Showing posts with label Perseverance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Perseverance. Show all posts

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Power of Persistence

The principles in Napoleon Hill’s classic, Think and Grow Rich can certainly be applied to the accumulation of money.

But they also represent an outstanding roadmap for accomplishing any worthwhile achievements in your life.

Best-selling author Bob Proctor has studied and taught Hill’s 13 success principles for 40 years. The two habits he’s developed over the years are worth adopting:

1. Read a few lines from the book every day. No matter what challenge he faces in life, he’s found the solution inside the pages of this book.

2. Read the chapter on PERSISTENCE every day for 30 days at least twice a year.

Solid advice! Consider this wisdom from that chapter…

“Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experiences upon which it feeds. Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by forced repetition of acts of courage.”
We don’t automatically have a “stick-to-it-no-matter-what” approach to difficult situations we encounter.

I know a young man who got part-time jobs during high school to earn spending money. But he quit each of them after a short period of time because they required actions that inconvenienced him. His parents bailed him out by giving him money and allowing him to break his commitments without consequence.

To form the habit of persistence, you have to decide that you’ll keep trying, no matter how uncomfortable the situation becomes.

Even when you don’t feel like taking the actions you committed to.

Especially when you don’t feel like taking them.

That’s why Hill refers to “forced repetition.”

You commit, and then you follow through. No matter what.

One of the enduring strengths of Hill’s writing is the specific guidance he provides for implementing each principle.

Here are the four things you need to have in order to develop the habit of persistence…

1. “A definite purpose backed by burning desire for its fulfillment.”
What drives and motivates you in life? When you know your
WHY and feel it to the core of your being, you will not let temporary setbacks and disappointments discourage you for long.

2. “A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.”
Vague ideas or wishes won’t inspire you to do the hard things on a regular basis. A clear vision of where you want to go and the steps required to get there can keep you on track.

3. “A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances.”
If you’re determined to achieve something great, be prepared for criticism and unwanted advice. You need to develop a strong belief in yourself in order to withstand pressure from others who don’t share or agree with your goals.

4. “A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.”
As much as possible, surround yourself with people who believe in you and sincerely want to see you succeed. They can encourage you when you encounter rough spots and help you stay focused on your goals.

Is there an area of your life where could you achieve greater success if you committed to making a sustained effort, no matter what?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Keep Asking, Even When the World Says NO

Imagine this.

You have an idea for a book that you believe would be fantastic. You draft a proposal and send it to five publishers as a test. They all say no.

You try five more. They say no, too.

You’re discouraged but decide to double up and send your idea to TEN more publishers.

Still no takers.

That’s 20 indicators that your idea has no merit.

What would you do at this point?

Most people would give up. Maybe their idea wasn’t so great after all. Or it’s not worth the effort to keep trying.

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen faced far worse rejections than this when they were trying to find a publisher for their first Chicken Soup for the Soul book.

They got 144 rejections over a period of 18 months.

But all these rejections did not deter them. They had such a strong belief in their book that they simply moved on to a different publisher each time they got rejected.

Jack Canfield recounts their experience in this short video (2:18).

When you have an idea, goal, product or service that you deeply believe in, recognize that your opportunity can be realized if you commit to continue asking, no matter how many rejections you get.

Remind yourself of this wisdom from Jack Canfield:
“When the world says NO, you say NEXT.”

And then reflect on these inspiring words from people who’ve experienced first-hand the pain of failure, rejection and ridicule, yet persevered until they prevailed…
"If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence. Determination. The will to endure to the end, to get knocked down 70 times and get up off the floor saying, 'Here comes number 71!'" - Richard DeVos, American businessman (1926- )
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” - Harriet Beecher Stowe, American novelist (1811-1896)
"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing." - Abraham Lincoln, American president (1809-1865)
"I will persist until I succeed. Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult... I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking." - Og Mandino, American author (1923-1996)
"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." - Albert Einstein, American physicist (1879-1955)
“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” - Martin Luther King, Jr., American civil rights leader (1929-1968)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why Nature Filmmakers Have My Respect

Without a doubt, my favorite TV programs are shows about the world of nature. What passes for “reality” shows can’t hold a candle to these, where you can see the moment-by-moment struggle for survival that creatures in the natural world face every day.

I like to call this Nature At Work.

Recently, as I was watching “Magic of the Snowy Owl” on the PBS Nature series, my attention alternated between two adult owls’ valiant attempts to raise their young in harsh conditions and the filmmakers working in those same harsh conditions to capture the year-long story.

Whether they’re covering frigid regions of the Arctic or blazing heat of the desert, those who brave the elements to bring us this rare footage have my eternal respect and gratitude. Because of their efforts, millions of people like me can witness marvels of nature that would otherwise be inaccessible.

As I see the world through their lenses, I often think about the personal strengths required for individuals who take on these challenges. These three stand out...

