I recently purchased a copy of Jon Acuff’s Start. I heard him a few times on Dave Ramsey’s radio show and thought he was a pretty amusing guy. I was reluctant to get the book because the last thing I needed to do was start something else. I am currently teaching full-time at one university, taking calculus at another, running my accounting firm and studying for the GMAT. On top of all that, we are working on home improvements, have a full house of people and I’m serving on the Board of Education in town. What the hell else was I going to start?
Maybe it’s not so much about what I want to start, but what I want to start doing better. Earlier this year, I was rejected by the three PhD programs I applied to. I felt like my dreams had been squashed. The voices in my head told me I should just quit and find some other dream to go after. As I am reading Jon’s book, I realized that I need to keep going after that dream.
At one point in the book, Jon asks, “If I died today, what would I regret not being able to do?” Near the top of that list for me is continuing to help students succeed. Teaching is my passion. I love doing it. I truly believe this is my calling. I could keep going what I am going now and bounce around from university to university but then I rarely get to see the end of the story. I get to help many students begin their path to success. Some of them track me down to let me know about their successes years later, but I want to be there when they get to the end of their college career. I want to see the full progression. In order to do that, a PhD is a must.
Then the voices in my head start to chime in. “You can’t get into a program. You won’t be happy when you get there. You don’t have to do this now. It’s too late to start this.” I love how the voices contradict each other. I can’t do it, but I won’t be happy when I do. It’s too late, but I can put it off. I started thinking about all the voices in my head that Jon describes in the book. Those voices that keep you mediocre. Those voices that keep you in front of the TV rather than working toward your dream. Jon recommends that you write them down and share them with others. I decided that the best place to do that was here, on the blog I’ve used to document so much of my journey. I have celebrated successes here, like when we paid off the last of our credit card debt. I think it’s also a good place to share my stumbles, like getting rejected for PhD programs.
If I want to get to my dream, I have to start sometime. By facing those silly voices in my head and realizing just how silly they are, I guess I’ve started tonight. Nothing worth doing is easy, but I going to try not to let me get in my way.