“The will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare.” – Coach Bobby Knight
This quote has appeared in various forms over the years. “Everyone wants to win, but not everyone wants to practice” is one variation. Another is “Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win.”
Whether you liked Bobby Knight or not (or even remember who he is), the sentiment is true: most of us like the idea of winning much more than we like the amount of work it takes to win.
That’s one reason why we put so much time and effort into looking successful – because it gives the appearance of winning without the effort. I’ve counseled with couples who accumulated large amounts of debt in order to maintain an image or lifestyle. It was a shortcut that had terrific long-term consequences.
Shortcuts are tempting because the preparation part of success is never as glamorous as the recognition, accolades, or rewards of success itself.
Successful athletes don’t wing it. Professional shortstops and second basemen still practice turning double plays, even though they’ve been doing so since Little League.
Successful communicators don’t make it up on the fly. They study, outline, and practice.
A healthy marriage is the result of hard work, changes, and adjustments. It’s not simply a matter of wanting a healthy marriage.
Depending on the circumstances, we might be able to survive on natural talent for a period of time. At some point, natural talent alone isn’t sufficient. In fact, it may become a cap to our growth or potential. It is preparation (practice) that unlocks future opportunities.
In the church environment, I’ve seen ministry staff who want growing numbers of volunteers or participants but are unwilling to grow their leadership capacity. Without that preparation, they will be ill-equipped to handle additional people. Most likely, they won’t attract them to begin with.
As pastors, our spiritual development is our preparation for ministry success (or substitute health, effectiveness, etc.). A history professor who hasn’t studied history can only bluff it for so long. When we prepare ourselves through prayer, Bible reading, and other disciplines, it brings a tangible depth and power to our ministries.
What Coach Knight recognized in basketball players is true many areas of life. You can’t build a thriving ministry, a healthy marriage, or a viable business on shortcuts and cosmetic fixes.
May God create within each of us a passion for preparation!
Experience and Background
- 25+ years of senior leadership experience
- masters in management and leadership
- presenter at the WFX National Conference
- former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
- helped start 2 for-profit tech companies
To get a better feel for my style and personality, you can watch past sermons on our YouTube channel.
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I’ve written a few books that might help! You’ll find books on preaching, leadership, Ephesians, as well as my first novel. Follow this link to learn more.