Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are

Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are

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You want to do hard things.
But you don’t know where to start.
You are changing the world around you.
But you are tired and burned out.
You feel called to do the extraordinary for God.
But you feel stuck in the ordinary.
Do Hard Things inspired thousands of young people around the world to make the most of the teen years. Now Alex and Brett Harris are back and ready to tackle the questions that Do Hard Things inspired: How do I get started? What do I do when I get discouraged? What’s the best way to inspire others? Filled with stories and insights from Alex, Brett, and other real-life rebelutionaries, Start Here is a powerful and practical guide to doing hard things, right where you are.
Are you ready to take the next step and blast past mediocrity for the glory of God?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781601422712
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/16/2010
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Alex and Brett Harris are the coauthors of the best-selling book Do Hard Things, which they wrote when they were eighteen. Today, the twins speak regularly to audiences of thousands on The Rebelution Tour; maintain a large online community through their blog,; and have been featured on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and in the New York Times. Raised in Portland, Oregon, the brothers currently attend Patrick Henry College in Virginia.

Read an Excerpt

Opening the door to your own rebelution
Simple ideas and unbelievable dreams. First steps and great miracles. Ordinary teenagers and a God who still uses young people to accomplish His big plans.
That’s what our first book, Do Hard Things, is all about. Do Hard Things shows how young people can take hold of a more exciting option for their teen years than what society suggests. We wrote the book to counter the Myth of Adolescence, which says the teen years are a time to goof off and have fun before “real life” starts. We invited our peers to choose to do hard things for the glory of God and, in the process, turn the world’s idea of what teens are capable of upside down.
We were nineteen when we wrote Do Hard Things, twin brothers who wanted to follow God’s call and challenge our generation. We’re twenty-one now and sophomores in college. We still dream big dreams, still want to follow God completely, and still believe just as strongly that God wants to use our generation to change the world. (And, as you might have guessed, we’re still twin brothers.)
Whether or not you’ve read Do Hard Things (we’d recommend it—but, of course, we’re a little biased), this companion book continues the Do Hard Things message and piles on stories, practical suggestions, and detailed how-tos. You can use it either on your own or in a group setting, depending on your situation.
In other words, Do Hard Things marked the beginning of a movement. Start Here is your personal field guide to jumping in and getting involved.
The Rebelution Movement
The concept of doing hard things actually started as a blog we created when we were sixteen. We called it The Rebelution—a combination of rebellion and revolution to create a whole new word with a whole new meaning. We defined rebelution as “ateenage rebellion against low expectations.” (By the way, the blog still exists. Check it out at
Since Do Hard Things came out, the Rebelution movement has exploded. In the past year, rebelutionary teens have raised tens of thousands of dollars to bring the gospel to and dig wells in Africa, won prestigious film festivals, fought human trafficking in the United States and around the world, and made it on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. Around the world, young people are moving out of their comfort zones—whether that means standing for Christ in a hostile classroom, raising money to build a dormitory for orphans in China, or mending relationships with parents or younger siblings.
Maybe you’re part of the Rebelution already, or maybe you just want to find out more. Maybe you’re asking one of the questions we get most frequently from readers: “Where do I start?”
This book is about taking the next step. It includes ideas from us and dozens of other young people on topics like:

