By Jon Acuff
A few weeks ago, I sat next to two sisters in their 60s on a flight. They were flying back from a trip together. They instantly made me laugh by asking me, “Do you mind if we eat our breakfast?” at which point they pulled out massive barbecue sandwiches.
I told them it was 8 p.m. and most people wouldn’t have described barbecue as breakfast. They just smiled and said, “Oh honey,” as if I’d said the silliest thing. But as we started talking, they ended up asking me a really difficult question.
In the middle of the flight, after telling them what I did for a living, I gave them a copy of my book Quitter. They read the back cover and the description. Then, one of the sisters got deathly solemn and leaned over to me. Somewhere 30,000 feet above Dallas, she asked me this:
“What do you do when all your excuses for not pursuing your dream are gone? Your kids are out of the house, you’re retired, you’re not too busy, and suddenly you can’t make those same excuses anymore? What do you do then?”
I didn’t have an easy answer for her. When I wrote Quitter, I thought a certain age group would like it. But I wasn't thinking about retirees that much. I missed a simple truth about life.
We all make excuses why we’re not pursuing the things we feel called to do. That’s not limited to a certain age group or generation.
We all have too many other obligations.
We're all too busy.
We’ve got to make the right amount of money first.
We can’t get started until later.
But the problem is that, someday, we’ll all come to a place where the excuses don’t work anymore. Eventually, our excuses disappear like they did for the sisters on the plane, and we’re left with the difficult question of “What now?”
Excuses will kill us if given the chance. They will climb aboard our backs and walk us into the grave, without us ever knowing what might have been.
Or, we will call them what they are: foes not friends. We will label them as enemies and fight them. We'll we confess we have them so that we can drag them into the light and kill them, long before they kill us.
I don’t know what your excuses are for not starting your dream, but I know two sisters in their 60s who are not going to walk into their 80s with the same excuses. They read 80 pages of Quitter on the plane. And when we landed, they said, “You wrote my story! This is my story! I know three of my friends I am going to give this to!”
I immediately said, “You’re right. If there’s one thing I know, it’s how it feels to be a retired African-American grandmother.” I think that might be what I said, but to be honest I was too distracted thinking about you and me.
I don’t want us to wait until we’re 60 to deal with our excuses.
I want us to kill them before they kill us, which is why we’re holding another Quitter Conference in Nashville on September 21 and 22, 2012. This two-day conference is designed to equip you to chase your dreams in the best possible way and will help you answer questions like:
- What is my dream?
- How do I avoid the common pitfalls that wreck most dreams before they even begin?
- Where do I find more of the most limited—but most critical—resource, time?
- How do I fall in like with my day job, as I work toward my dream job?
Whether you’re unemployed right now, stuck in a job you don’t love, or just curious about growing your dream job, this weekend is for you.
It’s time to kill your excuses. And, for two days, hundreds of dream chasers from all walks of life will do just that.Jon Acuff is the Wall Street Journal best-selling author of Quitter and Stuff Christians Like. Known for his entertaining and inspiring messages, he travels the country speaking to businesses and colleges on everything from leadership and purpose to social media and life balance. He’s a regular contributor to CNN.com, Fox News Channel and ABCNews.com.