COURAGE. Many of these locations are remote and treacherous. It can be risky just to get to the destination. The dangers are real, even life-threatening at times. These adventures are not for the faint of heart! Lucky for us viewers, these hardy souls say “yes” to the opportunities and don’t let fear stop them.

Often the fears we experience in life are due to our own thoughts and imagination. Unlike the filmmakers, the dangers we perceive do not exist in reality. Examine your fears and figure out what you can do to work through them and take action.

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.” - Thucydides, Greek historian (C. B.C. 460-400)

PATIENCE. What we see on the screen in a two-minute clip may have taken weeks or months of waiting for just the right moment. It’s about being in the right place at the right time, allowing the action to come to them and not trying to rush the shot.

Do you sometimes want to hurry things along, just to get to closure according to your own time frame? Not everyone moves at the same pace you do, and you may need to let things unfold in their natural way. Trying to push can be counter-productive. 

“Some things arrive on their own mysterious hour, on their own terms and not yours, to be seized or relinquished forever.” - Gail Godwin, American novelist (1937- )

PERSEVERANCE. There must be moments when the crew is tempted to throw in the towel and say, “That’s it! No more!” Like when hundreds of mosquitoes are attacking their exposed skin. Or toes and fingers are getting frost-bitten. Adverse weather conditions and physical discomfort would send less committed people running for the hills. And yet these dedicated individuals stay until they get the job done…no matter what.

What kinds of obstacles cause you to quit? Can you stick with it just a little longer even when you feel like giving up? Often breakthroughs come at the moment when you feel you can’t take one more step. 

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” - Harriet Beecher Stowe, American novelist (1811-1896)

Next time you watch a nature program, think about the courage, patience and perseverance required to capture those moments, and you will have a deeper appreciation for the unique opportunity you’ve been given to see “nature at work.”

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Finding the Upside

Every now and then I read a book that inspires, educates and gives practical tips I can use right away. Find the Upside of the Down Times by Dr. Rob Pennington is that kind of book.

Rob has faced extreme adversity in his life and prevailed. Even when the “down times” included getting shot in the chest by an assailant, fired from his job, audited by the IRS and taking care of a critically ill spouse. Instead of becoming cynical and discouraged, Rob used each of these challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow.

I admire that. His courage, optimism and perseverance serve as motivation and encouragement for me.

And Rob did two things that caused the book to be a compelling read:

Self-Disclosure. Rob makes himself vulnerable to the reader. He doesn’t pretend that he was strong or perfect in the middle of these circumstances. Instead, he allows us to see his emotions, doubts and struggles. He’s one of us so we can identify with him and realize that it’s possible to emerge successfully from even the gravest of situations.

Structure. Each chapter contains the same three parts:
1 - Personal story that captures your attention and describes his challenge
2 - “What to Remember” – the lesson learned from the experience
3 - “What to Do” – the specific actions you can take to apply the lesson in your own life

For example, in the chapter “Turn a Worry into a Goal,” Rob describes his serious concerns about paying the $36,000 hospital bill he received after getting shot. He didn’t have the money and didn’t know how he’d get it. He explains how he was able to hold a “positive possibility” in his mind and find the solution to this problem. The action steps provided at the end helped me work through a specific challenge I was facing at the time.

Like any book, if you just read Find the Upside of the Down Times, you’ll gain some insights you didn’t have before. But if you actually implement the clear, step-by-step suggestions included with each chapter, you’ll experience the true potential to change your attitude and your results.

In his preface, Rob recommends reading just one chapter at a time. Then take time to think about how you can put the concepts into practice in your life.

I agree. This is a book to be savored over time. Although it could be a quick read, you’ll get the greatest benefits by following his suggestion.

You’re going to face many difficulties in your life. Some of them will even bring you to your knees. Absorbing the wisdom in this book will prepare you for those times so you emerge stronger from the

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene and Unexpected Visitors

Photo by Kathleen Scott. Used with permission.

We live in southeastern Virginia, so we’d been tracking the path of Hurricane Irene for days before it arrived on Saturday, August 27th. On Friday my husband Lee moved the table, chairs and charcoal grill off the deck and into the garage.

Everything was put away…except the hummingbird feeder. And that’s because we’ve had three active visitors from dawn to dusk the past few weeks. Maybe even later, for all we know. We can’t see what happens after dark.

We just knew these little Ruby-throated Hummingbirds depended on us to supply them with sweet nectar, and we didn’t want to let them down.

You see, to stay alive, hummingbirds must consume more than their weight in food each day. That means they eat quite often because they can only take in small amounts at any given time. In fact, their survival depends on eating frequently more than any other animal. They continually face the danger of starving.

So we were going to wait and take the feeder down Saturday, after they’d had their early morning feeding. We figured they’d hunker down somewhere once the rain and wind started in earnest.