• how to stand up for what you believe
• strategies for overcoming stage fright, fund-raising fright,
and phone-calling fright (hint: it gets easier as you go!)
• ways to get going when you feel stuck and keep going
when you feel discouraged
• how to understand God’s will and glorify Him through
your efforts
• God-honoring ways to think, feel, and act after you’ve
completed a big project
In short, this is a handbook full of practical steps and real-life stories to encourage and equip you on your journey of doing hard things. We want you to feel as if you’re at one of our conferences, or in a small group of people talking about doing hard things—which you may be!
All the questions in the pages that follow come from people just like you, collected on our website and through personal conversations. We’ll do our best to answer them with stories and insights from our own lives. We’re traveling alongside you in this adventure—and we want to share with you what God has been teaching us these past few years.
But just like Do Hard Things, this book isn’t about us. It’s about the incredible, seemingly impossible things God is doing in our generation. That’s why in Start Here you’ll find dozens of true stories from rebelutionaries who are making a difference in their homes, at their schools, and around the world. We love sharing other young people’s stories because they challenge us as well—and remind us that we’re not alone. We also love the way real-life stories provide a glimpse of the diverse ways God wants to use each of us to do hard things for Him.
Toward the end of the book, we’ll be sharing the stories of two rebelutionaries in particular: Ana Zimmerman and John Moore. As you’ll see, Ana and John took on very different hard things, each with the purpose of glorifying God and helping others.
At the age of fifteen, Ana raised more than six thousand dollars and organized an event called Love the Least in her hometown.  The event introduced her community to the work of Abort73, an organization that exists to show the injustice of abortion.
With a group of fellow teens, John Moore wrote, produced, and directed his own feature film at the age of nineteen—and went on to win the $101,000 grand prize at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival.
John and Ana faced many of the same hurdles and questions you’re encountering. Their stories provide an in-depth look at the beginning, middle, and end of the “do hard things” process. We think you’ll be encouraged and inspired.

Pursuing Faithfulness, Not Success
As thousands of young people around the world are discovering, doing hard things is the most satisfying, thrilling way to live some of the best years of our lives.
So where do you start? As you’ll find in the pages that follow, the answer is: right where you are. Being a rebelutionary means committing to doing even ordinary things extraordinarily well. As each of us is faithful in that, God will be faithful to prepare us
for whatever calling He has for us.
For some of us, that calling will be big in the world’s eyes, and for some of us it will be small. Whether it is big or small, God will be glorified—and the world will be changed by a generation that gives up seeking worldly success to pursue a life of faithfulness.
That’s when the ordinary becomes extraordinary. And that’s what this book is about.
Ready to start?

Table of Contents

1 You Are Here: Opening the door to your own rebelution 1

2 Getting Started: What that first step looks like 6

I'm ready to get started—on something! What should I do now?

How can I tell the difference between good hard things in general and good hard things I should be doing?

What if I just want to join other people in what they are doing?

Do small hard things really count?

I know God wants me to do something with this idea, but I'm not ready for it now. What can I do to get ready for doing this hard thing later?

3 When You Have a Great Idea: Practical help for making it work 25

What kind of planning do I need to do before I launch this thing?

I want to obey my parents, and I also want to make my own decisions about the hard things I do. Can those two things go together?

How do I ask people to support my cause?

What are some ideas for getting my church to participate?

I'm not big on bake sales. How can I raise money for my project?

How can I get my friends involved in a group effort?

4 Side Effects May Occur: Handling the changes that come with doing hard things 48

What's the best way to handle the affirmation I receive for doing hard things?

My dream is bigger than my schedule! How do I manage my time now that I'm a rebelutionary?

What should I do when people want to interview me?

5 Matters of First Importance: Keeping God in focus every step of the way 63

I want God to be at the center of every hard thing I do. What does that look like?

How do I keep my motivation for doing hard things pure?

Sometimes doing hard things actually distracts me from God. What should I do?

6 When the Doing Gets Tough: Keeping on in the middle of hard things 75

I want to see this through, but I feel overwhelmed. How do I keep up my enthusiasm?

What if I try to do something hard and it doesn't work out? Does that mean I didn't hear God right?

I'm doing hard things, but nothing feels different. What should I do?

7 The Guts Factor: How to move against the crowd—and why 87

Am I missing out on anything because I'm not doing the “normal” things teens do?

Can doing hard things be fun?

How do I let my friends know I've changed?

What if doing hard things makes me unpopular?

How should rebelutionaries relate to pop culture—like TV, music, movies, books, and the Internet?

