @73c2e366e009a14733d617604105594a:disqus I have considered becoming a seminar speaker. Trying to figure out how that works with my company.

  • Tyler

    Thanks for this Jon… much needed!

    I found myself doing this the other day. I’m starting up an apparel company and was second guessing some decisions while dealing with the challenges along the journey. The thing that sparked the doubt was looking around at what other well established brands were doing and comparing my stuff to theirs.

    I think its fine to look at others for inspiration and learning, but I have to find my own style in this and learn to trust that I will make mistakes along the way. Most likely I will grow most by learning from the things I get wrong… not the ones I get right.

  • Stephanie

    So doubtful. I changed my major sophomore year from physics to audio production because I felt that running sound was where God really wanted me. But apparently my doubtfulness was well-warranted; I’ve been out of school for almost two years and still don’t have a steady job. So I’m still chasing my dream.

  • rachel

    LOVE it!!! Thanks so much for reminding all of us beginners that we don’t totally and completely suck :) that would kinda be like making fun of a toddler because they can’t walk or run yet. thanks as always! :)

  • Chris Kamalski

    I’m on the cusp of this in my own personal life, 3 weeks removed from my wedding. Slogging through deep personal fear and rejection issues as a result of an engagement that dissolved 2 weeks before a wedding in early 2004, I’m now halfway around the world, living squarely in God’s dream for my life, engaged in global leadership development, preparing to marry an amazing South African woman who fits me better than anyone I could ever imagine!

    The only thing stopping me is old fear pushing me to quit on the doorstep of seeing my dreams come true (personally + vocationally).

    I’d love a chance to read Acuff’s latest.

    Thanks, Chris Kamalski

  • dittlerachel

    Of course! Last year I was so excited and nervous about exhibiting in my favorite gallery in Lancaster, PA. It took a years work, much devotion, preparation, and a lot of time and money. But despite all fears and anxiety about having quality work and finishing them on time- I had enough, it worked out and my whole wall of art sold that month and… it was a big hit!

  • Paul Dudding

    There have been many times this past couple of years that I have been doubtful. I question I really.doing what all God wants in my life, but thankfully God has been helping me . I have acknowledged the call on my lite and have been taking the steps to get my ministers license. Public speaking has always been terrifying for me . I don’t feel like I am that good at it , but God has reminded me that he doesn’t always fall the qualified but he qualifies the called. Your book sounds like it would be a big help. Thank you for the.chance to get a copy.

  • http://twitter.com/jrheimbigner Jack Heimbigner

    Great post! Really insightful and I wish I would have heard this when I first started my current job!

    About a year ago I felt like the career that I spent six years in college for, and then worked in for two years wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. So I quit to take up a job that I knew would be more fulfilling, make a greater difference in the world, and pay less money.

    Right after I had quit and been accepted for my job I remember thinking, “Great. How the heck are you going to be like all these guys you admire?” I saw how they interacted with people they work with, their families, and each other and just didn’t think that I could step into that job. Even though I knew it’s where I should be.

    A year later it has been a great ride. I have realized that I might still have a lot to learn, but I do belong where I am at now, and I love my job!

  • http://profiles.google.com/blurkt David D’Amato II

    Fear of failure before taking the first step has always been a limiting factor in my life. Being an engineer, I tend to over analyze many of the potential problems before launching any dreams or adventures.

    I’m slowly learning from experience, that there is great reward for risk taking. Looking at someone else who has already learned from experience and comparing yourself at the beginning of your journey can create lots of doubt. However, you can also ask others about their experience and maybe learn something about the mistakes they have made to help you over some of those hurdles in your own journey.

    I love your quote, “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Inspiration to take the first step toward the great unknown without over analyzing everything!

  • TDC


    Let’s look at
    the tape…
    Current situation:·
    Age: 50·
    Profession: Leader of a software development
    organization. At times consisting of 90+
    people spread over multiple international locations·
    Current status: Recently notified the company
    will shut down our facility at the end of the year. I have been asked to stay on until the end of
    the year and “turn out the lights”Opportunity:·
    Long runway to evaluate my goals and possibly follow
    my dream.Dream:·
    Open a takeout soup restaurant serving a daily
    selection of hearty soups, chowders and chili’s.o
    Offer a daily rotating selection of top quality
    soups, chowders and chili’s (6-8 per day).§
    Contribute a percentage of the soup made each
    day to local soup kitchens.§
    As the business grows, hire and mentor select college
    and high school students who desire to learn about a small business·
    Hire students who have a passion to learn and
    contribute to the business. Not just
    counter people but build a team that will contribute in all areas including
    recipe development. ·
    Eventually offer profit sharing and bonuses for
    future educational pursuits (college)§
    Structure my time so I can continue to be an assistant
    coach for the local high school softball team.Dream doubts:·
    Too old to pursue a dream. Dreams are for young people.·
    Too old to start a business.·
    One daughter still in college and one son in high
    It’s financial suicide.·
    My recipes are not good enough. I don’t have enough recipes.·
    I know nothing about running a restaurantBottom Line: Even with all the challenges
    I want to be a quitter.

    • TDC

      I apologize for the messed up formatting

  • http://twitter.com/edsedge Ed Johnson, Jr

    Absolutely, particularly when it has potential to impact large #’s of people positively/negatively. It’s a discernment thing…

  • http://twitter.com/bsbaker85 Brent Baker

    I’m in the middle of beginning a new adventure/following a dream right now. I’ve definatley had my doubts, I’m quitting a job, to take a 3 month contract job and have no idea what I will be doing at the end of those 3 months. I have lots of doubts if this is a wise decision but I’m following my dreams anyway.

  • Michael

    Almost Daily! At 28 years of age I left a promissing ministry position to follow God’s call back to my hometown. A city with 20% unemployment and less than 75% high school graduation rate. Over the last two years I don’t think a day has gone by that I haven’t wanted to run away,cle it usually only lasts for a few minutes, but it’s always there. That voice of the enemy saying that we will never accomplish our goal of raising up leaders to reverse the tragic cycle our town and our churches have been going through. But at the end of the day, it’s the dream/vision that God has given. Today at 30 I look at the next ten years not knowing what lies ahead, its scary and fun all at the same time. We’ll get there One Day…

  • http://www.jessicamccracken.com Jessica

    Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Ha! I think sometimes that I live in the land of doubt. I have a couple great ideas – or what I think are great ideas – but I hesitate, me and haw. Some of that is not knowing how to make it happen but it’s doubt that keeps me from even taking some of those first few steps, that and a unrealistic expectation that I should be as good at it – whatever “it” is) – my second or third try as someone who has been doing it for years. Of course I don’t expect to be good at it my first time; that would be unrealsitic but surely by my second or third, right? :)

    I also have a bad habit of doubting people when they compliment me and reaffirm my dreams, passions or talents. I’m not sure if that is self-doubting or a jaded view of people. I suck or they lie which means they suck.

    But for now I’m working on writing, teaching/preaching/speaking wherever a door opens, and trying not to throw my buiness idea out the window b/c I can’t do it now or aren’t sure how to do it now. I may live in the land of doubt but I don’t have to buy property there.

  • http://morethanclark.com/blog Clark Withers

    This is so true! Yesterday I released my 200th post and I’ll admit I’m no where near where I wanna be, but I have seen a definite progression to where I want to be… With average post lengths I figure I’ve written 80,000 words or so, so at this rate I’ll be good to go in about another 10 years… ;) But really… It’s amazing what God does little by little in you and through you when you allow yourself to grow. Not overnight but over time… Thanks again Jon! Love it!

  • Janie Gentry

    When I was much younger, I used to have a bad case of the “what if”s: what if my car breaks down? what if I get lost? I know that I got this problem from listening to my Mother who has never had an adventure in her life. Now that I am finished with raising my family, I love to just jump in the car with on overnight bag and take a road trip. It doesn’t have to be very far to be a great adventure for me.
    I would love to be a travel writer and go to every country, but I’m starting slowly, with day-trips around the Great Smoky Mountains.

  • Grace Bower

    Wow! In the last 30 minutes of checking my fb I have had an overwhelming Godwink to let me know I’m on the right track!! First from Leigh to start small but dream big!! then Kathryn challenged me with What do you wish you knew? and now the reminder to never compare your beginning with someone else’s middle. Yesterday i had a powerful experience with I Timothy 6:6 – Godliness with Contentment is great gain. Today the challenge is to take the next step on the journey.

  • Linda cervantez

    many times i have felt doubtful starting something, i did compare myself with others
    which is not good, your guest post was very encouraging ,your comment about not comparing your beginning with someones middle will stay with me

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    John, great story and great perspective. We want to start something new; but, then we fail in comparison to everything we see around us. It is easy to forget, or not even realize, that the great things we see around us are the products of time and effort.

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” – an inspiration to keep working on my young bog!

  • CarlaM

    I have felt extremely doubtful about starting new adventures! When I decided that my dream was not going to accomplish itself, and I sat down to actually start writing my novel, it was a terrifying decision. I think this post is fantastic because what you have said is so true….it is always scary starting something new and not knowing for sure how it will turn out. My novel may not be the next bestseller, but someday I may have one that is; if I quit now, I will never know.

    Thank you so much for this!

  • Amy Sanderlin

    I find that passion for a subject does not make a person more qualified. This book looks like it would give practical advice as well as encouragement to keep taking steps forward. I love the title because follow your dream requires so much more work than a “Quitter.”

  • Anonymous

    I heard about this from Jon Acuff’s twitter post.

    Here’s my tweet: http://twitter.com/monkeystevie/status/68353361749090304

  • http://twitter.com/TJ_Crawford Tiffany Crawford

    Absolutely. Everytime I sit to write or walk into Barnes & Noble I question why in the world would anyone want to read MY writing? My self-doubt mixed with unhealthy comparison turn into an ugly monster–not green, more purplish blue. I’m encouraged. Thanks!

  • Darla

    Yes … sometimes seems insurmountable what I want to do!

  • Carenshaw

    It was so hard for me to start my dream job! This was my 4th attempt at home based business and my belief level in myself was a little low. BUT that “nudge” was a good one and I am so glad I felt that “nudge” because this is the business for me, I am having good success and I can see great success coming soon. Follow your “nudges” (I call mine “holy nudges” something somewhere is trying to tell you something :)

  • http://snappycasual.tumblr.com kelsey williams

    Jon, this is such an insightful post. I am so guilty of this! I’ve been blogging for 6 months and I can’t help but compare myself to other who have been doing it for two-plus years. (Heck, I fall into the trap of comparing myself to people who have been doing it the same amount as I have…)

  • http://profiles.google.com/sweetmarimari mari mayborn

    The beginning of the beginning is pretty easy for me.
    Being content with–and actually embracing–being a beginner for longer than I’d like is a different matter. I definitely get discouraged when I compare myself to people who’ve been working at something longer or more intensely. So I talk my way through and out of that each time I fall into the comparison trap. Your post is a great reassurance since you’re a lot further along than me, Jon.

    The other one that sneaks in is “it’s easier for other people because…” which is just another way to let comparison distract me from the dream I’m living.

  • Agatha Nolen

    Cant’ believe this message for me today. I am writing my first book, on relationships (with God and others) and started to blog last October. I am constantly comparing myself to Michael Hyatt, Randy Elrod and Don Miller both in content and frequency. I get discouraged because they are so much better. But you are right, this is a new adventure for me so I shouldn’t be as good. But I believe God has asked me to write this book to further His kingdom so I keep on. But I still am doing constant gut checks with my honest friends who help me on this journey.
    Great post. thank you for it today.

    • LesaKMelchor


      I couldn’t have said it better myself. I felt this word was for me, too! I got home from the trip and was still on a high. Since then, after joining twitter and attempting to set up a website (looks horrible and still working on it) and blog (I committed every sin Michael said not to do – didn’t know this until after I did it), I felt like such an amateur. Well, I AM! I felt like God was saying – “keep going, you aren’t at their level yet. It will come.” Also, after reading other people’s books and hearing all the information on the cruise, I wanted to tear up my book proposal and start over…sigh. I must remember that God birthed this idea and HE WILL bring it to pass! Thanks for your post that really spoke to me today! Love to you, Lesa

  • Bryan Young

    I always feel doubtful about starting something new. I like to build my own box and, well, there’s no box yet. I’ll build it, but it takes time. Thanks for such an encouraging post today Jon.

  • James Randorff

    This was some necessary wisdom in my life. As a musician, I constantly find myself torn between feelings of admiration and inferiority whenever I listen to someone like Victor Wooten, Stanley Clarke, Steve Vai, Bela Fleck, etc. But far from 17 years, these guys have been playing longer than the 33 years I have been alive! When I think back on the musician I was when I started playing 13 years ago, and then fast forward the tape in 3 year increments, I know that each of the me’s that I saw would have looked at their successors with awe (and some feelings of inferiority, of course). Given effort over time, I can get to the level of a Victor, a Stanley, a Steve, a Bela, and any of the other thousands of musicians out there who blow my mind on a regular basis. Thanks, Jon!

  • Messner Roger

    Jon, Great stuff! Really encouraging & realistic advice. Rog

  • http://twitter.com/BenManu Ben Manu

    I so agree. Most times for me it’s seeing the finished “product” but never looking to see all the work put into it…..good reminder. Thanks.

  • http://profiles.google.com/messner.roger roger messner

    Oops didn’t answer the question did I? Have I ever felt doubtful? Of Course! It has always been a challenge for me to move past my past & the “feeling” that I am being looked down upon because i am too young. Now I am in a context where, as Eric Mason put’s it, I am an “old head” with “some time in the game”. It would be really easy to give up & compare myself to all of these talented young bucks. But that excuse does not negate my call to serve. I really wish it did, because Netflix is streaming more & more full seasons of the shows I wanna watch. ;)

  • Grant van Boeschoten

    It’s hard to begin a new dream, or even a new journey without doubts. It doesn’t matter how clear the vision is, the road to achieving it always has twists and unexpected bumps. I appreciate the message of this post because it helps me to look at the journey from a Bird’s Eye perspective, instead of getting stuck in a difficult moment.

  • http://justopenthebook.com David Edmisten

    Doubtful about a new adventure? I think the toughest part is not right at the beginning, when you are excited about the new venture, but a few months in when things are not developing as quickly as you would like. When we launched our ministry and I left my paycheck 13 months ago, I was excited about the possibilities and looking forward to God’s provision. 8 months later, our traffic wasn’t where we expected, the savings had run out, and the voice of fear was loud and clear.

    How many times have I second guessed how we did it? Too many to count. It’s been so important to me to pray, have encouraging people supporting us, and to have faith that executing the plan will eventually lead to the results. The hardest part is to keep going even when your in the middle of the storm.

  • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

    Jon: I’m in that netherverse right now where I have to fight against the waves or just jump out of the boat and expect to walk on them. To jump out of the boat at this point could cause even more problems and difficulties in my life, but to remain in this situation, I am most guaranteed failure. While it looks like it should be an easy choice to make, I choose to hesitate. Maybe things will work out better than I expect in the current situation. You know, stuff like that.

    I need to remember that at a particularly difficult transition in my life, where I asked myself “What in the world am I doing? I don’t measure up!” that Casting Crowns’ song The Voice of Truth came on the radio right after I thought the question. It reminded me to not worry about the end when I felt extremely doubtful about the next step.

    Your post also reminds me of something a previous pastor grilled in us: Never despise small beginnings. I’m pretty sure he got that from somewhere. ;-)

  • Ann Barczewski

    Wow! I can’t begin to tell you how timely this was for me. I’m at the beginning of a new place in my life and doubtful doesn’t begin to describe how I feel! But I know that God has brought me here and that He will bring me through it. I just need to keep my eyes on Him and remember that as long as I am obedient to what He has called me to do then I am a success in His eyes. Thank you for reminding me not to compare my beginning to other’s middle. You have given me a word from God.

  • http://twitter.com/justopenthebook David Edmisten

    Great post on staying strong in a new adventure…

  • http://twitter.com/andybondurant Andy Bondurant

    Man, do I feel ever feel doubtful about a new dream or adventure? I am living that right now. I go from super up to the depths of the earth in moments. I continually do the same thing you did on the Ramsey show – compare myself to the wrong person.
    I’m learning to simply enjoy being myself and realize that I have my whole life to figure this thing out. Tougher than it sounds but completely the truth.
    Thanks for another reminder :)

  • http://twitter.com/pathunstrom Patrick Thunstrom

    I am doubtful every single time I start a new project. No matter the idea, I get worried about jumping in and finding myself without support or even direction. Thankfully, I’ve always had people who believe in my ideas to remind me I have a real chance to succeed.

    Of course, that’s just the first time I try a new project. After that, I’ve got enough confidence in my own plans to jump in and make it happen.

  • Ray Yap

    Absolutely! It’s scary especially being my forties. However, if it’s something you believe in totally and enjoy doing, then approach it as a new, exciting and learning experience . . .

  • Jreams

    This was a great reminder! As someone who is launching into a 12 year dream of writing curriculum for church, I need to remember this is just the beginning. I will grow as I continue to write, but the most important part now is stepping out :)

  • J. E. Warner

    Doubtful? You bet. All the time. Fortunately for me, I’ve been able to slide through life on a pretty good path without a lot of impedance. But that doesn’t mean I doubt all the time if it’s the right path or the path that God wants me to be on. Somehow I’m pretty sure I would really find out what doubt is if I decided that I needed to start something new or take a different path.

    Very good post.

  • http://twitter.com/LisaColonDelay Lisa Colón DeLay

    I just got my copy. Great job, Jon.
    My question:
    What do you do when you start to make progress on your dream, and you sense others may be sabotaging you?

  • Blake L McKellar

    Doubtful venture? Yes. Two weeks ago I was given a call if I would like to go to Sudan next month. I was excited but I had no where near the $3500 required. I was hesitant to say yes. How could I pay? I felt God tell me to trust Him and I did. In the past week opportunities have arosed and I’ve raised $2100 in only a few days. God provides.

  • http://twitter.com/LukeHobbs Luke Hobbs

    Heck, I feel doubtful right now. I currently cover state politics in Arkansas, a state where both the citizenry and the politicians are approximately 57% Southern Baptist (like me). Over the past year+, I have been blown away by how, when it comes to politics (or science, or a host of other things), Bible Belt evangelicals don’t seem to be REALLY committed to the Truth. We say we are, but what we really mean is that we’re committed to our biases about what the Truth should be. If somebody offers a point of view we don’t like, we engage them with trumped-up facts and faulty assumptions — that is, if we’re civil enough not to simply call them names, stick our fingers in our ears, and run away.

    And I don’t know why that is. I think part of it is that we’re not well-educated critical thinkers. Another part is probably that our theology is faulty in one area or another. But I don’t know for sure, and I sure would like to.Someday I want to write a book about that topic. It’s not something that’s far away from me, something I can’t relate to. It’s a culture that I was born into and raised in, and it still holds some sway over how I think.

    But I’m years, maybe decades, away from being able to write that type of book. I’ve thought about starting a blog, but I’m not sure. What if nobody gets it? What if I myself am not yet a good enough critical thinker to address such a topic? What if I wimp out at some point and decide I’m not willing to do the work necessary? Matters are only complicated by the fact that I’m about to lose my job and have to find something else.

    So…yeah. Major doubts. I have writing talent, I have potential, and I have ideas. But I’m very young, pretty raw, and frankly I haven’t disciplined myself to consistently write and try to write well. I coasted through my small-town university’s writing program with straight A’s and never had to work hard; it never pushed me to get much better. I’m still trying to learn to push myself.

  • Barby Ward

    Most of our new adventures I begin with fear – I tend to look at
    everything that could go wrong… the challenge is to differentiate
    between prudence and surrendering to the “what ifs,” and between faith
    and presumption. I’m looking forward to reading this book!

  • http://twitter.com/StephenSauls Stephen Sauls

    I have absolutely felt doubtful! My wife and I are moving to Nashville w/ our 5 month old daughter to complete my MDiv at Vanderbilt Divinity School and, at the same time, hoping to Pastor a small church in the area. We believe whole-heartedly that God is calling us to do this but doubt creeps in easily.

    Sometime doubt comes from comparing myself to others who are further along in their career and/or ministry. I want to have excellence in all that I do but seeing others success, while motivational, is also daunting. It tends to point out my shortcomings and makes you question whether you can ever achieve what they have or be an “expert” in any field when nearly every field already has numerous “experts”.

    However, we’re not quitters!

  • daddio429

    I have had doubts about changes in my life on many occaisions. Becoming a father nearly 17 years ago, changing careers and or jobs and most recently coming to terms with not working due to illness. Still trying to work things out on that one. But through it all I try to be strong in my faith to God and my commitment to my wife, @BusterTonya, and our kids. It hasn’t been easy but with support from my family and God’s help we get through it.

  • Anonymous

    I have called plans quits before I started them because I could see/ feel/ predict the 1,000 ways they were going to make me die… or fail, which is like dying when you are single, 31 and living in a basement.

  • http://twitter.com/skcamarillo Sara K Camarillo

    Doubtful? Absolutely, about everyday I feel some sort of doubt about the paths I have taken in my life and oddly enough that keeps me in the roundabout of fear of new beginnings. I do love that I have found people like Jon who are brave enough to open up the conversation. The more I talk/think about it the less scary it becomes.

  • http://twitter.com/jpsphotos John Sieber

    Found your article from a programming blog I follow. This is something I do all of the time and will save this quote to remind me to not get caught up in these feelings. Would like to check out the book for sure.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Every now and then, you run across a line and think, “That’s how I’d write it.” Then you run across something else and think, “Wow! That’s great.” In reading Jon’s post, I had both those thoughts. I appreciate being introduced to another author with great communication skills and a great message to communicate. I’d love to read more.

  • Troy Brown

    Yes I still do feel doubtful, simply because as much as I would love to be a writer every time I write something it is edited so much I feel like I am just not good enough. Although I have been published and interviewed on a couple of articles that I have written.

  • Trixxie

    I heard you on the radio this am and I knew it was not an accident. I am very interested in the book. Unrelated.. I heard later in a staff meeting that your blog was funny. So I feel God slapping me in the back of the head to hear what you have to say. So… let’s hear it.

  • Paige

    It’s scary to walk into the unknown, especially when you have no idea HOW you will make it reality. Dreams are pesky & hard to reach sometimes. They are that faint voice in the back of your head, when you know you are capable of more. I seem to do better with baby steps, working towards the ultimate goal. Otherwise, I get too caught up in my head, and I procrastinate. Cheers to you guys & to accomplishing your dreams. Thanks, Jon.

  • outpourworship

    I think what I have doubted most is not my dream. I am confident that writing songs is an art that is rather flexible. What I doubt most is me. It leads me to doubt that I cannot make an impact with songs I write, or that they will not be received well by a community of believers, or that I’ll just flat out FAIL. But what keeps me going is the undying desire to sing/play/write–a passion I demonstrate in few other areas of life!

    Additionally, doubt of support from loved ones seems to hang an overshadowing cloud that threatens to rain on some people’s dreams. I am, however, blessed to have a wife who supports this musical drive. In turn, I have been able to support her desire to enter back into her acting dream for the past 8 months. We just made a decision that she would have to work part time to offset our financial needs, but it is a position which will allow her to take parts/gigs as they suit her. Even when others doubt what we dream, we encourage each other to DREAM ON!

    • outpourworship

      PS: music is not my day job :-)

  • Tyra

    Yes when plans take an unexpected turn which eventually turns out to be for the best

  • Devin

    I think we have all felt doubt. It is healthy, but I have also learned that the alternative of doing nothing can be unacceptable. I believe to stay focused on the goal and take slow deep breaths to relax.

  • AStone26

    After experiencing my first professional basketball game six years ago, during my junior year of high school, I set one of the biggest goals of my entire life – to become the Director of Community Affairs for the Chicago Bulls. As I graduated from high school, I set out on this very big journey continuously filled with doubt, especially in myself, my capabilities and in people’s reaction when telling them of what I wanted to do post college graduation. I was never classified as the best or brightest in high school and was told by many that my dream was unrealistic and too far out of reach. The summer of my freshman and sophomore years in college, I applied for the NBA internship program out of the head offices in New York City. Unfortunately, I was rejected twice for this position, as well as other positions I applied for within other professional sport organizations. At this point, I doubted if I even wanted to go into the realm of professional sports and even doubted all my hard work. A little over one month later, I was contacted for an with the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Cali. I walked into the Warriors head offices and it was an experience of a lifetime. Walking down the hall, I found the entire team practicing in their gym with jerseys of NBA all-stars hanging from the walls. Entering the elevator, I found the floor to be replica of an NBA court and the walls composed of the same material which makes up the surface of basketballs. Finally reaching the front desk, I was greeted by two men who were ready to conduct my interview for a summer internship. Overwhelmingly calm with no sense of nervousness, I entered the conference room and completed the best interview of my life. That day, Henry Ford’s words couldn’t have been truer, especially due to the doubt I had in myself and after numerous rejection letters: “One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his greatest surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”

  • http://twitter.com/TracyStoller Tracy Stoller

    I am a year into a mid-life career change that required me to get a master’s degree. I find that some people believe me to have more experience than I actually have because of my age. I, however, am painfully aware that I am years behind some of my younger colleagues. Fortunately, they graciously share their wisdom so I am getting better at what I do. The upside is tremendous–I love what I do!

  • Katherine

    Yeah, that’s actually where I am now. I need to leave my present job and have needed to leave it for years but didn’t because my hubby didn’t want me to and now, I’m worried about the future and whether I have what it takes to launch out into a new field. I’m not comparing myself with anyone else, just wondering how long it will take to make it.

  • http://twitter.com/mpinedo9 Mari Pinedo

    Of course I’ve felt doubtful… in fact, I’m currently feeling doubtful. I will be a college graduate in December, but I have no idea what to do next! Being launched into the “real world” is a crazy adventure. I feel like I haven’t even started my journey towards my dream… hopefully that will change soon!

  • Anonymous

    One of my latest adventures was in joining the Toastmasters organization. I showed up without being invited and nervously introduced myself to the people standing outside the meeting area. What a shock when I realized a few weeks later that most of the toastmasters there were normal people–and that I could talk to them freely! I am currently actively searching for a passion of my own to jump out of the job I am in and into something I love! And guess what, I’m sure there will be just as insecure people anywhere I go!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Yay, Ted! What are you looking into for your new job? What’s your
      passion? More importantly, how can I help you make that jump? BTW, why
      didn’t I know that you’d joined Toastmasters? This should be something you
      mention in our phone calls :)

      • Anonymous

        Did I miss a call? :) my passion and my job… I’ll have to get back to you on both, still working on them. Right now I’m going through ‘What Color is your Parachute’ but I’ve yet to be extraordinarily passionate about something. I do have at least until August before I can make the jump (for insurance reasons- that should make sense to you) but I’m working on it!

