Lets talk a little about the word that probably pops up most when researching leadership literature: “Persistence”.
It is said that if you try and try again, that you will eventually get it right. And that is true. If you keep trying, things will eventually go your way, or you will eventually start performing better. Right?
The thing about persistence is that it not only includes “trying again and again”, but also that you should prepare in between tries, too. This is the most crucial part of persistence, yet most people don’t see it.
As babies, all of us started off lying flat on our backs for a few months, observing others and processing their movements. We start to realize that others are moving around and decide that we also want freedom through autonomy. We drink and eat as our bodies grow stronger over the next few months. After “collecting knowledge” on movement, we want to try it ourselves and start making attempts. The result is crawling. None of us crawl on our first try, instead we try, observe, learn and implement through trying again.
The same goes for walking. We trip over things and learn that it’s impossible to walk right through toys or walls. We fall after taking sharp corners and learn to adjust our speed. We learn that we need to put one foot in front of the other in order to move forward, etc.
If we did not learn from each fall, changed our thinking and adjusted our methods, none of us would be walking today. We would be too scared, because we would keep bumping into things and fall over all the time. We would have given up on walking long ago and would be dragging our bodies around.
Fast forward to today, we sometimes forget this principle in our current situations. With each attempt at something, we need to take in information, process and understand it, implement it and THEN try again. Living in our modern “microwave world” we sometimes forget that with success, comes (very) hard work. And we console ourselves after failures with the words “But I tried”. You have to take responsibility and realize that you did not really try until you have exhausted absolutely all avenues! This means doing research, gaining knowledge, understanding the information, processing what you have learned, revising and implementing. And guess what, that only counts as one try. If you have failed, you go back to the drawing board and start the cycle again!
This applies to everything – if you are in sales, make sure you have read every sales book you could find, that you have exhausted every avenue looking for leads, prepared for, contacted and given it your very best with every one of them. Make sure that you have abandoned all fear of rejection, that you have chased down every single prospect and that you continuously strive to exceed your goals. If you are an entrepreneur, an admin clerk, a software developer, a lover, a parent, same thing goes.
We can no longer afford to give up easily. The job market has become too competitive and living a good life has become too expensive.
We owe it to ourselves and our dependents to be (properly) persistent. Always.