A couple of things happened last week that got me thinking about persistence. First, there was an amazing video on The Weather Channel of a beaver hauling a log across the road. Someone filmed it from their truck as they stopped and waited for him to clear the road, and it was really something to watch. My first thought when I watched it was, “Now that is a prime example of persistence!”
The other thing that got me thinking about persistence was a video by Tiffany Dow. She talked in one of her video blog posts about giving it your all when it comes to internet marketing and being in business for yourself. It always amazes me that so many people want success, but are really not willing to put in the effort to achieve that success. I know I’ve been guilty of that on occasion, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Sometimes it’s just easier to mail it in, or say you’re tired and head for a nap. But that won’t get you the results you want.
For me, when I get like that, I think back to my University days. There were times when I went days without sleep because I knew the work had to be done. There were definite deadlines and penalties for not keeping up with the workload. When you’re self-employed, though, it’s easy to ignore self-imposed deadlines and not worry about it. If the only person you are accountable to yourself, then it doesn’t seem like a big deal to leave persistence by the wayside.
Unless you’re a beaver, and a lack of persistence means you don’t have any food to eat, or you don’t have a roof over your head. And when there’s no one there to help you or hold you accountable, you do it on your own because it’s a matter of survival.
I’ve changed my whole schedule around this week because I know that I have not been nearly persistent enough in keeping on top of things this year. And while I’m embarrassed to admit that I dropped the ball and will not meet many of my goals this year, I am not too proud to stand here and say it in the hopes that maybe someone else can take heart. It’s not too late to get going and make something out of what’s left of this year.
So in the spirit of starting over and creating success, here are my favorite tips for building persistence.
1. Get some clarity
The first step in building persistence is knowing what you want to accomplish. It’s really hard to stay focused on a goal if you don’t know what the goal is. So get clear on what you want to achieve and always “keep your eye on the prize”.
2. Use self-talk
It’s easy to say “Oh, I can’t be persistent. I’m so scatterbrained I would never be able to focus that long.” That’s an excuse, and one I’ve used myself as a way to justify moving from one project to another without ever finishing any of them.
You CAN be persistent. Anyone can be persistent if they put their mind to it. And if you really think you can’t, remember the beaver… think in terms of survival, and tell yourself that if you don’t persevere and achieve your goal, you won’t have a roof over your head or food on your table.
Harsh? Maybe so, but perseverance is in part about doing whatever it takes to get the job done. So if that’s what it takes for you to believe in yourself and get results, then do it! No one else has to know what self-talk you use to propel yourself forward.
3. Find a role model
While you are working on your own sense of self-belief, sometimes it helps to have a role model you can look at to keep you moving forward. Seeing someone else persevere and overcome obstacles to achieve their goals can be spur you on to do it as well. You might be surprised at how the spirit of competition can keeping you going. More than once I have used the “If she can do it, I can do it” method of motivation to keep me going when I’d rather take a nap.
4. Set your priorities
Setting priorities for your goals is important because it takes energy — mental, physical, and emotional — to achieve them. When you take the time to prioritize, you will gain more clarity about what you are trying to achieve and will know that you are willing to take the necessary measures and expend the amount of energy required to see the project through to the end.
5. Leave room for change
Don’t ever be afraid to make changes. There will be times when a goal you have set is no longer a priority in your life. When that happens, it’s okay to make changes and set new goals. Think of the saying, “Change is the only constant in life” and go confidently forward to set new goals and priorities for your life. Part of being persistent is in finding new paths to follow when the old one no longer works for you.
6. Never give up!
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” ~ Napoleon Hill
I think this quote from Napoleon Hill really sums up what it’s all about.
The only reason you should ever abandon a goal is if it no longer fits your life. Otherwise, use these tips to build up your persistence, and know that whatever you believe you can achieve, you WILL achieve.
I believe in you! Will you believe in yourself?