Last night a friend suggested that I do something. Okay, he actually CHALLENGED me to do it and to guys that small word can make a big difference.
You see, guys love a challenge. From the time we are little, we dare each other to do really stupid stuff. The problem is that instead of thinking about the consequences of accepting the challenge, we usually only picture what the completion of the challenge will look like.
I still remember as a young infantry soldier just how bad I wanted to close with and destroy the enemy. I saw war as the ultimate challenge and surviving it would be the victory of a lifetime. Little did I know that the consequences of going to war would mean PTSD, TBI’s and injuries to myself and many of my friends.
But back to last night’s challenge. My friend wanted me to do something special for a family member. It could be anyone that I chose, but I had to agree to 2 conditions.
1. I would give them some of my time.
2. I would write them a note.
Now last night was not the best time for me to do something like this. My back is messed up and I am on medicine that makes me really tired, I had a ton of work to get done and many phone calls to return. But I accepted his challenge.
My daughter, Addi, is always asking for a special bedtime story. Not the usual kind from a book or a short one from memory. She likes it when I take the time to tell a long story complete with different voices and exciting plot twists. And last night when she went to bed, here is the note that she found.
After finding it, she came flying into the living room. She said, “Dad, are you serious about this?”. It was then that I realized just how long it had been since our last “special bedtime story”. I had done my duties as a normal dad would, but I had failed to be the best dad that I knew to be.
Many times in life we are distracted by success. We dream about it and can’t wait to reach the end of our goals. The problem is that we often fail to see the consequences of what that success may be.
We have all been challenged by society to be successful. That is defined many different ways but the fact remains that most of those definitions are not good ones.
There is nothing wrong with striving to be successful, but we must realize this:
Success requires sacrifice. Before you decide to strive for success, make sure what you are letting go of isn’t more valuable than what you are reaching toward.
So last night I decided that work could wait. I also decided that ministry could be put on hold as well. You see, I love my jobs, but I love my family more.
Addi was sitting up in bed when I walked into her room. The smile on her face was the biggest I had seen in a long time. As I sat down beside her, she let out one of those ear piercing screams of excitement and I couldn’t help but smile myself. She could have cared less about what my current job title is, how many miles my car has on it or how much money we have in the bank. The only things she wanted from me were my time and a horrible story about a talking dog and its quest to find his home.
The challenge that I accepted was simple but it has changed my life. It showed me that most of the world is wrong. Success isn’t always worth the Sacrifice.
If at the end of the day I still have my faith, family, friends and health then I will go to bed a very rich man…regardless of how others define my accomplishments.
Andrew Smith is an Executive Coach and Leadership speaker with the John Maxwell Team, as well as the Director of Rooftop India, an organization that seeks to train leaders internationally, as well as care for orphans through the ministry of the Azlynn Noelle Children’s Home.
Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Because of his military experience, he now assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families.
He has also owns a small business -Yellow Dawg Striping – in Southwest Virginia.