Why does one marriage work out while another one ends in divorce? Why does one small business succeed and another one down the road closes its doors within months after opening? Why do some churches seem to attract people to Christ while others struggle to keep their doors open? Why do some teams seem to always be ranked near the top and others rarely have winning seasons? We could ask similar questions of every endeavor known to man, but the fact is that some have found the secret to success, if it may be called a secret, and others seem unable to recognize what it takes to succeed.
A few months ago I read a very insightful book about success called Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success by Rory Vaden. One of the reasons I enjoyed the book is because Vaden doesn't pretend there are secrets to success. In fact, he insists throughout the book that success is hard work, and that is a fact that many in our society today have either forgotten or want to pretend it isn't true. He writes
"The vast majority of Western societies have adopted an 'escalator mentality' - one that says getting what we want shouldn't require much work, and that there are always shortcuts in business and in life." There are no shortcuts to success. There is no easy way to the top. Most of us will find that finding success is more like climbing stairs than riding an escalator.
He goes on to write that, "There is one thing that all successful people have in common: Successful people have all had to do things they didn't feel like doing in order to get where they are."
We've all heard the saying: No pain, no gain. Well, this is certainly true when we think of success. It's true whether you are considering how to have a better marriage, a more profitable business, or a growing church. All require a lot of hard work, and there will be times when you find yourself doing things you would prefer to not do in order to enjoy the results you are seeking.
Many decide the hard work isn't worth it. They prefer to take the easy way out and seek a new spouse, a new career, or a different church. Surely, they think, the reason the current situation isn't working out is because they chose the wrong spouse, the wrong career, or the wrong church, and all their problems will be over once they correct their mistake. WRONG!
Running from one spouse to the next isn't going to solve your marriage problems. Jumping from one company to another probably won't be the solution. Church leaders who go from one church to another certain that this one will be the perfect church for them soon come face-to-face with the reality that there are no perfect churches. Success comes to those who are willing to work hard to make their current situation the right one.
Vaden points out in his book that success is often just beyond the point you feel like quitting. It's often just around the corner. I wonder if there will come a time in eternity where we will discover how many times we were inches from the goal line of success only to walk away defeated. One more play would have put us over, but instead we gave up.
It's almost always too soon to give up. When you feel that you've done everything you know to do, think of something else to try. Ask to see someone else's playbook. There's lot of things you can still try to do to succeed. Isn't success worth at least one more effort on your part?