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          Good call, Ted. Hey, I really like the book, “What Color is Your
          Parachute.” Did Dad give it to you? :)

          • Anonymous

            Yep- did you get the same book? I’m sure we have hundreds of the same ones :)

          • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

            Yeah, I’ve gotten several from him at different times, including “What Color
            is Your Parachute.” I think it’s his love language :)

  • Jean Amico

    This is timely for me as the new coordinator for Special Touch Ministry AZ Getaway. A retreat experience for people with disabilities, to provide them with an opportunity to have the week of their lives and go home having made a new best friend – Jesus. I had been active in this ministry, but now in charge. I have to struggle in my mind against the reputation of wonderful prior experiences and also wanting to make this my own. I strive to make sure I am measuring up and at the same time, change things I had thought weren’t done to my liking.
    Thanks for a good word to help me keep a level head and just keep moving forward.

  • Cindie

    Love this… I am in the process of writing a book and also beginning a new journey as an Asst. Director for a Crisis Pregnancy Center…so helpful!

  • Anonymous

    Nice post. “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Quite true. Often, I see seasoned pastors preaching w/o notes and not missing a beat. I step up to the pulpit with my manuscript and can’t see how they do it. Then I’m reminded…they’ve been at it for a LONG time. Nice reminder here.

  • Anonymous

    I’m starting to step out with creating photography with words or verses on them. Scary for me. Not sure if I’m good enough. Creative enough. Or if there is even an interest. I’m trying to help our budget with my son starting college in the fall.

    Yes, I’ve been doubtful. Actually it’s more like I’ve thought about never even starting because of doubt. I do get stuck in comparing like you mentioned.

    So thank you, I hope to have the courage to finish strong. I’d love this book!

  • Ryan

    Great reminder/lesson to a young leader.

  • Anonymous

    @73c2e366e009a14733d617604105594a:disqus’s advice is spot-on: My beginning cannot be compared to someone else’s middle or end.

    I took a major leap of faith when I left higher ed and dove into publishing. I love everything to do with books, but breaking into the business seemed beyond me. I held my breath and applied anyway. Six months later, I was sitting at an editor’s desk.

    Then, again, when I finished writing my first novel, composed my first query letter, and hit send. The book didn’t land anywhere, but I learned a ton from encouraging rejections and kept writing.

    Ten years later, I’m still writing and editing, still chasing the dream of publishing my own book. I’m getting closer to my long-term dream of publishing my own book every day. And while others have hit the goal a lot sooner, there’s still a sense in which I’m at the beginning.

    Thanks for the post, Jon!

  • Usiel

    Yes, I had. Too many times! So, I can totally agree with John. Why I did it so many times? Low self esteem. I was always trying to prove I’m good. No, in fact, to prove I was the best. What a waste of time, energy and opportunities. When I stop this bad practice, my self esteem become higher. So, it’s a very helpful advice.

  • Jennifer

    A new adventure of my own began on Sunday night. I am leading a mission team in the Congo (the formerly Belgian one). If there is anything that will make me doubt my abilities, it is leading a team of twenty-somethings in an African country that is totally foreign to me – in every way. Some are natural leaders and some speak the language. It is easy to doubt the reasons that I was chosen for this job, but I know how much I can learn if I persevere.

  • http://twitter.com/GChristian Christian Summers

    Yes! thanks again for a great post.

  • http://dougterpening.wordpress.com Doug (Terp) Terpening

    As I drove home with my wife after a speaking engagement, I felt like giving up. My wife commented to me that if I were to give up after the second try at getting this new concept across, it would be foolish of me to believe that I would have it nailed in two tries. Your blog reinforced her point that practice, focus and effort make success. Thank you.

  • Alicia (anotherjoy)

    I’ve struggled with this for the past few years, actually. By the time I graduated from college I knew that my major was not what I wanted to spend the rest if my life doing. But I had obligations & bills to pay – how did I have time to learn how to succeed in something that really fulfilled my heart? I started working on what I could do to discover something fulfilling without just bailing on my job & my family. And then I heard about Quitter. I’m so excited for a book that can encourage me to be a good steward where I am while I work to unveil where I need to be going. Thanks Jon! I can’t wait to read it!

  • http://twitter.com/jonstolpe Jon Stolpe

    Compare. Compare. Compare. Compare. I think that this is natural, but it’s definitely something that gets us in trouble. For some, we compare our possessions – “oh, he’s got a nice car” or “look at the size of his house.” For others, we compare other attributes – “if only I were that skinny” or “why can’t I have a six pack like that guy.” It’s only natural that we would also compare jobs, skills, and careers. It’s funny, but I actually love what I’m doing these days. I take great pride in what I do, and I’m happy to say that I wouldn’t change a thing. Except for one thing…I want to continue to grow and develop into the best employee and leader that I can be. I think it can be beneficial to look at others to glean wisdom and experience that the years have brought to them. I know that there’s plenty more for me to learn.

    Thanks for the post.

  • http://twitter.com/crispin3 Joe Crispin

    I have absolutely felt doubtful. In fact, although I do want to (and at some point probably will whether I get a free one or not) purchase and read Jon’s book, I am a bit hesitant, because of the direction I think it may take me. It’s a direction I know I want to travel, but am not sure when. I know it is not quite yet, but it may not be as far away as I believe now. And it is certainly outside the present comfort zone.

  • http://www.love-laugh-learn.com Deanna

    Wonderful advice. I wish I would have had this it years ago!

    The fear of not being “good enough” (spoken or not) was always my excuse. The times that I pushed through the self doubt, I always found myself thankful to have experienced my journey.

    I’m getting closer to stepping out towards new goals and dreams. Prayerfully, I will believe these words when I need them. :)

  • Anonymous

    Just wanted to answer the question I overlooked…after failing at something it’s definitely a little harder to get the courage to step out into the unknown. That’s where God calls us to live though. I am definitely being stirred to step out again.

  • http://www.allgroanup.com Paul Angone

    “Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?” Ummm…how about EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

    My passion is to authentically help Christian twentysomethings going through the awkward, ambiguous, confusion transition of entering the real world when all those “big plans” you were sure God had promised, feels like a fairy tale you heard a long time ago. I’ve written a book (yet to be released) and started a website to help start this conversation. Both of which I’m extremely amped about the potential for authentically meeting twentysomethings exactly where they are at.

    Yet I always have the three Dogs following behind me, ready to bite at my heels at the slightest mis-step – Despair, Discouragement, and Doubt. The bigger the Dream, the Bigger the Risk, the bigger and fiercer these Dogs become.

  • Michelle Sparks

    Of course I’ve felt nervous about starting to chase a dream. I never even believed it was possible to do so, until recently, especially as a Christian. When I came to the Lord, it meant giving up my dreams and ‘doing what God wanted me to do. ‘ It wasn’t until I came to Bethel Church that I found out that God wanted me to chase after my dreams. Even then at first I always asked myself, ‘Are you sure this is what He wants me to do?” But now I know for sure. He smiles on me chasing my dreams. It makes Him very happy. It was what I was created to do.

  • @jonsothin

    Definitely been there. I’m there right now somewhat. But I ain’t gonna be a quitter!

  • http://tkbeyondthebox.blogspot.com/ Tk Beyond

    Of course, I’ve had doubts! Even after nearly 4 decades of doing ministry, I still wonder what the Lord has in mind for me in the area of ministry. I think it’s somewhat of a prerequisite for experiencing genuine faith. My wife & I have had the privilege of initiating and establishing several different ministries over the years, including an orphanage & training center in SE Asia & planting a church in the US, all


    The only thing that kept us moving beyond the doubts (our own & others!) was having a clear sense of vision. Without that clear vision, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the doubts. Of course, it was easier, in a sense, when the ministry fell into a typical category of sorts. I use to do a radio program on a secular station (for community outreach) and the way I got beyond the stage fright was to look beyond the mic and studio to see (by faith) the people I was hoping to reach. Invariably, there were people who said, “I listen to you on my way to the dump every Sunday morning,” which I liked because we lived in a rural area. And there were those who thought it (the radio program) was a big waste of money with no substantial return.

    So, vision from God, based in faith in Him is the only thing I know that really helps me see beyond the doubts (mine & others). I’m currently seeking more clarification on what the Lord has for me to do in my latter decades. One of those things is blogging, which I find intimidating, partly because I wonder, who really gives a rip what I think or have to say. So, back to clarity of vision… at least for me. That’s so I won’t measure my start-up with anyone else’s middle.

  • wendy

    THANK YOU! I needed to read this today, and am so glad I did. I was doubtful when I began working in the position I am in now (disclaimer, this is NOT my dream job, but this is still relevant I promise).

    One of my favorite bittersweet moments was when my predecessor’s husband pulled me out of a crowd at Christmas party and informed me not to worry about the fact that I was Clinger and my predecessor was Radar, and told just to “try harder”. I cried all the way home! I carried someone else’s comparison of my beginning and their middle for too long before I recognized it and got the guts to inform him that it his statement was simply not true.

    I was so thankful to receive your reminder of this dangerous trap we often set for ourselves

  • http://www.facebook.com/zachary.forget Zachary Forget

    “There’s no such thing as a ‘small step of faith!’ If it is a step of faith…it’s HUGE!” – Perry Noble

    Do I doubt before embarking on an adventure? Always!

    I make decisions every day, most of little importance; however, every once in a while there comes a decision where I no longer able to simply make the decision without much thought. All of a sudden, I find myself thinking “That’s a long commitment… what if it doesn’t work… what if people don’t show up… what if it’s not what I’m supposed to do.”I’m not sure that I’ve always made the RIGHT decisions, but I know that my most recent decision (to become a missionary for one year) was the right one. Was it easy to make? No. Did I doubt? Yes. Do I still doubt? Yes (although now it’s for different reasons, most of them involving me comparing myself to people that have been at this a LOT longer, and have talents in areas I don’t.)

    Awesome post Jon, your honesty (as always,) continues to blow me away.

  • Walter

    Great post and point! I have been treading water, staying in a “secure” job for at least a year with little motivation and passion. I’m looking to make a positive change in my professional life soon.

  • Jbeery

    Love this John! So True and Yes, I have felt doubtful. Didn’t stop me but the doubt does rear it’s ugly head. I’m a Max Lucado Fan as well! Thanks for sharing.

  • David Judd

    I don’t think that you can start a new dream or adventure and not feel a little bit doubtful or nervous. No matter how certain you are of your vision, no matter how specifically you feel called to the task, there is always the element of unknown. I like seeing what is around the corner or over the next hill. But I never know what I will find until I round that corner or cross that hill. That’s what makes it an adventure and not just more of the same. There is a little bit of fear in every adventure, but that is just a spice in the dish of life. It gives it flavor and helps us to remember to rely on God so we can enjoy the journey. Great post and good point. Thanks for sharing it today.

  • http://dustinstout.com Dustin W. Stout

    I would say YES. I’m not ‘Doubting Thomas’ when it comes to God telling me to do something, my doubt comes from a place of, “Do I really have what it takes?” I think it’s the same thing Moses goes through when God tells him that he’s supposed to lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt. I have to constantly remind myself,

    “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies those He calls.”

    Thanks for being a whole lot of AWESOMESAUCE Jon!

  • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” That’s a great thought. Thanks for sharing this.

    I’d like to read your book because I often feel doubtful when I begin a new dream. So, I need to learn how to keep going when I feel like quitting. I also hope your book distinguishes when it is good to quit. These topics are essential tools for reaching goals.
    I hope to learn a lot from what you have written.

  • http://www.nicolemillerbooks.com Nicole M Miller

    This was an especially powerful blog for me at this moment: I’m struggling with my day job and my [beginning] writing career.

    Writing is my dream; but the day job is a bit essential at this point in my life. It is a balancing act and I sometimes don’t feel like I’m moving forward.

    I’m constantly comparing myself to others, more long-established in their careers. If they can do it, why can’t I? I’m blogging, following social media sites, reviewing books, writing regularly…

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”That hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m at the beginning of my career (I only graduated from college a few years ago…) and I’m at the beginning of my writing.Thank you for this post!

  • http://twitter.com/chapswoodard ChaplainGreg Woodard

    Great post. A couple of years ago, I went through the death of my father (only 63) and “voluntary leaving” of a ministry position. Both caused a crisis of faith, but both also propelled me to consider a long avoided role as an active duty Navy Chaplain.
    The book would be great to read – hopefully it will tell me that I “quit” well.


  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    hmmm I have felt this exactly. So much so that I wrote about the same thing this morning. Great timing.

    I talked about the problem with instant and why you will never succeed.

    great words jon

  • OpusMLE

    Jon, Have I ever felt doubtful? A better question would be, Have I ever felt confident? But you know what? Your post opened a window for me–giving me som fresh air. Given that I’m toying with a new dream/adventure right now, that extra oxygen is perfectly timed. Thanks.

  • Riete Nijdeken

    When I started as a teacher I was terrified! I looked at my mentor and the other teachers in school and I was certain I would never be as good as they were, or so much at ease in front of a class full of children.

    Now I am a teacher for over thirty years. I love it, and I feel at my best when I stand before a group of children. But I’ve never forgotten these first few years … and I tell about them often when I meet young, new teachers who look at me in awe. And I tell them … you will be like me – in thirty years time ;)

  • Wayne Bays

    Yes, I do feel doubtful about beginning a new dream .I was painting up on the roof of the church where my wife and I got married and fell off. I landed on my head and severed my spinal chord. The immediate changes this brought to my life are still causing much doubt and questions as I ponder over how God wants to use this 55 year old child of His. These days, I spend about 4 hours reading God’s Word and tuning into what He is trying to get me to do. It’s all about beginnings and being useful.

  • Joni

    Although I feel terrified of failure, I’m trying to step out with my first home-blog. This is exciting and painful. It feels like trying to walk through a brick wall on the way through a mountain of rock.

  • Kvn Taylor

    I was terrified to believe that I could be engaging as a communicator but I was determined that I would take some step toward testing the limits of my ability to engage an audience at all and joined ToastMasters. While I am not speaking to hundreds or thousands, I am engaging some – pushing past the fear was the hardest step on the journey to somewhere.




  • Jacque Watkins

    Thank you, thank you for this…I have a desire to begin a blog…have set up my domain, self-hosted site, but still am trying to learn all about wordpress before beginning, defining my passion, writing some content ahead of time…and part of the paralysis to just begin posting is definitely comparing my beginning to the other blogger’s middles. Wow, thank you for your encouragement!

  • http://trinitydigitalmedia.com sempei13

    I’m in the midst of that right now. I’m started a company February 1st, and am living off the severance from my last job while I finish editing the book I wrote in November. Insecurity keeps whispering, “Who do you think you are? You don’t know what you’re doing.”

    I press on knowing that I won’t be great at first, but that the more I try, God leading me, the more I will know what I’m doing.

    Jon, you’ve been an inspiration to me from afar as I try to accomplish something that feels impossible, but something I must do.


  • John Hawken

    Stepping into unknown territory like quitting your job to pursue your dream can be very scary. I know, I was made redundant from my job in July 09, and after trying to get jobs, decided to try my hand at contracting out my skill as a business & technical writer. It wasnt easy by any means, but over time it grew. God did an amazing job of providing for us during this time, and you can so totally trust Him to have your back as you step out in faith. @John Eldridge, in his book “Wild at Heart” quotes another author friend who said “dont ask what the world needs – find out what you love to do & then just do it! What the world needs is people who come alive!” Taking the courage to pursue your dream will make you come alive, AND may encourage and empower someone else to do the same – go for it!!!

  • http://www.tillhecomes.org Jeremy Myers

    Have I ever felt doubtful?!

    When have I NOT felt doubtful?

    I think that fear and trepidation are inherent within the process of beginning a new dream or adventure. Doubt and fear keep me back from most of the things I want to do in life.

    Oh, and money. Doubt, fear, and money. But the greatest of these is doubt.

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  • http://twitter.com/Kimberlinez Kimberly Cavanaugh

    Doubt is always the door greeter of a dream isn’t it? I love that you still encounter the question. We have to remain challenged if we ever hope to bring anything of value. Yes, I greet doubt at the door but that is exactly where I leave it, at the door.

  • http://twitter.com/joelletruax Joelle Truax

    A better question for me would be, has there ever been a time where I was beginning a new dream or experience where I haven’t had feelings of doubt? ;) Even in moments where I am certain that I am following God’s will, there are whispers from the enemy trying to make me doubt and compare myself to others. How thankful am I that God’s voice is louder than the enemy’s whisper and while His ways might not look how I want them to look, they are higher than mine and for my good. :)

  • http://twitter.com/jerburroughs Jeremy Burroughs

    Wow! This post just rocked me. What an amazing perspective shift. There are many times I compare my beginning to others’ middle. I have never thought of it the way he presented it. I think I often get discouraged when I see others doing great in their middle, while I am struggling in my beginning. I often put undue pressure on myself to build upon what others have already done instead of appreciating where they are and understanding I am still far behind in terms of experience. This perspective change will go with me in all areas of my life. I know that the best is yet to come and I can look to others and see that the best is yet to come for me in my marriage, ministry, and work. Thanks for the post Jon! You are definitely an encourager who will change the lives of many.

  • Merritt

    Oh.My.Gosh. I am feeling exactly that right now abt starting a blog. And have watched all the others out there who are getting it right, doing it well and I forget they are at their middle while I am just starting out. Makes me feel vulnerable, small and yes, a little sweaty. Thx @jonacuff for the encouragement!

  • Joan Johnson

    Leaving this comment is a new adventure for me! This is only the third time I’ve ever commented on a blog. I can sweat over even little pieces like this, telling myself others’ comments are so clever and/or insightful, what could I possibly add? Thanks Jon for the article and thanks Michael for posting it.

  • http://twitter.com/leahleach Leah Leach

    I’ve had a dream to write a book for several years now, always letting the doubts of the unknown and a standard of perfection stopping me from starting. I love the words that you put to my problem . . . comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle. It was my husband who was really able to breathe life and Truth into my dream, encouraging me to not only write it for myself, but for my two young daughters who will one day read it. When I face my insecurities as I write, I’ll remember your words and press on! Thank you!

  • Simonbushi

    I have a deep desire to pursue my dream job. But never got to get started. I think there is a great lesson to learn in the blog. Make smaller steps and grow over a period of time. Dont get intimidated by looking at the big picture. Take it one step/one day at a time. Thanks.

  • http://profiles.google.com/deepa.m.daniels Deepa Daniels

    Wow, that was well said and something I needed to hear! I’m still at the beginning of life’s journey, and have much to learn.

    Mastery equals hard work and time. Neurologist Daniel Levitan said “…ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of
    mastery associated with being a world-class expert — in anything.”

  • http://onesmalltowngirl.com Ashlie

    Doubtful? Yes! Beginning a new dream or adventure is both risky and scary. Many times the fear of failure keeps my feet planted where it’s comfortable but less than satisfying. I’ve been recently doing some self examination to find what my specific gifts, talents, and passions are and how I can use that to both help others and bring income for my family. As wife and a mom of two little ones, it’s important to me to be able to put my family first. Looking forward to reading this book!:)

  • Anonymous

    Every time I branch out to try something different, I feel lame – falling into the trap of social networking where people only post their hits but “forget” to post all the misses they had before they got a hit! Reading posts like this remind me that someday is today and I need to just do it!

  • Roman

    Yes, I have felt doubtful about beginning a new dream, mainly because pursuing a dream is an exciting and sensitive endeavor. By exciting I mean that the pursuit has your full attention, thoughts, and energy. By sensitive I mean that the slightest comment someone makes or the smallest negative thought you allow to enter your mind can disrupt your pursuit and veer you off course. That is the paradox and beauty of pursuing your dreams, and it is certainly worth it :)

  • Becky

    The fact is, I am feeling doubtful at this very moment, and this post could not be more relevant to where I am at in my life right now.
    I have a list of things I want to do this summer, many of which are the beginnings of “dreams,” and I am terrified that I will fail, or succeed, but only at a mediocre level.

    I cannot wait to read Quitter (already read the free first chapter on Jon’s website) and see what sort of insight I can gain from it.

  • Joel Ingraham

    At this very time I feel frozen … After working in my present field for 13 years, because I am good at, and others want me to do it, wanted me to do it, need me to do it.

    I long for prupose, and for meaning in what I do, but it is so easy to stay, to keep on.

    But … I want God,I want life & adventure … and I will seek to find what desires God has written on my heart.

  • Jerry Thompson

    I recently started a videography business. I can easily look back at my life experiences that were set before me and clearly see a plan God had for me. Divine training one might say. I get such a thrill to complete a project that has complimented my subjects in such a way that is most flattering. Here’s the rub. I can count 5 people who are positive influences. Special folks who encourage me and remind me how my work has so pleased the people I have done it for. On the other hand, I could fill LP Field with people who dishearten and dispirit me at every opportunity they have. Those depressive counselors cause me to look at the “someone else’s middle”. It takes conscious effort every day to listen to the encouragers and tune out the discouragers. I also believe the 5 were put there as part of my divine training. Thank-you Jon for you encouragement as well.

  • Meghann Chapman

    I always feel such a mix of emotions, really. I feel anxious, excited, empowered, nervous, fearful…..
    But I love it. I love the “high” I get from starting a new adventure. It completely consumes me.

  • stephanie

    I would love to be able to make a living doing something I truly enjoy, but I have no clue what that would be. There are a million things that interest me for a short time, but no driving passions. I home-school my children, and that has been the closest thing to a calling in my life, but that time is coming to an end. How do you find something that pays and you love?

  • http://www.honoracademydirector.com Heath Stoner

    Yes, I have been very hesistant in the past about going after a dream or new venture. One time my friend came to me about opening up a coffee shop together. I was so hesitant because I am not a natural entreprenuer, but after prayer, my wife and I decided to do it. Six years we just sold the business and I don’t regret the decision. I could use this book to continue to help me.

  • Natasha

    Wow, that was just the word I needed today. Learning how to build an online business has challenged me to not compare. thank you!

  • Hatter

    Yes…I’m walking through it right now. I’m starting a new job that I know is right, but it requires moving my family 10 hours from home. We are leaving a great job, city, church and friends and moving to a place where we know no one.

    With the move, we need to find a school and therapists for a special needs child. We are moving from a large city to a small town, so we’re taking a step of faith believing God will provide for our child’s needs. Transitions are almost always difficult, but they can provide benefits, too. We are already seeing our total reliance on God, we are communicating more as a couple and we are paring down our possessions for the move.

  • http://twitter.com/yanaleigh Anna Blackmon

    Just over a month ago I started taking improv comedy lessons.

    I am an introvert, sometimes stutter when nervous, am described as “aloof” more often than not (despite my best efforts to be friendly), and am generally not that funny. As you can imagine I am more than a little insecure about this!

    Your post is exactly what I needed to read. I go watch the shows during the week (free tickets for class members!) and I cringe. I’m not that funny, I’m not that fast on my feet, I’m not that good of a team player. They rock- I suck.

    I compare myself to folks who have been doing this for 5 or 10 or 15 years and I feel like a failure. I have a friends and family show the end of June and I catch myself already putting it down, trying to keep anyone who might show-up from having any expectations of enjoying it. I need to stop! Of course I’m terrible compared to the pros. So what? I am going to remind myself that this thing takes TIME. Lots and lots of time.

  • Mcfitzie

    When God called me into full-time youth ministry, I thought that it was about the stupidest thing I had ever heard. Now, seminary plus eight years later in ministry, I see it wasn’t so stupid after all…

  • Izzie

    Of course…at least for a moment from time to time. I’m about to finish seminary and get married and I have no idea what’s ahead. But I think that moment of doubt allows us to discern and either rethink what’s ahead or trust in God’s faithfulness and continue forward with the affirmation that we’re on the right track. As long as the doubt doesn’t dictate how you live…it’s not so bad.

  • http://simplemom.net Tsh @ Simple Mom

    Oh goodness yes, daily. I’m cursed as an entrepreneur to have an idea every time I jump in the shower. Thankfully, my husband is my best sounding board, and I trust his judgment when his eyes light up or when they give me a “Mmmm… go ahead and move on” look. By the time I get my kids fed and ready for their day, or after I spend time in solitude in reflection, or when I space out on a familiar drive, the waves calm and I see a bit clearer. Sometimes ideas are great (I just had two pretty good ones this week, in fact). Many times, they’re not. I’m glad God’s mercy shuts doors on the less-great ones early… usually.

  • dsprtlydpndnt

    I have stepped out and off in many ways, once I get the dream. It is these days when I am not “getting the dream” that stump me. It is so un-American to leave a career for children. Especially teens. I know this time is an investment (and I am a hands free mom). Waiting for next and reading a lot. Enjoying being available for people. Love the quote and someones comment about “you’ll always know more than your students”.

  • http://twitter.com/Mom2cwj2 7 on a Shoestring

    I feel doubtful about beginning new dreams or adventures all the time. Sadly, I believe I lack the self-confidence it would take to actually pursue half of the stuff I would like to accomplish.

  • Thatdana

    Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Funny that you ask that – I just started pursuing my dream this last year. I’ve always wanted to go to be a nurse – I’ve talked about it for years. Last fall I bit the bullet and went back to school and now I’m applying to nursing school this week. I doubted myself a lot at the beginning – would my school schedule work around my full time stay at home mom job – would my husband be able to pick up the slack with me back in school (yes, definitely – he is awesome) – and most importantly how would this all affect my kids. I’m happy to tell you that while I was doubtful and fearful my family was confident and supportive – can’t believe that I’m actually going for it. It feels great :)

  • ViktorRepasky

    Encouraging post. Two years ago I started to lead a team and it still feels like the beginning. When I see my leaders in action I have a temptation to ask myself. Would it be better if they would be in my place leading? Then I need to go back to God and remind myself of the fact He called me and also by time I will get better. My english is not that goog, because I am from Slovakia.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I have felt doubtful about myself. Many times I forget to reflect on where I am on the journey and how much I have grown. Instead I beat myself up over what is left to do or how far I have left to go…

  • http://twitter.com/JDElia Jacqueline D’Elia

    Yes, I have, when I started writing a garden blog for a client. While I’d written my own blog for over 2 years, there was not the weekly pressure to make each post a winner. When you’re getting paid to do it, it is scary. Would they like the posts? Read them? I remember looking at posts from well known garden bloggers and thought – how do they do that? It seemed so easy for them. Many have gone on to write books too. Now I am beginning to feel more comfortable with practice. Your post is right on target and helped me feel better about continuing my dream to become a writer. – Jacqueline D’Elia

  • Emily

    I’m right smack dab in the middle of “doubtful!” I’m hoping to quit my day job by the end of 2012 when my work contract is up in order to be a fulltime writer/stay-at-home mom. So in a sense, I’m not even at my beginning yet and I’m already comparing myself to other people’s middles! That is such great advice. Thanks!

  • Johnnydye

    Dave Ramsey tweeted yesterday something from his new book that applies:
    Daniel: The best idea in the world still sucks if it’s never implemented.

    So true. We often have great ideas but they never get executed because we quit before implementing them.

    I think this will be a great subject to teach college students at or summer camp. Thanks for the post

  • http://twitter.com/diamondd1732 Damon Hill

    God tell us that “My thoughts are not your thoughts; and my ways are not your ways”. Doubt is Satan trying to convince us we aren’t worthy now capable of doing all that God has told us we can do. God is waiting and faithful to give you your dream in Him. We just have to accept it.

