Perseverance: The Grit Behind the Glory

Raise your hand if you set goals…

Raise your hand if you expect those goals to become reality…

Now, keep your hand up only if you believe that the road from here to there will be a smooth journey, free of potholes and detours…

There aren’t many success stories that go like that. Not relationships, not careers, not inventions. Most have highs and lows, unimaginable challenges – and the best of those stories end with victories, our heroine standing on top of the mountain, sweat on her brow, her spirit both tattered and emboldened from the experience.

See, story after story, study after study has confirmed that the number one predictor of success is NOT intelligence. It’s NOT who you know. It’s NOT timing or luck. It’s not even talent.

It’s perseverance – the determination to, come hell or high water, never give up. It’s the keep on keeping on, or as Webster defines it, “the steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”.

Success often has much more to do with perseverance than it does with a person’s innate qualities.

It’s known by many names: grit, chutzpah, spunk, moxie, tenacity, guts, spitfire. But by any other name, it still is that quality that gets sh!* done, that turns dreams into reality, and gets our projects launched.

But it’s not always easy to dial that fire up. Sometimes life’s goals look like an endless mountain range that is too lofty to tackle. So we don’t. We get overwhelmed with the big picture, we get stuck in self-limiting beliefs, fear of rejection or failure… and we stall out.

So HOW do we get our head in the Keep on Keepin On game? Here are the practical 1-2-3’s:

  1. Set goals. A goal without a plan is just a wish.
  2. Chunk it down. You don’t have to be a bulldozer to make progress. Scoops as small as a teaspoon will move mountains too. Just start. Practice habits of completion. And work toward your goal – a little every day.
  3. Practice time management. Calendar small steps and take them. Every day. Chipping away at the mountain will make it a molehill.
  4. (Bonus step!) Build a support team who will remind you of your strength, your capabilities, your spirit. Because when the tough gets going, it’s invaluable to have your team there to nudge you forward.

Keep the faith! NOT persevering eats away at self-confidence and costs you missed opportunities. It can

Don’t play small! Build a foundation and move forward, even just a little.

Taking steps – persevering – will build your sense of integrity, confidence, and trust in yourself. With each victory and challenge, you learn. And that’s the stuff wisdom and tenacity is made of. And let’s face it, if you have that, you win.

When Muhammad Ali was asked if he liked training, he replied: “I hated every minute of training, but I said to myself, ‘Don’t quit… suffer now, and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”

If you missed my most recent More Access to Now talk on Perseverance, you can catch the replay here.

And be sure to join me on Thursday, March 2 at 11am PT – we’ll be talking about Mistakes, Setbacks and Failures: From Oops to Awesome.

  • Susan Clarke says:

    Sherrie – Loved this piece – I have always believed my greatest strength is perservance! (though apparently I don’t really know how to spell it!) I’d also say this is what I call my mojo. I’d say I am pretty good at your steps – with the somewhat major exception of time management!!! Now that is a perservance issue for me – this year I am trying a day planner -I haven’t quit yet – so that’s a good sign!!! Anyway – loved the quote and will use it to inspire me to greater time management!!!

    • sherrietoews says:

      Hi Susan, so happy to inspire you to persevere with time management. There is no right way to time management, just make it work for you 🙂

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