Every year around this time my Pastor invites a guest speaker to come in and deliver an empowering, prophetic sermon. This year the guest speaker was Bishop Dale Bronner, and I had the pleasure to attend this service. He left so many impressions on me that night, but the greatest was his statement where he said, “You don’t get to stop because you’re tired, you can only stop when you’re finished”. That statement resonated with me because there are so many things going on in my professional life right now, and since I’ve been growing increasingly tired I felt like I was justified in “stopping”.
This was the wake- up call I needed, and I immediately knew it would be the focus of this month’s blog. So, I’m posing the question to you, “What assignment do you need to finish?” What did you promise yourself at the beginning of the year that you would do, and now, as we’re nearing the end of the first quarter of the New Year, you’ve already abandoned? Is there a personal or professional goal that you wanted to accomplish, but for whatever reason you don’t see how it’s going to happen?
While you ponder those questions for yourself, please allow me to take a moment to share my thoughts on this matter. I’m so grateful I heard Bishop Bronner’s message at the moment I did because I was on the brink of “stopping”. I have to constantly remind myself that change doesn’t come easy, and as cliché as it sounds, nothing worth having comes easily. Truth be told, if success were easy, everybody would be successful. It’s not easy; it requires focus, discipline, and commitment to see it through.
In his best-selling book, “Outliers”, Malcom Gladwell explains the 10,000 hour rule. He discussed how researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise. You guessed it, 10,000 hours. He quotes Neurologist Daniel Levitin, who wrote, “The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert – in anything.” This statement further confirms what most of us already know – Success does not happen by chance, it’s deliberate and usually comes with tremendous sacrifice.
Now, here comes the real source of conviction for me. I had to ask myself how hard I’ve actually been working on the right things. Yes, I was tired, but from what? I had to evaluate how I was spending my time and my energy, and sadly I found that I was spending way too much time on senseless activities, including watching reality TV. I’m ashamed to admit it, but this truth has set me free. I also want to be transparent so YOU can be set free.
I’m certain if you take inventory of how you’ve been spending your time you’d find some similar trends in your own life. As a matter of fact, I challenge you to do so. Spend the next couple of days monitoring your habits, chronicle it if that helps, and look at those areas where you can make some improvements. Are you willing to make the necessary changes to accomplish the success you so desperately crave? Yours may not be a professional objective, like it is for me. Perhaps you promised to make more time for your family; maybe you promised to achieve more balance in your life; or maybe you just want to lose those last 20 pounds. Whatever it is you promised to get done, figure out why you’re now too tired to follow through, or why you just gave up.
When you figure out where you need to get back on track with your life, stop the excuses and get back at it. It is not too late to start again. How bad do you want it? If you really want it, you will do whatever is necessary to FINISH what you started.