  • Haydeeang

    I doubt Jon’s book will be available in my local bookshop so may I request to have a copy? If not, I’m not a quitter.. So I’ll wait till next time. Yay.

  • http://twitter.com/PeteBustetter Pete Bustetter

    Thanks Jon for the great guess post! Yup, another great gem served up on the blog. Thank you Michael!

  • Anonymous

    I, too, have felt doubtful about beginning a journey. Recently it has been due to fear that I would only be adding to the noise – and there is so much noise these days. But a small spark inside of me tells me my words, my voice, might reach the ears of someone who has never heard, and I think that might be enough to make me move.

  • http://www.sarahmoog4.blog.com Sarah Moog

    Michael Hyatt, I read your blog every day and I know you get hundreds of comments so I am not sure you will read this. But I want you to know you always inspire me, but especially today. I am a new blogger and I sometimes get devastated at the fact that I have only received 250 blog views in the past couple of months and I’m working my tail off in order to get all the publicity I can. I think about how many viewers you have and how you have more comments on this one blog post than I even have blog views… but we won’t get into my lack of comments. ANYWAYS, thank you for reminding me that I’m new at this. And being an 18 year old aspiring author isn’t a bad place to be! Thank you! – Sarah Moog


    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Sarah, I don’t know if Michael will respond to you, but let me encourage
      you… don’t look at the success of Michael’s blog and think, “I could never
      do that,” or “I could never be like Michael Hyatt.” Just focus on refining
      your own craft… become the best writer/blogger that you want to be.
      Market your posts on Twitter and Facebook, and you will build your audience
      over time.

      And… since you’re younger than I am… let me offer some advice…
      continue to seek after God and his will for your life. I wrote a post today
      that was supposed to be some advice for someone like you:
      http://brevis.me/the-path-of-least-resistance/ If you don’t read the post,
      here’s the essence: don’t take the path of least resistance in your life.
      Take the time to figure out what God’s will is, and make a plan for your

  • http://profiles.google.com/bmdisanza Betsey DiSanza

    Doubt seems to creep up on me constantly. Going through the interview process for a new job, even after I am sitting in the position, I think, am I able to do this? Do I have the correct skill set?

    I think a small amount of doubt is good, it keeps a person in check.

  • Elysha

    We live in a society of rank-ers. We continuously compare our lives to someone else’s. Entire television shows are devoted to our propensity to compare and place value on someone or something . It worries me that some sort of ranking system will ultimately occur in heaven as well, but it is a system I don’t readily understand at this moment. “The first shall be last.” Then again, the bible also denotes the frustrating beautiful moment of equity with the parable of the men working in the fields. Both parables/teachings unnerve me. It seems easier to measure a person’s weight, speed, sales, work, talent even. But how do you measure a man’s heart? Seems God knows, and praise the Lord for that.
    I think we compare because we are all just trying to, as Don Miller says, survive in the lifeboat.

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  • http://kylajoyful.com/ Kyla

    I’m actually really great at starting new things. I love new challenges. However, I do end up in trouble when I jump into something without really having worked through some of the challenges, first. I place myself at the finish line instead of doing the hard work of training. Then, I give up because I haven’t built up endurance. I’m thankful that I’ve grown a lot in this area over the last few years!

  • PhiHoffman Email

    Great subject AND encouragement! I am currently in Career Transition for the first time in my career and the new feeling when always having felt confidnet is a new venture. Your blog/subject helped with understanding and accepting that “early phase” reality at this phase.
    Best of luck on your new book!
    Phil Hoffman

  • bethanyplanton

    Jon, I love your points here. We can never compare where we are to where someone is way ahead of us. Thanks for your insite on this!

  • Richard Dedor

    I believe that it’s not a tough or challenging dream if there aren’t doubts as you embark on the journey. An old friend and teacher of mine, who also does professional speaking once explained that she still gets nervous getting up in front of an audience. She continued to explain that the moment she was no longer nervous would end up as the moment she decided to call it quits. Dreams are meant to be scary. They are meant to challenge. I just moved to New York City without a job and found a job, took a massive pay-cut to chase a dream. It’s how it works … and I love it!

  • http://daughtersofzion08.blogspot.com Danielle

    Doubt… at one point, I thought that was my middle name. I would be DD Jones. Then I came across a quote awhile back and I know it’s been around for awhile, but I love it! “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” I wish I knew who said it because I’d email them a Thank You.

    A little over a month ago, God called me out and had me start an online ministry for my Daughters of Zion group by beginning a blog for them. I’ve had a personal one for a couple years but never did I think He’d ask this of me. It’s only in the beginning stages and I’m trying to realize I won’t get alot of comments right now and maybe I never will. But, obedience to the Father is most important and if I can reach even one–it’s worth me being a little uncomfortable at times.

    Thank you for this amazing article. It really hit home for me.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/barefootintheburbs Karen Putz /DeafMom

    I’ve been wrestling with the “doubt” beast lately as I embark on a new path in life, so this post hit home. What a great quote from Blake– that’s going in my quote journal. Sometimes we are so blinded by someone’s success that we overlook the obstacles that they had to cross to get where they are today.

  • Anonymous

    I have always felt doubtful, unsure and lacking confidence when embarking on a new dream, but I have learned the hard way, from experience, that no one is perfect and being excellent takes a lot of practice…even for those who make it look so easy. I wish I had heard your specific words years ago, “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” It’s such a simple concept yet, when feeling low about the quality of your efforts and hearing it for the first time, it’s like someone turned a light on in your darkroom! Thanks for posting this encouraging and insightful article.

  • http://profiles.google.com/missdlb123 Dana Brown

    I had the “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” revelation just last Saturday. I am new at this whole blogging thing and was feeling discouraged as I read more experienced writer’s blogs. But when I noticed they had been doing it for years and I had only been doing it for months, I eased up on myself. I shall keep plugging along with my writing dreams as I continue teaching. Thanks for the confirmation.

  • Anonymous

    Please excuse a faux pas…I filled out your name & address form twice simply to correct information I had written incorrectly the first time. Sorry.

  • http://bladeronner.com Ron Dawson

    As a filmmaker, the issue of comparing yourself to others is inevitable. I frequently wish I could do work like so-and-so (who’s been doing it for 20+ years). I think most of the time I’m pretty grounded. But every now and then, I get that tinge of jealousy.

  • Tiffany

    Am at a place of new beginnings right now and yes, doubt has crept in more than once as a pursue my dream job versus taking “just a job”. Trusting the Lord has gotten me through, knowing He has the greater plan and will reveal to me in His time.

  • http://twitter.com/mythreesonsmom Lynette

    Sure. New things are always scary. But if you never try, you don’t know what would happen if you did. Maybe you would be very successful and it could be the best decision of your life. You just have to go with it and hope and pray for the best. Not trying is so much worse.

  • Silvia Arvelo

    Silvia Arvelo

  • Silvia Arvelo

    Wow, this post really put things into perspective for me. I am preparing (literally today) for a message that I need to give and my nerves are starting to get the best of me. However, if I truly look to the root of those feels it would be comparison due to the other much more gifted and talented speakers in my church. The enlightening part came when I realized that this is would be my second time and they have been doing it for years AND somtimes on a weekly basis! Thank you so much for the timely post. I am sure that God used it to speak into my life.

  • http://twitter.com/abluvision Antisha Gaitan

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Yes I have! At times you want to move forward with your dream but then you feel this uncertainty that you may fail. Also it is hard to live the life you dream of when you don’t have the means to get started.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Jon,

    This was just the encouragement I need right now. I’ve been with the same company for over 20 years. I’ve loved my work but with the economy in the state it has been in I have been hit, not as hard as some but in a way that has made me think and seek God for the next step in my career. I’m still with the same firm and beginning to branch out on my own. It’s scary and fun and really seems more like a hobby at this point.

    To answer your question, do I feel doubtful?

    I don’t really know what I’m doing most of the time. I’m simply sharing my experience and listening for God’s voice in the voice of those who respond to what I have to say.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement!


    David Mount

    Core Training Solutions


  • http://twitter.com/abluvision Antisha Gaitan

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Yes I have! At times you want to move forward with your dream but then you feel this uncertainty that you may fail. Also it is hard to live the life you dream of when you don’t have the means to get started.

  • Lindsay

    I *always* feel doubtful before beginning a dream or adventure. Sheesh, I felt doubtful about posting this comment. “Nah, you’re not gonna get the book,” says the voice in my head.

    Sure, I can see reasons for doubt: It keeps us from sticking our hands into dark holes and reminds us to fill up the car with gas.

    I did quit my day job and started my dream job. Now, five years in, the dream job isn’t so dreamy and I’m, again, considering “What’s next?” Some days, my future looks shiny and bright. Some days, the doubt oppresses. I know those are feelings, not reasons. Nonetheless, I want to read your book, Jon. Just having read this one blog posting, I think you’re the guy who can talk me off the doubt ledge.

  • http://twitter.com/DanielBecerra Daniel Becerra

    Yes, I have felt very doubtful many times. Beyond that, once I am on the path to a project/dream, I have looked around and seen the bigger, better, more recognized names and I realize I am not anywhere near. Although I intellectually recognize they have worked on their craft longer, I still fail to move forward when faced with this situation. I don’t want to just ‘not be affected’, but rather, I want to be affected in a positive way, leaving inspired, and even with strategies to reach my dream or goal. Thank you for this post, it made my day.

  • SandyMeans

    Wow! I really needed this.

    God is so good. He orchestrates all the little details of my journey, just like finding these words just when I needed them. Thanks for the reminder that I’m where I need to be, so I can continue on my destination.

    I’m an artist, so dreaming comes naturally, but making these dreams a reality is the hardest part. Satan is the master of lies and he knows what doubts to whisper in my ear- no one would ever pay that much for my art, you’re art isn’t as beautiful as theirs, not good enough, you’re not smart enough, and on and on. I have been comparing myself to others recently, wanting to be like their perfectly-scripted life on Facebook appears. Then Switchfoot’s song “Beautiful Letdown” came on and I finally understood their words- “I don’t belong here.” If I’m on God’s chosen path for me to do good works and use my gifts for his purpose, then it’s not going to be “picture perfect” by the world’s standards. Instead of comparing my beginning to other artists’ middle, I need to study their journey and learn from their failures and successes. I’m not perfect and neither is the person I’m comparing.

    I’m in the early stages of a couple of new business ventures and the enemy is trying his best to talk me into putting up roadblocks. It’s worked in the past, but it will not work this time. This time is different. I’ve recently come out of the “baby-brain-bubble” from the last few years and I’m ready for this next chapter of joy and success in my life.

    Thank you for this blog and stating so simply what is so true. I will be typing these words out to mount on the wall in my office. I would love a copy of the book and I know it would be one more stepping stone to success on my journey.

    Blessings, Sandy

  • InSpirit

    Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? ABSOLUTELY! yet with each one i’ve begun, the dreams and adventures have grown – have taken more to accomplish. but the deep heart satisfaction that comes with successfully ‘stepping out of the boat’, i am strengthened and inspirited to take that next dream, that next adventure, and run with it …
    great question, great post!
    thanks for encouraging… just in that place of beginning once again.
    timely ~

  • InSpirit

    clicking the twitter message ‘here’ link says it isn’t avlbl…
    perhaps you can look into that?
    i will tweet one from @_inSpirit

    • InSpirit

      here’s my tweet frm @_InSPirit  @jonacuff post + giveaway of his book “Quitter” http://bit.ly/k1CbLK @MichaelHyatt

  • Pingback: No Comparisons « STORY WROUGHT()

  • http://www.lifewaychurch.us Brhodes

    Great article about putting things in perspective and the danger of comparison. We are all on the road to “better” but we get there faster when we refuse to compare ourselves to others. The key is to just settle down in obeying God in what He has called us to do individually without looking at the next person running beside us on the same race course.

    We will not answer for what God has called someone else to do.

    Great thought!

  • Ronald

    A month has passed since I have stepped out to pursue a 5 year old dream and yes; it is a mixture of feelings-both of faith and doubt. When I think about it, faith arises from the belief that I can do this and doubt arises from comparing myself with others. Thanks for this encouraging post.

  • http://twitter.com/sschaos8 Luke Reynolds

    I feel doubtful every time one of my professors shows a TED video. I want to be a good writer and speaker, but I also want to be a good engineer. So TED videos make me feel inadequate on all fronts. Next time, though, I’ll remember this post, and the fact that I’m a freshman engineering student and a first-year blogger.

  • Michael

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Yes, absolutely, and I noticed that every time it happened I was focusing too much on that end point. And with our gaze on the end point we create a mountain that didn’t exist and we can’t climb it. Doubt drives itself deeper and the valley gets wider and darker. But instead of trying to climb the mountain, we can take it down – just by putting things into perspective as @Jon Acuff has said.

  • Kinderkouture

    Of course. When it is no longer a dream and your really skating out there on the ice, it is a very scary picture. Once I finally took myself serious and my new business, I realized I had to really change a few things in my life. I think the scariest moment for me so far has been selling my idea to my family. I was a nervous wreck always second guessing myself.

  • Tyra Nd-97

    This might be duplicate but yes somedays more than others. For instance I just bathe and fed my 2 y.o. Twins & 10 month old and I’m tired in more ways than one—everyday. I often wonder if I even should bother pursuing my dreams. However I want to give those 3 kiddos the best, my best. And I think I can only give them my best if I’m content and happy with who I am. So I keep moving forward toward my dream. Sorry for spelling but I’m beat!

  • HR

    Fantastic advice, and well relayed. Fantastic, especially, for those who tend to get ahead of themselves. (Not that I know any..)

  • Clinton

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

    Great comment!

    I am just starting a new job and taking over from a manager who is moving into a new role. It is sure easy to doubt my skills when I look at their accumulated knowledge compared to my near zero level on this project. This comment really helps with focus.

  • http://twitter.com/quirkycity Heather Fitz

    Always. Like its suddenly real, so I can now fail in it.

  • Sonya13

     Change is difficult for me in some cases, especially with a job. You never know exactly what you are getting into. I recently applied for a job that I’ve always wanted, however, the one thing that holds me back from really wanting it is the change and work that would come with it. 

  • http://twitter.com/loadsofjoy Jennifer Payne Mille

    A friend of mine sent this to me and I pray that I am doing my dream job now – I started my own business just over 2 years ago and I have my ups and downs, but put my trust in God and know he will lead me where I need to go

  • Susan Thompson

    I wasn’t doubtful to begin with. I was ready to leave my fulltime job, ready to plunge into solopreneurship. I felt readier than I’d ever felt.

    A year later, doubt came floating in like smoke creeping in under a door. Nothing has gone as I expected . . . as I hoped. I began speaking in the dark at night before I fell asleep: “What am I not doing? What am I doing wrong? Why isn’t it working?” One night, I had a dream I was drowning after cutting a tow line to my old Jeep, which had floated out into a body of water. I was holding my dog and thinking, “Oh no. Oh, NO.”

    But today, I am accepting that my year has not been wasted. I took a risk, and it hasn’t worked out as I thought but it’s still been an education. I’m not afraid to keep going with some adjustments. I’m still coming up with great ideas, including starting two blogs and a teleseminar series. I looked at my dream in a different way: I cut the tow line to the old car, the old way, and I was treading water with my heart well in hand. I don’t have to compare myself to my former expectations. I can take my time. Glaciers leave lasting impressions, sometimes extremely beautiful ones, so I won’t kick myself for moving as slow as one. 

  • http://twitter.com/ArlenePellicane ArlenePellicane

    I love speaking and writing about marriage, parenting and personal growth.  Hmm…that’s been done before right?  That’s when I feel doubtful…can my words really make a difference?  What can I say that hasn’t already been said?  Thankfully I have a hero of a husband who told me, “Someone will identify with you and you will reach a person that others haven’t reached.  

  • Anonymous

     Ohh, yes. I’ve experienced doubt in nearly everything I’ve ever began. Doubt of my abilities, doubt of the outcome, even doubt of my beginning intentions.

    My mother revels in telling me again and again that I doubted whether I could succeed at every single grade during my school years. “Mom, what if Kindergarten is too hard?”

    “Mom, I could do elementary school, but what about middle school?”

    “Mom, what if I can’t succeed in high school?”

    “Mom, what if I fail in college?”

    Then, when I became a mom… the same thing happened. (And still does.)

    I’ve found that a lot of doubt stems from a lack of trust. Mostly lack of trusting the Most Trustworthy. God’s growing and refining me in that area… and I’m thankful. Thankful for both His forgiveness and for His completely trustworthy truth. He deserves my full trust, and the difference now is that I *want* to give it to Him. When I hold on to Him and keep only Him in my sight, I can’t see doubt.

    Thanks for this post, Jon, and for your blog. (Thanks for hosting him, Michael.)

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Caroline, this is so true… we feel inadequate when we begin any part of
      our life, and then we find that we CAN do it. Thanks for your comment!

  • Guest

    When your dream has taken form with someone else, I think it’s natural to feel the pit of your stomach drop out. “I’m very happy for you, yet disgusted in myself for falling so short of my own dreams.”

    The other day, I visited my friend as he opened his 11th restaurant. I’m working hard, for the last 10+ years, to figure out the business that I can do.  The comparison is right in front of my face, I can feel it and touch it. I don’t even need to try to compare, by default the world does it for me.  He has building and businesses, and I’m still trying to figure our what I could possibly do to be an entrepreneur and how I could possibly get started. 

    All I can do is try to work through my own fear of starting a business.  So far, I’m been frozen by fear for years because of circumstances or choices, I’m not sure which holds me back more.  I guess I’ve learned that there’s more to life than reaching some personal goal, like starting a business.  In fact, it seems that personal achievement only matters much to you (except for when personal achievement means supporting your family). 

    In ancient times, people used to do whatever it took to farm, hunt, or make war to put food on the table. It’s no different today except we’re more civilized and indirect, money is the intermediary.

    I feel that introspective people like me go quietly away.  People like my friend I guess will keep on getting bigger. 

  • John Topllif

    Yes, I have felt doubtful when starting something new. You’re trying to live into the future. The steps you take are more self-conscious. The anxiety stems from the great opportunity opening before you. There is so much upside potential and also the other thing. It’s the feeling you have as you walk to the first tee box and place your Titleist down on that little wooden peg and take your practice swing. Great  excitement. Great dreams.

  • Alisha

    Absolutely!! I am returning to school at 34 and I have definitely felt doubtful but also inspired that by investing in my education I am changing my family tree! I am afraid at times of failing ,but I would rather try than never know, what I could have done. 

  • J Tallant

    I have just leapt off my secure cliff of a job into the unknown. I am starting my own marketing and consulting business. And so far the only the I have been good at is doubt. However, reading blogs like this, Dave Ramsey, John Maxwell , etc. helps me develop patience and to realize that slow and steady wins.

  • http://jonacuff.com Jon Acuff

    Great point about comparing our talent levels against the talent level someone else has

  • Brenda Glenn Reinecke

    Wow! So many awesome comments, by so many brilliant people!  They all inspire me, along with you Mr. Hyatt!  I have had a dream for about 10 years now of becoming a writer and speaker for Christian Women.  To help them feel more confident, to move ahead, get out of that rutt, and get more active and healthy with their lives!  I’ve even had dreams & visions about it, and I’ve felt a nudge from the Lord, and a confirmation from Him.  But I don’t know where to start,  and I let ‘fear of failure’ keep me from my dreams, and my purpose here on earth! 

    I did take some College English,& Speech classes, and did very well, and my Professors encouraged me  to take more classes in that direction, but I had to quit, due to lack of finances, plus we’re now paying for our son’s college education. 

    I just recently had a change in my life.  I quit my job of 4 months as a Dental Assistant because I couldn’t deal with the obnoxiousness of the Dr anymore, without having another Dental job lined up.  I’ve never done that before!  I have always had “all of my ducks in a row”.  And I am frantically searching for a job, right now!!!  I’ve been a Certified Dental Assistant for 28 years!!!

    We need the money now, so I’ve got to work!  But how do I start this on the side, so that one day I can transition into it?  Also, does Blogging bring in an income, or is it basically just to get people following you?  Your title:  “Quitter, Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job, and Your Dream Job” is definitely calling out to me!!!   I REALLY NEED IT!!!  Thanks for all of your posts Mr Hyatt!!!  

  • Jason Lang

    I sure have felt doubtful about beginning a new dream! A little over two years ago God overwhelmed me with the idea that my wife and I should serve Him in the country of Nicaragua as career missionaries. Now you’ve probably heard of people being called to the mission field before but here’s where our story gets just a little tricky. My wife and I have been Southern Baptists nearly all our life. We both graduated from an SBC seminary and I had was on staff at a SBC church…BUT God didn’t call us to serve in Nicaragua with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB). Instead He called us to go the “old fashion” way of raising our own support. Did I mention that the economy really started heading south at that point and the housing market tanked? I’ve felt doubtful about this whole think a thousand times in the past two years. But more than a thousand times the Lord has renewed my hope in Him, His provision and His calling! In case you’re wondering, we’re not in Nicaragua yet, in fact we’re only about 2/3 of the way there. But the way I see it…He’s brought us too far to turn back now and so we’ll keep pursuing the dream until it comes true!

  • http://twitter.com/jayabharath Jayabharath Goluguri

    I have been wanting to begin my dream career for a while now. My big fears were “why would someone listen to me when there are so many seasoned pro’s in this field” (i.e., exactly the point you touch upon). 

    I will stop comparing myself to the seasoned pros and will draw lessons from them instead. Thanks for the clarity. 

    I will take the first steps  – you made my friday!

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I would love a copy opf this book.  I want to be a quitter! 

  • Drea

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream? Heck yes. It happens every time. It’s happening again right now. I’m working on completing a novel, an artistic dream I’ve had since my memory started working. I’ve been too insecure and scared to try it until now. I’m still scared, but I feel the fear and then I work, because the fear has 30 years on me, and I’m never going to get anything done if I let it have 30 or 60 more. 

  • Doug Murphy

     I’m currently at that crossroads in  my life… I have had incredible success at my current position and know I’m trying to find the courage and faith to jump to a new level of responsibility and which will mean leaving my current employment. I think the hardest part for me is because I almost don’t have to try now. To move from an expert to a beginner with no guarantee will really take a leap of faith. I thought your post was great since I know I not only can’t measure myself against others that are more seasoned. I’ll have to make sure not to measure myself against my current success since I will be entering into a totally different realm of responsibility.  

  • Pastor Peter

    Yes, of course I question when I start something new. We don’t know the future and we are always susceptible to step wrong, but as long as I follow my heart and listen for God’s voice, I can follow the peace that ensures I am on the right path. It doesn’t guarantee I won’t make a mistake, but it increases my success and allows me to rest in His leading.

  • Kathy Cloutier

     For sure the size of the dream or adventure for me usually directly relates to the amount of doubt & sometimes fear that I experience. It is often in the hindsight that I look back and think now that wasn’t so bad so why all the doubt & confusion. I think the more that I am able to take myself off the main stage the better for me to let God work through me. Tks

  • Chip Wilson

    Yes, I have felt doubtful about starting new ventures. Maturity hasn’t changed that, but it has brought me to a certain awareness about myself. That is: It isn’t the venture that intimidates me; it is that I forget who I am. I focus on my own shortcomings, rather than pressing toward the mark of the calling that I have. Solution: Eyes on the prize, not me!

  • http://www.christopherneiger.com/blog Chris Neiger

    I just finished Quitter and it’s absolutely great. I read it at the perfect time and I’ve gotten so much out of it. Thanks for the encouragement in this post, it’s hard not to compare ourselves to others so thanks for the reminder!

  • Anonymous

     I am discovering that I am more fearful than I imagined about starting new ventures. Social networking, commenting, and the concept of writing are all new to me and I find that although I enjoy the learning and sharing, I am hesitant. In a large part, I think, because I do compare start to others’ middles.I am at a stage in my life where I believe that a shift in my occupation is inevitable. This post is a good reminder that I do not need to be so hard on myself. The line, “Love your dream and your adventure enough to allow it to grow slowly” is truly appropriate. 

  • Matt

    This feeling of doubt, fear, insecurity, etc. tries to creep on several times a week. I have continuously remind myself that comparison is not healthy nor a good thing to do according to scripture. SO – It is a constant place in which I have to discipline.

    Matt Wade

  • http://twitter.com/Nanashalfdozen Susan M(Krueger)Ford

    Being 60 places me somewhere way past the “middle” and yet this post was like a blast of fresh air this morning. Even at this age there is still the temptation to compare my new beginnings, with those around me who have been doing it for years! I still long to be that master teacher and am working to make it happen! Thanks Jon for the great post and the encouragement! :) 

  • Jennifer Derrick

     Love this post. I’ve been in radio for the last 3 years and when I started I did the same thing – compared myself and what I could do to people who had been there over 15 years! It’s silly when I think about it now. The great thing is when you can get those people who have been there so long to coach and train and pass on some of their knowledge and helpful hints to us “beginners”.

  • therese

    Thanks for the ‘aha moment’! It is the comparisons that have put me into ‘everything must be perfect before I can get started’ mode that have prevented me from really launching my next dream. Bottom line for me: just get going and realize it is a process. Good learning. Thank you.

  • Trent

     Awesome. The Bible tells us that this type of comparing is not wise. Life and Jon Acuff just illustrated this truth for us. (man.. my comment is not near as good as the other guys on here)

  • Igozoom3690

    It is also like judging our insides to other peoples outsides.The problem is we are trying to validate ourselves.If we truly trust GOD, he has already validated us. No comparison necessary.

  • Michelle

    I loved this and I really needed to hear this today. My husband and I are a year into our photography business and he still has to work full-time  so that we can afford to raise our 2 kids. The dream is to be able to do photography full-time but sometimes I look around and think “there is no way.” When I see other photographers in the area who are better and charge more I think “We are nowhere near as good as them, we’ll never make it.” and today I was feeling that way, so this post has really encouraged me this morning. Thanks!

  • Carrie

    I have felt doubtful about a new beginning just today!  My garden is pathetic.  It’s clumpy and awkward.  I have my rows and seeds planted.  I loved the process.  I love what it will become and the learning.  BUT, my neighbor just across the very open fence has a 25 year experienced garden and puts ours to shame.  This is my year one.  My dream is to get out there and learn.  It will take one whole year at a time, but I’ll get there and stop comparing to my neighbor’s garden!

  • http://www.josemiguelvasquez.com Jose Miguel

     Only months out of college I found closed doors in the teaching industry. I quickly discovered that this career choice was based off fear and societal pressure. After all, having a wife and three very young kids I had to do the “responsible thing” right? Wrong. God had another plan. When the teaching world shut its doors. God opened one I shut too early years before. Acting.

    As it stands today, I am three years into a tough industry in Central Florida where I am surrounded by an incredible group of actors, directors, filmmakers in general. There’s an abundance of support, but the temptation to look at these brilliant folk never fails to creep on me.

    I rub elbows with actors who work regularly on major TV networks, getting exposure on National commercials and I’m still scratching the surface with local industrial commercials and small independent films. So feeling behind and slow is commonplace.

