– Douglas MacArthur
When my brother, Ashley, decided to run for city council he made a goal to visit every home in his town to meet his neighbors and would-be constituents. Quite a grand endeavor when you live in a city of over 54,000 people. He began to walk neighborhoods months before campaigning began.
I was in town for business during this time and stopped by to see him. “I wish we could hang out more,” he said as I got ready to leave, “but I’ve got to walk some more this evening. If I give into every perfectly good excuse for not walking, I’ll never get done.”
My brother’s commitment to achieve his goal impressed me. I knew how much our relationship meant to him – now I knew how committed he was to accomplishing this goal. The proof was the sacrifices and drastic measures he was willing to make. He was ready to do whatever it took.
As leaders we make tough calls. It’s not easy moving yourself and others toward your vision. It may start off easy, but soon you’ll feel the gravitational pull of the status quo drawing you back to the way things have always been. Leaders exist to fight the pull of the status quo. If nothing needs to be changed, improved, shifted, or advanced, then you don’t need a leader.
Many of you know I’m in the middle of my own grand endeavor: I’m writing my first book. I started last fall and quickly discovered that with working full-time in a growing small business, being a good husband to Sarah, and being a good father to our two young children, writing a book wasn’t going to happen by accident. So Sarah and I developed a plan that we began in January. Even with a plan it continues to take consistent, intentional effort on my part – and incredible sacrifice, support and grace from her. Part of the plan was to take a week off this spring to write. That time is here.
In the spirit of “Whatever it Takes,” I’m taking this next week off to write. It wasn’t easy to take the time off from work (thankfully we’re quite busy). It wasn’t easy sacrificing vacation time to work some more. It wasn’t easy finding the right place away from home where I could write and Sarah could take care of our family. It wasn’t easy arranging for Sarah to have help with the kids. It’s a drastic measure, but one that we have to make to supplement my weekly writing routine.
My brother achieved his goal of visiting each home in the city before the election – the only candidate to do so – and come election day, he won a seat on the city council. My grand endeavor isn’t over yet. I’m in the middle of Act Two somewhere – that exciting place when you aren’t sure the protagonist is going to make it, but you hope he does. That’s me. I’m here to testify I’m going to finish this story – whatever it takes. I’m off to the mountains to do battle.
And there is no substitute for victory.
What are you willing to do to achieve your dream? What are willing to sacrifice?