8 Now What?: When doing is done 105

Is it all right to feel proud after doing a hard thing?

How do I keep from falling back into my old ways of thinking and acting?

What should I do when I'm done with a hard thing? Is it okay to take a break?

9 Putting It All Together: Two stories that will answer all your questions (or at least give you some great ideas) 120

10 Making It Rain 136

Appendix: 100 Hard Things 139

Discussion Questions 145

Notes 157

Acknowledgments 161

Customer Reviews

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Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Renee90 More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely one that I want both of my boys to read! It has a straight forward message that is motivating and a really good resource for how to find God's plan for each of us ~ regardless of our age. The book was written for pre-teens and teens but I feel it also carries a message for everyone at any age. I sure wish this had been written back when I was a teen! What? Oh, I just heard the collective groan of my two boys, "Oh, Mom" for writing that last sentence . :) Anyway, I'm looking forward to my sons reading this and the lively discussions that I'm sure we'll have as we chat about this book! Many thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah for Publishing Group for allowing me the opportunity to review this book.
quilldancer More than 1 year ago
As a youth leader, this book excited my heart. Positive teen role models are hard to find in the media. Positive teen role models who help teens build their own self-esteem are in seriously short supply. In, "Start Here", Alex & Brett Harris offer constructive ideas for doable "Hard Things"; provide practical guidance for planning and starting a "Hard Things" project; offer suggestions for enlisting aid from friends, family and church members; and, include testimonies from other kids doing "Hard Things". Adults, don't think this book is just for kids. We are called to do "Hard Things", too. If you don't know what they might look like or where you should start, this book might just be for you. This book was provided for my honest review by Waterbrook Multnomah Publsihing.
Yellie12 More than 1 year ago
This book is geared toward teens, but my teenage years were quite a while ago and I still found the book to be inspiring and motivating. The book makes you realize that "hard things" aren't necessarily big things, but are anything you do for the glory of God by stepping outside of what you're used to. The book was a very easy read that flowed easily and kept me interested the whole way through. They ended the book with 100 hard things that other teens have done and that you can do too and I think that's awesome. I co-lead a girl's urban youth ministry and I think this book and it's ideas will be great for sharing with those girls as well as for sharing with my sons as they get a little older (although, planting the seeds starts now). I just think it's a great book and that if you're a parent of teens or work with teens, you should definitely get it and Do Hard Things into the hands of the teens you love and want to see live lives that glorify the Lord.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
For instance, one night on the way home in a blizzard, my dad and I stopped for a few minutes to pick up some necessities at the store. I waited in the car and surveyed the nearly empty parking lot until my eye caught a lone car with a person scrapping snow. As I looked closer, I saw that it was an elderly lady trying to scrape off her car while leaning on a cane. She wasn't making much progress because the snow was falling faster than she could wipe it off. I felt instinctively that I had to help her. I ran out with my scraper, and soon a few other people joined me in clearing off her car. Nothing outwardly significant happened then, but this was the first time I had strongly heard God's voice and responded to it. As I tuned in, I began to recognize His voice at other times. I sensed I should go talk to the girl who was crying in the bathroom at school - it turns out she was pregnant and needed help. Or that I should offer tips to someone who was trying out for the sports team - it turns out she needed advice on deeper areas of her life that she normally wouldn't have opened up about. What I have found out is that in order to do hard things and conquer big challenges, we need to be willing to listen to that little voice the Holy Spirit uses. The more you listen, the clearer it becomes. And in order to do the great things, you must first be a servant. Those are the words of Elizabeth, 17, from Raymond, Maine who is finding out how teens can do things in their early years to bring glory to God. Often times however, they don't know where to start or know how to get the results that they need. This book, Start Here, from Alex & Brett Harris is a great book for anyone looking to start making a difference in their lives to bring God glory. While the book is written for teens, I can see even adults learning from all kinds of concepts the book teaches, like how to fund raise, ways to get going when you feel stuck and keep going when you get discouraged, how to understand God's will and glorify Him through your efforts, how to stand up for what you believe and many, many more ideas. I received a complimentary copy of this book to review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group and would highly recommend this book. If you would like more information on this book and where to purchase this book please click on the link below.