But we were in for a surprise.

The hummingbirds arrived early, as expected. They were already at the feeder when we looked out the breakfast nook windows at 6:00am. But their visits didn’t stop even when the rain and wind arrived. We decided to leave the feeder up, just to make sure they had a source of food in case they ventured out during the storm. Lee went out and tied the feeder to the pole it was hanging from, to make sure it didn’t blow off.

Torrents of rain came down at times, with wind gusting to 60 mph. We stared in amazement as the hummingbirds continued coming to the feeder throughout the entire day.

Their tenacity in the face of severe weather was truly inspiring.

Such tiny creatures.

Such a huge adversary.

And yet, they were never deterred. They simply ignored the constant assault. In fact, they seemed oblivious to it!

This display of courage and perseverance got me to thinking…

As humans, we allow ourselves to get discouraged too easily. When we face a difficult situation, instead of staring it in the face and moving forward anyway, we often back off or even give up. If someone pushes back against our ideas or actions, we retreat.

What would happen if we adopted the tiny hummingbird’s attitude?

Be tough. Be strong. Even when you’re up against a fierce opponent. Be willing to look adversity in the face and do the hard things anyway.

If you adopt this approach, your confidence will grow and you’ll be ready to handle even greater challenges when Mother Nature or the people in your life throw the unexpected your way.

A footnote…

I didn’t have the proper equipment to film our three visitors that day, but this YouTube video shows the same kind of activity that we observed. I hope you’ll be inspired to have the same energy and tenacity these Hummingbirds display during a thunderstorm.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kathy Ireland: A Role Model for Persistence

At the 2011 Glazer-Kennedy SuperConference, I had the privilege of meeting Kathy Ireland and hearing her address the audience of 1200 entrepreneurs.

Although she originally gained fame as a model on the cover of magazines like Sports Illustrated, today Kathy is CEO and Chief Designer of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, a 1.4 Billion dollar company selling 45,000 products in 50 countries.

It’s easy to look at someone who’s attained celebrity status like Kathy and make assumptions about what led to her current success. I know I did. And I was surprised at how wrong I was.

Kathy continues to deal with rejection every day, and she’s heard criticism since starting her very first jobs. Her persistence in the face of these setbacks was truly inspiring.

Some of my favorite quotes and stories from her presentation…
“Don’t give up due to
someone else’s criticism.”
At age 11 she faced her first instance of discrimination when she became a newspaper carrier (a job she kept until age 16). One of her older male customers told her a girl shouldn’t have that job. It was something boys were supposed to do. Every time she thought of quitting, she recalled his words and became more determined than ever to excel in that role. She went on to win “carrier of the year” every year she had a paper route.

“What you have to give up is not a sacrifice, 
it’s a bold investment.”

When Kathy first started her product company, she traveled around the country approaching retailers. In those early days, she slept at the airport to save money. She didn’t mind doing that because she was willing to do whatever was needed to get the business going.

“I look at failure as education. 
I’m very well educated.”

Kathy’s company started out selling one product, socks, and expanded from there. She was primarily tied to one channel, a major retailer; and when it experienced serious financial difficulties, her company was in big trouble. Eventually she started working with chains of independent retailers, but not before her company experienced some very tough times.

“Have you been rejected in the last 30 days? 
If not, you may not be trying hard enough.”

Once she’d established herself as a serious businesswoman, Kathy wanted to be interviewed by television journalist, Maria Bartiromo. Over a period of FIVE YEARS, Maria consistently said no. Kathy was told she needed to grow as an “interviewee” first. She committed to doing just that and eventually scored that interview along with dozens of others.

She wanted to add “weddings” as a category. For SEVEN YEARS she got “no” from the top bridal gown company. With perseverance, she eventually got to “yes” and her company now features thousands of gowns.

“You can be mentored by someone 
without ever meeting them.”

Before meeting her, Kathy was inspired by Elizabeth Taylor because of the way she stood up for HIV and AIDS patients, in spite of criticism and death threats.

Today Kathy serves on two boards of non-profit organizations dedicated to children, and she donates considerable personal time and money to causes that make a real difference in the lives of others.

Kathy Ireland is one of those special human beings who made a successful transition from magazine model to role model.

“Sometimes we have to say NO to GOOD things 
in order to say YES to GREAT things.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lessons about Personal Strengths from Cal Ripken, Jr.

Baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr., spoke last week-end at the Glazer-Kennedy InfoSummit in Baltimore. What an amazing life story he shared! I was lucky enough to get this photo with him after his talk.

Cal’s 21-year career with the Baltimore Orioles included playing 2,632 consecutive games. That’s nearly 17 straight years without missing a game. An astonishing feat.

What kind of person does it take to achieve that kind of record?

