Nothing will define your legacy like doing hard things. (Pixabay)

I'm not sure if the quote is true, but I've seen Eleanor Roosevelt's wisdom around all over the place. Whether she said it or not, this advice is golden: "Do one thing every day that scares you."

When it comes to your life's work, there is nothing more important. Whether you are an artist, a pastor, an accountant or a doctor, nothing will define your legacy like doing hard things.

We're all tempted to do what's easy—it's not just social media's influence. Of course, scouring Facebook is a temptation. Hours are lost in the vapor of Instagram. But you can't just blame social media. You have to own the fact that you are scared. You have to own the fact that you're not doing the most important things.

You're avoiding the actions that will make the biggest difference in your ministry. You're ignoring the steps that will mark people's lives for the better.

You're scared of doing what's hard. And I don't even have to tell you what to do. You know what it is. Go ahead and think about it. You know the action that teases your mind with its scary difficulty.

Hard Things Are Scary

Why are we so scared?

It's because the hard stuff is the work of vulnerability. It's part of what it means to be human.

  • It's picking up the phone instead of texting or emailing.
  • It's having a face-to-face conversation instead of gossiping.
  • It's actually writing out that proposal and firing it off to your boss.
  • It's scouring the Scriptures yourself instead of copying Steven Furtick's sermon.
  • It's finishing that song and putting it in a future setlist.
  • It's praying for that stranger.
  • It's giving over and above your tithe.
  • It's actually writing your book—day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute for the next year until it is done.
  • It's saying, "I'm sorry."

These things are all scary because you might fail, as Seth Godin would say. There's no risk in merely responding to emails all day. There's no adventure in just doing what's expected. Magic happen when you go over and above—when you see the mundane through the eyes of an artist.

So let's take action.

What do you need to do today?

What one, single action would make you post proud if it were finished today?

What to do list item stresses you out? Do that thing. Today. Right now. Watch what happens.

David Santistevan is a worship pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This article originally appeared at

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