Core Values Series: Work Ethic
Some folks work hard. Others work smart. Our goal is to work hard and smart.
Let me clarify what I mean when differentiating hard work and smart work. We’ll use franchising a Chic-fil-A as an example of hard work. When you start a Chick-fil-A, you don't necessarily need to work smart as much as you need to work hard. Chick-fil-A has already done most of the smart thinking for you. It has gotten opening a restaurant down to a science. There is a prescribed manner by which you start and run one of its restaurants. So long as you are diligent and hard working, you should do fine.
A lawyer, however, must work smart. Not to say that his work isn’t hard, but the way he choses to present facts or tackle a case requires a lot of thinking and strategizing. There are just so many ways to interpret a case and present evidence to the judge. It requires smart work.
As a social entrepreneur starting a nonprofit from scratch, I’ve learned that I need to work hard in order to get smart. So in order to get to the point at which SuNica can both work hard and smart; Josh, Betty and I must surround ourselves with hard workers — workers who are committed to growing our impact in Nicaragua, not just doing enough to stay on staff.
SuNica will be able to work smart in a lot of ways eventually, but right now, we're still figuring out what smart work even looks like, while at the same time, working hard to fight off the things that can kill us as a new nonprofit.
Cash flow. Donor fatigue. Other non-profits.
I mean, we're in competition for the $316 billion given to charity each year, which sounds like a lot until you learn that it only makes up 2% of the country’s GDP. Like any competition, it takes a lot of hard work to succeed.
That's why Work Ethic is our #2 value. If we work hard, we just might push through the mud and the muck of starting up and become a lasting, sustainable force for good in this world. Sure. We'll work as smart as we can, but to be honest, there are days when we get to the end and realize that everything we’ve spent our time working on, may have been worthless. But in that process, we learned how to work a little smarter in the future. Fortunately, I can say that I’ve been having less and less of those days as the weeks press on. (Note: We're in week 42 of official start-up).
May God use our hard work with his infinite power to bring forth everlasting Kingdom change that leads to Nicaraguans thriving with clean and abundant water, better education, and discipleship.
1 Corinthians 9:24-26 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step.