I spent this weekend helping to facilitate an educational conference for 100 fraternity men from seven local colleges. The theme for the day was “Building a Championship Culture.”
The keynote speaker of the day was the headmaster of a local preparatory academy, an extremely accomplished leader in academia. His message to the attendees was simple, yet powerful. If you want to build something bigger than yourself – something that will outlast you – more than anything else, you need to have faith.
As a part of his keynote, he read The Romero Prayer: A Step Along The Way, which I have quoted partially here:
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said…
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way…
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
“We plant the seeds that one day will grow…”
Regardless of your religious beliefs, the message is impactful.
We all have a Kingdom we want realized – a career we envision for ourselves, a company we want to build, a family we want to have, a life we wish to create. But no matter what that vision is, we will never fully get there. There will always be more work to do.
The biggest things you seek to achieve in life – the world problems you will dedicate yourself to, the passions you will pursue, the legacy you will try and leave – they will take years and years of work, persistence, and consistency to come to fruition.
Results will not be immediate or even timely. They may take months or years to achieve. In some cases, we may not get to see the results at all.
The big things in your life will test your patience and your resolve, They require “the long game.”
These things – the big things – they will be the most rewarding things you accomplish in your life, but they will also be the most difficult to achieve.
They will require you to change opinions.
They will require tenacious work when others doubt you.
They will require consistency each and every day.
They will require you to wear others down before they wear you down.
They will require your greatest efforts even when progress is minimal or not present at all.
And they will require faith – an unwavering confidence in yourself, your mission, and that what you are doing is the right thing to do.
How to build confidence
That unwavering confidence in the face of abject doubt holds the key to your ultimate success. So how do you build it? According to Selene Kinder, the answer comes from doing really hard things each day.
“Waking up at 5 AM is hard.
Running first thing in the morning is hard.
Working on your business alone on a Saturday night is hard.
Quitting your job to pursue what makes you happier is hard.
Moving to a new place to find better friends is hard.
Deciding what you want to do with your life is hard.
Breaking up with someone is hard.”
A funny thing happens when we begin to do these hard things for our ourselves. We build self-esteem and, in turn, confidence.
“Slowly but surely you will build up the confidence and self-esteem to do those hard things that you never thought you could.
Doing hard things breeds confidence.”
Start small, build big
Life is a series of small decisions that, when pieced together, reveal themselves in the habits we form and the behaviors we exhibit.
Everyone can make the right decision once, but making the right decisions consistently is what separates the good from the great, the successful from the world-changers. You need to make the right decisions when you are at your best, but also when you are at your worst.
If you want to have the confidence to do the hardest things in life, start by making the decision to do smaller, yet still difficult things, today.
Wake up at 5 AM. Work when no one else is willing to work. Make the move you’re afraid to make. Change what you know needs to be changed.
“We are prophets of a future not our own…”
You will not live to see the results of the most important things you do in your life. Long after you are gone, the missions you choose to pursue will be left unfinished, your family will continue to grow, the world will continue to change.
The future you work to create will exist without you.
To be okay with that, you need to have confidence and faith. Faith that what you are doing is the right thing to do. Faith in yourself. Faith that the work you put in will eventually lead to results.
Go do the big things, the life-changing things. Even if they are difficult and even if you may never see the full results of your work.
The biggest pieces of your life’s work will remain incomplete after you are gone.
Do them anyway.
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