Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The gifts of persistence

I recently gathered some of my best friends and closest associates and asked them to bring as a gift a story of persistence. Persistence is not one of the sexier virtues, and it's one of the hardest to define. What's the difference between doing the same thing and expecting a different result (insanity!) and sticking to your plan long enough for it to work? Are you crazy if you keep hoping for something that isn't happening or are you unfocused if you abandon your goal because you don't get instant success?

Here's what my fairy godmothers and godfathers offered me as gifts of persistence:

  1. Sometimes life is like knitting: you have to trust the pattern because the early results don't look anything like the end results.
  2. If there is work that matters at the top, you take whatever time you need to climb 98 stairs while recovering from pneumonia.
  3. You earn your peace with hard, sweaty work.
  4. It takes humour and courage to keep trying.
  5. Structure and support count, but it's the individual who decides to turn it around.
  6. The moments that make you are the hard parts in the middle.
  7. Focus on what is already working and trust that even when it seems weird.
  8. When you persist with a smile, you inspire others to persist too.
  9. Persisting in a goal is like persisting in a relationship.
  10. Sometimes you have to fall down, and even pull your supporters down, to learn.
  11. It's easier to be patient when you work within resistance instead of against it.
My own story for you: I have been persisting for ten years in a difficult field that I believe is the work that meets my purpose. I teach people to be learners, to be more confident in their choice of words, and to be more resilient in holding onto their intentions in a complicated, bumpy world. What I have learned by persisting in the work of my heart is this: it's worth it.

With much gratitude to my fairy godmothers and godfathers. 

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