How do we succeed in life and ministry? Before we answer that, let’s define success as simply “achievement” and leave the description of that achievement up to you.
Success is a process that takes place over a period of time, and like failure, is never confined to one event or moment. We often see the star, the performer, the achiever, get to that breakthrough moment of discovery, and we like that. It’s the moment when everything changes.
But every breakthrough human moment was preceded by thousands of hours of learning, practice, trial and error, and lots of hard work. We may not see all the behind-the-scenes activity, so we assume the success was a miraculous thing!
As a Christian, a successful life must involve God’s will and purpose for life.
We all want to accomplish something, get something done, make a difference. These passions don’t need to be connected to material things. When you pursue your passion, you have a much greater chance of being successful.
Success is different for everyone. It may be successful relationships, a business, or a career. As a Christian, a successful life must involve God’s will and purpose for life. But it always requires vision, commitment, and hard work. I’m sad today thinking about people I know who really wanted more of God or truly felt called to something great but were just too indifferent to pursue that.
Success or failure is not in the moment. It does not sneak up on you nor catch you by surprise. There are surprising moments, but really you’ve earned them. Or perhaps God has rewarded those thousands of little decisions.
5 Steps Toward Success:
1. Choose a noble purpose in life.
Not career alone. Not secular ambition. Fill in the blank: The purpose of my life is_________________. Is it noble? God-honoring? Will it make an eternal difference? Careers are good and necessary, but if the purpose of it is only for earthly wealth and fame, it’s not real success.
2. Work hard.
Make no excuses. Go to work. As Winston Churchill once said, “Most of the world’s work is done by people who don’t feel well.” When we pursue our passion, it means mind, will, and energy is working towards that passion regardless of how we feel physically or emotionally. Some people work for years with no financial returns simply because their passion is great and the cause is noble.
Some people hope if they could just find the right investment, it would eliminate their need to work. Not so. Good investors really do work hard. The best leaders never stop studying leadership. The best doctors are always reading journals and attending seminars in their field. Learn to work better and smarter but make sure you work. I’ve placed a reminder on my daily calendar that says, “Learn something new today.” Anything, no matter how simple, or small, is useful.
3. Crush procrastination.
Procrastination always leaves us stressed because of what we know we should do. We put off the important because we don’t feel like doing it. If we don’t focus on the important and only do the urgent, we cannot succeed in life. Busyness and focusing on unimportant stuff leads to failure. We cannot ignore the important for the urgent.
Pause here and write down what is important to you: _________________.
Then do it.
4. Adjust your attitude.
Positive people are always further ahead. Truly, the one thing we can control is our attitude. John Maxwell says, “Attitude is energy.” Reflect on your attitudes, whether self-pity, indifference, envy, faith…Consider what your dominant attitudes are. That determines whether you fail or succeed. Negative attitudes indicate an undisciplined mind that can only think thoughts fed by negative choices.
We are often like spoiled children. We can be unrealistic. We can expect much of others and even God, and very little from ourselves. We might need to change those attitudes!
5. Take steps in the right direction.
If you want to succeed in life, you will have to begin. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Most successful people rarely have an earth-shaking one-time event. But they have a lot of small ordinary steps that over time create breakthroughs.
You have to make decisions. Purpose, destination, daily routines. What you are doing today is the road you are traveling. Change the routines, you change the road.
Put your faith to work. Feed that faith. Work in faith. Take steps toward where your faith wants to go. Success and failure are in your future. You decide!