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Getting Scrappy

January 12, 2021

For all of my post-graduate working life, I have been labeled an entrepreneur.

There are many adjectives that go in front of the word entrepreneur, but one that I’ve come to appreciate is scrappy. If someone calls you scrappy, it’s kind of a nice way of saying that you don’t really have the knowledge or resources you need to accomplish your goal, but you’re going to push through and make it happen anyway.

This is why we call a rookie a scrappy fighter or a scrappy player in sports. They are gritty, resilient, driven, and going to win, even if they don’t have the best tools or abilities. The fact that they are the underdog only makes them more eager to throw themselves into the game.

But there’s one more important characteristic of being scrappy. Most of the time, scrappiness is not something you choose. People who are scrappy have no other option. These individuals are forced to think critically and creatively in a way that a person with all the resources in the world doesn’t have to. 

Ross Perot, known for being a famous billionaire who ran for president, said something simple and profound about his wealth: “The more money I have, the stupider I get.”

In other words, the more resources you have, the less resourceful you will be.

My hope is that this blog will encourage those of you who find yourself in a position where you’re forced to be scrappy. I hope you’ll see the challenges you’re facing as a gift because they are making you better in the long run. 

Being scrappy forces you to:

1. Minimize Waste

If former Chick-fil-A president Jimmy Collins noticed a member of his team throwing away a paperclip, he would reprimand them. It wasn’t so much about the paperclip, as it was about the mindset. He wanted his team to understand that you don’t treat things you could use again as disposable. Scrappy people don’t waste things.

2. Maximize Resources

The small amount of money, the little team, that little bit of time you have to take a project to the next level—scrappy people stretch to its fullest potential. You work to make sure you are squeezing all of the juice out of the resources you’ve been given and in turn are able to better appreciate what you have been given.

3. Be a Good Steward

Have you ever heard the Parable of the Talents? It’s a passage of Scripture where Jesus tells his followers about what it means to be a good steward. In it, he tells the story of a man who goes on a journey and entrusts his talents (which is another word for money) to his servants. To one he gives five, another he gives two, and to the last he gives one. What’s interesting in this story is that the servants he entrusts the most to are actually the scrappiest. They work hard, invest, and bring their master a return on his investment. But the one he gives one talent to in the beginning only gives him back the single talent. It’s an encouragement that those who have been given many resources have the ability and calling to be scrappy too!

Scrappy people are good stewards of their resources.

If you are in a situation where you don’t have the money, people, and support you wish you had, I want you to take heart in what you do have. Having less may make you better, wiser, and more strategic than you think. Being scrappy is a gift.

On the other hand, if you’re in a season where you find yourself with many resources, it may be time to trick yourself into being scrappy. Find ways to sharpen your creativity and critical thinking skills, so you can be agile and ready to face any future obstacles that come your way. Don’t allow your resources to prevent you from minimizing waste, maximizing resources, and being a good steward of the things you’ve been given.


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