It can be argued that businesses don’t fail because of obstacles, they fail when they stop trying to overcome those obstacles. In my opinion one of the most important abilities an entrepreneur needs to be successful is persistence. The ability to keep going even in the face of repeated setbacks.
Churchill once said “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” If this is true how can we nurture such an ability?
Firstly, lets’s be realistic. It’s not a case of not feeling despondent or disappointed when things don’t go to plan. Feeling down is a perfectly natural and understandable response. However we should aim to make the period of deep despondency as short as possible so that we can begin making progress again. It would also help if we could be focussed and self aware enough to take steps to reinforce our persistence even when we have these feelings.
So what can we do to make this more likely?
You are working in your business for a reason, and hopefully that reason extends deeper than just being able to pay bills. If you can only think of an amount of money as your reason for being in business dig deeper and identify what you would do with the money.
Identify your motivation. List down all your desires and wants, no matter how unachievable they may seem at the moment. Don’t just list material things. Are you looking to gain pride as you help, guide, or educate your clients? Do you want to use the expertise and resources your business acquires to help those who are disadvantaged? Do you want to leave a legacy that will continue after you retire?
Try to look at events as part of a journey that is bound to include a series of dead ends, detours and delays, yet realise that you can still reach the destination you are aiming for. Some of the best golf players approach the first tee expecting to meet challenges in the next 18 holes, so when they end up in a bunker or miss a putt they don’t see it as a game changing disaster. It’s just part of the game.
Are there other habits you can build that will help you persist, even when it is difficult to stay continually motivated? Would it help if you wrote regularly everyday, no matter what your circumstances are? Could you spend some time each day helping others, even if it’s just posting advice and the benefit of your experience on forums, blogs and Facebook Groups? This can be a good way to keep your self esteem charged and keep a sense of perspective when the tough times hit.
You should also commit to ongoing learning so you are adding to the tools, options and ideas that you can work with. Read, listen to or watch something educational in your niche on a regular basis.
Build a mastermind group around you that consists of people who can help you reach your goal. Avoid having cynics and pessimists in this group and make sure that you don’t become reliant on any one person.
Find role models who have succeeded despite adversity. At least read about how the successful persisted when times were tough. Look to the life stories of Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, J K Rowling, and others and let these people be your inspiration when you are feeling down.
Think back through your past and list the times you have endured challenges and overcome obstacles. Give yourself credit for your victories and know that if you have risen from a tough period before you can do it again.
If one of the secrets of persistence is being prepared to be persistent, then I hope the above has been helpful.
Have you found any ways of getting through challenging times that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.