It’s Not Supposed to Be Easy

by vernsanders on October 29, 2012

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series for the second time in three years last night. I’ll have more to say about this in my next Monday Morning Email article for Creator’s website, but for now, I’d like to talk about one of the postgame quotes:

“For one, we didn’t allow doubt to ever creep in,” [right fielder Hunter] Pence said. “You know, the thing that made this team so special is just playing as a team, caring for each other. We had our backs against the wall and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It’s not supposed to be.”

In this day of instant gratification, we often lose sight of the fact that achieving great things means a lot of sacrifice. And not just by a few, either. For a group/ensemble/team, everybody has to do the work necessary to be successful in the long run.

That’s not easy. It takes work. It takes work every day. It takes understanding that getting better on every repetition of a task will eventually lead to significantly better results. It takes understanding that the results might not show up early…or every time. It takes doing the work anyway, believing that it will be worth the effort.

Self-motivated individuals find it easier to do the work. In group situations, a leader has to find a way to convince everybody to do the work. A leader needs to communicate that it is not supposed to be easy.

And, as the Giants demonstrated in their post game interviews, peer motivation is powerful. A leader can’t just say “you’ve got to do the work” and expect it to happen. The corporate culture of a group needs to be such that there is peer pressure monitoring and accountability. Everybody has to “step up” their game.

In amateur ensembles, particularly those that operate in the context of a church ministry, I believe that too often, leaders are willing to “accept” that “easy” is more desirable than “work.” You can’t change this overnight, and it can’t be changed by yelling, threatening, guilting, or browbeating people.

I’ve found that it is most easily changed by giving a group the chance to work a little harder to achieve a reachable goal that, when accomplished, the results are undeniable, and beneficial. It may be as simple as singing a unison piece with blended vowels, or not singing in a rest, or singing 2 measures of a cappella music in the middle of an anthem without the piece falling apart.

When you get that corporate “wow” from this accomplishment, don’t settle, as a leader. Have another achievable goal ready and waiting. Use the original accomplishment as a baseline by going back to it as a reminder of how it felt to accomplish something through effort. Little by little you will be modeling how work pays off. And trust me…over time it will pay off.

Do you believe that easy is better? Please leave a comment and let me know what they are so I can learn from you

Ipod shuffle status (What is this?): 4441 (Am I Right (or Amarillo) – Asleep at the Wheel)  of 7875

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