Acuff [This post is a part of the WikiConference 2014 series of posts]

Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of four books including his most recent, Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average & Do Work that Matters. In addition, he’s become a social media expert with blogs that have been read by 4 million people and more than 215k twitter followers.

We live in a changing world.  The world our kids are growing up in is far different than the world that we grew up in.  Technology and the rate of change is speeding up at an alarming rate.  Imagine having to grow up with social media around?

Change can be either overwhelming or an opportunity.

For leaders change is an opportunity to grow.  But if we want to be a part of the change that is happening around us, we have to have grit.

Bravery + Empathy + Hustle = Grit


Bravery is being stubborn in the face of fear.  Often for us we enjoy watching other people have bravery, but avoid it for ourselves.  Being afraid isn’t failure, staying afraid is.

For leaders this is difficult because we have big fears.  The bigger the story, the bigger the dragon.  The bigger the purpose, the bigger the fear. And these fears often come from an unhealthy need to compare yourself to others.

"God is not surprised or disappointed by the size of your ministry."

Because of social media, it has become so easy to compare yourself.  Don’t focus so much on what god is doing in other people’s church that you fail to focus on what he is doing in your own.

Be brave.  Be brave enough to be bad at starting something new and be brave enough to ask hard questions.


Empathy is understanding what someone needs and acting on it.  There are two parts to this equation: understanding and actually doing something.  Both are important.  You can’t have empathy if you don’t actually understand others.  And you don’t have empathy if your understanding doesn’t lead to action.

If you want to be empathetic, the way you do so is simple.

  1. Read less minds.
  2. Ask more questions.
  3. Be human.

Choosing empathy is cheap; losing empathy is expensive.


Hustle is doing the important things others don’t to enjoy the results that others won’t.  In Colossians 3:23 Paul writes, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”  If you want to do things that no one else is doing, you are going to have to work hard when others aren’t.

But also realize in the midst of the hustle, there are seasons.

There are times when we are tempted to let our families get the rest of me and not the best of me.  Don’t sacrifice your family for your ministry.  Don’t let your church steal your family’s Christmas.

Hustle makes you step into the tension of yes and no.  Hustle harder and do the important things no matter how big or small because there’s no such thing as a small yes when you are talking about a big God.