    First, the temptation was to call myself an Actor. Now, its about staying the course and owning that title. In my current stand still as an actor I’ve started writing again as a form of motivated supplemental income. So now,  I have another dream while the Acting unfolds. Will writing work out better, sooner? I don’t know, but I do know that writing has led me to reading blogs like yours, Jon, and I am so grateful to feel God looking out for me.

    Doubt lingers but simple faith propels me forward at a realistic pace. A pace I am slowly finding peace with. Right now I pray for guidance in finding a consistent source of income so that I can help provide for my family, while steadily working at building the dream.

    Sorry, this is a bit of a long message. But in short, yes, I have felt doubt about beginning a new dream, about staying on this unpredictable adventure.

  • Danredwing

    I’ve certainly been doubtful at the beginning of a dream. I’m sort of a creature of habit and it can be pretty tough to get the courage to change things up enough to really give something new a fair shot. I’m in the first dreaming and planning stages fsanaa really exciting and huge opportunity…and the tough part is just keeping the excitement and momentum going even though it doesn’t move itself just yet. Glad I have a partner to share the dream in this case!

  • Elizabeth Watts

     This is probably the greatest obstacle to achieving my dreams. I keep doubting myself, saying I am not as good as him or her, forgetting that they have been working years at what I want to do. Then, I get frustrated and don’t accomplish anything. But today is a new day and I am starting fresh!

  • Grace

    Love this post and the resulting conversation! After finally allowing myself to dream enough and grow into my heart and soul’s passion, I’m now living daily with the doubt that it might actually be possible to fully live it out. God’s given me a wonderful opportunity to have a taste of the reality of my dream in a part-time mentoring slot at a local non-profit working with teen girls. This I’d do full-time, without pay…in my dreams. Real life intrudes, though. I’m paying the bills working at a full-time job that is so opposed to my dream and passions that it can feel almost like torture some days. So, I’m taking baby-steps with my dream. Going back to school (at an age where my brain isn’t a supple as it once was) looks like one of the bigger steps toward a fuller realization of my dream, and brings a whole other set of doubts. So, I’m pretty much living in the tension right now, but with a passion that comes from walking alongside the girls that keep my dream alive.

  • M V Holmon

    Big yes! Accepting my call to the ministry has been a big adventure! One never knows what God has in store for them! Of course, when I preach, sometimes I’ll compare myself to someone of the stature of a Bishop T. D. Jakes or a Rick Warren. But I thank God that He has blessed each of us with our own gifts and has equipped us for the journey!

  • http://twitter.com/Nate_Dogs Nathan Beck

     Yesterday marked one full week of my dream becoming a reality!  I took a “drink from the fire hose”, so to speak, and launched a local, artisan hot dog cart called Natedogs.  As a father of 5 girls who left a good paying job to start this dream, I can say that I deal with many moments of doubt and panic.  However, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and welcoming.   As I heard Dave Ramsey say in a talk to entrepeneurs, “an entrepreneur is someone who goes from sheer elation to complete panic in less than 24 hours”.  (I hope I got that quote correct)  Most of the established food trucks in Minneapolis are owned and operated by seasoned food professionals.  Some have even won national awards for their food.  Needless to say, I am at times nervous and intimidated.  But, God came through in a BIG way for my little hot dog cart.  After helping a customer on my second day, I discovered that she was a prominent local food critic.  I also discovered that she listed MY cart as one of her 5 favorite food trucks in Minneapolis without even trying my hot dogs.  The only explanation is that God provided for my need in a crazy cool way.  I still try to avoid the temptation to try and measure up but the more I look for Gods provision, the more he shows shows up.Thank you for a great reminder and thank you for the tears it stirred in me as I reflect on the blessing that this venture is becoming.

  • http://www.medicalaccountsolutions.com misty

     I have been a subscriber to Jon Acuff’s blog for a long time and am anxious to read his book Quitter. I have not read any of his other books, but have enjoyed the blog!  I would love to learn more so that I can continue to build my dream job!  Thank you for this opportunity to win!  to answer the questions: Yes, I have felt doubtful about starting a dream job.  People make it appear unattainable and those who have attained it I don’t feel always portray the true hard work it takes.  I have owned my own business for 7 years next month and it is a lot of hard work, but I also enjoy what I do!  The challenge is having the work life balance!  Will be getting your book regardless of if I am a winner on this blog!

  • Bertdon1993

    Just heard about your book on Dave Ramsey’s program yesterday and am intrigued. Hope I win a copy!

  • http://twitter.com/ThreeStarNight Jo

    In law school, every other day is a question of “Maybe I should quit. Maybe I’m not good enough. But if I’m not in law school, what else will I do with my life?”  This is a question that I have faced with myself and a conversation that I have had with literally everyone I know.

    I would love to get a copy of “Quitter” to read for myself and also to help encourage/ counsel others who are in my situation.  We don’t need self-help.  We need God-help, and a lot of it.

  • Erin Kinzel

    Heck yes I’m doubtful! My biggest struggle is picking the motivation back up when I lose momentum. There is this thing in my head that says I’m disqualified or lazy or a failure because I don’t have consistent motivation. But I have to remind myself that the only thing that truly disqualifies me is a refusal to keep trying. I have to forgive my failures, remember that today is a new day, and keep moving forward. Great post from Jon, and thanks for the giveaway!

  • http://www.radicallynormal.com jckelley73

    I suppose there are two main doubts that most of us face:

    1) Is my dream worthwhile? 

    In my case, is this book idea something that will make a difference in someone’s life or will it be a waste of trees and electrons? 85% of the time I am sure that it is something new and useful (especially when I bounce it off of others I respect), but that 15% is a killer.

    2) Can I pull it off?

    Writing a book is a lot of work (I don’t need to tell you that!), made even harder by the need to go bi-vocational due to my church’s budget. And this why I want a copy of your book, PRETTY PLEASE?

  • http://twitter.com/CaffeineFaith CaffeinatedFaith

     i’ve felt doubtful about every dream I’ve ever had.  I’m pretty sure that’s why most of them have never come true.  :)  

  • R Wayne Powell

    Thank you Jon for your work to bring this post. And thanks Michael for consistent quality posts that always inform and inspire. Both of you, like Dave, make it look easy as masters of your craft.

    Doubts? Oh yes. Daily. Especially as decisions affect more folks as influence expands. As I push out into the frontiers of life there are opportunities to trust and have faith every day.

    Right now I’m facing the final frontier in my career and I hope to “do right”. And like you Jon, I see that i should just do my best without comparing myself to others. I would love to read “Quitters” because I think it will inspire me and help give me confidence to face every day. All the best to both of you.

  • http://www.raisinghischild.com Romelle Blanton

    I am at the beginning of a dream and guilty of comparing this beginning with mastery. At age 40, it feels as if the clock is ticking faster for me than for everyone else. I would love a copy of the book for me and for my husband who is wondering where his dreams belong in midlife.

  • Cindy

    I let myself get intimidated often….I have had this idea for a children’s activity and book that I have dreamed about and worked on bit by bit over the last 10+ years.  Every time I start to work on it again, I get excited beyond belief, but then I get doubts about being able to pull it off the way I envision it.  My ideas for the project grow every year.  I’ve paid for a domain name several times and never launched anything.  I let myself get overwhelmed about arriving at the end point of this big project; so much so, that I stop working on it!  It is so sad, because just working on it makes me feel alive, but I am not earning any money doing it and I am not sure I every will, so I start thinking “Why bother”.   With that attitude, I will never know…but my “dream” can’t be crushed either by finding out it isn’t good enough.

  • sarah

    Ha! I’m doubtful about even HAVING a dream or adventure, much less beginning one…on the other hand, I’m a great encourager of others to go fer it. That’s the honest truth, and that’s hard to admit.

  • http://twitter.com/arai_zo Lita Elisabeth

    Doubt could’ve been my middle if I didn’t take the opportunity to change and face my fear.
    Last year, I came back to my hometown and people at church asked me to join children ministry..
    At first, I doubt that I could give  good example for the kids and really live the words I’ve said to them.
    But then, my friend said, “Normally, God encourage us to plop into the things we fear the most so we can face our fear.”
    So, yeah, I’m in the business now.
    And it I realize, just recently, that now I can accept the weak and stupid side of me by doing God’s will and facing the imperfection inside me that I always hate.
    His grace is big enough to help me understand Paul words, that in our lack we have God’s perfection.

    Thanks for this article.
    It reminds me about how I can be so cruel to myself sometimes by comparing myself with others, just because I didn’t have what they have.
    This article really gives me a chance to breathe.

    And reading all the comments also lessen my burden for knowing I’m not the only one struggling for a live in God.
    Thanks for everything.
    May God bless everyone who takes the chances He made to serve Him.
    And sorry for the bad English, ‘coz it’s my second language :)

  • zanne

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Yeah, only every other day! But I’m trying to think of those doubts and fears as a Resistance that’s normal and meant to be overcome (a la Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art). That helps me put them in perspective and push forward instead of wallowing in a self-imposed paralysis. Well, some days, anyway. ;)
    Thanks for the encouraging post! And Stuff Christians Like – hysterical! 

  • http://www.jeffdolan.com Jeff Dolan

    This reminds me of the quote, “Never compare your inside to someone else’s outside.”

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    Jon/Michael, I’m very apprehensive about quitting my day job and bridging the gap to my dream job.  I have a family (3, almost 4 kids), a wife, and a BUNCH of responsibilities, and the logistics of quitting seem to be overwhelming, even though I know that completing the transition would probably mean huge things for me and my family.  I would love to read the book “Quitter,” to find out how other people in my situation have bridged that same gap. 

  • http://spinningnowhere.blogspot.com Stephanie Kearns

    I have always had a hidden dream to do some sort of public speaking.  Earlier this year, I started blogging in earnest in an attempt to work on content and to figure out if I really did have anything to speak in public about.

    Last month, I met Jon Acuff, and was given the oppritunity to guest post on SCL.  I was SO excited, and it brought my blog an 1100% increase that day.  My regular readership has tripled since then.  Now, I need to decide What’s next.  Asking him to let me guest post was such a far fetched and crazy thing to do.   I never thought he would actually say yes, and if he did, I never thought it would be within a month.

    So as I sit here taking steps to get my beginning going…it’s very hard not to have doubts!

  • http://www.krissiwyss.wordpress.com Krissi Wyss

     We tend to doubt ourselves more often than not. I am so ready to throw off the doubt and jump in the middle of my dreams. OK, I know, I ‘ll have to start in the beginning…

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JB72NV3TE7EKT7UCKEINQ56RSI Leilani

    Dreams are the children from the marriage of our innermost heart and creativity.  Diaphanous passions that can take years to channel and define. I feel like I’m luckier than most because I’ve watched the birth of many dreams — and I’m in a season of defining new ones. Thanks so much for the article. It really touched on some great points for where I am right now.  Leilani Rector

  • http://twitter.com/Serene_streams Renata

    Wow ~ this book has me written all over it as I definitely find myself in transition right now in every area of my life!  Ever since the recession, my life has been turned upside down from looking for work and contemplating a career change to finding a new city and home to start my life plan once again.  The only true thing that has remain constantly stable and faithful is God and my Christian faith in His perfect timing.  In such personal turbulent times, He has always come through as my needs have been met above and beyond what I can imagine.

    I keep plugging on walking by faith one day at a time and know His mercies are everlasting for me.  I’m looking forward to learning from Jon’s new book Quitter and gaining new Godly inspiration advice and encouragement as I continue to take baby steps on my life’s journey.

  • http://www.churchmediatech.com Shurmon Clarke

     This is good stuff, there is a business concept that I want to start and I was reading about a company that was doing the same things but for twenty years and I was overwhelmed as I was trying to emulate or start at their level. Your article was what I need for my doubts and fears, I cannot start where they are but I must start firstly, start where I am and then take it one moment at a time and with God’s help get to where he want me to end.

  • http://twitter.com/plantedinchrist Brandon Weldy

     I struggle with this even now. I have just recently started reading blogs and books (that are not assigned by a class) and I started writing again as well. I love doing it! I desire to be a great leader and one way I want to do this is through my writing. However I am hesitant to put my writing “out there.” Thoughts like “what if they don’t like it,” or “what if their criticism is just to hard to handle” pop into my head. I begin to doubt my abilities and it keeps me from doing the things I really have a desire to do. I do compare myself to people who have been doing this kind of things for a lot longer than I have and that has stopped me very often. I’m still having trouble overcoming that roadblock. 

  • Tlosgrid08

    I have started and stopped my dream life many times.  Always I felt I could not stay on track due to motivation that was derailed by one thing or another. I  feel doubtful mainly because I have not succeeded in ways I expected

  • http://twitter.com/TransferSkills Transfer Skills

    I can’t deny the fact that I felt doubtful at times when I was birthing my dream. One can feel overwhelmed in the beginning stages but with persistent and courage you will achieve your goal.

  • Anonymous

    This was a great post and good reminder about comparisons.  The statement “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” was a great reminder on how we are to think about where we are in our journey compare to someone else.  We are all encouraged to go slow and get better over time.  It is a great way for me to rediscover how I can look at the things that I am doing and not feel overwhelmed by what someone else has done.  If I compare myself to someone like Jesus, I will not be able to measure up, but if I continue on the right path, slowly and steady, I can become more like him even if I cannot be exactly him.  This will  serve all of us well as we take on our dreams and goals. 

  • http://www.livesimplylove.com Merritt

    Can’t remember what name I used for my first comment so I’m commenting again (just to make sure my bases are covered, Michael!)

    After scanning the comments again, it’s kind of a relief to see that I’m not alone in feeling doubtful or tending to look at what someone else has accomplished and think “there’s no way I could do that.” But it’s also discouraging to realize all the hidden dreams that might never come to fruition because of the dreamer’s fear. Makes me understand all-the-more how important it is to encourage others who are stepping out and taking a risk too. 

    In my own dream to finally start a blog, it’s all about the baby steps. Continuing to move forward, a little bit at a time, and not judging myself against someone else’s standard. It’s God’s standard that matters and with Him I am completely loved, thanks to Jesus. 

    Grateful for this post Jon. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve quote you to in the last week!

  • http://michaelramm.tumblr.com michaelramm

     Have been a fan of Acuff’s for many years! Woould love to get his new book.

  • http://www.marketyourselfthebook.com/ JP Jones

    I recently launched into my “side” business full time! It was a daring move and there was (is) still some doubt from time to time, but I know this was the move I was supposed to make! Thanks for the chance to win your book!

  • Anonymous

     I definitely have felt doubtful many times. My blog not being as big as all the “big” people I read. I’m currently trying to write my first e-book and have no idea how it will turn out, and trying to start a worship ministry called, The Well. But I will continue to trust God and follow his leadings.

    Great post Jon and Michael.

  • Nic

     I’ve definitely experienced this!  We’re in the process of planting a church right now, so to take that step was a huge move for us!

  • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

    The doubt for me doesn’t come in beginning a new dream, but sustaining it. I love to create things and build them, but there comes a point where that allure of new creation fades and the reality of slow growth sets in. I can really identify with this post. My default mode is to compare my beginning or middle to someone else’s end. It’s so easy to coach other people on this principle, but incredibly difficult to apply it in my own life. Thanks for the encouraging reminder, Jon.

  • Andrew Acker

    Very doubtful! I just quit my 8-5 job and would call this current season much more than a transition. It’s a discovery time and the last thing I want to do is return to a job that I justify as my passion, but shortly find out I don’t enjoy it.

  • http://www.dadlife.net kevin d

    Certainly.  I left a comfortable corporate job a year ago.  Started my own business.  It’s been a frustrating, rewarding, fearful, exciting adventure.   I can’t call it a success yet, but it’s getting there. 

  • http://twitter.com/ericswyatt Eric Wyatt

     Why just this morning, I am feeling that questioning doubt: “Will anyone actually want to buy into what I want to sell them?” Lot’s of pre-planning and planning and work, and will anyone show up to the dance? Good reminder “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle…” Thanks.

  • Nibormac

     Yes, but I don’t think “doubtful” is how I would describe how I feel about beginning a new dream or adventure.  I feel fearful.  The fear of failure can sometimes be debilitating.

  • Shaun Tabatt

    There have been a lot of dreams that I just didn’t start or didn’t see all the way through earlier in my life due to fear of failure.  Now that I’m a little bit older and hopefully a bit wiser, I’m pursuing my dreams with the level of passion they deserve.  Wish I would have learned that years ago.

  • Kevin

    What a great axiom
    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” 

    It’s so easy to fall into that trap.  The key is to learn from the masters without underestimating the need for mastery. 

  • http://www.onefleshmarriage.com Brad & Kate Aldrich

     If your not doubtful, I’m not sure that you are actually following a dream.  I’ve always tried to remember that if it is easy enough to do on your own then God probably has something even bigger in mind.   He desires us to depend on him not on our own abilities!

  • Derek

    It is always hard for me at the beginning of a new dream or pursuit because I am fighting a lifetime of being told I am not good enough. It doesn’t matter that because of what God has done in me that I have been able to prove most of that wrong. The same voice comes back every time. The secret is to recognize what is truth and the voice of a lie.

  • Josh

    Yes, it’s always tough to think about a new dream, because what if it fails!?! 

  • http://twitter.com/ryentzer Rick Yentzer

     At 39, yes the doubt is there about following a longtime dream. But I still don’t feel ready to tackle it head on.

  • Amanda Williams

    YES. That quote is gold, Jon. Going-on-the-fridge-type gold. Thank you for that.I’m on the verge of pursuing my dream, but I’m stalling. It’s not exactly giving up one career for another; I did that when our family grew from 2 to 5 in less than 3 years. Now I’m ready to pursue the other half of my dream, to be a writer. I’m terrified – of being transparent, of neglecting my family, of failing at my craft. Am I doubtful? Absolutely. But I’m also hopeful, and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • http://twitter.com/AdvanceUrSlides Nick Smith

     Of course I’ve felt nervous about starting new things. The funny thing is that I usually feel MORE nervous about the things I most want to do, which I’m sorry to say has kept me from pursuing the things I’m most passionate about in the past. I’m working hard now to never again let nerves keep me from the things I want most.

  • http://twitter.com/BensonSexton Benson Sexton

    My wife and I are both called into the ministry, but have ‘normal’ careers in higher education. Last summer we lost our first child ten days after birth to a congenital heart disease, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. We promised God to give Him all the glory in the midst of our crisis. Through our son’s story, many people have accepted Christ as their Saviour. We feel the call to do full-time ministry but are having doubts about when and where. Perhaps God will speak to us through Jon’s book.

  • Fabio Filho

    I am always looking for something that pleasures me and that enables me not only to support my family but also help others and something that  can add value to someone. That end’s up being my dream job.

  • http://twitter.com/spencermosness Spencer Mosness

    I think if you didn’t have any feelings of doubt about a new endeavor then perhaps you didn’t think it through. Any new dream or adventure should scare you and push doubt in your mind; however, it needs to be that healthy doubt that questions your desire and willingness to do what it takes and look at the all angles. After that, you have peace knowing you prepared yourself and thought it all through.

    At least that’s how I see it. I’ve felt doubt about starting a family, relocating for work, and even my writing. The doubts that came up helped crystallize my reasoning so I could proceed with confidence.

  • http://twitter.com/CdotMdot24 C.M. Habermehl

     Yes!  i  have felt doubtful starting new a dream.  Despite knowing it is what i was wired to do and even called to do, that small voice creates doubt and fear until it is squelched. Fortunately i pressed on and didn’t listen to it!

  • Jamey Bennett

    Most certainly! A year ago, I left the paradise of Hawaii to move to Philadelphia in pursuit of a girl. We are engaged now, and I absolutely believe I made a good choice. However, city life often leads to me missing my friends and surroundings of Hawaii, and sometimes that makes me feel fearful. It can be a real, ongoing struggle, even in the face of a great relationship.

  • Tom Farr

    I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but even when I have a little time to pursue it I get paralyzed by doubt about whether or not I’m not any good at it. I’m a perfectionist with what I write so if I don’t like what’s in my head before I start I won’t even start writing. Obviously I need to just write because that’s the only way I’ll get better. Love what Jon has to say.

  • NancyR

     I recently posted on Facebook I needed to start a ‘bucket list” and asked if it was too late. Since I am over 50 and currently unemployed…the answers I received were “No!” ..it is never too late to dream and find the spot that God has for you. So have I been doubtful about starting a new adventure or dream job? Definitely, the answer is yes.

  • http://twitter.com/todd_nett Todd N

    SO TRUE!

    Public speaking used to absolutely petrify me…my heart would thunder so hard in my chest when I had to stand up in front of people that you could see my shirt moving! But over time, and with experience, it got better and easier, and I was able to do it without a sense of complete panic.

    The key to this, though, is keeping the proper perspective of self criticism. You can’t just completely give yourself a free pass…otherwise you won’t keep improving. But at the same time, you can’t compare yourself to the 20-year vet who is the best in the business. So you have to maintain that sense of balance.

    Great post!

  • http://twitter.com/mikeniebuhr mike niebuhr

    There have been multiple times that I have doubted going after a dream, and it was just recently that I realized that I was looking for someone else’s approval of my dream before I would go for it. It’s a weird thing to realize that I was letting my need for approval keep me from reaching for my dream. Why would someone else approve of my my dream? Isn’t it my dream? Just another reason I wasn’t happy when I was reaching for their dream.

    So… in the words of the immortal Mouth “Yeah, but you know what? This one, this one right here. This was my
    dream, my wish. And it didn’t come true. So I’m taking it back. I’m
    taking them all back.”

    Jon, thanks for taking you dream back, going for it, and sharing the experience.

  • http://twitter.com/mikeniebuhr mike niebuhr

    There have been multiple times that I have doubted going after a dream, and it was just recently that I realized that I was looking for someone else’s approval of my dream before I would go for it. It’s a weird thing to realize that I was letting my need for approval keep me from reaching for my dream. Why would someone else approve of my my dream? Isn’t it my dream? Just another reason I wasn’t happy when I was reaching for their dream.

    So… in the words of the immortal Mouth “Yeah, but you know what? This one, this one right here. This was my
    dream, my wish. And it didn’t come true. So I’m taking it back. I’m
    taking them all back.”

    Jon, thanks for taking you dream back, going for it, and sharing the experience.

  • http://www.braiv.com Jennifer Bowen

    John-First let me say congrats on the book.  I’m a Dave listener and have been hearing him sing your praises on this book for a week or two now.  Also, as a career adviser and recruiter  your thought leadership is a welcome breath of fresh air. 

    Now, to answer your question.  Absolutely.  Six years ago, my husband and I set off on a the journey of entrepreneurship.  We wanted to make a difference for an industry we were passionate about.  But, then we began looking at what the big guys were doing and thinking , “Wow, we don’t have the budget to do that.”  It can be somewhat disheartening.  But we buckled down and got creative.  Through constant learning and hard work we have been able to achieve great things in our business even on our lean budget. 

    What I learned was to never be scared to try new things because it’s the only way we’ll grow as people

    “Success is something you attract by the person you become.” – Jim Rohn

  • http://www.aglimpseofbeautiful.com Renee

    Yes, I have felt doubtful many times beginning new things.  But often I’m so glad that I did after doing it!  :)  Starting a blog, for example, sounded like a lot of fun, but I wasn’t great at writing.  Now, my writing has improved and I’m having a lot of fun with it.  It has gone way further than I would have ever imagined!  Many times if we pray and then go for our dream, we will be so glad we actually did!

  • http://twitter.com/jjmahoney3 JJ Mahoney

    I’ve felt doubtful about beginning a new dream mainly because I haven’t the slightest idea of where to start finding a new one. :-)

  • Travis K

    Yes, when I started my PHD I thought it would just be the next step of education. However, I quickly found myself to be the youngest in the room, reading books for the first time when others had read, written about, and taught the same books, and not having the same breadth of book knowledge as the rest of the class. I read up on “quitting points” and now I’m ploughing through the writing phase. Oh, the doubt still comes but now I’ve learned to stare it in the eyes until I push through.

  • Steve Wilson

    I have been full of doubt for years about quitting to pursue my dream of owning my own design firm. And now, with a young son, I am even more terrified. However, the possibilities for success and dreams for a more family-oriented schedule are driving me to make this dream a reality.

  • Shibadou

     Just last summer I was faced with a move across the country to Kansas from Virginia to go to graduate school. I had the opportunity to teach and study all for a free tuition and a stipend, but I was terrified of leaving behind all the things I had worked to build in Virginia. Even a year in, I still sometimes wonder if I made the right decision.

  • Trevoracy

    I have never felt doubtful because if it is a dream or goal then there is nothing to doubt. I have been anxious and nervous about whether I will succeed but never doubt my intentions.

  • http://twitter.com/jencrutch Jennifer Crutchfield

     Just about a year ago I felt doubtful about beginning a new business. I did it anyway and still some days feel doubtful. The only way around the doubt is through!

  • http://twitter.com/jencrutch Jennifer Crutchfield

     Just about a year ago I felt doubtful about beginning a new business. I did it anyway and still some days feel doubtful. The only way around the doubt is through!

  • Proto Iyer

    Brilliant post and a great thought. I am currently starting out on my own — in more ways than one, both business wise as well as programming wise — and I have been fighting the temptation to compare myself with those who walked the path before me (and in some cases, beside me), and so your post struck a chord somewhere deep down. I think all of us go through these stage of comparison, and depending upon how intelligent/shrewd we are we learn the lesson by ourselves or someone has to sort of reaffirm that to us. Thanks for sharing, and thanks, MH, for inviting JA to guest-post. I will be following JA’s posts from now on.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnKarr3 John Karr, III

     Whenever I have started on a new dream, my main concern has always been my family.  Doubting whether or not that I will be able to continue to provide for them.  But, of course, God has always given me the dream and He has always provided.

  • Dougrowles

    I need to read this book. 

  • http://twitter.com/thisisgreg Greg Ceneviva

     I have. Spring semester of my junior year I studied abroad in Italy. About 2 months before leaving I got nervous because my housing situation was up in the air. I almost cancelled entirely, but I decided I’d always regret not going. Glad I went. I met my wife there!

  • http://twitter.com/MattBeard Matt Beard

     Wow. The answer is a definite yes. I’m starting seminary in August and getting married in September. I had an awesome family life growing up so starting a family has always been a dream of mine so I’m looking forward to that. The doubt creeps in when it comes to seminary. On one hand, I’m extremely excited because I love to learn and I know this is the next step for the calling God has graciously given me. However, there’s always that thought in the back of my mind that says, “It doesn’t matter how many years you go to seminary or how much experience you have, you’ll never be good enough.” I listen to a lot of pastors who are great communicators and there’s always that tendency to think, “I’ll never get there.” Often I forget that I should never compare my “beginning to someone else’s middle.” I needed to be reminded of that.

  • Jessica @ lifeslivingroom.com

    Wow.  This was huge for me today. Thanks to Jon for the insightful words. I feel that it’s natural to compare ourselves to others and it seems that we always compare ourselves to those who have been doing it much longer than we have been at it. I am currently doubting myself and contemplating a new journey. It’s such a scary world out there, but if I don’t ever start, I will never be able to have a middle! I am currently doubting myself and contemplating a new journey. It’s such a scary world out there, but if I don’t ever start, I will never be able to have a middle! 