Many rookies asked Cal that same question in his later years. At first he had no idea how to respond, but then he spent time considering the characteristics involved in that achievement. He came up with eight traits someone would need in order to break his record, and his latest book describes them in detail - Get in the Game: 8 Elements of Perseverance That Make the Difference.

Cal covered these eight traits in his presentation to our group and illustrated them with fascinating stories from his career. Here are just two that can make a tremendous difference in your own life…

Be consistent. The accumulation of all the contributions you make on a daily basis are what make you special and even irreplaceable. What habits are you developing that make it easy for you to adapt to change and continue to perform at high levels?

Build physical and mental strength. What are you doing every day to improve your performance? How are you growing your mind and your abilities so you’re able to think through problems and find solutions quickly?

Cal’s talk resonated with me at a deep level because the traits he described are exactly the kinds of personal strengths we’re helping people develop with our new online self-development service, ProStar Coach.

Cal’s last slide summarized his approach to baseball and life. This wisdom may inspire you to take greater risks even when you can’t be certain of the outcome.
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”  - Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, June 28, 2010

Perseverance - Be the One Who’s Still in the Game

When the going gets tough, you'll wonder if it's worth it. But if you don't quit, if you keep on fighting, you give yourself a chance to achieve your goal. Applying the ideas will give you the resolve you need when you’re face-to-face with challenges.

What strategies do you use to keep on track when you’re discouraged and feel like giving up?
"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." - Harriet Beecher Stowe, American novelist 
"The one quality all successful people have is persistence. They're willing to spend more time accomplishing a task and to persevere in the face of many difficult odds." - Joyce Brothers, American psychologist
"There's no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love. There is only a scarcity of resolve to make it happen." - Wayne Dyer, American author

Monday, June 21, 2010

Joan Rivers: A Role Model for Courage and Perseverance

Joan Rivers is far more than a successful comedian. A phenomenal entrepreneur, she overcame extreme adversity to create a multi-faceted company that now exceeds $200 million in sales annually.

I recently had the chance to meet Joan and hear her speak at the Glazer-Kennedy SuperConference in Dallas. Her inspiring presentation included not only her own experiences as a business builder but also insights she’s gained from hosting “How’d You Get So Rich?” In this reality TV show, Joan simply asks people who’ve made money in unique ways how they acquired their wealth. [You can watch full episodes HERE.]

All these individuals started with nothing but a dream, and Joan described several traits they had in common. How can you apply these success principles to your own life?

1. Say YES to every opportunity.  Hesitation, doubt and fear can cause you to miss out on life-transforming breaks.

2. Have a strong work ethic. “If you love your work, you shouldn’t know it’s 5:00.” If you really love what you do, you’ll think about it all the time and figure out how to go to the next level.

3. Have a motto or mantra that drives you. A few favorites:
“Never look back.”
“Use whatever resources you have.”
“Yes is the only answer.”
4. Ignore your shortcomings. No one is perfect. If you believe in yourself, don’t let what you can't do well deter you. And don't let others discourage you from pursuing your dream.

5. Never let anyone tell you something is beneath you. Be willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve your goal.

6. Keep your sense of humor. Accept that life is difficult, so make a joke out of the bad times whenever you can. “100 laughs a day = 10 minutes of rowing.”

At 76 years young, Joan Rivers is a role model for lifelong learning. The authentic enthusiasm in her voice as she described the lessons she’s learned from her own life and the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed was inspiring. And remember...
“Don't follow any advice, no matter how good, until you feel as deeply in your spirit as you think in your mind that the counsel is wise.” - Joan Rivers

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What I Learned from a Hike in the Mountains of Virginia

A few years ago my husband Lee and I were visiting our daughter near Blacksburg, Virginia, where she lived at the time. Alison knows how much we enjoy the world of nature so she suggested that we hike up to McAfee Knob. She had climbed it recently and said the view was breathtaking. Since it was October and the leaves were at their peak, we quickly agreed.

The perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon with our special daughter and her friend.

Except that she left out the part that the hike was really challenging. The climb was steeper and took a lot longer than we’d anticipated. Several times I thought about turning back because my feet started hurting and I was getting winded.

But Alison kept telling us it was “just a little further” so we continued moving ahead. Besides, I wanted to enjoy the view that I knew awaited us.
When we finally arrived at the top, I had Lee take this picture of me next to the sign as proof that we actually made it.

I soon forgot about my aching feet when I surveyed the mountains around us. We stayed for hours just absorbing the spectacular vista.

I sat on a ledge with Alison’s friend for a very long time, and later learned that Lee had taken this photo.

What I learned from this experience:

Any ambitious goal is going to have its rough spots. There will likely be times when you get tired and feel like giving up. You think you can’t go further and you want to quit. But...if you keep visualizing the desired outcome and stay on the path you’ve chosen, you can experience results that are even greater than you imagined.