Julie12 More than 1 year ago
This book is aimed at teens and young adults and it would definitely be something I would recommend to young people. It's motivational, inspiring, and makes you want to get up off the couch and do something for God right now! I love the personal stories by people that have done things for the Lord and how it changed their lives as well as touching other people around them. It is amazing to me how God can honor our little missions we do for Him and make them much more than we could ever imagine. Alex and Brett give insight of how to get started. They recommend using the gifts that you have. So many times those of us who are afraid to do public speaking think that we should do public speaking for God. This isn't necessarily so. God gives us gifts for a reason and we can start with the things we all ready do well and enjoy doing. I don't know why this was such a revelation to me, but it was! We all can do something for the Lord - touch other people's lives - and go outside of our own little worlds for God. This book is not only great for teens and young adults, it's great for us adults to rethink what we're doing and to maybe get out there and start doing things for the Lord. It's never too late to do that and this book will inspire you and show you how to get started. I highly recommend it!
LadyD_Books on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very moving book! If you're a fan of motivational books, then you are sure to like this one. Because it is filled with a collection of teenagers and student's words about following God, it is one you can read quickly. Guaranteed you will soak up deep insights to so many wonderful shared stories. I have read many books on ordinary people doing extraordinary things for God. Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are is an extraordinary book of practical guidance for many young people and adults.Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris really touched my heart. The message of serving is powerful and life changing. You'll read about young folks having attitude adjustments and praying for wisdom in choosing hard things for the right reason. If you want to read some inspiring stories of people who have journeyed through fear, sorrow and challenges, then this book is for you. It is sure to move you! Once you are a rebelutionary, your mind-set changes! It is indeed comforting to know that God will use us if we let Him do His work. Reading this book will move you through many emotions as God comes alive through your hardships. Doing hard things for God really isn't easy. ***** stars!
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
Start Here is an excellent follow-up to the Harris twins' first book, Do Hard Things. Both of these titles are definitely recommendable to any teen on the planet. Although the motto of "do hard things" is targeted towards Christians, I could see it being implemented into the daily lives of other teens as well. This book features many stories of regular teens who decided to do something hard. It really helps to illustrate that whether your task at hand is big or small, as long as you're doing a "hard" thing, you are strengthening yourself and preparing for the next bigger and "harder" thing in your life. "When your heart and mind are alert, you can see opportunities to do hard things in everyday things.... Your primary goal isn't to do something extraordinary but to do all things, even the ordinary things, extraordinarily well." - Chapter 2, Start Here An entirely new culture of a generation is burgeoning under the influence of Alex & Brett's writings. Will you join the Rebelution?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sjskogerboe More than 1 year ago
With their first book, Do Hard Things, the Harris brothers stated that teens can, (pretty obviously,) do hard things. God doesn't call us to laze around on our backsides, he calls us to stand up for Him! Teenhood isn't a pass to be lazy, it's an opportunity to show Jesus to all those around us. But where to start? How about right where you are? That's right. Here. You don't have to move to Africa to be an agent of God. (Although, I am in no way dissing African mission-workers. They are Uber-cool. But my point still stands. ) You can reach out to people in your school, or kids at the skate park, or the guy at youth group who doesn't have any friends. Start Here gives advice on how to find your passion, what to do about rejection, and how to handle success; uplifting stories and practical input on how to answer God's call. We do not have the strength to do what God calls us to do, but it is given to us when we listen. Start Here is a guide on how to not only do that, but to act upon what we hear.
