One of my favorite books is John Maxwell’s “Talent is Never Enough”. I was introduced to him several years ago and have enjoyed going back to his theories time after time. Yesterday my daughter and I had a discussion during a car ride on perseverance. I happened to have the book with me and had her read some of the Principles of Perseverance (Maxwell, 2007) out loud as we drove. I can’t say that she greatly enjoyed it, nor was she thrilled about reading (she would rather be texting) but we did end up having a good talk about her upcoming sophomore year and what she needed to expect from herself.
These same principles apply not only to our personal lives, but our business lives as well. I am surprised how many new start up staffing companies have contacted Avionté recently. Logically you would not think this was the best time to start a staffing service. However, those with a little fire and vision see this IS the perfect time to get things going. Whether it’s a brand new company, a new division or just changing things up a bit.. you are going to need some perseverance!
1. Perseverance Means Succeeding Because Your Are Determined to, Not Destined To
We discussed her soccer “career”. Last year as a freshman she made the JV team, so naturally she is hoping this year she will make the Varsity team. We talked about what she has done in the past few months to prepare herself for this and why she thinks she deserves a spot on the team. She didn’t tell me about all the hours she has practiced or the drills she has done, it was simply because she deserved it.
Many of us feel that we “deserve” a lot of things, but forget the thought, actions and determination it takes to get us there. Vince Lombardi said, “The difference between a successful person and others is not lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of determination.” The greatest achievers don’t sit back and wait for success because they think they deserve it. (Maxwell, 2007)
2. Perseverance Recognizes Life is Not a Long Race, but Many Short Ones in Succession
I would love to tell you that my daughter is one of those children that knows exactly what she wants in life and is always pointed in the right direction, she is not. She is full of life and spirit and changes her mind as the wind blows her in a new direction. It’s hard for her to think about what she wants to do 3 years from now, let alone what she wants to do in 10 years. To a 15 year old, three years is forever! We talked about what she needs to be doing now to prepare for college, what classes she needs to take and how she needs to work on self discipline. All of these things are small steps towards the bigger one. By keeping herself in motion she will get to where she needs to go.
This theory works well in staffing as well. As the recent economy has shown us, we don’t always have control of the external situation, but we ALWAYS have control of the internal situation. To be successful you need to just keep plugging away. (Maxwell, 2007)
3. Perseverance Is Needed to Release Most of Life’s Rewards
At a sales convention, the corporate sales manager got up in front of all two thousand of his firm’s salespeople and asked, “Did the Wright brothers ever quit?”
“No!” the sales force shouted.
“Did Charles Lindbergh ever quit?” he asked.
“No!” the salespeople shouted again.
“Did Lance Armstrong ever quit?”
He bellowed for a fourth time, “Did Thorndike McKester ever quite?”
“Who in the world is McKester?” they asked.
“Of course you have never heard of him—because he quit!” (Maxwell, 2007)
My daughter spent several minutes telling me how hard school was for her and how she wanted to take some easier classes this year (avoiding as much math and science as possible). I asked her how she would prepare for the classes she would need to take in college that required math and science. She didn’t know. All she knew is that she wanted to quit before it got too hard.
It is tempting to look for the path of least resistance, but the outcome will not be the same. Rise up to the challenges ahead and enjoy the opportunity for some growth and development!
4. Perseverance Draws Sweetness Out of Adversity
Years ago my mom and I had a discussion about raising children and how they need a little adversity in order to make them grow. She gave the example of a tomato that is grown in a greenhouse. It is given everything it needs to grow and thrive; food, water and light. The tomato plant does very well while in its greenhouse environment. However, if you take that plant and put it outside chances are the weather and elements will kill it. We need challenges and experiences to grow and continue to strengthen ourselves. Many will look at the recent turn in our economy as an unfortunate turn of events that hurt their business and caused them pain. While others will look at it as an opportunity to become better and come out the other side stronger and more successful than before!
5. Perseverance Has a Compounding Effect on Life
Author Napoleon Hill says, “Every successful person finds that great success lies just beyond the point when they’re convinced their idea is not going to work.” (Maxwell, 2007) When we do the right things, make the right choices and keep moving forward we will see ourselves getting closer to the goal. By practicing perseverance in one area of our life, it will spill into other areas as well.
My daughter and I continued talking about school and how it was a bit difficult for her, and how other kids just seem to “get it” right away. She expressed several times how much she wished that was her. I asked her about soccer and how she got to be so good at it? She told me that she practiced. When I asked her if practice was always easy she told me how hard they had to run and how tired she got and sometimes she didn’t really like it, but loved playing games. We talked a bit more that school was just like soccer; you have to practice to get good at it. It’s not always going to be fun or easy, but you just have to keep the end goal in mind.
If you can apply perseverance to one area of your life, it gets a little easier each time to add it to other areas of your life.
6. Perseverance Means Stopping Not Because You’re Tired but Because the Task is Done.
“Success is a little like wresting a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired – you quit when the gorilla is tired.” Robert Strauss
7. Perseverance Doesn’t Demand More Than We Have but All That We Have
Perseverance is an investment. It is a willingness to bind oneself emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually to an idea or task until it has been completed. Perseverance demands a lot, but here’s the good news; everything you give is an investment in yourself. (Maxwell, 2007) I love those two sentences! However, I think my daughter loved them even more, knowing the chapter was done and she could get back to her texting!
My hope is that one day (hopefully not too far in the future) she will think about our discussion one summer day in the car and realize that everything she wants is within her grasp, if only she is willing to persevere! It’s a tough concept and it’s even more difficult to live it day after day; but it truly is an investment in one’s self, one that will pay back time after time.