Perseverance is more important than skills, leads, connections, experience, income, past successes, and reputation. My reasoning is, as always, very simple. If you persevere as a manager, you will strengthen your skills, you will gain leads for great customers and great employees, you will develop relationships with people who will connect you to opportunities, you will gain experience from both failures and successes, you will increase your income, you will gain some success that you can build momentum upon, and you will enhance your reputation. However, if you consistently give up, you won’t gain any of those benefits.
Perseverance is the one reliable mechanism for converting effort into gold. I’ve met dozens of people who have come to me all excited about some career idea only to tell me within six months all the reasons why they gave up. Then they move to the next idea and the next idea and… They gain zero momentum, they damage their self-esteem, and they hurt their reputation.
As Steve Martin wrote in his magnificent book, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life, “Perseverance is a great substitute for talent.”
The Foundation of Perseverance
Every manager is in the relationship business. A manager is a person who converts human, financial, and material resources into results. The manager never converts results directly and solely through his or her own efforts. Consequently, integrity and honesty are at the foundation of successful perseverance for managers. No matter how much you hang in there, if other people can’t trust you, then you’re going nowhere. Perseverance is the key to long-term success, but only so long as it rests on a foundation of honesty, which means telling the truth, and integrity, which means doing what you think is the right thing to do in every situation.
The Sources of Perseverance
How does a manager persevere through good times and bad, through economic upturns and downturns, and through good and bad bosses, customers, and employees?
The first source of perseverance is self-confidence. Self-confidence is the degree to which a person believes he or she is going to succeed in an upcoming situation. If you believe you’re going to succeed, you’re much more likely to keep pressing forward. If you believe you’re not going to succeed, you’re much more likely to give up.
Self-confidence is strengthened by recalling past success stories. Take the five minutes required to answer these five questions. Write down your answers, and think about what you’ve written down.
The Process for Recalling a Past Success Story
- What was my goal?
- What were the obstacles I had to overcome?
- How did I persevere?
- What did it feel like when I achieved the goal?
- What lessons did I learn and how can I use those lessons in the situation I’m facing today as a manager?
Enthusiasm is the natural energy a person has when he or she is excited about an upcoming event. How does a person gain and maintain enthusiasm? Enthusiasm is absolutely critical for sustaining perseverance. Here’s the process…
The Process for Maintaining Enthusiasm
- Clarify your purpose for doing the work you do.
- Every single day focus on fulfilling that purpose.
What is your purpose at work? Either find a purpose or find a different job. You have to have a clear purpose in order to maintain enthusiasm and to persevere. Clarify that purpose, and then focus on fulfilling it every day.
About the Author
Visit Dan at www.thecoughlincompany.com. Dan Coughlin is a business keynote speaker, management consultant, and author of Accelerate: 20 Practical Lessons to Boost Business Momentum. He has been quoted in USA Today, the New York Times, and Investor’s Business Daily. Dan’s clients include Coca-Cola, Toyota, Boeing, Marriott, McDonald’s, AT&T, the American Bar Association, and the St. Louis Cardinals. He speaks on entrepreneurial habits, quality, leadership, branding, sales, and innovation.