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AnAvidReaderNJ More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book and I think young people will as well. It's a fast easy read and the chapters are short. I like how the book provides real examples of teens stepping outside the box. I think this will be encouraging to youngsters who are nervous about taking that first steps. I must say I have a lot of admiration for these young people and their willingness to do whatever it is God leads them to do. As an adult, I sometimes wish I had the same courage. Definitely recommended for youth leaders to share with their youth groups! Read the book, then Start Here!!
devasha More than 1 year ago
A few short years ago, eighteen year old twins Alex and Brett Harris began a rebelution. With their acclaimed book, Do Hard Things, the pair called adolescents to rise about the low expectations of our culture, to do things beyond the normal brackets of our age. The book challenged and inspired thousands of teens to "do hard things." As the movement grew, young people began to ask questions. Where do I start? How do I get others involved? What do I do after I accomplish a hard thing? Start Here is the answer to these questions. Both a guidebook for rebelutionaries and an inspiring start for those who want to get involved, Start Here is the perfect accompaniment to Do Hard Things. Cover to cover is filled with stories of real rebelutionaries, and practical ideas to get started doing your own hard things. The book tackles the predominant obstacles one might face and even offers wisdom on how to handle the fifteen minutes of fame that may accompany doing hard things. The last several pages of the book list one hundred hard things young people just like you and I have done since the publication of Do Hard Things. I have been inspired to start tackling some hard things of my own, and Start Here left me equipped to do so. Even if you have not read Do Hard Things, you will enjoy this book, but if you have, you will love it! **This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
JenM7 More than 1 year ago
This is the sequel to the author's Do Hard Things book, and is about "taking the next step." This book is filled with ideas and examples of how to live for God where you are. I have not read the first book, but after reading this, am interested in it, too. These young boys challenge us to ask the question "what ultimately matters?" I will be sharing this book with my own children as they get a little older. This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
A_Cluttered_Mind More than 1 year ago
When The Rebelution Tour came through Minneapolis during the summer of '08, I took several of the teens from Cornerstone EFC to the one-day conference, hoping they'd be inspired to start doing hard things. After we returned from that fantastic time, I purchased copies of <em>Do Hard Things</em> for every teen in our youth group and we walked through it together. I think it provided some good challenges for our teens. It's been nearly two years since that experience. In a timely fashion, the Harris boys release Start Here, filled with all kinds of practical helps, instruction, examples and experiences to continue on doing hard things. With the same God-honoring desire to see teens rise up and "rebel," in a godly manner, against the cultural expectations of teenagers, Start Here helps puts lots of hands and feet to Do Hard Things. The first book was the motivational aspect; Start Here is the practical aspect. Each chapter is loaded with good, solid ideas, letters and emails from young people who have been trying hard things (both big and small) for the Lord, and exhortations from Alex & Brett to keep at the rebelution (their term for the combination of rebelling against cultural norms & expectations, as well as the revolution they hope to see God bring about through teenagers doing hard things for God's sake). The book is a quick and an easy read. A youth group could use it as a quick refresher study in doing hard things. A family could use it to see where God might lead them - or a teen from their family - in order to make a difference right where they're at. The final chapter lists 100 "hard things" which teens from around the country did, and from which you can choose from or just to brainstorm with. Here are just a few examples: <blockquote>. Sent post cards to the shut-ins at my church.<br> . Sold all the clothes I didn't need and gave the money to charity.<br> . Hosted a Bible study for kids in my neighborhood.<br> . Stopped spending money on fast food and coffee and then donated that money to an orphanage.<br> . Started an overseas adoption ministry at my church.<br> . Sat with a widow at church who had been sitting alone.<br> . Prayed for a kid at school who mistreats me.</blockquote> There are many more just like this. You don't have to have read <strong><em>Do Hard Things</em></strong> to receive much inspiration from this book, but if you haven't, I'd recommend it to you as well. It will root your desire to do something God-glorifying in Him. Then, buy this book for yourself, your teenaged son or daughter, or your youth pastor and let them know you want them to start doing hard things for God's glory.
