We live in ambitious times. Ambition is celebrated and rewarded in our culture. Being ambitious to find your purpose isn’t wrong, but striving to obtain possessions and power is. Because when you strive for those things you miss out on enjoying what you have, where you are and whom you’re with. Success isn’t determined by how ambitious you are but by how faithful you are.
Success will always call out for you. Especially if you are talented, gifted or have a platform that gets recognition. In our culture we have a tendency to overvalue 15 minutes of fame and undervalue 15 years of faithfulness. We curate 280 characters on Twitter but don’t cultivate 280 days of character in our lives. Faithfulness is an attribute of God, and a fruit of the Spirit. Faithfulness determines success.
Opportunities are everywhere.
Success is misleading.
Stop trying to measure success by comparing yourself to everyone else. Someone else’s success can’t be yours because their yes to God isn’t yours. Success will not always equal the outcome you want in a situation, but your success will always be your yes to God.
Succeeding at the wrong thing could be your biggest failure. That’s why it’s important to steward your “now” well because it is training and shaping you for your “next.” Don’t take shortcuts. Shortcuts “cut short” the work of God on your life. Grow where you’re planted. Become grounded and develop a root system.
I was out to dinner with a great friend this weekend and we were talking about the unseen parts of our lives that are so critical and rarely celebrated. We don’t celebrate the prayer lives of others, we don’t Instagram our “dad diaper changes” so mom can take a breather, we don’t periscope our devotional lives consistently to show the world we know how to seek God, etc. What’s underground isn’t as celebrated as what’s above ground: our platforms, our titles, our accomplishments, our things, etc. The reality is roots precede fruits. To bear fruit that you will enjoy and that will endure, you need great roots. Stay grounded and focused and watch God bring your successes to life and build you a future you can trust.
7 ROOTS OF SUCCESS:
1. The depth of your success is determined by the quality of the people with you. Success is a team sport; no one ever succeeds alone. Therefore, the impact of your leadership ability is measured by the people you attract to lead alongside you.
2. Your capacity for success is determined by your courage to take great risks, and the wisdom to know when not to. It’s your capacity for understanding, thinking and acquiring wisdom and knowledge and how you process and order your wisdom.
3. The sustainability of your success lies in the divine tension between having a short memory in the courage department of your mind when you fail, and a having long-term memory in the wisdom department of your mind so you don’t repeat the same mistakes again.
4. The power of your success is determined by the level of confidence you have in your own ability to complete the mission and the amount of trust you empower others with to help them accomplish their mission. The amount of faith you have in God’s ability to cover your weaknesses, as well as fix your failures is more powerful than you realize.
5. The longevity of your success is determined by your ability to reproduce world changers and history makers—people who can carry greatness into the generations you will never see. Its proof is in your level of ability to empower true greatness in others. Success is successors. Those who come after you and live on beyond you to carry your mission beyond you and to fulfill their mission because of you.
6. The strength of your success lies in the grace you display in tough seasons, the level of kindness you give to those who fall short of your standards and the patience you display when you or others fail the mission.
7. Your success is defined by your faithfulness to your divine call, not in the outcome of your mission. In other words, faithfulness is success because ultimately outcomes are determined by God, not you.
Alan Pastian is a campus pastor at River Valley Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota, an Outreach 100 church (No. 23 Fastest-Growing, No. 46 Largest).