What’s Your Next Great Thing?

virtuoso violinistMark 1:35-39

The next morning at O-dark thirty, Jesus got up and went out to be alone in prayer. But Simon and the others tracked him down and told him, “Everyone’s out looking for you.” He said, “Let’s head out to the next few towns and get the word out there. That’s my mission.” So off they went, all over Galilee, speaking in churches and expelling demons.

It’s tempting, on the heels of a great success, to think you’ve arrived. That it’s all over. Jesus could have stayed in Capernaum basking in his new fame. But if he had, we wouldn’t still be talking about him.

The difference between the one-hit wonders, and those who still engage our admiration years after we first heard of them is simple. They never stopped after their first brush with fame. After the first movie, they made another and then another, did another Broadway show, cut another album, wrote another book. They didn’t stop. Instead, they used what they achieved as a platform for the next achievement.

In the grand scheme of things, being a one-hit wonder is relatively easy. It’s being a virtuoso, who can do the work day after day, night after night that’s hard. Even when it all goes down in flames (John Travolta doesn’t make a hit movie every time) the virtuoso starts again. Even failure is a platform for the next effort. It only looks effortless because they work so hard at it. Every time.

Bonus: Same is true of churches, companies, schools, and non-profit organizations. The moment they stop doing the next thing and start relying on their past successes to maintain their fame/profit/reputation/community support is the moment they start to die.