Over the course of 18 years as a pastor, I was a part of four building projects, one for Buckhead Church, and three for Gwinnett Church.
Along the way, I was told this piece of advice: “It’s going to take longer than you think, and it’s going to cost more than you think.”
As a words-of-affirmation person, let’s just say I didn’t walk away affirmed and encouraged that day when I heard this.
And yet, the advice proved to be 100% accurate. These building projects did take longer, and no matter how hard we worked in the planning process, there were some costs that came up along the way that we had to adjust for.
It’s the reality of what happens when you build something. Honestly, it’s the reality for building anything.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an email entitled, “You’re further along than you think.”
This week, I want to add a companion piece to that — “It’s going to take longer than you think, and it’s going to cost you more than you think.”
I don’t say that to discourage you. I say that to remind you — building something worthwhile and of lasting value will take time (more time than we think) and there will be a cost associated with it. Things of value cost more, and they usually don’t happen over night.
My business hero, Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, worked in a very small restaurant for 21 years before opening his first Chick-fil-A restaurant. Don’t skip over that timeline — TWENTY-ONE years.
That’s 21 years of going to the same, small kitchen and serving customers six days a week. That’s 21 years of working on an idea he initially called a Chicken Steak Sandwich. That’s 21 years of ups and downs. No one from the media was calling to interview him. No one was giving him any awards.
Nevertheless, he just kept going.
As you look at your current situation, I know there’s a chance you might be discouraged. The key isn’t to look at your current results, though results are important. The key is to look at your willingness to persevere. To hang in there, to pay the price, to keep going even if it’s taking longer than you first thought.
That said, this isn’t a plea for you to stay where you are if you’re in a season that’s run its course. This is about building something — a career, a non-profit, a new idea or a relationship. Building something of value will take time and it will come with a high price.
The ultimate question then isn’t, “How long will this take?” Neither is it, “How much will this cost?”
The ultimate question is: “How bad do I want it?”
PS. If you’re a part of a team that’s building something, consider purchasing the FOR book as a team read. It details more of what I just wrote about in this week’s email.