  • http://twitter.com/hollynater Holly Nater

     I feel doubtful some days about the adventure my best friend and I have started.  Recently started a not-for-profit and still working my day job.  Wondering when it will take off so me and my partner can quit our “real” jobs.  Did we make the right decision?  All signs point to yes, as God just keeps putting person after person in our lives to help us accomplish our dreams and encourage us and walk alongside of us…but doubt creeps in.  We combat it by talking about our fears, frustrations, etc. and by pressing into the Word daily. 

  • Nancy Davis

    Yes, yes, and yes. Teach me to be like you, Jon!

  • Systematizeme

    Starting something new is worse than stopping something  “old”, something known, something understood.  Yet the passion for reinvention, a life better lived or simply the need for continual achievement drives me in faith to act if I have peace/prompting by the holy spirit.  Through terror and anxiousness, I am beginning new things.. I am so excited for the journey.  So far I have lost 75 lbs and gained 16 lbs of muscle.  I have launched a new business.  I have reconnected with the source of all life.  Tosh Jenkins, systematizeme@gmail.com

  • Christine

    I pretty much live in a place of doubt.  I know there is more God intends for my life than what it currently consists of, but I struggle to break free from my prison of insecurity, doubt and just plain laziness.  I have become scared to dream anymore, because I don’t want to be crushed by the possibility of them never coming true. 

  • Chris Buri

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?  Absolutely!  I think that the word “fearful” might be the better choice.  Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of the impact on my family – all of those come into play.  However, what intrigues me about Jon’s book is that I often wonder about the balance between providing well for my family vs. building the kingdom.  I feel competent at my job and believe that I do it well but at the end of the day how does submitting spreadsheets and reports and managing a global network have much to do with His concerns???  I would love to get Jon’s perspective on the broader questions of purpose  . . . I LOVE the comment “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”!  That is profound and too often we beat ourselves up spiritually and in our job performance.  Thanks, Jon.  Something to think about for sure.

  • Margaret

    Yes I have.  You have a dream, but the steps to get there are so overwhelming.  When you start thinking about how am I gonna get to where I want to be when I don’t have the resources, connections, money, and the list goes on and on…it stops you in your tracks and you are still where you have been for a while. 

  • http://twitter.com/edwardlife Edward Koczan


  • Alicia

     YES. I know where I’m called to be and I know I’m not there. I feel doubt and guilt about it. Patience is my biggest issue. 

  • Christi T.

    I have been feeling doubtful about my dream – almost as if it’s completely dead, and I’m doomed to my day job….these posts have re-ignited the spark in my heart to pursue the Lord and His dream for my life

  • http://twitter.com/edwardlife Edward Koczan

     Totally have.  Jon’s DR story led me to taking a new job, outside of my comfort zone, my former career path, and 1900 miles cross country. Because I knew the dread too.   It’s been a hard step of faith, because of trying to get up to speed, juggle relationships, learn a new job, move and in leaving friends and family behind.   

    But that “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”  brings it all into perspective.    Needed that today!!!

  • http://twitter.com/bascotch Bethany Scotch

     I think doubt is almost a necessity when starting a new adventure. It would be a lie to say I haven’t been doubtful. But that doubt has made me take necessary precautions and cover all my details. Sure it’s nice to think that beginning new dreams are impulsive and exhilarating, and to some degree they are, but the doubt that creeps in helps us to check our impulses and allows us to solidify our decisions. There is always going to be an amount of doubt in any decision made, it’s human nature. But allowing the doubt to create positive check points along the way instead of paralyzing our decision making abilities is a way to deal with it. 

    For example, I recently (a little over a week ago) graduated from college and moved 11 hours away from what I would consider home to take a new job with an organization I very much am called to. It would be a pay cut from my current part-time job at school and frankly, when loan bills start pouring in, I’m not sure how I am going to handle it all. The last couple weeks of school, while preparing to move and leave behind everything comfortable, were riddled with doubt and fear. It’s a scary thought, venturing into this great unknown abyss called adult life. But the doubt only made me stronger. I had felt such a peace about coming to work here, but there were so many questions that my doubt intensified. The only choice I had was to use that doubt to check all my decisions. It allowed me to make responsible financial decisions that would limit my spending so I could save to pay back my loans. It also led me to do a lot of research into working for non-profits and the discovering of government forgiveness for loans if I work in the non-profit section. The doubt allowed me to be wise about my decisions, rather than holding me back. But I had to let it be like that. I could have let it paralyze me and stayed where I was comfortable but now that I am here and am starting on my second week of work, I know that the doubt I had (and am still harboring, to some degree) is helping me, rather than hurting. 

  • Sarahlevon

    Right now I find myself more doubtful when it comes to sticking with the dream when what began as an adventure is hard and not fun. I picked up and moved myself 1,000 miles from everything I’ve ever known to start over in a new place alone and get another graduate degree in counseling. The 1st year has been so hard and what I really want to do is run home to what is comfortable, but in order to really make my dream happen I have to press on through this task to move on to the next adventure!

  • Brittany Austin

     My doubts about leaving full time ministry to follow the Lord’s calling into the “real world” were stronger than my doubts about doing full time ministry. Thought it would be the opposite.

  • Mike_cipolla

    Not doubtful when I dreamed it and started it. If it is something that was forced on me as the result of downsizing etc then I’m scared. And once I’m started there are many anxious moments when I need to go to plan B and I do as soon as I decide what it is.

    Had to take a few months off because of health and started writing. It’s taken longer than I thought of course. My recovery and the writing. Now what? Westbow or Thomas Nelson or CreateSpace? Now I’m scared. No Facebook, no tweets @mccipolla, no blog (no posts, no site vs MHyatt’s over 1,000). It may never see the light of day. Glad I still have a day job.

  • http://theperkinsblog.net MichaelDPerkins

    I sure have been doubtful.  Especially when i realize that I’m not equipped to complete them on my own.

  • Jesusrocksasdoi

    Yes. I have decided to persue a Masters in Paatoral Counseling and I know this is tge way God is leading me, however, this is a major undertaking on my part and to be honest I am a bit scared. I really enjoyed your post and felt comforted that someone else is thinking in tge same way I do sometimes (I am no where near good enough as this person). As bad as I know this thinking is..sadly I still do it sometimes.

  • http://twitter.com/nikksworld Nikki

     I left my dream job to stay at home full time with our children while my husband’s job was in limbo.  I have never been more terrified in my entire life! And it was the most humbling experience I have ever encountered. Leaving a successful job to do a thankless job I wasn’t convinced I was good at while having our finances threatened. It was a God moment if I’ve ever needed one and He’s been shaping us and teaching us how to care for our finances ever since. I am so thankful and yet, I doubt my capabilities every day. 

    I had this book on my birthday wishlist and didn’t get it. . . . so then I hinted at it as a potential Mother’s Day present. When I didn’t get it then, my husband explained to me that giving a book called “Quitter” to a stay-at-home mom on Mother’s Day didn’t exactly fit with the gratitude he was attempting to portray. point taken. but I still can’t wait to read it, encourage my husband to read it, and then pass it along to whomever I feel would benefit from it. thank you so much for the chance at winning one!

  • SpyJenn

    Have I ever felt doubtful at starting a new dream or adventure? Of course!
    For example, this summer God has told me to travel across the country and volunteer at 6 major Christian music festivals (and 2 cruises later on in the year). Ever since I was 15, my dream has been to tour, but now actually going out there – on my OWN, without a band, like a CRAZY person – …yeah. It’s kind of scary.
    Of course feasibility is the first question, but I created a map and calculated driving distances and volunteer time (because they need you there before the fans get there, etc) and it actually seemed to make sense. Me being a girl, I probably won’t be camping in-route to festivals, seeing as I’ve seen one too many horror movies – so financing is the second question. This was a real toughie, but honestly, my dad just got temporarily (and by his own free will) pulled out of retirement and is getting paid the big bucks for it, so as a family we could afford this. My mom is totally on board, she says if God wants me to do this, then I should and it will be awesome! As for the money, she says it’s sort of like paying a deposit on finding me a job (since I will be networking like crazy). My dad is a little less convinced, but he’s not going to argue with my mom (they have a good marriage. He is trained well.)
    So, I’ve got my map, and I’ve got a green light  – now I have to tell people about it. “Wait, you’re going on tour! That’s awesome! With who? What band?” “Myself.” “Who?” “Just me.” “What?” “NO ONE!” insert long, awkward silence and extremely confused expressions. Just when I was starting to feel confident about this!
    Three friends eventually came around and supported the idea of my trip. This helped. Soon, (after lots more praying), I didn’t care what people at home thought. Now, once I get on the road and have to explain to these bands that I am, in fact, not stalking them…that could be different. However, I think it will be okay. I’m going to go, meet new friends, network, take pictures, blog, video blog, and live out an adventure I’ve been dreaming of for 8 years. I’m going to gain experience touring and working festivals, and I’m going to step through that next doorway that God is opening for me.
    I guess I’ve reached the point of no return. My summer tour starts in 29 days. Here we go, God!

    Jeremiah 29:11 For i know the plans i have for you, plans to prosper and not to harm you.plans to give you hope and furture

  • Rachel Whitten

    This is such a great principle to remember. I work as a reporter and cover the state legislature here in Kansas. I often compared my stories to the guys around me who have been doing it for 5+ years, while this was my first. Thanks for the reminder not to be so hard on ourselves.  

  • leeanne

    I got hired at 22 to do a job I dreamed of since age 6 and was ages younger than my co-workers and my staff. I failed, tanked, nose-dived (nose-dove?) that whole first year and then some. I doubted myself, my employers for hiring me, imagined my staff would mutiny, and questioned God’s plan. However, the ministry where I worked still shared the gospel with kids and God’s kingdom grew in big ways. It’s not always about my dreams, which are broken, but about His dreams, who work through the broken. Like me.

  • http://twitter.com/jaredjohnson1 Jared Johnson

    There are definitely doubts that creep into any idea or dream. Even though you may feel called to this new opportunity, even the doubt of what if what I’m feeling isn’t right? Or how will this affect my relationships, finances, career? However, I’ve made the decision to trust God’s faithfulness as He leads my paths or “dreams”. 

  • http://motorcopblog.com Motorcop

     I’m not sure “doubtful” covers it.  I had always dreamed of being a police officer.  Then, I discovered the awesomeness that is being a motor officer.  The two weeks I spent in motor school were the most difficult thing I have ever done in my near 13 year career as a cop.  I came within a hair’s breadth of quitting.  I had doubts a-plenty…”You don’t have the skill”, “You aren’t experienced enough”, “You’re going to get hurt”.  It was the Wife that saved me from making the worst mistake of my life.  

    She told me to get out of my own way and trust in the ability that God gave me.  With that in mind, I went back the next day and succeeded in doing things I never thought I’d be able to do.  I’ve been enjoying my career more and more every day since.

  • http://twitter.com/chrisrwesley Chris Wesley

     John, I look forward to reading Quitter.  As a youth minister I often compare myself to men and women who have been shepherding young minds for decades, your post is a good reminder of the journey.  I have doubts when it comes to starting a new dream because I wonder if I have what it takes to make the journey.  Constantly I need God’s grace to carry me through.

  • kate

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? In a word, yes. That’s where I live most of the time. I am taking some baby steps in the midst of uncertainty about my direction, but it’s motion so I’m going with it. :)

  • http://www.wescomer.com Wes Comer

    Have I ever felt doubtful? Literally all the time. Like, right now.

    I have so many great ideas and so many goals that I know I could hit if not for the fear of taking the leap it will require (quitting my day job and holding on tight to Jesus). If this book can help me wrap my brain around how to do that, I want a copy. A free copy could be a sign…right?

  • hansenhc

    So true. It is encouraging how you can move or even “fall forward” without trying. Being in the ring, and making the swings is how you score the hits – even if you catch a few on the chin now and then. Remember… Faith without work is dead.

  • http://twitter.com/dpbuck Dana Buck

     After living in big cities (Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego), in Spring 2005 I picked up and moved to the “mecca” of Kennewick, WA.  I had no job, no friends, and little family in the area, but knew I needed a “fresh start” in a smaller community.  Needless to say, I was petrified and full of doubt.  Now, I have a great job, and am married with baby #1 on the way.  Six years later, I can’t imagine what life would have been like had I not taken the chance…

  • Brett

    Yes. I created a side-business in 2006 that has a name, an idea, and a second website (because the first one expired). And that’s where it sits. I’m not sure if I am waiting for God’s timing or if I missed his Text message back in 2007. 

  • Alison Potstra

    Yes, absolutely. I find the line between “living by faith” and “making a steady paycheque” to be very blurry. I also love the line “never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” So often I give up on new dreams and adventures because those doing what I want to be doing have done so at a much younger age than I, have more training, more money, etc. This book sounds amazing! 

  • Snyder Guy

     Definitely a line for me. And yes, I am always quite doubtful. I am a perfectionist with very good writing skills who never writes because …well, partially because I hate the process, but largely because I know I don’t write as well as… the great classic authors. I also doubt my story and whether it’s truly worth telling.

    I need to accept that I can write well and that I need to just begin and stop comparing myself to another’s “middle”.

  • http://profiles.google.com/tscrosby Tracey Crosby

    Yes,  The doubt is usually because of laziness.  I often think “I would like to do _____” and then I think “that would take a lot of__________”  And there ends the  dream.

  • Snyder Guy

     I should add… you’d think two years of unemployment and no income would really push me to start writing, wouldn’t you? I am very stubborn in my self-doubt.

  • Jennkerr2280

     Landing your dream job would be amazing but unfortunately the real world doesn’t always allow for that with bills and unexpected costs.  My dream job would be life on the radio or a singer however I have been shot down so many times that I know its not going to happen.

  • Michael

    I quit my job 4 years ago because of issues of integrity I saw being compromised by the leadership of the organization.  Suddenly my wife had to quit being mom and go back to work.  I found work, but it was not meaningful and didn’t fit into my life passions.  I’ve been dying to get into a job (ministry) that allows me to fulfill my calling.  I’ve throught and dreamt about branching out on my own to see my passion and ministry desire become a reality.  The truth is, I’m scared to death to do it.  I’m scared and lacking in  faith that God will provide for me and my family if I do it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/tscrosby Tracey Crosby

    Yes,  The doubt is usually because of laziness.  I often think “I would like to do _____” and then I think “that would take a lot of__________”  And there ends the  dream.

  • http://twitter.com/makeroomfor Tracey

    Yes,  The doubt is usually because of laziness.  I often think “I would like to do _____” and then I think “that would take a lot of__________”  And there ends the  dream.

  • Holly Davis

    I am a homemaker. I love my “job,” but it’s easy to become discouraged when I compare myself to others. I look forward to reading this new book!

  • Anissa

     haha! story of my life! I get excited then freak out and get excited again! I get really doubtful when people start asking questions about details,that I don’t know the answer to. But I learned at the Catalyst conference that I can just call those unclear details “leaving a gap for God”. Donald Miller used that phrase to describe the space in your plans that you have no idea how they will work out and if Jesus doesnt show up it will all fall apart. I’m about to embark on another adventure where I’m having to leave a gap for God to show up and its SCARY!! but I’m excited too! woot! 

  • http://twitter.com/datkins David Atkins

     I have definitely felt doubtful about taking on a dream. I struggle somewhere between wanting to do what makes me feel alive, and having to work a 9-5 to pay the bills and take care of responsibilities

  • HeatherS

    When I dreamed about being a teacher… I was terrified I would not like it like I thought… turns out .. I fell in love with it!! 

  • Carolyn

    Doubtful, scared, questioning, call me doubting Thomas!! All the above…but I have found as I grow in my journey with Christ that putting my faith and trust in the One who is complete control helps to dissolve those Doubtfilled thoughts.

  • Charlie Waldburger

    My doubt about tackling a new dream always comes back to discerning whether it’s selfish ambition or Godly ambition that is driving me. At 26, I can be bold, driving and a dreamer. However, I always want to be God honoring and sensitive to where He’s moving me.  to where He’s moving me. 

  • http://www.ramseyduck.com Ramsey

     If the old adage, “Once bitten, twice shy,” is true, then it seems the second bite has an exponential effect. 

    In January of 2008 I broke from a first-rate law firm and very comfortable paycheck to open a solo practice.  My main goal was to save the world.  I was full of passion, enthusiasm and faith, and in hindsight, I had convinced myself that those things would make up for lack of business planning and funding.  Needless to say, they didn’t, and I crashed.

    While the wreckage was still smoldering another opportunity presented itself that breathed life into the original goal of saving the world.

    A startup Christian health care center needed a COO to move the organization from vision and planning to operating and serving patients. I poured all I had into it and made tremendous progress until I started pointing out revisions and decisions that needed to be made to facilitate further growth. The CEO disagreed, trust slowly eroded and I could no longer lead effectively, ultimately resulting in my resignation. 

    With that track record I find myself nearly paralyzed from dreaming or chasing new adventures. 

  • http://twitter.com/sarachoe sara choe

    Did I ever feel doubtful! 

    I felt that doubt after an adventure, actually. I committed to going on a missions trip for the summer with a music ministry after I graduated and before I started my job. I loved the trip, I didn’t think I could have so much fun on missions! I came home, called HR of my job and found that they had to rescind the offer. For a split second, I wondered if I going on the trip was the wrong decision, for I had turned down a different job offer (the mandatory training meant I wouldn’t be able to go on missions). 

    But true to form, God had my back all along, I end up finding gainful employment. Then there was that time I went on the World Race (11 month missions trip to 11 countries) nearly 3 years ago. About six months before I was to leave, I hadn’t raised half the funds needed to go on the trip and began doubting myself. “Was this my idea or God’s idea?”

    Of course, before I leave, God provided more than what I needed to go.

    And now, about 8 months into an adventure (being on staff with missions organization that sent me on the World Race) that still feels fresh to me, the battle against doubt is a semi-quotidian one. I find myself having to step out of the box of the day to day and try to see the big picture that God sees.

    As I try to grow in this role and season – stewarding someone else’s dream that utilizes my gifts, I wonder (not so much doubt) when it’ll time for me to begin dreaming for myself…

  • Jeremiah Genin

    I have found that many times the only thing that has kept me from quitting is the vision God has given me. To actually do something significant always comes with great cost and responsibility. It’s not easy. Good thing He’s got my back!

  • RyanWinstead

    I tend toward the all or nothing mindset so comparing my beginning to others middles is par for the course. I enjoy blogs and books for the reminders like this. Thx for reminding me I am living for me and what God has for me. Comparing only makes me depressed. Thanks!

  • Michelle

    “Give yourself the gift of time. Love your dream and your adventure enough to allow it to grow slowly.”  I love this, Jon!!  I have just begun my dream.  After my son graduated high school, I returned to school for a Master’s degree and just graduated in November.  So many doors could swing wide open with this degree and I can go in just about any direction my heart desires.   Want to jump in with both feet, God is slowing me down, keeping me on the “slow and steady” track.  :-)  I would love to be where I see others in my field, but this takes time, and  I am giving myself permission to let the dream grow into something beautiful and wonderful.

    God has given me a vision for where He wants me to go and just last week, and He may have given me something additional this week.  So now I need some classes in instructional design, effective writing, and public speaking, as well as additional study and supervision in my field.  And I will still need to work in the secular field for at least the next two to four years to get the needed credentials and certifications.

    So have I ever felt doubtful?  You bet!!  Doubtful that the dream is from God, doubtful that I can achieve this, doubtful that I can take it to the level I desire… But with God, all things are possible, especially when it is about carrying out God’s dreams and not our own. 

  • Jasongildehaus

    John as someone trying to get into youth ministry I look at other youth pastors and think wow I don’t know as much or have all of these great systems in place and think is this really for me. I am looking forward to reading your book your story comparing your writing to max Lucado’s seems to be the same kind of fear. Thanks

  • Dosodan05

    Doubtful, terrified, unsure!! Of course!! Last year my husband and were both faced with cancer diagonses. We have three young kids. The situation mortified us. After the dust settled and we were both better. I decided, I’m gonna make a difference. Be something more than someone taking up space on the planet. So about 2 weeks after a pretty major surgery, I found myself at our local university registering for classes. I’ve been back in school for over a year now. And just last week, I quit my job to concentrate solely on school. We got a second chance, no wasting it.

  • Cgriffin

    Yes, trying to change job fields. Its hard to take one job set skills to another job set. Reading great books is one way to lower the fear,

  • http://twitter.com/MattDilley Matt Dilley

    I was absolutely fearful when I started my dream.  Fear crippled me in the world I was in for years, but I realized that if I really wanted to make my dream a reality I need to make the effort and have the patience to make it work.  It doesn’t happen overnight, but I have learned to know the difference between fear and being cautious.  More importantly, I have learned to not let it control my life.

  • http://twitter.com/sinnrG Richard Nalezynski

     I currently feel doubtful about beginning a new dream right now!

    I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to accomplish a life-long goal of mine in a much shorter time than I had anticipated. I had hit a crossroads of sorts, in that I was wondering what I was really doing with my life. I spent nearly one third of my life (based on “life expectancy” I guess; and technically I wasn’t working on goals as a toddler!) on this goal. Some define it as a “one-third life crisis.” I still felt empty; and when it came to a close, I had a blank slate in front of me, and a lot of questions to answer.

    Early on, I felt like most young folks do – like I could accomplish anything and that I had it all figured out. Again, in that context, I did! At this point of my life, I feel less confident about it. I see pretty much all of my friends and I can’t help but look at where they are – in the “middle” phase – and wonder why I’m at the starting phase, all over again! It doesn’t help that the support isn’t there, often in the form of questioning “what are you gonna do with your life?” I am reminded that I should’ve been married, had kids and been well-established in my job so that I can pay off a 30-year mortgage and be “safe.”

    I don’t think that those things are necessarily wrong; but they’re not for me, at least not now or that way. What I didn’t realize is that not only do I not have an answer for them; but I don’t have one for myself! I have options; and I am actively looking into them and coming up with solutions. It’s actually kinda fun and exciting. I feel that I’m much wiser and more refined, but still a bit hesitant.

    When I think about it, in a way this feels like “half time” of a sporting event. I think of myself as working hard, getting results, and now I have to regroup, rest (just a bit) and revist and adjust my strategies to close out and win in my life. This is definitely where a coach or mentor can be helpful.

    So, here I am on a new adventure. I often feel that it’s more about the journey than the actual destination; and I am enjoying this phase and learning a lot. Feel free to join me on my journey…

  • http://thatgirlwithredhair.blogspot.com Jess

    This is so good! Time is a luxury we often don’t want to give ourselves…but it’s absolutely necessary to grow into who God made us. I feel doubtful all the time…knowing God’s calling me to bigger things yet not feeling worthy of it at all…but yearning for it all the same. It’s such a back and forth thing, but through it God is teaching me to trust Him, first for the right timing, and that He is also preparing me right now for the things to come.

  • Ben

    Trying something new can have a paralyzing effect.

  • http://web.mac.com/the2youngs Heather Young

     Well, that about hit the nail on the head…

    My husband and I are missionaries at a bible institute whose focus is to train up future missionaries to reach tribal people with the Gospel.  A huge part of that involves discipling families with small children – which is where I come in.  

    Just two weeks ago, I stepped into the role of Childcare Coordinator at the bible school, standing in the shadow of a woman who has done a phenomenal job with it for the past decade.  My kids are all under the age of 4!  I’m not capable of leading an entire department, when I’m still in the same boat as most of the parents that I’ll be ministering to!  Right?  To top it all off, I have to live up to HER?!  I’m so out of my league.

    Perhaps not.  We’ve been where these students are now.  We’ve walked in their shoes, sat in their same seats, and yet experienced just a little bit more “life” than they have.  Furthermore, my husband is faithful to remind me that my job is not to live up to the previous coordinator’s standards.  My job is to provide our students’ children with a safe environment that allows their parents to study the Word of God and prepare for overseas tribal evangelism.  It’s to disciple them, rub shoulders with them, walk through life with them.  And it’s His working in and through me that will enable me to do so.

    So, yes, I’ve entertained doubt about this new adventure.  But, thankfully, my strength isn’t that which is carrying me.

  • ErinRobertson

     This is really encouraging! This past school year, my roommate was a senior in college, while I was a sophomore in college. Seeing her walk with God and comparing it to mine was very challenging and encouraging, but could also be discouraging to me at times when I lost sight of the goal. Her knowledge of Scripture and of who God is was very intimidating for the longest time until I realized that her life is not mine, and I am at a different point in my walk than she is. That is what this post reminded me of – to not be discouraged. 

    Of course, I began to doubt because I began to let my own mind take over my thoughts at the beginning of the year. But, as the year progressed, I learned that when I focused on God, and what He was teaching me and wanting to build me up with, the old doubt was replaced with the transformation of my thoughts.
    “Give yourself the gift of time”, was just what I needed to read today in knowing that as long as I keep pursuing God, and not advancing in knowledge only for myself, I can be the encouragement she was for me to someone else.

  • Alicia Bliss

    Feel doubtful all the time; fear consumes me at times.  Working on giving this to God – then leaving it with Him. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/lebrooks Lindsey Brooks

    Of course!  I think if you didn’t doubt it wouldn’t be a well-thought out decision.

  • http://EricRowell.net Eric Rowell

    I’ve been terrified. The biggest decisions I’ve had to make have been hardest, but they’ve also been the most rewarding by far. Stepping out on  faith can be a scary, but why settle?

  • Caleb

    I think beginning a new dream takes lots of courage. I have felt doubtful so many times. Most recently when I decided to quit a dead-end job to move closer to my family without any confirmation of another job…and now I have the best job ever!

  • Csquire

     I completely agree, although it was a difficult lesson to learn. I work as a youth minister as well as lead music for our church’s contemporary services and have been feeling a spiritual tugging to pursue more writing and using original worship music material. After a few botched attempts and some that weren’t Tomlin/Crowder good I began to become frustrated, but God is faithful in our growth and have since written a few that have made their way into our regular worship services! The great thing is the congregation is none the wiser and have no idea that I wrote them which to me is confirmation that the music that was written out of a heart for Jesus is helping lead His people to the throne. So I will remember to refrain from comparing myself and ministry to those that have been doing it for awhile and just trust that the race God has me running is mine, not someone else’s. 

  • Bluberner

    I want to be a quitter.

  • Klyle

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Powerful! I have done this all the time. I am transitioning in my life and trying to decide where to go with the next season. I look forward to reading your book!

  • Tress Collins

     Yes, I am having some doubts about this new road I know the Lord is leading me down. Currently, I work full time as a bill review analyst, I’m a mom and step-mom to 3 awesome boys (2 teenagers and an almost 8 year old), a Pampered Chef Consultant and my husband and I open our home weekly to host our Bible Study group. And the Lord wants me to minister to women – full-time. This has been on my heart for many years and I know the Lord is now moving me, more noticeably, in that direction. So with the Lord’s leading I have begun writing a Bible study book on the Holy Spirit which is just CRAZY to me. I’ve never written a book before and I have had no idea where to start. So, I  just sat down at my laptop one day and said, “Lord, this Your gig – make it happen” and within the last month or so it looks as if I have the beginnings of a Bible Study book. But my very busy life has made this book very slow going…..time. Time is where my doubt creeps in. I can see no way that the Lord could make this transition happen in my life. I know He can and will do it but the lacking knowledge of HOW clouds my vision and pours doubt into my heart at times. 

