The first step towards being successful is picking up the trash! I know it doesn’t sound heroic or romantic but it is a good place to start. Before you close this page or think I’m crazy at least hang with me for a few more minutes. Are you ready? Let’s go!
While on vacation this past week we were herding up our crew and trying to clean up at the same time. It’s quite a task to get children to clean up and leave the beach. In any case, as we were leaving I saw my wife pick up someone else’s trash that had been left. She didn’t think much of it and nor was she trying to teach a lesson. She simply saw trash that needed picking up.
This got me to thinking. Do you know what happens when we leave trash laying around? It creates a dump and someone else has to waste time and effort to clean it up. People leave trash laying around because they do not think it is a big deal or only a small matter.
It made me think about how we often we leave “trash” laying around in our lives. What would happen if we started taking care of the small stuff in our lives? What if we could start with the little things that we could do that are in front of us?
Many people want to jump straight to the top without the accompanying struggle and hard work. They want to have the “overnight” success that others seem to have. Overnight success is just the accumulation of hard work, good planning and showing up!
Last week I had lunch with another minister who asked how I came to the church and position that I am in. He admitted that he assumed that I had it easy and was just handed everything. After sharing my story of how I worked 60 hours a week and lived in my mother-in-law’s garage for six years to complete a master’s degree it was a little less glamorous to him. Also, when I told him that I started off as an intern at my church making $200.00 a week and then being hired as an administrative assistant before becoming a full time associate pastor was a little eye opening for him. He was shocked because he thought I came to where I am overnight. He assumed that I had the easy life and picked money off of trees to pay the bills. I still can’t find a money tree at my local nursery!
Reality is, everything that I have accomplished has come because of three things:
1. First and foremost, my Heavenly Father has been good to me.
2. Lots of hard work. There are no shortcuts!
3. I started small.
The one step that most people really do not understand is simply starting small. When we do what is in front of us we position ourselves for “overnight” success. I ask my students all the time, “If God can’t trust you with the little stuff, then how can he trust you with the big stuff?” In other words, “If you can’t take out the trash then why would someone want to trust you with something really important?”
What’s a small step that you can do now as you head toward your dream?