Former professional tennis player, and advocate for gender equality, Billie Jean King, is quoted as saying “…champions keep playing until they get it right.”
To me, this means that there is no one who is born a champion.
The people who are victorious in their endeavors have kept working on things steadily until they get it right. It also means that it does not matter how many times you fail. What is pointedly more important is whether you are able to grow from your failure, by adjusting and improving your performance.
Persistence and tenacity are the vital ingredients in being a champion at anything you do. But the vast majority of folks simply do not have the patience, forbearance and courage for success.
In my work and through my business life, I see so many people limit themselves, even before start or they give-up without putting up a real tenacious fight. And they will easily rattle off a range of justifications for capitulating.
Of course, there always complex difficulties, shortage of money, or other forms of hardship that you have to endure. But it is the natural discomfort of attempting something different or the ensuing uncertainty, which actually thwarts most people.
You either allow your insecurities to paralyse you from being persistent, or it is just that you lack the real drive and motivation to see yourself through to your goal.
Let me attest as a business owner, that developing persistence is vital to success.
When I have failed in my attempts, and believe me, I have had some spectacular failures, it has always ultimately been because it was easier for me to live in my comfort zone.
I botched things up because I couldn’t take the discomfort or the uncertainly of doing something that I was unfamiliar with. And the fear of failure, debilitated me from taking the appropriate actions to win.
Consequently, my inability to be persistent resulted in that very failure I wanted to avoid.
Through experience, I understood that if I want to create change in my life, and achieve success, I had to develop and master persistence.
How do you develop this persistence that will see you cross the finish line?
You must begin with a clear purpose. What is the reason for you wanting to do, what you set out to do?
Laurence J. Peter, the Canadian educator and management theorist, best known for having formulated the Peter Principle, which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their level of incompetence asserted that “…if you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else”.
Business coaches and motivational speakers will advocate that you have to take massive action to get the results you want. At a fundamental level, this is correct.
However, more importantly, you must also appreciate that if you do not have a compelling purpose to want to achieve something, no amount of external motivation is going to help you develop the requisite resolve to keep going when you meet obstacles.
Personal motivation comes from a deep reason of why you want to achieve something. If you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, it gives you more energy to keep on moving.
For example, I had wanted to write a book from when started my career as a management consultant and leadership coach in 2002. It takes patience and a lot concerted effort to do this. And I knew that my book had to offer real value to my readers, for it to be noteworthy.
But for nearly 15 years I was just unable to put my thoughts downs in structured way, and get it done.
Finally, in early 2016, I decided that I would write down for myself “why” I wanted to publish a book. The exercise only took a few hours. I was on vacation with my wife on some beach, and I reflected on what my purpose was, for wanting this book published.
The thought that my writing would influence and teach hundreds and thousands of young executives on how to successfully navigate the complications of their workplaces, excited and motivated me.
I began to see in my mind, the effects of writing my book with focus and offering practical help for people in need. I could see that my work as a consultant meant that I had unique insights that would aid and assist people in need.
My purpose was presenting itself to me.
As it did, I developed the motivation necessary to write and publish my thoughts. Just few months later, in June 2016, my first book, “So, You Want To Get Promoted?” was launched, and since, it has gone on to be featured in the national bestseller list.
In any conversation on the attributes of successful people, persistence is always mentioned. And often, as a central factor in success.
So, if you want results, be purpose driven so you are motivated to be persistent, especially when things get uncomfortable.
Are you prepared to be uncomfortable?