  • Marcus Privitt

    Definitely felt doubtful…it’s intimidating looking at other people and seeing how well they are doing in one area or another.  Take that a step further and trying to discern different talents from different individuals – even harder.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkWaldmann Mark Waldmann

    Good advice, Jon!

    I’ve recently started following you on Twitter, and really appreciate your honesty and humor — the two seem related somehow in your case!  ;-)   We could all use a little encouragement towards an honest look at ourselves, which should of course also cause us to laugh at what we see.  You do that so well!
    Glad to see your initial success with the new book. I’d love to read it, but then, I’d love to read a whole stack of other good books I’ve accumulated (in either print or audio editions), but am not very good at prioritizing… which I gues is why I’m reading your guest blog post and entering a contest to possibly win a free book that I might someday read, instead of reading one of those books.   Sigh…   How’s that for honesty and humor?

    Hope you got a chuckle out if it, even if I don’t get a book out of it…    8-)

  • Katherine

    Question: Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Answer: YES!  As a stay-at-home-educating-mom of triplet boys I have to constantly remind myself that my ideas and dreams are just as creative and worthwhile as those of the BIG GUYS and the well-knowns.
    My husband and I are planning a new adventure for our family and together we are implementing some pretty drastic steps to achieve our dream. Putting the blinders on and staying focused has us going in the right direction, but sometimes we do experience a bout of “comparisonitis”.
    We have been through alot during our marriage and I would like to give this book to my husband as a thank you gift for what he has accomplished so far in creating his dream job. I believe this book will give him the “boost” he needs to get to the next level. I know that our boys will eagerly read the book as well as they plan to “create” their “Dream Job.”

    Thank you for this opportunity.   ~Katherine

    P.S. Mr. Hyatt,  Thank you for the time you take to share information for those just getting started – the little guy. I have learned from many of your recent posts that I don’t have to have a fancy website with all the bells and whistles to get started with some of my creative ideas. Some ideas I’ve already implemented have been quite fruitful. I look forward to your posts in my inbox with anticipation. 

  • Bethchadwick02

     My husband and I are on a new adventure. We had the chance to live in Austria for 2 years shortly after we were married. We came back home in 2004 and have dreamed of going back to do ministry. Now we are on our way and are in the financing stage. There are many days that we have to ask ourselves why we are doing this, but we keep pressing on. Thanks for sharing this post. Really encouraging today!

  • Jason Fry

    My wife and I quit our jobs in 2005 and moved to India for a new adventure. We felt a lot of doubt during the leaving process but felt confident that we were doing what we were supposed to do, or at least we felt confident enough to go through with it. Then, after over four years, we decided it was time to move back to the U.S. Believe it or not, we had even more doubt about that one and gathered way more advice and prayed a lot more about that decision, and now we’re back in the U.S. We still haven’t figured out what this next adventure is going to be; I’m looking forward to finding out. 

  • Sunny McMurry

    Jon, first of all, I
    completely agree about radio- I can get in front of a crowd of two hundred and
    be fine, but in that room, with only you, the mike and one other person, it’s
    nearly impossible to tell if anyone is connecting with what you are saying!

    As far as feeling doubtful
    about starting something new, I think a better question would be when haven’t
    you been doubtful starting out on something new? Whether it was welcoming our
    first child to our family or launching a new blog, I completely doubted my
    abilities and qualifications. For crying out loud, I couldn’t even keep a plant
    alive before our daughter was born– what would qualify me to be a good mom?
    But, just like you said, it is only the beginning, and time and practice makes
    you better. I think I am a much better mom than I was 7 years ago (well, most
    days), and a better writer than I was when I first started. As long as I
    compare myself to myself I’m doing fine.

  • A04mar

    Uh yes I have, it is the fact of not know what is ahead that creats doubt. But we know who to trust in and we shouldn’t be runing in to a new adventure or new dream without God’s approval anywayl so why should we feel like this? 

  • http://samoanqueens.wordpress.com/ Cat

    Definitely! My husband and I are embarking on a long-time dream of ours right now: in 55 days, we are leaving Atlanta, GA and the comfortable, easy life we have made for ourselves to move to a tiny South Pacific island where we will be volunteer teachers. The closer we get to our “launch date” the easier it is to doubt the decision, but we know have been called and we have a passion and a faith that trumps the scary-factor. :) I’ve been particularly afraid of bombing as a teacher, and MAN is that line encouraging. All of the  teachers I’ve observed have been at it for 20+ years, so it’s silly for me to compare myself to them! It helps to remember that they were once terrified 20-somethings fumbling through class and learning how to be a better teacher every step of the way!  Good word, Jon; thanks for the encouragement!  

  • adennispac

    Doubt freezes me in my own footprints.  I want the life of a writer – to be able to flow creatively on a daily basis.  It’s my doubt of my ability to extract that creativity from my mind that stops me.  Maybe someday.  Sounds like a good book.

  • MooChristen

    Have I ever felt doubtful about a new dream? You betcha! Or how about an old dream I keep letting die? That would be a bit more accurate.
    I’ve been pursuing music since I was old enough to talk. I love being the center of attention and my favorite pastime as a little girl was singing as loudly as I could and waiting for someone to tell me how great I was. That didn’t really go over well.
    Then came guitars, leading youth group worship, studying artists at 100’s of concerts… and yet I’m nowhere near achieving my dream. A dream can be the most elusive thing, especially when your fear holds you back from pursuing it. So this song and dance I do by flirting with my dream is most certainly because I am so unsure of what lies ahead I’m selling out to complacency. Maybe one day I’ll buy my heart back. ;)

  • JayButler

    Starting that dream you have is the hardest part. Dreams aren’t safe. However, God didn’t call us to live a safe life. I realized that when I quit studying broadcast news in school. I felt the Lord calling me into parish ministry. The Lord gave me the gifts to be a great journalist, but He told me told off on that for now and follow another path. 

    I feel great about it now, since I’m going to seminary starting in the fall, but the initial jump-off point is frightening and thrilling at the same time. Not knowing exactly what’s next puts more of your faith in God and not on your own understanding. It’s crazy how he does that.

  • http://twitter.com/skirbster Kirbie Britt

    I’m pretty sure I always feel doubtful when I start a new adventure! I prefer to play the confident, trust myself attitude when in reality I place extreme expectations on myself. The idea of taking time and experience into consideration seems so logical, yet isn’t a typical frame of reference. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/abouse Adam Bouse

     I often face doubt when facing challenges of all shapes and sizes. A combination of family environment, personality make-up, and wounds in life, I’ve found myself aiming for accuracy over vision. In fear of failing, of not doing something right, of infringing on another’s success or happiness, I often give into the doubt. 

    I recently read Andy Stanley’s book, “The Next Generation Leader” and really felt the conviction that I was driving by a desire for safety (accuracy) rather than vision (faith). I’m now trying to work through what that looks like, personally and professionally. As a father of two young boys, it’s never been more clear to me that I need to overcome my doubts and live with passion and vision, for my sake and theirs. 

  • Brandon

     I am in the middle of beginning a new dream. I am fundraising to move my family overseas to ministry in the nation of Cyprus. It is a big dream and doubts creep in all the time about whether or not this is the right thing to do. Fundraising is difficult in today’s economy and it is easy to look at others who do it well and wonder why it is difficult for me.

    I am also trying to start an online business to supplement my fundraising needs. This adds a whole bunch of other doubts!

    It is a good thing that I feel this is where God wants me right now and that helps on those days when things get difficult.

  • heidibaldini

    I really like this…..it makes alot of sense . thanks 

  • Mbonavita

     All the time and your comment “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” captures it perfectly (tweeted by 48days team today). That’s my biggest obstacle to getting my dream really rolling – this idea that since I’m not as far down the road as some it will be really difficult for me to get there; and do I really have what it takes to do so? The ability to take smaller steps, but CONSTANTLY taking steps nonetheless, keeps progress going and allows me to keep setting this doubt aside.

  • http://chriscoppenbarger.drupalgardens.com Chris Coppenbarger

    It depends on whether God has really given me a peace about that new dream or adventure. I’m currently doubtful about whatever the next steps in my life are as I am sitting in between what I have been doing and unsure of what God has next in store.

  • stephen sandridge

    I’ve felt that doubt pretty intensely in the past month or two, after my wife and I quit our jobs, moved away from our family and security for me to enroll in seminary.  It’s been pretty desperate, but we’ve seen miracles come out of left, right and center field ever since.

  • Emhess5

     Stepping out into a dream is almost always a challenge.  I am comfortable with my current job and financially secure; however it is terrifying to think that while I would be fulfilling my dream, I may not have that initial security.  I have dreams of tutoring children who have trouble in school, teaching instrumental and vocal music lessons, and parenting a child.  I am waiting on God’s perfect timing but the thought of leaving the security blanket I am currently in is challenging.

  • Elizabeth

     For sure, when I left my career in nusring. I felt like I had jumped off of a cliff with no end in sight!

    • Elizabeth

      *nursing (Ha! I need to brush up on my spelling! 

  • William Platz

    As a student I can become doubtful of my own gifting because I see the progress others have made in my same field.  I think that “Give yourself the gift of time” is a huge principle that many students do not learn until they are farther along in their educational career, if you always compare yourself to the upperclassmen you will always leave discouraged.

  • Cmarshbu

    Beginning a new dream or adventure?  It has been far too long since I even contemplated such things.  That changes today.  Thank you for the inspiration. 

  • http://www.myorbit365.wordpress.com Julia

     I have.  I am always filled with self-doubt and fear when I am about to take on something new, especially if I know how much potential it has to change my life. When this happens I remind myself of this:Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?Actually, who are we not to be?You are a child of God.Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.Source: A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson, as quoted by Nelson Mandela in his inaugural speech, 1994

  • Lbitsas

     I’m a 31 year old housewife with 3 small kids. The excuses and doubts that usually play in my mind are…I’m too young. I’m too busy with home stuff. That person discouraged me. What if I fail? What if I’m mishearing  God? What if it’s just my own sick need to feel important? Then there’s all the old tapes that play around in my head. I could give you another top 10 list of excuses. Somehow God keeps pushing me along. I trust that whatever it is he’s called me to do, He actually knows I can. I can hope in Him and walk one step at a time. Thanks for the “never compare your beginning with someone else’s middle”. I’ve also heard this week,  “don’t dispise small beginnings”.

  • Kingjames83

     I have always felt doubtful when I started something new at my church.  I am 28, and I am considered a noob in my denomination, even though I have had years of experience (good and bad) in ministry.  I sometimes feel like people want to be like my grandson and tell me how to do things.  That’s why I will always find strength in 1Tim 4:12.  

  • Marci H.

    Absolutely.  My husband and I are in the midst of deciding whether to leave his job in television to move cross country to Nashville for him to pursue his life-long writing dream.  It’s terrifying and exciting all at once and a huge learning experience in hearing from God and obedience even in the quiet.

  • http://twitter.com/JeffHolton Jeffrey Holton

    Yes. Actually, I’ve felt doubtful about beginning all of them. I’m typically encouraged to do something more practical and predictable. So I do.

    Jon’s promo video for Quitter is what brought me over here, actually. It also prompted this post: http://bit.ly/jnp7dk

  • TomKinsfather

    I began pastoring a rural church when I was 24. I was scared to death and would constantly compare my shortcoming to the successes of others. Thanks for the “me too,” Jon.

  • Giant Sis

    Definitely! It is terrifying to take the leap and not know what’s going to happen next…. leaving my comfort zone… I just switched jobs in April, so I KNOW this is still true for me! 

  • http://twitter.com/jennifergrisham Jennifer Grisham

    I’ve absolutely felt doubtful about following dreams and new adventures, especially since I graduated from college a couple of years ago and still am trying to figure out “what I want to be when I grow up.” I think the point is instead of seeing barriers (lack of experience, down economy and job market), see possibilities. If I was doing something I really loved and succeeding, what kind of capacity would I have to make my dream bigger and include people around me in it — as well as to help others fulfill their dreams?

  • http://twitter.com/delhokie Barry Wiseman

     I’ve felt doubt just in the last few weeks– I just started working on staff at our church as the Director of Creative Arts and Worship after being a freelance designer and developer for the past 7 years. A distinct shift in my work pattern focus, and inability to wear my PJ’s on some days. Now doing Kingdom work has brought about a series of fears and “I’m not worthy to serve like this” feelings. All has gone extremely well so far, but the fears still crop up.

  • http://abluesicanwhistle.blogspot.com Tim Rhodes

    I have absolutely feared and doubted the beginning of a new adventure. My wife and I applied to serve in Moscow for two years back in ’08, and doubted that we’d make it every step of the way. It was anything and everything:

    What are we going to do with our house and belongings?
    We’re not “missionary” enough.
    We’re don’t have everything figured out.
    How can we leave our family and friends?
    Why would we want to leave our jobs?

    It goes on and on. But we made it through and arrived in Moscow in April of 2009. And never looked back.

  • Anonymous

    When I’m not asking myself, “When will I have the time to really start my own business (in iOS app development)?” I find myself trying to start but getting hung up on the question of “what will I honestly do that someone else isn’t already doing?”. I know the answer is to just start. Get the basics of development down, then find ideas worth trying.

  • http://popparables.com Keri

    I think if I didn’t feel doubtful about a new dream/adventure, it would lose it’s ZING!  That being said, there is also a strong element of faith in God when purusing a new dream/adventure.   If He gives me the green light, the doubts should dissipate.  But, I’m only human, and sometimes I fall back into them.

  • Christianna Johns

    Actually,  my husband and I recently (and when I say “recently” I mean within the past three weeks) embarked on a new adventure in our lives. We had been living in Washington, and his job was going nowhere, and my job was going nowhere, and basically our entire lives were going nowhere. For the past year, I have been looking for new jobs for both of us…all the while, doubt kept creeping in, and I thought we’d be stuck in dead-end jobs FOREVVERRRRRRR…after an entire year of searching, we struck gold! My husband received a job offer from a company in Oregon, and this meant that we were going to start fresh somewhere. It all happened SO quickly, and we basically leaped at the opportunity with vigor and force…like a Mexican Jumping Bean. I was really excited, but I was also really nervous, and very doubtful that this would actually work out. After a year of searching and longing and questioning, once something good happened, it seemed like more searching/longing/questioning came about. “Will my husband be good at this job? Oh gosh, he’s going to be horrible.” “Will I be able to find a job I enjoy down there? Oh gosh, I’m going to fail.” “We are moving away from my mom? Who will sew all the holes up in my clothes? I don’t know how to sew. This will never work out” “Are we really doing the right thing?” “What if he fails and we end up on the streets with the hippies in Portland?” (okay, maybe that last one would be kind of a cool adventure!)…

    So yes…I’ve doubted, and sometimes I’m still doubting. Here we are, in a new environment. We know next to no one, we have absolutely no idea where all the good deals are, or the best place to take our car when it breaks down, or what church to attend. The nice thing is, through our doubts and fears, we can know that we are in this together. That kind of makes it better. And by “kind of” I mean REALLY makes it better, and it makes my doubts turn to slush.

    And now I want a slushie.

  • Amanda Joy

    I doubt very, very  often.  You can’t have doubt and trust in the same place though, so I know I need to trust God more with my circumstances.

  • http://www.akstafford.blogspot.com Todd

    It’s hard to not let the failures in the past cause me to doubt myself for the future. I’ve stepped out before and it fell apart. Going through that again doesn’t sound enjoyable.

  • Nifer Sims

    It is so important to rememberr that. Thanks for the insight, now to just put it into practice.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cphpitts Christopher Pitts

     I constantly struggle with that in my career as a graphic designer. Especially when I was unemployed and trying to find a job, I couldn’t help but think I had having so much trouble because I wasn’t good enough. I’d compare my work to that other other, more established artists.

    I was very lucky to have such an encouraging wife who would constantly reassure me that I was good and that I would find something. Now I have a brand new job and all my co-workers are thrilled with what I have to offer.

  • Jessi Gering

    I do this ALL the time. And the shame about it is, you do have a platform and something to say that people need to hear. So censoring yourself for not being perfect at your dream is pretty sad. I have to remember that to carry on with the humbling knowledge that I’m still learning as I go as well.

  • http://twitter.com/larrydelaneyjr JR DeLaney

     I always feel doubtful about starting something new or different. I’m going on my first overseas missions trip ever, first time even leaving the country. I doubt why I’m doing it all the time, why God is giving me this opportunity, and even why I’m being used. I’m just a recent convert (well, recent as in 6 years now!), so why should I go when other people have been Christians much longer than I? Prayers get me through it, but I always question why I have been chosen to go.

  • D Hazen87

     Absolutely!  Recently, I have begun work as a Youth Pastor, something I’ve felt called to for years.  I’ve been blessed to have been in some great youth groups, and am meeting regularly now with two guys who are fantastic at their job – confident speakers, driven, imaginative, and motivated.  And I feel like I am blowing it.  Even last night, I brought a message God laid on my heart and the kids had been asking about, and it just didn’t seem..to click.  And comments like those are exactly what I need to hear.  Ultimately, God does his thing and gets ALL of the glory any way.  But, when you have wanted to do something for years and then get a shot and feel like you suck at it…it’s a hard thing.  But you’re exactly right.  And the crazy thing is that I need to remind myself of that same message almost every day.  I have no idea where I’ll be in 10 years, or if I’ll be any good by then, but it’s pretty absurd of me to think that today, 5 months in, I’d be better then every else I’ve ever seen do the same job; people who have been in much longer, and who have already learned the same lessons I’m learning now.  

    Thanks Jon for your wisdom and insight, I love what you put up!

  • Andrew Wencl

    Have I ever felt doubtful? Yes. If there was no doubt there’d be no reason to try!

  • Ajyouthguy

    Yes, definitely when I moved 3 hours from home and began ministry life…I knew it was what God wanted me to do, but had a couple of people I trust and also my own parents somewhat doubting my decision and that was frustrating more than anything.  14 years later, 13 at the same place, all 14 in the same area,  I’ve overcome all of that and earned all of those people’s respects, and to a degree, apologies.

  • Yvette Schultheis

     Doubtful  barely covers my apprehension to making a change.  I am faced with making that choice soon, I will soon be a retired home schooling mom, in just 3 short years.  Your post reminded me of what I felt almost 20 years ago when I was a “beginner” home schooling mom.  Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Jen

    Question: Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?

    Answer: Every time.

    I think it’s human nature to fear the unknown. That’s why many of us don’t like to step in the ocean – who really knows what is out there? The sheer size of it, combined with the fact that we can only actually see less than 1 percent of what is out there is terrifying.

    The same is true with anything new, but especially a dream. In order to take a step towards a dream we have to put ourselves on the line and say “I believe in this thing” before we even know what it is and where we will end up.

    This is especially hard for the concrete sequentialists who need solid facts and research to make a decision or to start something new. If we are afraid to dream and try something new it is far too easy to settle into a “day job” and make the logical decisions that can cause their dreams to die. We can “do everything right” but still miss something. Without risk there is no reward; without faith there is no need for mountains to move.

  • James

    Yes, of course!  It’s always stressful starting new things.

  • Jacob Marlowe

    All the time! But it teaches me to trust God more & remember His Word. I’m a screw up, and I constantly doubt myself, but it’s when God uses me for the seemingly impossible that I’m humbled & brought back to the point of realizing one very important fact: without Jesus, I’m nothing. Also, realizing that we all are just broken people in need of God’s love & grace. :)

  • Carol Meinecke

    Yes, definitely!  My husband and I are in a transition period in our lives right now.  Neither of us are employed.  So it would be a perfect time to try to realize my dreams.  But the fear of failure is all too prevalent.  How does one overcome that fear? 

  • TT

    Yes, I have.  Change is more difficult than something comfortable. 

  • http://twitter.com/mikeyconrad Mikey Conrad

    I have most definitely felt doubtful when embarking a new adventure or idea.  I know often my insecurities wrapped around performance, comparison, and failure can almost paralyze me.  Also, I sometimes I feel in ministry like I need to ask permission to go after certain things.   

  • Carol Meinecke

    Yes, definitely!  My husband and I are in a transition period in our lives.  Neither of us are employed and we are feeling stuck.  What do we do next?  How do we realize our dreams?  Unfortunately, we haven’t a clue how to start. 

  • Belinda E

    Absolutely! And that is usually when I “choke up” and eventually get discouraged to the point where I give up…which is why I really want to read the book. 

  • http://twitter.com/nataliemccain natalie mccain

    Yes I have.  That’s why a copy of “Quitter” would really be helpful.  I have been trying to get my God given dream off the ground for 5 years now.  Slow and steady lol  It has its flood then drought moments, I would like to know how to keep it at flood or at least a good rain.  :oD

  • Vhansen86

     I have felt doubtful just for the fear of failing and not able to pay the bills to support my family.

  • Mary Grace

    Feeling doubtful about the dream in my heart just barely describes the depth of the feeling. There are two things I dream about doing – writing a daily blog (devotion style)  and writing a book of poetry. But who am I to think that anyone would care what I have to say?  I’m not well educated, I’m of average intelligence, and you can meet a dozen women just like me at any church on any given Sunday.
    But – the desire has burned hot in my heart to do both these things for well over a year now. I’ve used up all my old, tired excuses, including the one that I am old and tired.

    So what am I waiting for?


    The Cowardly Lion,
    aka: Mary Grace 

  • Ceaston

    Yes I have felt much doubt when beginning a new adventure. It is almost always with a sense of calling from God that I begin new adventures. I find myself asking if I can remain faithful to the task. “can I”? Asking this begins to make me less faithful to what God has called me to do. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “the one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” I struggle with doubt. Can I remain faithful to letting HIM do it?

  • http://twitter.com/SarahFurman Sarah Furman

     Yes. I am always concerned that it is my dream and not God’s dream!

  • Anonymous

    Every time I write. I get terribly nervous and start to compare my writing style with someone who has probably edited their book a hundred times and has written many before that.

  • Autumncolors79

     Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Oh, yes, of course! I feel very doubtful now – looking into a new career which means going back to school – two things that terrify me!Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Oh, yes, of course! I feel very doubtful now – looking into a new career which means going back to school – two things that terrify me!

  • Melissa – Mel’s World

    So many more times than I hate to admit…it’s hard when you know that God has called you to step out and do something for Him, then let the doubt and insecurities over shadow that call. It is a daily battle for me, but I know each day I take one step closer to where He is leading me to be.  I would love to read Quitter and see what steps come next from it!  Thanks so much for sharing about it! ~ Melissa

  • Erin T

     Doubtful? Of course. Along with a million other emotions. I think doubt does a couple of positive things though. First, as a Christian, it drives me straight to Christ. I know that without Him, my next steps are futile. Where do I go? How do I know which path is the right one? Did I make the right choice? Second, it makes me evaluate my abilities. I think we get used to saying, “I do this well,” or “This is my talent.” Over time, those things evolve. Doubt helps us step back and reevaluate those skills, talents, etc. to make sure we’ve got what it takes. 

    In the last 18 months, I’ve been laid off from my dream job, had a baby, and am waiting on a potential work-from-home gig (which I’ve left in God’s hands as it is very much up in the air). My identity has changed from working-in-the-big city science girl to stay-at-home mom. My mountain of doubt about working again in my new role as a mom is frightening. But I know God has me in this place at this time for a reason. What? I have no idea. :)

  • http://profiles.google.com/new2bc Sherri Nelson

     I always told God that I would be fine with being a missionary but I didn’t want to raise my own support… Now I work with a missions organization that I have to raise my own support. I still don’t like it because it causes me to trust entirely on Gods provision and that all the people that support me monthly are going to continue to listen to God… and the list goes on. It is a scary thing and I question it maybe not daily, but for sure weekly. Sometimes to the point of wondering if I should quit and do something else, but that scares me too. 

    • http://profiles.google.com/new2bc Sherri Nelson

       Oh I just got your email that said you wanted us to say where we first heard about this as well as respond to the question. I heard about it on Jon’s twitter feed. 

  • cewhit

     I needed this reminder, especially as I step out to start my own new adventure this summer.  I may not be where others already are, but I am where I need to be.  And that’s enough for now.

  • http://twitter.com/BishopStaci Staci Bishop

     I doubt myself all the time. I have tons of ideas but trying to decide which one is best and which one God wants me to pursue or do nothing. It all gets rather confusing. 

  • Michellewiederman

     I have definitely felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure.  I think this has only been the case once.  I was entering into a marriage that I knew wasn’t right from the beginning and God was shouting to me “DON’T DO THIS”.  I chose to follow my way, and not his.  It ended ultimately in failure.  I have learned to try my best to listen to God and follow HIS will, not my own.  

  • Austin

     I’m currently working full time for someone else and need to just take the leap of starting my own business full time.  Hopefully this book will push me over the edge!

  • http://twitter.com/AimeeLSalter Aimee Salter

    Crazy doubtful!  That’s why God is so crucial to this process.  Without Him, I could never be certain I’m aiming at the right target.

    Sometimes I question how non-christians write with any degree of success… except, I figure they’re just doing what God always intended them to do – without acknowledging His part in it.

    Great post!  Thanks for the encoruagement.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_S5Y5SES2ZFLKRWA6OJMXLIDIVM Kimberly Becerra

    I am doubtful now! I want to try something new but I have fear of the unknown factors

  • http://daughtersheart.wordpress.com/ AymieJoi

    I think our world has become all about instant gratification, and this speaks to that trend in a huge way!  Thanks for the encouragement to be patient.  I start my new life tomorrow (finally landed a job in my chosen field) and yes, I’m already worried about being good enough, which is crazy because I don’t even know what time lunch is!  I’m sweating the big stuff, but at this point, I’m at the “filling out employmment paperwork” phase.  Thanks for the reminder to relax! 

  • Shelbyjayne21

     I am doubtful of what my dream even is. I would leap towards it with every effort if I just knew what I was leaping towards. 

  • Jeremy Larson

     Does quitting a full-time job to become a writer count?

  • http://twitter.com/stretchmarkmama Lisa Smith

    I was interviewed on the radio once (in-studio for a fifty minute show). It was indeed one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life. Far worse than public speaking (which I enjoy); I totally agree. 

  • Chris Thurman

    Real Dreamers Dream Big!  So it stands to reason that feeling doubtful would be a part of the dreaming process.  But real dreamers don’t let doubt steal the dream.  Instead, real dreamers only allow any feelings of doubt to fuel the pursuit of the dream.  Dreams aren’t really dreams unless there is some level of uncertainty encountered in the process of pursuit and realization of the dream.  Looking forward to reading the book!!  Thanks Jon! 

  • Hannah

     I’m ALWAYS doubtful about heading on a new adventure or dream…in fact, dream is only part of my vocabulary when talking about nighttime dreams. I am a realist…and although I want to be a type of person who takes off on great adventures, throws caution to the wind, and follows her dreams, my practical side always keeps me where it is safe, where I know I can trust God, where I miss out on the blessings of seeing dreams realized.

