Years ago I interviewed a successful business man who had turned down a professional football contract to open a boys home. His dream was to rescue boys from abuse, abandon, and neglect. He was so sure it was his life’s mission, he opted to walk away from a life of financial security to start the home with $20 in his pocket.
He took the road less traveled, making the choice few would make. At the time of my interview, we discussed the success that followed. He opened one home, then another, then an entire campus with a school and eventually girls homes as well. His decision resulted in tremendous success, not to mention the care of countless young people who desperately needed rescue. However, it was not an easy journey.
Because of his unique path he had a breadth of experience. As we discussed the ups and downs he faced, he sensed that I was looking for an easy answer around those tough times. “There is no leaping.” As I watched he drew a pencil drawing of peaks and valleys. “Of course you want to leap from peak to peak, but that won’t teach you what you need to know, the valleys are where you learn.”
Our culture caters to the quick fix. Many commercials offer a quicker way to get a college degree, buy lunch, get in shape, or speed up our internet connection. We often find our selves being sold what ever gets us where we want to be quicker. Every day we make countless decisions. Some about checking off lists. Do this, do that, get this done, get that done. Those are about basic productivity.
In our quest to achieve dreams, let’s not “buy the lie” it can come easy. There will be days when things seem to fall into place, but there will be valleys that seem difficult to scale. It’s tempting to look for a way around it, but often the best way around a tough time is right through the middle of it. It’s where we develop wisdom, tenacity, and strength. When big decisions are within your reach, don’t cheat yourself by trying to find the easy route.
This man took the road less traveled. He didn’t attempt to leap, he saw each valley as a trophy, bringing him closer to where he wanted to be. Now his track record of success has been written about and studied by countless professionals.
Recently a phrase caught my attention as I faced a valley that seemed unending.
“You can’t teach what you haven’t walked.” My friend was able to share valuable
council that still impacts my decisions years later. He spoke from experience, saving
me from likely pitfalls from trying to find shortcuts that really don’t exist.
Its easy to do the right thing when it’s easy. It’s when it’s hard that tests your true character. Peaks and valleys are part of life. Don’t attempt to leap over the very valleys that make every peak a mountain top experience!