Sep 252016 3 Responses

Why Some People Don’t Succeed

Some people never succeed because of one failed assumption. They think a time will come when things will be easy. They understand the need for sacrifice and they might even be willing to pay some of the price. But they expect an immediate return and assume the time of sacrificing will eventually end.

They look at others and don’t realize the work going on behind the scenes. They see the trappings of success and assume everything has been handed to those on top. They think the successful no longer have to work.

Leaders know better. (See: Leadership–Learning to Take a Punch)

Success comes with a price, a continual price. There is never a day when you can stop sacrificing. Yesterday’s sacrifices have gotten you where you are, but they will not get you where you want to go. You must keep working.

Staying faithful to your wife in your 20s, doesn’t guarantee fidelity in your 30s. You must keep working.

Identifying, selling, and acquiring a new customer this year, doesn’t guarantee sales for next year. You must keep working.

Doing the work in the preseason doesn’t ensure post-season success. You must keep working.

Too often, people simply quit working. They sacrifice and might experience some success, but then they stop. They can quickly point to all the work they did in the past, but they don’t continue doing the work and they suffer because of it.

Leadership truth–yesterday’s sacrifices are not enough for tomorrow’s successes. You must continue to work in order to succeed.

Success demands sacrifice. Every leader knows it.

Some look at past sacrifices and see them as proof they deserve success. They forever point to what they have done and wait until they get what they think they deserve. (See: Jesus, Leadership, and the Courage to Serve)

Leaders look at past sacrifices and are reminded of the need to continue to sacrifice. They see yesterday’s effort as what got them to where they are, but they never expect it to take them where they want to be. They keep doing the work. They know that nothing is easy.


Companies. In business, new companies are aggressive in building and becoming what they want to be. Leadership sacrifices by investing in others, giving of themselves, and putting resources where they need to be to grow. But as success comes, it’s tempting to stop sacrificing.

Marriage. In marriage, the work must continue through every season. While laying a solid foundation can make life easier, it doesn’t allow a couple to stop growing, learning, and submitting to each other. When a couple stops sacrificing for each other and the marriage, the relationship begins to suffer. The best couples submit to each other for the entirety of the relationship.

Teams. Whether in sports or business, teams begin with a great passion for success. They get to practice early, work late, and put group accomplishments before individual success. But when success comes, they can begin to think of themselves. They can assume all of yesterday’s work is enough to empower them for future success. As their work ethic fades, so do the results.

Churches. Every church begins with a great passion for service. Members are willing to do whatever it takes to reach new people and establish a meaningful ministry. Healthy churches continue with that mindset. They remember the sacrifices of old and use them to motivate continued action. Unhealthy churches remember the days of old and assume they have done their part. Unwilling to give more, they begin to die.

Sacrifice is a necessary ingredient for success. But the key is continual sacrifice. We can’t give one time or for one season of our lives and assume that will forever sustain us. Instead, we must consistently give of our time and effort in order to go the direction we desire. If you want to succeed, keep working.

3 Responses to Why Some People Don’t Succeed
  1. […] But it’s ripe with peril. It’s difficult to discern fantasy from reality. It’s har...

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