  • HeatherS

     I have wanted to write a book my whole life. I’m 40 now, and nowhere near that goal. Everytime I think about starting, I talk myself out of it. My biggest issue is, asking why anyone would be interested in what I have to say. I think I am a person with many abilities and talents, but my self-doubt has made me a quitter. I wonder if your book could inspire change in someone like me?

  • HeatherEV

     Yes, of course! It’s scary, but I’m working on figuring out how to pursue my dreams.

  • Susan

    Thank you for this post! I only feel doubtful about every other minute of the day. I started taking practical steps to pursue my dream about a year ago, which involves a lot of learning & trying & messing up & trying again. Like you said, it’s really hard not to compare my beginning to someone else’s middle.
    I had a bit of a revelation about that when I was watching my daughter
    do ballet. She kept getting angry that she couldn’t do every position & turn perfectly. I explained to her that she would never be a beautiful, graceful adult ballerina without learning how to do all the 3 year-old
    ballerina stuff. She wasn’t really down with that little pep talk, but it made an impression on me. So now I give myself the pep talk that it’s ok to be a 3 year-old ballerina. After all, they’re pretty fun to watch and they don’t stay 3 for long.

  • http://twitter.com/thatsElbert That’s Elbert

    It seems that there’s always been some doubt present when I’ve entered into a new place in life. I entered a big one 10 years ago when I started a new career. Looks like I could be getting into another new area soon. Doubts are coming in like a flood. Can I let it stop me? No, so I move on, encouraging myself through reading and prayer.

  • Erin Anthony

    I sure have felt doubtful about starting a new dream! I have always wanted to go into service, but new I didn’t want to become a missionary for fear of the “I’m only here to see you get saved and I don’t really care that you are in poverty” conundrum. So, after much prayer and consideration, I decided to join the Peace Corps. All throughout the arduous application process (endless medical appointments and months and months of waiting), I was so pumped and I couldn’t wait to just GO. But when my blue acceptance folder came in the mail (fellow PCVs know what I’m talking about), all I could feel was dread. The biggest wave of “what the heck have I gotten myself into?!” washed over me. I felt terror at the thought of stepping onto that airplane with 20 other strangers, starting a new life in a non-English speaking land. But you know what? It was the best thing I ever did for myself. Once I got to Nicaragua (where I served), I started to remember all the reasons why I had the dream in the first place, and I was  assured that I was where God wanted me to be. That whole experience has made me realize that God gives us dreams for a reason, even if we don’t understand them at the time. And through our fear of taking that first step, God grows us so much as people. It’s one of his shining moments really, when we don’t believe we can do it and he’s the one that gets us through it. It helps you to remember that he had that plan all along!

  • Jvhowa07

    Yes I have… and actually just about all the time I am about to start a new dream or adventure I doubt myself whether or not I should, if doing it will have an impact on my peers or myself the way i think it will.. all the time i have doubts about starting a new thing no matter what it is.

  • Nclason

    I’ve always wanted to move from the beginning phase to being at the middle without having to go through the agony. Good reminder :) thanks

  • Llamaingaloshes

     I definitely feel doubtful, almost daily.  I’m just about done with the adventure of my first year of teaching, and my brain and body every day tell me that I’m crazy for pursuing the dream of making a difference in the lives of students.  Who would willingly stand up in front of a room full of middle schoolers?  It’s exhausting, and bad days far outnumber the acceptable ones.  For some reason I feel like I should keep going, at least for a little while, but I’m not sure if teaching is the career for me.  Yet I don’t know where else to go.  So I guess until God leads me other places, this is sort of where I’m stuck for now!  Everyone says year one is the hardest…so hopefully next year will have more good days!

  • Cj Girton

    I definitely felt doubtful when I started my current adventure: motherhood.  It didn’t help that I gave my dog too much flea medicine which led him to seizures a week after I found out I was pregnant.  I thought, “I’m not capable of applying flea medicine appropriately.  How on earth am I going to take care of a baby?!”   
    Well, now I have 2 babies and they’re both alive and seizure free.  I still feel tons of doubt.  And, I have found that when I run into other moms with  small children I shouldn’t compare her to me.  I usually ask, “How do you do it?  You seem so calm and put together.”  I end up making her day and learning something as well.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      You know what? Other parents feel the same way… we look at you and ask,
      “How does she do it? She seems so calm and put together.”

  • Kevin

    Heck I am almost too fearful to write a comment here ;) I think if we are honest we are all feaful of taking that first step of faith. On some issues it may be easy, but God does not like for us to be in our comfort zone for long. The opportunity for taking that big step always comes followed by; is it the Lord’s will? Is He really calling me to do this or is it just something I want? Is He going to provide for Me? and so on. My biggest fear is definitely the fear of man, so doing anything in the ministry I am always worried what others will think about how I am performing more than how much I am serving Jesus.  Maybe kinda like the fear you had going on the radio. anyway thats my thoughts on it, thanks


  • Robalyn

    great stuff as usual Jon.
    I have always been nervous following my dreams, my biggest fear is lack of respect, I’m a bit younger (only 13) than most people who do what I do, so that’s always my biggest worry.
    That I’ll do awesome, but no one will be able to look past my age OR, I’ll finally earn respect and I’ll blow it…

  • http://twitter.com/ryanhaack Ryan Haack

     I feel doubtful often.

    I’ve been trying to move from a full-time job in health insurance to a full-time job in ministry and writing for the last five years.  And when I say “trying,” I mean, “thinking about trying.”  It gets overwhelming trying to start something that you can’t predict will workout with any certainty; especially when a beautiful wife and three amazing children are involved.

    I watched Jon’s video for Quitter the other day and couldn’t believe it.  I showed my wife and she said, “Wait, do you guys know each other??”  To say I’m excited to read it is an understatement.  I certainly hope you’ll pick me as one of the recipients!

    Thanks for all of the amazing insights and resources you share, Michael.  I’ve printed and started the Life Plan and love hearing what’s on your mind!



  • http://twitter.com/howtoeatanapple MiLO

     I suffer from quite a bit of doubt in starting a new adventure. I’m a mother of 4 little ones and I haven’t even begun my journey yet. I’m not sure if it’s a creative block, an indecisive mode of mine, or fear. But whatever it is, it definitely holds me back at times.

  • Andrenee

    I think the better question for me would be: “Have you ever not been doubtful…?”  Isn’t it (I’m so hoping it is) normal to be doubtful about your own dreams? For goodness sakes, I sometimes doubt whether they might be dreams or fantasies (complete with the butterfly on the back of the unicorn jumping the rainbow). I have a difficult time giving my dreams validity, since I have lived in a pretty safe place mostly as a housewife for the past …. years. Oh, I’m fairly confident of my skills, it’s just the how to get there from here part – the ‘plant the seed and  wait for it to grow” part.  Maybe I’m just stuck on which seed to plant…there are many to choose from, and do I have the best soil and the appropriate sunlight, and what if I forget to water or feed it and it gets all wilty and dies?  Sometimes I pray for that person moved by the voice of God to knock on my door and present me with the plant, all grown up and beautiful, with very clear written instructions on what to do next.

    Wait, what was the question?

    Oh, doubt. Yes, I doubt. It’s that combination of  wanting to be the fulfillment of what God intended for me and the feeling that I’m not sure what that even means.  It’s like I’m waiting  for the divine intervention to get me there, complete with all the answers and instructions.  In the meantime I’m sure I’ve wasted time, missed opportunities, and fretted enough to consider myself a doubter.  I long to not just be in the shadow of the cross of Christ, but to reflect His glory in my life. And maybe help pay the mortgage or the phone bill.  Such a doubter’s dilemma…

  • http://jeffmcclung.com Jeff Mc Clung

    Our journey towards adoption has been the toughest dream for us. It was tough to admit that God has a different plan to start our family then the one we thought he had. It was tough to go through all the hoops of paper work, classes, and expenses to get certified. And it has been tough to wait on God to meet our son or daughter. In spite of all the heartache we are not giving up on God because we know deep down he hasn’t given up on us. 

  • Mo Sheppard

     I’m feeling doubtful even as we speak.  I have been a teacher for 16 years.  My husband just started a new business, and if it continues to go well, I may stop teaching after next year.  We are praying about our future, and both are feeling that God is calling me to something else.  I am involved in international missions with our church, and am being led to free up my time a bit so God can use it. But MAN is it scary!  But I believe that if God wants it to happen, He will provide a way.

  • Momof9

    ever felt doubtful? ever not? Homeschool? Terrified! Each of 10 pregnancies? Overwhelmed! Following my husband all over the world with the military? Apprehensive! Starting school to have a career in my 40’s? Wowed! I think though that dreaming my own dreams is the scariest of all, but also the most exciting!!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      That’s amazing! You must have your hands full. How do you do it? I mean,
      coordinating 9 kids’ schedules must involved a crazy amount of planning and
      an organized supply chain, right?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TONIPL2THA7K357CDMJWJZWQR4 c

    in the middle of planning a new adventure. The wife and I are planning to take
    a month and travel this summer. Instead of what should be a joyful time is an
    anxiety-ridden time to figure out finances, travel logistics, even questioning
    if we deserve this valuable time! 

  • Adamlstr

    I don’t think doubtful is the feeling I feel when a new dream or adventure.  I’m usually anxious and full of hope in the very beginning and doubt isn’t what stops the momentum, it’s the realization that my dream might come true and I may not be ready for it.  It seems that doubt is what gives me motivation, it’s the thought of being successful that scare’s me sometimes so I abandon my dreams for a year and revisit them when I feel like I’m ready to handle them.  In a roundabout way doubt plays a role in my dreams.  It’s not doubt that I can accomplish my dreams, it’s doubt that I can manage the aftermath of being successful at achieving my dreams.  Is a puter-offer the same as a quitter?

  • Ashley CM

    Wow, this post is amazing first of all…(as usual, yes thats right, gotta throw in my little brown nose.) Secondly, to answer the question; Yes, I am living, breathing human, so I have felt doubtful about a new adventure/dream.  There have been countless time I have felt this, and I wish I had a chocolate chip cookie for every time I felt this.

    For me though, I think I get more doubtful over NOT starting a dream or new adventure. That is why I need to win your book, Jon! I personally have been stuck for almost six years in a depressing  carpeted box of corporate oppression and a little piece of me dies more and more every day that I am here. I don’t know what I want to do next or what my next journey will entail and that is my problem. If I would have written this comment about 5 years ago, it would been intelligent and  structured to entice you to give it a gold star, but fighting with fax machines and writing TPS reports have dumbed me down so, that I no longer feel adding my college degree on my resume is valid because my brain is full of scar tissue instead of smarts.

    I will however, be happy for whomever wins, because I am a good Christian like that!

    Thank for all your uplifting posts, they give me hope:)

  • EEwing390

     What a great point! Jon I think it’s really hard for people to remember we all have to start somewhere! As long as we keep moving forward. 

  • Jamiemd3

    Yes, most definitely. After 30 years of marriage, and most of that as a pastor’s wife I felt it was too late to begin a ‘new dream’ alone. I am still learning to trust that there is a new dream for me, that God still has PLANS for my life. God didn’t leave me, and He hasn’t dumped me in the recycle bin!

  • Jay Simon

    Absolutely. Last year, I began broadcasting high school sports over the web and radio. I’m pretty good (according to the parents of some of the players, who naturally aren’t biased in the least), but have a lot to learn at the ripe age of 41. Yet I find myself comparing my ability to the likes of Gus Johnson or Marv Albert. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well.

    Jon’a point is simple yet brilliant – why do I expect Jay in Year 1 to be like Marv in Year 20? Makes no logical sense, yet here we are. Instead, I need to focus on what I can do to improve my skills each time and trust the process. Learn from the greats, but stop comparing myself directly.

    Great stuff!

  • http://arevlife.blogspot.com Larry Kozlof

     I can recall two specific points I had an almost overwhelming sense of doubt.   But the most significant was immediately after I accepted my first ministry position.  I had interviewed twice with the pastor and his wife and felt as though it was the right choice but I suddenly became doubtful that I could live up to the expectations for the position and doubted my call to ministry.  It was 6 weeks between the point I accepted the position and the day we moved.  For 6 weeks I struggled with the full realm of what I was getting my small family into, who was I going to become close to, how was I going to get hurt and how deep would that point be.  And the doubt grew day to day, until I realized that not only was this a call that I was meant to follow but it was a dream, one that I wanted to chase regardless the pain I might face.    Glad doubt didn’t crush my dream.

  • Tracie Begnaud

     This post is very encouraging as I am beginning to write.  You compare yourself to others, but my greatest enemy is myself.  God called me to women’s ministry in 2009, and as I began ours from scratch, I felt completely inadequate to lead such a large group of women.   I doubted my ability, the little experience I had, and if I was far enough along in my walk to have a thriving ministry.  I enjoy speaking in public, but sometimes my words escape me.  I wondered what the ladies must be thinking as I baffled through my first dinner.  I was not an eloquent speaker.  That weekend I read Exodus, and came across Exodus 4:12. Here we see Moses questioning God and telling God he does not feel worthy enough to speak to the Israelites and Pharaoh and that he is not eloquent…He took my word! Anyway, this really got me. God tells him in verse 12, “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”   I was so caught up in what the perception was and how I came across, that I realized I had made this about me, but as I have come to learn ITS NOT ABOUT ME! It is about Him, His message, and me just being a vessel to get across what He wants me to. He will give me the words and the message in His timing when He wants me to speak.  The doubt I placed upon my own shoulders was whisked away, and I felt confident that if God had called me to this ministry, which He has, that He would give me the words and equip me with everything He desired for this new adventure.  I encourage others who doubt their dream or calling to trust that if God called them to it, He will definitely bring them through it!

  • http://twitter.com/JWill85 Jason Williams

     Yes. Every time I begin a major life change I get scared and nervous. It’s a cycle, you get this dream that inspires you, and then 5 minutes after it you start seeing all the negative possibilities. It’s a cycle that we must learn to leverage and take control of. Or I can just read this book and find out the answer! :)

  • http://twitter.com/wranglerdani Dani Nichols

    Absolutely! I started my own business two years ago and it’s been awesome and terrifying ever since. :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Angela W.

    Absolutely!!!  When thinking of the shear vastness of the orphan crisis – the fact that it IS a CRISIS – it is hard to move forward.  I want to make an impact, but it seems so overwhelming.  I have two choices 1) continue to be stationary because I can’t illeviate the problem, or 2) get up and do something.  Not everything, but one thing at a time.   I may not be able to end the crisis but I can work to make an impact.  Pray, support, adopt, advocate… all small steps that have led to bigger steps.  No longer paralyzed by the fear of not doing enough, with a team of others I’m launching a non-profit this weekend dedicated to supporting Ethiopia-adoptive families, building community and cultural heritage, as well as impacting the orphan crisis at its root causes.       

  • Lance

    I’m thinking about pursuing a dream now and I am a bit doubtful, yes. I believe God has placed the desire in my heart, so I’m resting in that.

  • Alex

     have i ever? i always do. there is something soo scary about starting a new dream. ive only done it once. i was awarded the chance to have an internship in washington DC. i was just a small town country girl from Alabama, but i did i packed all my bags and headed 12 hours north, i was terrified, there were so many people and so many lights and cars and so much everything. but ive never been so happy that i faced my fear. i had the most amazing time of my life that year. i met so many important people and figured out what i wanted to do with my life.. im now a sophmore in College and doing whatever takes to get back to washington DC and have my dream job.

  • Reed Homies

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?  Yes, everytime I do something worthwile there is a risk of failure, and with a risk of failure comes the seed of and environment for doubt.  Just press on.

  • Brittany Baechtle

     I’ve actually had this conversation myself….and am constantly reminding myself of it. I work at a  Christian camp, with 5 guys-i’m the only girl, and the youngest on staff by 9 years. My first year was SO difficult as i was comparing myself to people who have been in Christian camping for many more years than I, and have been on the earth WAY longer to gain more experience! I was kicking myself the other day for ‘not knowing’ something that everybody else seemed to know and one of my coworkers told me-“you have to remember-we all have at least 10 more years experience than you! It would be a problem if I was ten years older than you, but hadn’t progressed in knowledge or understanding at all! It’s how we grow!”  Since then…i try and remember that and gain as much knowledge as i can from those with wisdom greater than i…instead of getting frustrated at my own perceived inadequecies. 

  • Shannon Smith

     I’ve gotten the opportunity to teach in front of our congregation on Sunday morning.  It’s easy for me to want to emulate every person I’ve ever listened to on a podcast, and when I don’t come across as eloquent, funny, passionate, etc. to get down on myself.  I have to remember that God can speak to the people in the crowd through my untrained, inexperienced message as much as He can speak through all those men I listen to.

  • Halbsure

    I would love a copy of Quitter.  My current odds look to be, 5.5525%.  I feel pretty good, Animal Kingdom’s odds of winning the Derby were 4.1667%

  • http://twitter.com/JackeKarashae Jacke Karashae

    This post resonated with me so much; I have totally experienced this.  Here’s my story:

    I started playing music when I was 6 or 7–I’m 19 now.  About three years ago, I was given a complete audio recording setup made from “castaway” audio equipment.  Recording songs was something I was intensely interested in, and I started off with passion–I worked for four months on one song, took a step back, and realized…it was terrible.  The song was too high for my vocal range, I had arranged the drums backwards, and the song overall was past recovery.  I remember thinking that my recording “career” was over with that one failure.  I thought that it defined me.  At that point, four months was the most time I had ever spent on a self-fueled project.  I thought that I would never have the stamina or confidence to try something that long or hard again–at least not in the realm of music.

    A few months after my “disastrous” failure, I began going through really rough stuff in my life.  In the past, God has used music (and especially songwriting) as a tool to help me sort out my mental and emotional baggage and recognize the “lesson behind” what is going on in my life.  God seemed to start using that again, because suddenly I began writing a flood of music and I began to think again, “Maybe I should try recording this.”

    Two and a half years later, I finished the album “The Places I Go” and put it online for free download (if you’re curious, check it out at http://www.theplacesigo.net).  In the last eight months (mixing & mastering), I had to constantly compare my mix to professionally-recorded songs by bands like Switchfoot, Relient K, Underoath, and Showbread to try to figure out how to make a modern rock mix.  There were so many times along the way that I seriously considered giving up, even after two years of work, because I realized I couldn’t make it sound as good as the professionally-mixed songs I was using as reference material because of the quality of my equipment and my own current skill in mixing.  I eventually came to the same realization as Jon–I had to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t make it “perfect.”  However, I knew I could make it BETTER.  I worked with some individuals with great mixing sense to make it as good as I could make it, and then, on April 5…I released it.

    Are there imperfections?  Of course.  And I would not have been able to make it perfect, even if I had another eight months’ time to mix.  But was it worth finishing?  Undoubtedly.  I still can’t believe it.  I made an album!  And I can’t wait to start on the next one.  I have no illusions; my second effort won’t sound just like the A-list rock albums.  But I know that it will be better.  And the stories I have to tell–the stories of God’s grace and our need of Him–are far from over.

    Here’s to not giving up!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Jacke, good story! And good music, too! Way to go.

  • Jamielynne82

    100%! I still feel like that as a photographer and blogger. I would love to enter some of my work in submissions, but then I tend to look at those that are usually chosen and freak out. Thanks for the article!

  • Andrew P.

     Of course I have felt doubtful.  For me, as a Christian, continuing to grow and lean on my faith, that doubt means I’m on the right course.  Not necessarily that the devil is trying to attack my dream, but that I would have even greater doubts if everything went smoothly and without question.  My biggest problem is that I develop fear when everything is going smoothly.

  • Thsparks

    Yes, I have doubted myself within the last 6 months. I am an accountant and business consultant. Last fall, I went to a training with a client of mine just to network & see her in action. The training was on online business, which I never thought would fit for what I do. I loved every bit of the subject matter. It was exhilarating to think that I could use my knowledge of business & finance to help small businesses everywhere. I had several lightbulb moments, and left with a new business plan & an experienced mentor. Then reality struck, & the dark cloud of tax season set in. I really dream of helping small businesses on such a scale, but…

  • Carrie

     Yes have I ever. 
    Like right now. 
    My husband and I are branching out to start our own photography business and boy is it an intimidating field. With soooo many well established, amazing photographers out there, it’s easy to sit back and give up before we even get started. BUT I love this point you’ve made. We are at the beginning of pursuing our passion and dream, and they are already living and working in it. I’m thrilled to see how God will lead us and keep us on this road.

  • Erin Dooley

    A new adventure is like watching Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time.  You know he is going to be okay (there are three more movies) but you still jump after each dodge of bullet and poison dart.  I know that God is going to make everything alright but I will still stress when working out a problem.

  • http://www.twitter.com/nowgen T Rumler

    I fully agree. Unfortunately, I frequently see perfection/performance as a higher value than development/raising people up.. 
    Potential, growth, mentoring, risk, are lost when we leave it to the pros… There is something refreshing about the rawness and imperfections of a newbie. -Tara 


  • Amie

    I don’t usually feel doubtful because I’m full of that beginner energy until several people tell me I’m crazy/wrong. Then, the dream dies. I need to stop doing that.

  • http://twitter.com/jfmaddocks1 MaddThoughts

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? This has been a problem that has plagued me for most, OK all, of my adult life. Even now, with the big “50” looming in the next year, as a happily married husband and the father of five beautiful children; working with a wonderful group of Christians in Toronto, ON, I constantly do battle with doubt. Doubt of myself, of my talents and of my own worth. It’s an ongoing struggle.

    Thanks so much for the chance to receive a copy of this new book.

    All the very best from Toronto!


  • Neill Hernandez

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? Absolutely!!!! But, you need to let that be part of the excitement, not part of the problem.  When I was 17 years old my dream was to be a motivational speaker, which meant doing the one thing most people fear, public speaking. I took every opportunity I could to talk in front of a crowd, even though I knew I was terrible. Over the years I have learned how to react to crowds, and today (now 36) I am a teen ministry leader and a regular speaker at our church. Doesn’t get any more motivational than leading someone to Christ. Let it be part of the excitement, not the problem.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Neill, thanks for this encouragement… I love the thought of being a
      motivational speaker, bringing people to Christ.

  • http://www.annaruthcampbell.blogspot.com A. Ruth Campbell

    I have felt doubtful about beginning a new dream/adventure many times.  That’s my first human response to pretty much everything that’s new or different–fear.  And I wish I could say I would let faith win out over fear more often than I have.  I’m learning that my biggest problem is that I just don’t know how to be afraid in the right way.  Ambrose Redmoon said that “Courage is not the absense of cear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”  And I’ve started to realize that instead of being afraid of failure, I need to be more afraid of not trying.  I fear man and all the things that he might do to me if I step out in faith and try to do something bigger than myself.  I should be fearing God, the One who gave me and called me to my dreams and visions.

    If I could learn how to be afraid, I think I’d be a lot less fearful…and a lot more faithful.  That’s my prayer for right now, that I’ll be faithful with what God has given me to do, both in the big and little things.  All things become something more in His hands.  When we think of it that way, it really takes the pressure off us and allows us to become free to try just about anything.

  • http://twitter.com/ryanparnell Ryan Parnell

     I’m usually very anxious to start a new adventure but then I just put my trust and faith in God and know that things will work out the way they are supposed to.

  • Jaykill

    While fear and doubt amass over choosing the “right” path, the soul-sucking experience of working for a HUGE corporation renews my fighting spirit to continue my journey!

  • Dykstra Michele

     You know…I’d love to win this for my husband. He’s this amazing man with the most intelligence and wisdom in most anyone I know…Yet, he still questions whether or not the job he currently has is all there is. 

  • Joey E

    Oh, yeah. Definitely have felt doubtful of times in this new adventure we are in. 

  • Lee Ann L.

    “Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?”

    Yes. Constantly.  My dreams was shattered in my youth because I believed in someone who said I couldn’t make it with my dreams.  And now, I decided to go for them even though I am 46 years old. 

    I decided not to stress about my dreams and pursuing them.  I am just going to have fun in the process and seek to constantly improve my skills.   The one thing I need to remember is to never put myself down because others are better.  They are better because they have been at it longer than I. 

    I love that saying “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”  I need to remember that.  So, thank you Jon Acuff.

  • http://www.jennbyham.com Jenn

    Almost a year ago I started on a new adventure and had those feelings of fear and inadequacy. It was paralyzing. All of a sudden my world got very small. It got completely focused on me and what I can’t do, how I’m not good enough, how I’m too young or too different. As I have been in this journey now I have been surrounded by people who continually provide the role of ‘Blake’. They are quick to encourage and remind me that I can do it … I was born to do it.

    Today I hit another point where the adventure is getting bigger and more abstract. The fear hit again. The doubt settled in. I am thankful for the people who can look me in the eye and tell me how far I’ve come and what I am capable of.

    The scariest/best part about our adventures in life is that God chooses to use us, our inadequacies and all.

  • Benji

    The post was on the money! Following dreams is about discipline and faith. I hear and read that in your posts and i appreciate that you do not subscribe to the “just do it” “get rich quick” methodology (not that Dave would allow it, lol).
    God fills us with dreams and the journey is just as crucial as the realization. Pursuing our dreams is following the imagio de we were created with. The key is when the pursuit of our dream calls for the sacrifice of ourselves. What greater gift can we receive than the fulfillment of our dreams, only to discover they were the dreams we shared with our Creator, they are His dreams for us.
    Love your stuff

  • http://twitter.com/QueenofDfamily Amy Dixon

     Yes, absolutely. I have actually doubted every dream. I doubt that I can write a book, but I would love to, someday. 

  • http://twitter.com/dir7bag dir7bag

    Doubtful about starting a dream – no; doubtful after the first naysayer comes my way – yes.   I’ve had some pretty lofty dreams and goals, and each one has been met with severe discouragement or rejection by those closest to me.  I’m hoping Jon explains how to get through these people without stepping on them.

  • Kristine dB

    Have I ever felt doubtful about a new beginning or dream? Absolutely! I was terrified to move to Toronto for school, but my dream was to work in publishing so I went there to take a course. Am I worried that I’m not a good enough editor? Yes! But I’m grateful that I have people who believe in me (and who are writers!) and are giving me a chance to edit their books. Who knows what that’s a stepping stone to!

  • http://lifebythecreek.wordpress.com/ PamD

     Ummm. Yeah to the nth degree.  I have waffled for a YEAR over whether or not to begin a photography business.  And in the past few weeks, I’ve finally moved towards doing it; got the equipment, got the domain name, working on the website, got the business cards… Hello, God? I’ve prayed and prayed and PRAYED.  And I feel that Your blessings are on what I am doing.  So… may I honor You in all that I do…………  

  • Gabe_i

     Yes, my dream are to big for reality.  T he fear of failure.   If my dreams do come true how will god judge me?  What will other think about it? me?  What will other think about it?

  • CWG

    I feel doubtful all the time. As a student at the end of his last year of high school who’s never really had a job but has the dream of going into film the prospect of beginning the journey is super daunting. Filmmakers really don’t have a regular income, they need to be good to get job, and as a Christian my faith will probably be challenged more than once in this field. But I really feel that God has called me to work in film so over the next few years as my career path starts to materialize I’m just going to have to lean on Him everyday trusting that He has a plan for my life and has given me the talent and tools to follow it. Even when I feel it’s impossible.

