The recipe for success has many ingredients, including a pinch of sheer luck for some people. But what comes up again and again with me and my clients is the one vital ingredient that is non-negotiable and very learnable: Persistence.
Are there times when you think of giving up on what you just know you are supposed to be doing? And somehow at the time, does this giving up seem to be a good idea for so many reasons?
Have you ever noticed that whatever you do, that this moment will come up for you at some point? That there is no escaping it?
With whatever I have wanted to do and have done in my life, I wanted to succeed immediately. I wanted to speak other languages with the wave of a magic wand, paint like the masters in two weeks and well, I wanted to learn how to sing opera yesterday, of course! I was not patient and definitely not persistent if it took too much sustained effort.
I found myself in this situation many times because somehow, I thought and hoped that something would be immediate or effortless or “Magic Wandish”.
But that’s not life and I can tell you that when I started singing lessons many years ago, my voice was trapped – potentially a good voice but I needed training and lots of it. I stuck with it and practiced almost every day for years, and I got better and better and ended up loving singing. Did I give up. No. Was it frustrating. Yes.
But it taught me about process and development and persistence. And I gained great satisfaction from the results, to boot. And this has served me well, especially in my business.
Why Be Persistent?
“Energy and persistence conquer all things,” Benjamin Franklin said. And many other successful people over the ages have weighed in on the importance of persistence. Because it’s just undeniable.
There is no rule in the “Business Success Guide” that says that success will be immediate, guaranteed or easy. Anyone who has ever succeeded at anything, has persisted.
Have you ever wondered why sometimes talented, smart, and capable people just don’t make it? Sometimes, the reason behind this is that they didn’t keep going.Things got rough or tough or a bit “unfun” and they gave up. To be successful, you have to be willing to just keep going, no matter what the odds are.Thomas Edison, one of the most persistent people in history, made (according to the account you are reading) between 3,000 and 10,000 prototypes for his version of the electric bulb. And he invented or improved upon thousands of inventions. The thing is that Edison was more an entrepreneur than an inventor.
So, imagine if Edison were not that persistent. The world would have been deprived of the widespread application of so many valuable inventions. Yes, he did “borrow” others’ inventions sometimes but he was the one to persist and make it all happen.
Think of all the other valuable technology that we use, that has changed our lives. All of this exists because people kept working and improving even when the ideas were initially rejected. Because they persisted.
So, the other huge takeaway is that when we don’t persist, we are depriving the world of our special gifts or products or even inventions. That takes the consequences of not persisting to another whole level. We have a responsibility to not only our own success, but to other people’s lives.
When I finally understood that, my business quadrupled.
Of course, I always wanted to help people, but the concrete understanding that I might actually be depriving people by not persisting in letting them have access to me and a potentially successful business, and what that would do for their lives – turned it around for me.
And the great thing is that Persistence is not some talent some of us are blessed with. It’s a skill that everyone can learn. And here’s how:
5 Step Action Plan For Persistence
- See yourself as a Persistent Person. When our vision of ourselves is someone who is persistent, it makes it harder to give up on things when the going gets tough, because that’s not our idea of ourselves. We are people who are in for the long haul, no. matter. what. So, put a sign above your desk that reads, “I am a Persistent Person.”
- Set clear goals. Some tasks are way too big and daunting and frankly, intimidate the heck out of us. Break large tasks into bite-size pieces and then schedule these smaller tasks into your calendar and to-do list so you are sure that they get done, one-by-one.
- Keep your bigger goals in mind and in sight. Don’t just concentrate on immediate goals. Think of the end result. If the win is big enough, that helps us keep on track when discouragement rears its ugly head, or just hard stuff comes up. Remind yourself every day of what your end goal is.
- Run and walk in your business. When we’re working on a big or long-term project, it’s not sustainable to go at full throttle all the time. So pace yourself. Alternating periods of great effort with moderate effort keeps us going longer. There have to be periods of renewal. This doesn’t mean going on vacation in our business (when we aren’t actually on vacation). It just means switching up the pace. We can sustain prolonged effort if we take appropriate breaks, slow down at times, and renew our energy.
- Banish distractions. No one has ever achieved anything great while being constantly interrupted. Get conscious about ridding your work time of everything that is pulling you away from achieving your goals. Examine closely what you can cut out: what unnecessary meetings, projects, procrastinations (i.e.. unfocused Social Media time, chatting on the phone etc.) even relationships are pulling you away from actually getting important stuff done.
Without persistence, not much is possible, except for the random effects of bursts of effort. For anything that really matters and that includes building your business, persistence is key.
And as I said, do you really want the world to be deprived of all that you can be and all that you can give it!