Stone Soup for Five: The quiet hidden work behind awesome

The quiet hidden work behind awesome

A few years ago my oldest son attended a military-style boarding school here in Oregon.  On one of his breaks he told us he had been selected to be a member of the drill team and he showed us some of what he was learning.  The discipline and exactness that went into each move as he talked us through it blew me away.

It is one thing to watch someone well trained do what they do, but it is an entirely different thing when you know all the details that go into doing it well... details that you often don't see.  In my son's case, it was specific details like placing his fingers with exact spacing on the rifle, and placing the end of the rifle down precisely at the tip of his boot while keeping his eyes front and center.  Each move was timed and measured.  Everything, EVERYTHING was specific and intentional.  Those individual details don't stand out individually in the end result, but because of them the end result is sharp, coordinated and inspiring.

It's the same way in life--when someone is awesome at something it takes a long time of practicing the details over and over.  But we rarely notice or know about the details and effort and often get lost in the amazingness of the end result.

The details are the ugly part.  You'll know them because they are covered in

Falling, Bruises, and dogged determination.

Everything and everybody who is awesome at their thing always moves through this list.  Always.  Nothing amazing has ever it happened over night or by accident. (If it seems like it, look deeper!)  If it's awesome, it has meant hours, months, years of hidden work.  We get discouraged when we're in the middle of the work part and someone else has reached the end result and want to compare.

That is where most of us quit.

But remember:
The work often doesn't have immediate tangible results... it's a progress bar  rather than a check box.
The work is hidden in the earliest hours of the morning.
The darkest hours of night.
The snatches of time here or there spent working instead of burning another hour online or watching another show.

If you want to be that friend who can encourage someone with a scripture from the Bible, you've got to read your Bible.  You've got to memorize, think through, and apply it to be able to use it.

If you want to paint, draw, create art, you've got to start with scribbles, and create lots of junk you don't like, and keep doing it over and over.

If you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck, you've got to sit down and face reality, make a budget, and live within your means.

If you want to homeschool like that family, you've got to make a plan, organize and execute.

If you want to get that job, be that person, learn that thing, have that marriage, raise kids like that, or excel in that area, you've got to do those things that those inspiring people do consistently and with intention.  Stop living by default.  Stop reacting to life, pampering yourself, and making excuses.

If you want to be awesome, you have to cut all the un-awesome out of your day.
Be the one who stays in the pool, the one who makes the budget, who starts the business, who reads the books...  If you want to be awesome remove the time wasters, do the work, repeat the work, and persevere.

"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of the hard work you already did." 
-Newt Gingrich

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  1. Well said! This is me all over, I really needed this. I am printing it out so I can read it over and over, and take notes on it! Thank you for your wisdom! I also made a prayer binder, loved your video on that!
    Blessings Sharon

  2. Thanks so much. I'm in the middle of some pursuits that feel pretty un-awesome right now. You've given a good reminder.

  3. Love it. Everyone wants to be awesome. No one wants to put the hard work in behind the scenes. It isn't glamorous, but it is necessary and it is worth it!

  4. Amen! I didn't know I needed this until I opened the email lol Keep up the amazing God filled work!!

  5. I love this post!! It's very encouraging and uplifting to basically get up and do something- really put your nose to the grindstone. Awesome wording! Couldn't be said any better!!!

  6. I am a 61 year old Registered Nurse who just left a fairly easy, benign office position to return to direct patient care in a completely new area of nursing. The Lord led me to do this because I would have never, never, ever thought of this on my own!!! It is a challenge and I am so encouraged by your post. It came precisely at the right time; isn't GOD AWESOME!! How He knows exactly what and when we need something and provides it in a way we would never imagine. Thanks for the God inspired encouragement!!! Be Blessed!!

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  8. I loved this! I have gotten a little lazy as the summer has gone by! It was exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Oh, this is such a good reminder! I've revisited the four quadrants post this week, and I need to figure out what all the "un-awesome" parts of my day are that should be cut out. Thank you for sharing this!

  10. Yes!! David Allen uses the term "appropriate engagement." If we want to excel at certain things, we have to have an appropriate engagement with them. Things like our walk with Christ and homeschooling should take up more time than social media, etc. We first have to define what it is we want- your examples were helpful. Thanks for this post, and for all you offer!


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