Sacrificing Today for Tomorrow

There’s this really funny scene in Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods.

Early in their trip up the Appalachian Trail, about two days in to a six month journey, the main character gets separated from his hiking partner. He goes back to a meadow to see his friend, furious, chucking things from his backpack into the distance. He runs up to him… “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

His enraged friend shouts back… “I’m getting rid of stuff. Heavy stuff!

I think there’s a really important lesson there, something I’ve been working through in my life the last couple of months.

The greatest danger to leading any organization is settling for less than you’re capable. I think many most organizations settle into being the size/style they are, not because that’s the ultimate they can achieve, but because they get comfortable, they settle into what feels manageable for them.

Here’s what I know: A fat and happy team never innovates.

My best ideas, my times of biggest innovation, my defining moments– they all come from a place of desperation and hunger.

And so I’m going through a period of time where I’m frustrated with myself. I’m frustrated that, while 2014 saw HUGE growth in so many areas, we’re not growing at an aggressive enough pace for what I know we are capable of.

I’m owning that. I got fat and happy on a couple things.

And so, like the frustrated hiker chucking cans of beans and D cell batteries into the woods on the Appalachian Trail, I’m chucking some stuff that’s holding me back from what I feel is our potential. We know we are capable of real, long-term, measurable change in the youth ministry world. But to get there I need to make some sacrifices on stuff I like doing. It’s stuff I like, stuff I’m great at, that’s important to me, and has been core to me.

But it’s heavy. And heavy stuff has to go.


Because I refuse to settle.

I refuse to get comfortable.

I’m making sacrifices today for to get where I want to go tomorrow.

What needs to go in your life so you can reach your full potential? 

Photo credit: Matt Matches via Flickr (Creative Commons)






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