  • Shelly

    Man, all these rules to follow! Ok, First off, yes, I have been nervous or worried about starting a new endeavor and that is precisely why I have yet to sell one thing I’ve made, because I haven’t even put a price tag on anything.
    I’m so scared of something falling apart, or someone thinking what I make is ridiculous or laughing at me that I don’t even have a beginning to compare to someone’s middle.
    I would love your book, if I don’t win one, I’ll be buying it anyway but you’d save me a few bucks and allow my children at least 2 Happy Meals in the meantime.

  • Alison

    I am recently unemployed.  I also just ended a relationship of 11 years.  I am feeling lost and begging God to give me new dreams and new hope.  I believe the promises of God’s word and that he can restore the years the locust have eaten.  I may be in my 40’s but God can still use me.  Starting over is still frightening though.  Thank for the article that reminded me that my journey is unique to every one else’s.  

  • Mike Fair

    I’m in the process of thinking through a new project and I’m already comparing what I haven’t even started to others.  Thanks for this! 

  • Shaneandkeysa

    Always scary to start a new dream. It’s supposed to be. The dreams God gives are always bigger than you and can’t be accomplished without His help. It reminds us that we need Him. Like Paul said: His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

  • Sonya

    Yes. I love God’s timing in addressing doubt and fear in my life. Once again, He affirmed His promises through your blog for me today.  I have always wanted to start my own blog, however I would always use the excuses I am too busy in life, my writing skills are not polished enough, or listening to the enemy tell me it would never work or I would quit after a short time. Well I finally got the courage and created one yesterday (with great support and assistance from my husband). My husband recently attended the Chick-fil-A Leadership Conference and came home with your info. So I checked out your blog and found a plethora of information about blogging and that was the catalyst to my blog journey! What keeps me going is God’s promises in completing the good work He has begun in me and knowing I can do all things through Christ! Thank you for sharing with the world. You are a true inspiration. (Especially to the amateur bloggers out here :)

  • ck

    The fear of the unknown has certainly caused me to be doubtful at times.  However, I think the words to the song by Bebo Norman sum up how I approach a new dream or adventure…

    Never got anywhere by running awayNever learned anything without a mistake Never loved anyone by playing it safeIt’s a long way down, but I’m here right now…soHere goes nothing, here goes everythingGotta reach for something or you’ll fall for anythingTake a breath, take a step, what comes next God only knowsBut here goesI don’t wanna turn around and wonder what happenedNever lost and never found are one in the sameI wanna run across the battle lines and take my chancesNot the long way ’round when I’m here right now…

  • Isy

    Have I ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?
    Yes I have, and I’m not proud of it, because I have let all the negative “what ifs” crawl over me and I have locked two dreams in a box and haven’t been able to let them out and let them be.  The worries, the fear, the doubts have discouraged me more than I had given it thought, but now that I have read Jon’s post I have to say, that I had never looked at it that way, I was always comparing myself to others, and I was sure I wouldn’t measure up. But the thing is I don’t have to, at least not yet.  I just have to believe and recover those dreams, get my camera and get my sewing machine and “get my dream on”  more than a simple thought inspiring piece of writing, this blog brought me something I had forgotten how to feel: hope. Thanks Jon and thanks Michael for having Jon as your guest, a couple dreams have just woke up.


  • Anonymous

     I feel doubt right now that I started a new job last week.  EVerything in an interview process looks awesome, but it is so easy to be deceived and people will always tell you want you want to hear!  I think it will be OK though. and people will always tell you want you want to hear!  I think it will be OK though.

  • Skottydog

    So many instances come to mind.   Why do I let doubt get in my way.  Is it that I have to make room for self-loathing?  Or, is rejection from people I don’t care about, or don’t even know so much more important to me?   I don’t know.  But I do know it’s caused me to sit on the dock plenty of times and watch boat after boat sail away.

    For example, I lost my job in October 2008.   Relieved, since the job made me physically sick, I knew my part time gig wasn’t enough to support my wife, our 13 month old son, and our rediculously overvalued, overpriced, home that we “just had to have” in the 2006 Florida real estate market.  
    I thought, “This is it.   I can finally write that book I always wanted.  I can start a podcast or a blog about being a stay-at-home-dad.”  What a hot topic!  I could write or talk about going to play groups and being the only male, and feeling like a stalker.  Or about having dinner ready for my wife when she got home, that was good enough to satisfy her hunger, but not enough to take away the ‘mommy’ role she thought I might be stealing away.  I had TONS of material.  Then, around the same time, other bloggers and authors popped up.   I was dejected again.Then, I got a full time job.  Then I got a promotion.  So, my idea stayed on the back burner, where it is now ice cold and not even on the stove anymore.   I missed the boat.   My third or fourth ship in my creative space has sailed.   My problem is me.  I am my own worst enemy.   I need to ignore, or rise above, my doubt and get out there and do whatever it is that hasn’t been done before.   It’s not procrastination.   It’s not laziness.  It’s not even time constraints (I currently have ANOTHER 13 month old inhabiting our Sarasota money pit).I need to go with my gut, put it to paper, and go for it.   Worse ideas are springing up anywhere.  I can do it, if I just get out of my own way.   Just look at the guy who patented “voice recognition texting”.  That’s popular now.  Isn’t that sort of like, I don’t know, old fashioned talking to someone on the phone?   If that can make it big, surely one of my ideas can stick somewhere.

  • http://twitter.com/jastreich jastreich

    Recently in my “spare time” I started a company doing church websites, but I’ve been afraid to do sales calls, letters and contacts to church directly.  I’ve done a few FaceBook, Twitter and blog posts but no real direct contact, because I am afraid of the rejection.  Afraid deep inside that the software I’ve written and am writting aren’t marketable, while I pay lip service to excuses like “After this module is done, I’ll contact them” and te like.  Gotta get myself out there, after all only way to truly fail is not to try. fail is not to try.

  • deanna

     I can honestly say that I have talked myself out of every dream I’ve ever had.   That is the few dreams I have even allowed myself to have.  I’m not even sure some people would consider them dreams.  
    But last summer, listening to a Passion City Church podcast on the road, God (via Giglio) hits me with some truth.  Dreaming is completely intertwined with my faith.  I do not dream, because I do not trust. So for the past 6 months I have taken steps to begin my dream.  A new job, a new future doing something that uses my creativity and gives me joy. I am scared a lot.  I compare every week.  What I needed most right now was this post and this truth.  I am not where everyone else ahead of me is and the comforting thing is, I’m not supposed to be.  I am on a journey and learning how to Dream BIG with God and trust that He has my best in mind no matter the outcome.  This is new.  This is a first.  Thank you Jon, for the encouragement that is very safe, practical new dreamer trying to break out of her mold, needed to keep going!  Reading “Quitter” is my next assignment.  

  • Kate C.

    I am especially anxious about my new dreams! College is almost over and I am getting a liberal arts degree and so of course everyone asks me what I’m going to do with it. I don’t know! I’m praying and talking to God so we shall see!

  • Shawn Mehaffie

    Question: Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure? You can leave a comment by  
    I’d be lying if I did not say yes.  But I am beginning to learn that sometime we have to step out of our comfort zone and do things we would not normally do.  An example of this is last year I submitted 2 topics to present at a local conference, which is something I would not normally do since I have always been terrified of public speaking.  But my boss encouraged me to do it and pushed me to setp out of my comfort zone.  I am now glad that he pushed me, and I now speak at 2-3 local conferences a year.
    Now that is not to say that I am a great presenter like some of the other presenters that present at the conferences, and it is hard not to compare yourself to them.   But it is still a learning process and something I have to learn not to do, there will always be someone who is better.  One of my best feedback (and probably the most honest) stated I was not the strongest speaker at the conference but the topic was good and the evaluator could tell I had a passion for the subject matter.  I could have let that really get me down, or taken it and use it to push me to learn from the other presenters to get better.  Luckily I chose the latter and am still trying to find ways to improve my presentations.
    I hope I am one of the lucky winners of your book.  I have been wanting to read it ever since I heard your interview on Dave Ramsey.

  • Ashley

    I’m on week 3 of a new job…and the gal who’s been in the ministry position for the last 4 years is training me before she steps out-so every single day I see how well she knows the church, our students, the job. I wasn’t scared to start until I saw her and how different we are-and how great she is in the role. But I have to remember what you’ve said here! She’s had more time here…and the comparison game must end!
    I bring something different to the ministry and was hired for these things…it’s going to get better!!

  • http://bonnieb.blogspot.com Bonnie

    Of course I have been doubtful when beginning a new adventure!  When I decided a year ago to start learning Spanish and attending church in Spanish so that I could reach my neighbors and families I work with, I thought it would be impossible… but I’ve learned much over TIME… thanks, Jon for the reminder that dreams take time!  I often listen in on other gringa’s conversations in fluent Spanish and forget that they didn’t learn Spanish overnight, and neither will I!

  • Jeremy Mayo

    Solid, easy, yet complex advice.  We always want to show we are just as good as the guy or gal that has been doing for years upon years, what we have been doing for just a short time. I really like the quote, “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”  

  • Reid Bannon

    Sure I have been doubtful, but I am so thankful for great thinkers and doers like you Jon Acuff and Tim Sanders.  Confidence builds by reading great things then attempting to put them into practice in my life.  I love this stuff. Thanks for your inspiration.  

  • Daunavan Buyer

     My second year of Bible College something that I felt God leading me towards was something that we came to call ‘Unity Nights.’ There were three Bible Colleges in the smaller city that I lived in and they never did anything together (other than the odd prank and poke fun at stereotypes amongst the denominations). I felt compelled to begin ongoing worship meetings involving the three schools. This was something big that would take a lot of work and was way beyond my ability to achieve. I was doubtful because the history of the schools showed no type of unity events ever scheduled before, the three schools had very different denominational affiliations and I thought that this would be a barrier to true unity. Along with this, I was just plain scared.. what if no one thought this was a great idea or really embraced? It took me 4 months after the idea was initially planted in me that I decided to just do it, that no matter what, I would get it done. If there were 50 people or 1000 people there the point is that I was obedient to what God was calling me to do. The unity nights launched 4 months before I left school that semester and we had 3 unity nights before I left. Each one was very well attended and very well received (the venues we held them at were packed out). It truly was an adventure.. even moreso, I am currently starting another new adventure of a similar nature in my home city.. doubtful, yes. Filled with hope that it’s not by my ability, absolutely.  (the venues we held them at were packed out). It truly was an adventure.. even moreso, I am currently starting another new adventure of a similar nature in my home city.. doubtful, yes. Filled with hope that it’s not by my ability, absolutely. 

  • kingmarioxv

    Most definitely – currently in grad school and it’s a long road ahead. Took a lot of discussion and prayer before deciding to commit several years to further schooling. One year in – I still have occasional doubts about whether I made the right decision or not :-~

  • Matt

    In my current workplace, I have been trying to improve the overall culture and taking certain steps to do that has been exciting but discouraging at times.  I have found myself comparing where I am at to another department that has the culture I want.  I have had this thought before…That I can’t compare myself to that other department as they have been on the same page for years, but it is still difficult.  Thanks for the post.

  • http://twitter.com/BigDumbPuppy Maggie Samuelson

    i feel that way pretty much all the time. But, in all honesty, if it happens it happens, if not then not. It’s like casting a line, you’re not sure if you’re going to catch any fish, but at least you took the chance to get out there.

  • Jean9mil

    Doubtful? Yes, unfortunately. However maybe it’s fortunate given that I have more than a year to either fuel or squelch my doubts…  By that time all of my children will be in school and I will return to ‘the workforce.’  I’ve been blessed to be at home with them for 8 years… and one short one remaining.  So the questions presenting the doubts are: Do I seek out employment that will feel “safe and comfy” in that it closely resembles what I did prior to becoming “Mommy?”- or – Do I take a chance at something that may prove more rewarding and worthwhile, but exceedingly more challenging?  The answers to these doubt-provoking questions will (hopefully) come in time, given that I have a decent amount of it, as I prayerfully consider how my choice will affect my husband and children… 

  • Anonymous

     right after college I packed up my rusty old VW van for a 5 month road trip – and you’d better belief I was filled with doubt. If I’d get bored, if I’d get tired of being on the road, if I’d never come back (and I didn’t, I ended up moving to Oregon), if the van would break down (it did after 2 months). 

  • Sarah

    Right now I’m on the verge of graduating high school.  I was shy as a kid, I’ve been seriously messed up by life, I really don’t have the best social skills, to be honest.  Somehow, I feel a calling from God to go in to ministry. Some people know me and they think wow, that’s perfect.  Others are like what?  you crazy???  I have to admit I’m on of those people right now going you’re crazy Sarah.  I’m moving twelve hours away to a state I’ve only been once in my life, when I’ve never lived anywhere else.  I’m excited about what God might be able to do but right now, I’m also terrified at what all of this means and how God’s going to help me get through this.   

    • http://www.annaruthcampbell.blogspot.com A. Ruth Campbell

       Girl, you sound just like me.  Only I’m on the other side of where you were.  I am not doing exactly what I want to do yet, but I’m doing more than I thought I’d be able to do.  I was so shy and awkward.  Still am in a lot of ways.  I have some advice you can take or leave.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to do ministry their way.  Don’t let anyone tell you that your way of doing things is not valid just because it isn’t a typical way of doing things.  Don’t let anyone force you to be more aggressive, more social, more like everyone else–but do force yourself to be uncomfortable from time to time.  Remember that God made only one YOU.  You are His workmanship, created to do good works He prepared in advance for you to do (Eph. 2:10).  If you don’t know exactly what His will is for you in the long run, just keep doing what you know is His will–like praying, reading Scripture, loving others, etc.   If you’re earnestly seeking Him, He won’t just leave you hanging.   When it comes down to it, none of us have any worth.  We’re all just weak fools–but the thing is, God uses the weak and foolish to shame the strong and wise (1 Cor. 1:27).  There’s hope for me, and there’s hope for you.  I’m proud of you, and I know that God is going to be faithful to complete what He has started in you.  I’m actually a little jealous of you that you’re just starting this crazy adventure–though I’ve got my own crazy adventures to worry about.  I’ll let you in on a little secret though: it’s okay to be crazy.  So maybe you are crazy to do this, and maybe that’s okay.  God’s got plans for you that are bigger than anything you can imagine, and you’re just beginning this journey.  Trust Him, and learn to trust Him more.    Enoy every minute of it, Sarah.  Your name means princess, and that’s what you are–God’s daughter, who represents Him in whatever you do.  So be exactly who you are.  You don’t have to get it all right the first time.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and LIVE.  Just keep trying, keep trusting, and keep breathing.  You’re gonna be okay.

  • Krystal

    I am starting a new blog and I am terrified. I sat down with my co-author, and we discussed the first thirteen posts, and I felt confident. But now? Now I’m just terrified. What if my tips aren’t helpful? Am I exemplifying Christ without specifically mentioning Him? I want to have people read my blog, but I’m scared to have them know the secrets I’ve discovered. What if I’m not enough?

  • Thomas Dowling

     I don’t know if doubtful is the right word, I would say that I often get anxious, but as I said, rarely doubtful.

    At a youth retreat for 11-18 years about 6 years ago (I was 11 at the time), one afternoon we were each tasked with decorating a 10″ x 10″ canvas.  I decided to do a white cross with a multicoloured background.  Now I was never very artistic, but my cross seemed, to me, to be pretty impressive; little 11 year-old Tom was very proud of his creation!  I looked round to see what everyone else was doing, and they all seemed to be adding scripture to theirs, so, not wanting to be left out, I proceeded to add a verse to mine.  However, my handwriting was less than beautiful and afterwards, I immediately regretted it, feeling as though I had ruined my wonderfully artistic cross.  I was gutted, but nevertheless, I hung it above by bed when I got home and it has hung there ever since.

    In hindsight, adding that verse was the greatest thing I ever did.

    “Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:6

    Every day, it is this verse which stops me from doubting, stops me from hesitating, for whether I am doubtful or not, God has control of my life, so better to rejoice in every moment, good or bad, than to hesitate and risk missing some of it!  

  • Thomas Dowling

     I first read about this fantastic opportunity when Jon Acuff Retweeted a link to this blog post yesterday.

    Not sure if this is what I need to do, bit confused! lol

  • http://twitter.com/aroseatapp Amity Robinson

    I graduated from Appalachian State December of 2009 with my BS in Elementary Education. Somehow  (really it was God) I had managed to get the maternity leave for the entire Spring semester with the class I just finished my student teaching with. 

    I had spent the last 5.5 years in Boone, and had loved every minute of it. My freshman year I never got homesick. However, this time I found myself on the verge of tears about the idea of moving to Boone to teach. I’ve wanted to teach since I was 5 years old, and 18 years later I was getting that opportunity. Finally getting my dreams was scary! I knew I could teach this class, I had just spent the last few months doing just that. I still had major doubts about my abilities and the idea of really moving “away” from home terrified me.   

    Thankfully I have a fantastic support system. My mom daily reminded me, “You were born to be a teacher. God made you with the abilities and passions for this. Don’t let doubts stop you. It’s your first year of teaching, and it’s okay to mess up.” Let me tell you that I hate messing up. I like to feel like I know what I’m doing. The advice worked though. Even though I was homesick, I still loved being in my college town again. I definitely messed up from time to time, but my co-workers and principal were always kind and gracious. Do I know what I’m doing this first full year of teaching? No! I’m enjoying the adventure of my dream though. 

  • Inspiresme

    “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” That sounds a lot like a little baby saying he wants the belly of Grandpa! It takes a lot of spaghetti to get a belly like Grandpa’s … so that little kiddo has a long way to go. We should all definitely only compare ourselves with where we’ve come from, not where we are going, who has already been there and back, or those who wish they could go – all those will get us in trouble, either too much pride on our part, putting someone else on a pedestal, or worse. 

  • Jestes12

    I have felt doubtful many times. Once quitting a well paying job to start school and work for a church and more recently when I was unemployed and looking for a new job. The most recent experience help me to realize that in doubt I have a HUGE opportunity to depend on God. When life is sailing along I forget who I should depend on. Keep up the great work.

  • Jenny

     Dreams involve risk and risk includes the possibility of failure. If don’t have a tiny twing of fear going into a new adventure than we probably aren’t dreaming big enough. Where there is something to be gained there is also something to be lost, if we aren’t willing to risk then we aren’t really stepping out into something bigger. I am a recent college graduate, who just moved to Fiji for the year to work with an organization called Student Life. There was defintely some doubt involved, will I like Fiji? will I miss my family too much? will I like the people? will I be able to figure out how to do life in a completely new place? In the end all these things I didn’t know stretched me and taught me so much. I would do it over again in a heart beat!

  • Jennifer

    Yes anytime a big idea that requires a leap of faith, that is when doubt and fear can set in.

  • Shana

     I have applied for a position that I consider my ‘dream job’ but spent two days last week at the conference and wondered if I was worthy.  I listened to brilliant speakers and put myself down, I heard board members talking and put myself down, I sat in my hotel room (alone) and prayed that God would choose the best person for the job.  I haven’t heard if the position is mine, but regardless – two days of “am I good enough?” came to an end when I focused on seeing what God has given me instead of what I want.  Similar to the time I told my college professor “You’re so good at that!” and he swiftly replied “40 years of experience” – even hearing God takes experience. 

  • Melissa H.

    I would say I question this on a day to day basis, but know in my heart it’s something I have to do.

  • http://www.whatsthislifefor.org PastorT

     I am a senior seminary student and even with 6 hours left to complete my degree, quitting is a prominent thought….daily.  

  • Charissa Greer

    Yes, I have felt doubtful many,  many times.  Most recently is starting
    my fashion design business and a consulting business.   I have to daily
    squeeze past fear that paralyzes me from moving into both business. 

    This is especially true when God gives you the end of your dream, the
    Big Picture (theater-size), and you are struggling with tv in your
    head.  I know that that I can do all things through Christ who gives me
    ability and strength.

    Thanks Jon for the encouragement to get past fear and stop comparing
    myself to others. Besides, isn’t comparison a slap in the face to the
    Lord who has equipped me specifically and uniquely for my dream?

  • Jim Vanderhoof

     I was chosen as Country Director for about 50 missionaries here in Kenya about 5 years ago, following a series of very successful directors during the previous 60 or so years of our mission’s ministry. Talk about pressure!  But as Isaac Newton wrote “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”  Rather than constantly comparing myself to my predecessors, I learned from their experiences, both good and bad. Must be working–I’m still here!

  • http://twitter.com/mattdaduke Matt Duke

     Doubt of a new adventure has become my favorite part of any adventure.  There is an exact equilibrium. The more securities and guarantees we want against things, the less free we are. Tyrants are not to be feared today, but our own frantic need of security is. Freedom inevitably means insecurity and responsibility. -Jacques Ellul There is an exact equilibrium. The more securities and guarantees we want against things, the less free we are. Tyrants are not to be feared today, but our own frantic need of security is. Freedom inevitably means insecurity and responsibility. -Jacques Ellul 

  • Windi

    Funny enough, I feel doubtful right now.  I know I should go back to school, but don’t really know what to go back for.  I would love to follow my dream, but I have too many friends with music degrees that are working at Olive Garden or Game Stop. :( 

  • Sarah

    Yes, I’ve been doubtful. I kind of still am. For the past few years, I’ve felt like God has been calling me to do medical missions work. I just finished my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering and had planned to attend medical school after it, but this last year has been pretty confusing to say the least. I’ve never really been concerned about how much money I’d have or be able to save when I was working overseas, but because of my degree program, I’ve been surrounded by people who are getting well-paying, full-time jobs immediately out of college. With the schooling still ahead of me, I won’t be making any sort of money for at least another 8 years. I know that God will provide for me – he’s already shown how! I received a full scholarship to earn a master’s in public health which is a *crazy* blessing – but unfortunately, doubts still creep up from time to time.

  • Greg Simmons

    Yes. I’m trying to follow a dream right now and I’m feeling very doubtful at times.  As a matter of fact, I’m following two dreams right now – which just adds to the doubt, fear and nervousness.

    Thanks for the insight here Jon.  In fact, I’ll be writing this up and putting it where I can see it as I follow this dream:

    “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

    I believe there is another truth to that statement. Focusing on the comparison between us and someone else takes our focus off God and the dream he gave us.  If the devil can distract us like this he can derail our progress.

    I really needed this today!

  • Devon

    It is said that the opposite of great isn’t bad, it’s “good enough”.  Mediocrity has a kind of comfortable predictability.  Because one is in the middle, about average, in company with most other people in the center of the pack, there is a gravity pulling one to stay there.  Out there on the edges, where people’s dreams come true or they face failure alone, that is a scary place.  But being mediocre isn’t comfortable forever.  As one self-examines and finds that they are just like most everyone else, the desire to differentiate oneself grows.  The gravity to stay weakens as it fights against the desire to soar, to be more and do more.  If you can keep resisting the shallow attractiveness to play it safe and not push yourself to your limit or beyond your limit, then you may find success beyond what you previously imagined.  It might be on the other side of hard failure, it might take longer than you think, and it might strain your relationships with your mediocre friends and family.  But it might just be your destiny.  Quitter sounds like just the kind of work that can help people do exactly that.

  • Mike Stock

    That is so True Jon, there are folks in the world that think if they have seen something on TV they can do it as well as what they have seen, that is until they pick up a skateboard or a unicycle and fall flat on their inexperience.

    • Mike Stock

      That is so True Michael, there are folks in the world that think if they
      have seen something on TV they can do it as well as what they have seen,
      that is until they pick up a skateboard or a unicycle and fall flat on
      their inexperience. 

  • Clifford Bailey

    – I’ve started then stopped a novel over a dozen times over the last few years. 
    – When I quit my job to go back to school for English teacher certification.
    – When I moved to a different state to pursue a romance.
    – When I decided to take steps to join the Navy
    – When I decided to ask a girl for my first kiss

    Doubts are always there, but there comes a point where you just lower your head, throw out one of your shoulders and run headlong into the breach.  War cry/barbaric yawp is optional.

  • http://twitter.com/jtfriel Justin

     Great post and reminder for someone preparing to chase after my dream of becoming a counselor and spiritual mentor. I’m connected to counselors and spiritual directors that I want to be like, and I must be constantly reminded  that my life will not look anything like their middle. Thank so much Jon, and Michael for giving Jon another platform from which to announce the truth. 

  • Kevin

     I absoultely have. I continually feel like I don’t have anything to add to an already crowded industry, but then wonder where I might have something to add or contribute. So, that fear often keeps me from pursuing anything! Hopefully a copy of Quitter can help…


  • Dawn

    Definitely feel doubtful but also hopeful. New things are scary and failure is a killer but the thought of succeeding outweighs both. Everything was a first at one time and I’ve gotten this far so why stop? Jon’s book sounds like a great read.

  • Chris D.

    For me, the fear of the unknown has always been greater than the discontent of the present.  As long as my dream remains a dream, I will never have to fail at it.  But I know, someday I will regret my inaction.

  • Jim McGinness

    Thanks so much for this and other posts –I appreciate your transparency.

  • Sbreeding

     Always. It’s my nature, and sometimes I am better at fighting it than others. I am thankful I prevailed when I pursued a major career change 8 years ago, but there are many other times I give up too easy or never start.

  • Larry Darnell

    Have you ever felt doubtful about beginning a new dream or adventure?

    I often feel doubtful but it is never the beginning. It seems I put a lot of energy and excitement on the front side. I believe the doubt creeps in for me along the middle…sort of like that moment you realize you have turned the wrong way…you are not really sure but you pretty much know you did. When I get there, it is very difficult to continue on when I start losing sight of that dream. I believe the doubt also comes to me because I have seen so many  of my dreams crash to the ground just when I thought they were going to happen. Never seems to affect the beginning however. I come to it again as though I had never gone this way before. Perhaps that is good, perhaps not.

  • Abigail R.

     I felt doubtful about going on a 3-week mission trip to Albania.  I wasn’t sure if God even wanted me in this.  I decided that He wouldn’t have made it so financially possible if He didn’t want me to go.  Two days into it though I was convinced that I had made a mistake.  That I had taken someone’s place.  Someone more qualified than I was to share the Good News of Christ’s gifts of love.  But as I finally opened up and began to share my fears with the other team members and they began to pray over me, I knew that I was right where I belonged.. at least for those three weeks.  It was an amazing feeling.

  • Abby

    I have definatelyl felt doubtful when starting a dream.  This is probably because those things I dream require a huge leap of faith.  Praise the Lord for being so trustworthy, otherwise, I would not be chasing the incredible dreams he has planted in my heart! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/claywginn Clay W. Ginn

    I was just licensed as a minister through my church two weeks ago. I’m nervous, excited, overwhelmed, and thrilled all at once. How will my calling work itself out in the future? I have no idea. As I told the congregation that day, Psalms says that God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. It never says God’s word is a road map to show us where we’re going. I’ve been the worship leader for two years now, but I’m not sure if that’s where God is leading me in the future. Every journey starts with a step, and that’s where I’m headed now.