julie37619 More than 1 year ago
This is a great (and short) read for teenagers interested in making a difference or for youth leaders, teachers, parents, or anyone else who wants to encourage young adults. The book is easy to read and is clearly intended for high school and possibly college students. One thing I appreciated about the book, as a person who works with and knows many students who don't like to read or can't read well, was the format of the book. The type isn't huge, but the font isn't so small that it's intimidating. The book is also frequently broken up with lists, real life stories, and separate sections. For my students, those kind of things often make a difference in what they will and won't read. I also appreciated that the authors avoided the cheesey photos, clip art images, etc that frequently plague teen non-fiction. It's got a grown up feel and format, but contains many of the features that I think keep young or inexperienced readers interested.
MissMalu More than 1 year ago
Start Here- Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are, written by Alex & Brett Harris, is an excellent book for teens, as well as for adults. This book is the companion book to Do Hard Things, also written by Alex & Brett when they were only eighteen years old. After the successful launching of their first book, Alex & Brett seek to answer the questions of teens from all over....teens who no longer want to sit comfortably but want to be up and doing what God would have them to do, leaving behind negative expectations that many adults hold toward this generation and moving forward with enthusiasm. Here are the topics covered within this thin, easily read book: 1. You are Here- Opening the door to your own rebelution 2. Getting Started- What that first step looks like 3. When You Have a Great Idea- Practical help for making it work 4. Side Effects May Occur- Handling the changes that come with doing hard things 5. Matters of First Importance- Keeping God in focus every step of the way 6. When the Doing Gets Tough- Keeping on in the middle of hard things 7. The Guts Factor- How to move against the crowd- and why 8. Now What?- When doing is done 9. Putting It All Together- Two stories that will answer all your questions (or at least give you some great ideas) 10. Making It Rain At the end of the book is an Appendix with a list of 100 ideas that kids could take and use for their own "Do Hard Things" campaign. There are also discussion questions to go along with each chapter, as well as notes. This book would make a wonderful study for a youth group, something that teens could not only read and discuss but put into action. With ideas for personal application and true life stories of other teens, the book felt very personal. It humbled me to read the stories of kids who are really making a difference in their communities, schools, churches, etc. The main idea I carried away with me was that all of the things God would have me do are not about me....they're about Him. Even throughout the personal stories, kids would tell about their struggles, their doubts, and their victories. This is definitely a book I would recommend for every parent, and really I'd recommend it for every single Christian, young or old. The depth to this book is amazing. As a parent, I only hope I can instill values such as these into my children as they grow up. You can find out more about Start Here and purchase it from Random House for $12.99. (Disclosure: This book was provided for review by the Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.)
TheCommonCup More than 1 year ago
Not long ago I read a book by two teenage brothers called Do Hard Things that changed the way I viewed youth ministry. Soon after my youth group was doing book studies through it and students were deciding to live their lives at a higher standard. Start Here picks up where Do Hard Things leaves off. It answers the question of "Ok so how do I start?" I'm a big fan of this book as a youth pastor, number one because it's written by teens to teens. I could teach a biblical truth for weeks and our students wouldn't get it. Then if one of their peers gets it and in turn stands up and explains it to everyone else it's like they all latch on. Secondly, Start Here is a springboard for change. It is well written and easy to understand. It's not too big so my non-book fan students don't have to be too afraid of the text without pictures. Thirdly I like Start Here because it's practical. The appendix of the book gives 100 ways that a student can begin doing hard things for God immediately. More can be found on the Rebolution blog. Start Here is inspiring even for me as a twenty-something trying to inspire students. It makes me think about the endless possibilities of how God can use the students I help shepherd. Alex & Brett, thank you for how you Do Hard Things and inspire others to Start Here. May God continue to use you're ministry for His glory. Be blessed. Purchase Start Here Follow The Rebolution on Twitter This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.