CNLP 408: Jon Acuff on Reinventing Yourself During Crisis, Pro Tips on How to Create Better Content Online, and the Surprising Solution to Overthinking

New York Times bestselling author, Jon Acuff, returns to the podcast to talk about how he reinvented himself in 2020 when his speaking career came to an abrupt halt thanks to the pandemic.

Jon also shares insights on how to reinvent yourself online, pro tips on creating content for YouTube, podcasting and social media, and discusses his new book on how to stop overthinking issues.

Welcome to Episode 408 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about how you know when you can trust your gut and when you can’t.

Guest Links

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Episode Links


ServeHQ has helped over 2,000 churches since 2015. Churches of all sizes have used them to streamline their volunteer on-boarding process, run a digital or remote growth track, update their membership and assimilation experiences, and codify their leadership development flow.

ServeHQ helps churches by providing a powerful and simple-to-use online training experience, a new approach to digital messaging, and an automated step-by-step followup tool. Imagine having one tool to onboard new volunteers automatically, making sure they’re fully ready to serve quickly. And, that same tool can be reused for your membership process, your leadership development, your volunteer team communication, building an online ministry school, and more.

Their training library has over 800 video modules with quiz questions already preset and customizable for each one. You can also engage your people with videos, GIFs, images, files, and more to train and communicate more effectively in a media-rich online environment. Send video messages to individuals or groups via email or text message. Hold realtime chats in a safe, accountable space for training course discussions, volunteer team communications, or staff banter.

ServeHQ is that “one unified tool” your church needs to engage volunteers, members, and leaders.

You can save 10% off for life by using code CAREY at Learn more and start your 14-day FREE trial today.


Let’s talk about productivity—specifically about how to maximize it from your team, whether they work from home or in a brick-and-mortar office—or both.

For leaders, it means changing the lens with which you view—and even measure—your employees’ productivity. Today’s work environment is substantially different than it was just a year ago. And, for many, it shows no signs of returning to ‘how things have always been done.’

Now, more than ever, productivity is measured by results, whenever and wherever the work happens.

Productivity can soar for a hybrid workforce. The key is for you, as a leader, to learn how to equip your team to maximize their productivity to maximize results.

Thankfully, our friends at BELAY—the incredible organization revolutionizing productivity with their virtual assistant, bookkeeping and social media strategist services for growing organizations—they understand this. So they’re offering their resource, ‘Essential Strategies to Unleash Your Productivity’ today to all of our podcast listeners.

To take advantage of this incredible offer, visit

Conversation Links

Soundtracks by Jon Acuff

Partial Bonus Chapter of Soundtracks by Jon Acuff

Finish by Jon Acuff

All It Takes Is A Goal with Jon Acuff

Jon Acuff on YouTube

The Moment with Brian Koppelman

CNLP 395: Seth Godin Shares His Secrets Behind Creative Work, Top Tips for Communicators and How He Learned to Think the Way He Thinks

The New York Times – Disruptions: Innovation Isn’t Easy, Especially Midstream by Nick Bilton

The Tim Ferriss Show – #485: Jerry Seinfeld—A Comedy Legend’s Systems, Routines, and Methods for Success

Al Andrews

Zig Ziglar

CNLP 389: Andy Stanley Dissects the Process He Uses to Make Decisions, the Limits of Gut-Based Decision Making, and How to Stop Lying to Yourself as a Leader

How to Know If You Can Trust Your Gut Instinct as a Leader by Carey Nieuwhof

Carey’s Daily Email

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Insights From Jon

1. How to reinvent yourself

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a lot of people scrambling to maintain or generate new income—especially for those in the speaking industry, like Jon. With moments like these, Jon suggests asking yourself the question, “What would have made this season easier?” And then he says, “Go build that thing.” Sometimes that means leaning into experts in different fields, asking how they found success, and realizing it’s never too late to learn something new.

2. Finding your wine ideas

One thing that Jon is never lacking is new ideas. He calls himself a “new idea guy.” The problem, he notes, is shaping and honing new ideas. So, try wine ideas—the idea of knowing yes, some ideas, you’ll get them right out, but some ideas, you may go, “Okay, I can put that on a shelf. I’m going to add a bunch of ideas. I’m going to let it grow. I’m going to let it age, in a way. Then when I do it, it’s going to be awesome. But I’m going to give it time to kind of turn into the idea it needs to be.”

3. Retire your broken soundtracks with new anthems

Via content from his newest book, Soundtracks, Jon defines soundtracks as, “A repetitive thought. A thought you get stuck on a loop. Overthinking—as when what you think gets in the way of what you want, and it always leads to inaction.” He says you have to retire your broken soundtracks and replace them with new ones, and then repeat them so often they become as automatic as the old ones. By reframing soundtracks into new anthems, you create an opportunity to look for the good in things you might have thought were bad.

Quotes from Episode 408

Overthinking is not a personality trait. It's the most expensive fear in the world because it steals time, creativity and productivity. @JonAcuff Click To Tweet You don't get to learn if you're busy pretending. @JonAcuff Click To Tweet Ask yourself, 'What would have made this season easier?' And then, go build that thing. @JonAcuff Click To Tweet One of the hardest things about learning something new is the perceived shame that you don't already know it. @JonAcuff Click To Tweet You're only going to disappoint more people the more successful you are. @JonAcuff Click To Tweet We are the worst judges of our own ideas. @JonAcuff Click To Tweet Your thoughts impact your actions, which impacts your results. @JonAcuff Click To Tweet Self-kindness is a superpower. @JonAcuff Click To Tweet Most people think a thought is something they have, not something they hone. @JonAcuff Click To Tweet You never have to go look for negative thoughts. They find you. You have to look for hope thoughts. @JonAcuff Click To Tweet My imagination of what I can create in 24 hours is way bigger than what I can execute in 24 hours. That's not failure, that's a gift. @JonAcuff Click To Tweet Has your intuition, has your gut been reliable in the past? Because sometimes it's your gut that gets you into trouble. Click To Tweet Is my gut reaction consistent or inconsistent with Scripture? Click To Tweet 5 years from now, what will I wish I had done? Click To Tweet Wisdom is often disguised as other people. Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 408

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Watch Back Episodes of The Podcast on YouTube

Select episodes of this podcast are now on YouTube. Our YouTube Channel gives you a chance to watch some episodes, not just listen.


Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.

Subscribe using your favorite podcast app via

Apple Podcasts


Google Play



Spread the Word. Leave a Rating and Review

Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Rick Warren

Rick Warren opens up about the personal tragedy he’s experienced with the loss of his son, Matthew, the loss our culture has experienced and what he predicts will be a coming tsunami of grief as a result of everything people have been through. Rick also explains how and why 2020 and 2021 have been the biggest and best years Saddleback has ever had and the opportunity the current moment presents to the church. Note: Some of the details in this episode surrounding the death of Rick Warren’s son are deeply personal and listener discretion is advised with young audiences.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 409.

CNLP 408: Jon Acuff on Reinventing Yourself During Crisis, Pro Tips on How to Create Better Content Online, and the Surprising Solution to Overthinking


  1. site on May 27, 2021 at 5:30 am

    Great episode. Very interesting.

  2. Alain on April 26, 2021 at 1:55 pm


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.