God calls each of us to put our talents and gifts to work. And when we’re feeling the pull, we start on the goal, project or other venture we feel called to. And then, things get hard or we get bored and the goals that we were once excited about become another project unfinished.

Why is it that 92% of goals never get finished? Jon Acuff has spent the last few years researching just that. Today on the podcast, Jon is breaking down why we start and then stop, the things we’re doing to hold ourselves back, and reminding us that achieving our goals isn’t just fun… it’s good stewardship.

Welcome to Episode 21 of the Think Orange Podcast.

Where To Listen:  iTunes  |  Google Play  |  Stitcher  |  SoundCloud

Topic Timeline

Jon Acuff on stewarding what God has given you (3:37)

When God blesses you, the response has to be gratitude (7:05)

Sometimes, your exposure gets bigger than your talent (8:05)

Failure teaches us things we wouldn’t willingly teach ourselves (10:15)

  • The reset of Saul
  • The reset of Simon Peter

Embrace failures and resets, they’re gifts from God (12:10)

Dave and Ashley’s conversation with Jon (12:35)

Jon’s gives an overview of his new book, Finish (14:00)

There’s an epidemic of people starting their goals, but not finishing (15:45)

What are the distractions that keep us from finishing? (17:19)

  • It will always be easier to start
  • Secret rules and fears
  • Self-sabotage

Is success sinful? (19:40)

Secret rules we each bring to our goals (21:05)

If you believe that what you’re creating can help people, not telling them isn’t kindness it’s cowardness (25:15)

When someone gives you the gift of a compliment and you reject it, you’re not being humble you’re just rejecting a gift (26:25)

What does research say about why we don’t achieve goals(28:15)

  • We don’t make our goals fun
  • We think we need to be miserable to matter
  • We measure achievement and satisfaction
  • It’s on us to make goals fun

Being reward-driven or fear-driven (32:00)

How do we select which goals we try to achieve (33:40)

We all like to feel productive, does that get in the way of us achieving goals? (37:05)

Getting past distractions and finding how you work best (38:40)

Dave and Ashley debrief on the wisdom Jon shared (45:05)

People, Places & Helpful Resources

Finish by Jon Acuff Pre-order now, available September 12th

The Orange Tour—coming to a town near you!

The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity by Grant Snider

Blog: Orange Leaders – a blog with strategies, tips and ideas from leaders influencing the faith and character of the next generation

Featured Guests


Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of five books including his most recent, Do Over: Make today the first day of your new career.

For 20 years he’s helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose, Staples, and the Dave Ramsey Team. Most recently he’s spoken to hundreds of thousands of people at conferences, colleges, companies and churches. Featured regularly on national media, Jon has been seen on CNN, Fox News, Good Day LA and several other key outlets.

In addition, Jon is also a big proponent of social media with blogs that have been read by 4 million people and more than 290,000 twitter followers. In 2010 he used his influence with his tribe to build two kindergartens in Vietnam. Jon lives with his wife Jenny and two daughters in Franklin, TN.

His next book, Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done, releases on September 12, 2017 from Penguin Portfolio.

Quotes from This Episode

Ideas to Influence the Next Generation

1. God gives you gifts, your stewardship is finishing them.

If God put a message or project or goal on your heart, it’s your duty to obey him. If you have something in you that can help someone else—and you don’t share it—it’s like having the medicine they need when they’re sick and refusing to give it to them.

When we don’t finish something we’ve been working on, it’s usually because of self-sabotage. Jon used the examples of pastors who write books but are nervous to promote them because they don’t want to look like they’ve lost their humility. As Jon put it “why didn’t you just write in your diary then?” The same can be applied for us non-pastors who want to start a blog or a podcast or other dream…but we let our own fear and doubt get in the way (because really, we’re too scared of the things that come after sharing it with the world, like rejection or failure).

If you believe that what you’re creating can help someone and you don’t share it… it’s not humility or kindness, it’s cowardness.

2. 92% of all goals go unachieved

There’s an epidemic of people starting their goals, but not finishing. Sometimes it’s the self-sabotage or fear that gets in the way. Other times, it’s just because sometimes finishing goals is hard and it’s much easier to just start something new, so we become people who float from one thing to the next.

If you’re a serial starter with very few projects or goals that have crossed the completion line, you’re far from alone. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

3. So how do we finish our goals?

Jon laid out several things we can do to help us finish our goals. The first thing is: fun. We need to make our goals more fun. When did we all decide that in order for goals to count, they need to make us miserable? It’s your job to make your own fun when you’re working towards goals.

A second piece of advice from Jon on finishing is that we need to know if we’re fear motivated, or reward motivated. If you’re reward motivated, don’t tell yourself “if you fail, you’ll lose your job.” Tell yourself “when you complete this, you’ll get a raise.”

Lastly, Jon advises to figure out how you work best. You might need to turn off your wifi or take a walk or set a timer. Whatever it looks like for you, figure it out.

Conversation Starters For Your Church

What projects are we working on as a team that risk not being finished and why?

What dreams or goals is each person working towards individually that risk not being finished and why?

How does our team work best? What adjustments can we make to ensure that we’re always working under our “best” circumstances?

Your Hosts

Dave Adamson, The Think Orange Podcast Host


When he’s not working as a pastor at North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Dave is usually making his family cross their arms, roll their eyes, and tap their feet while he takes “just one more quick photo” on family outings. You’ll also often find him up to his neck in “Jewish stuff” as he researches the cultural context of Jesus for his daily Instagram devotions. Learn more about Dave at daveadamson.tv.

Ashley Bohinc, The Think Orange Podcast Host


Ashley serves as the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange and the USA Director of Carry 117. She has worked with students in public education, athletic and ministry settings for the last 12 years. She is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating on stage, developing leaders, working with students and world missions. In her downtime, you’ll find her watching Friends, cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers, traveling, reading, or on one of her Fairytale Friday Adventures.

Join Us Next Week

Thank you for listening to the Think Orange Podcast.

We hope you’ll join us for next week’s episode. More importantly, we hope that when you think next generation, you think Orange.