Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do You Need to Stick It Out?

Every now and again, I like to share with you the words of one of my favorite life coaches, Valerie Burton. This one is about perseverance and I love it because it confirms for me that sticking with my business makes sense. It also reconfirms that as annoying as marriage can be sometimes, I do have the ability to revel in the things I love about my husband and leave the stupid stuff to God to work out.

So in the words of Valerie:

One of the greatest lessons I've learned is the power of perseverance. And it's the message I'd like to share with you this week.

"In the confrontation between the river and the rock, the river always wins," says a quote I recently read. "Not through strength but through perseverance."

Achieving your vision may not happen in the time frame you'd prefer, but if you prayerfully plan your work and work your plan, you will triumph. Like the rushing water that wears down the rock over time, perseverance is your key to success. Perseverance is a manifestation of faith, and "the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen." Perseverance is fueled by your faith and belief that your vision will eventually come to pass.

January is a time when I receive more questions than usual about how to make changes in one's life. "Why are most people unable to make lasting changes?," a reporter asked me recently. I think it is because most people expect quick results, and when they don't see them, they give up. It is easy for us to give up when we are not clear and specific about the vision, and do not have a compelling reason for achieving it. For example, let's say your goal is to "lose weight," and your reason is so that you can fit into the jeans you wore in college. The goal is unspecific and the reason simply may not be compelling enough. What might be more compelling? You might say instead, "I want to lose 25 pounds over the next six months so that I no longer feel self-conscious about how I look, which keeps me from being confident in my everyday interactions." Perhaps your vision is to take your business or career to the next level and double or triple your income. It's an exciting goal, but without a compelling purpose, even money will not give you the fuel to persevere to the finish line. To persevere, you need to be driven by a purpose and the values that matter most to you. For example, you might say, "I want to double or triple my income so that I can accumulate money that will lead to financial freedom. With financial freedom, I'll have the flexibility to spend more time with the people who matter most to me, and experience things I've dreamed of my entire life." A compelling purpose will give you the energy to persevere in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

In what area of your life do you need to make a decision to persevere? Perhaps it is in your marriage or with a child who is testing your limits. Perhaps you need to persevere as you pay off the debt that feels like it will never be eliminated. Maybe it is an area of your work, health or spiritual life. If you really want to reach your vision, you can. Trust God, keep making progress, and be patient. Your success will come.

When you feel discouraged, remember these three principles for achieving lasting change:

You must know where you are going. "Write the vision and make it plain ..." Habakkuk 2:2 advises. Be specific about what you want. Pray about it, then meditate and listen for direction about your vision in your spirit. Always follow your intuition. It is a divine compass - a gift from God to help you clarify your decisions.


It is essential to have pure motives for achieving your vision. Know why you want what you want - and be sure that the purpose is aligned with what truly matters to you. Don't spend your life trying to achieve a vision that is not completely your own. Meeting everyone else's expectations without meeting your own will drain your energy, leaving you empty. You need energy to persevere and energy is derived from passion and purpose. If you're not passionate and purposeful, you need to adjust your vision so that it is aligned with your passion and purpose in life.

Lastly, and most importantly, keep moving forward! "Never, never, never give up," Winston Churchill famously said in a 1941 speech. Sounds simple, but it works. If you stick with it long enough, the vision will come to fruition. You will make mistakes along the way, so learn from them. You will not do it perfectly, so give yourself permission to be human. But when you leave yourself with no other option but success, you will likely achieve it. Giving birth can be painful, but as mothers everywhere will attest, the temporary pain is worth the precious gift. Giving birth to your vision is the same way.

Whatever you are attempting to create in your life right now, plan your work, then work your plan until you get what you are expecting.

I have found that the greatest benefit of persevering is the person you become in the process. You learn lessons you would not otherwise have learned. You develop higher levels of faith and discipline. And you experience a higher level of satisfaction when you finally accomplish the vision. The process of perseverance isn't always pleasant, but it is often necessary to fulfill your potential and enjoy the richest rewards life has to offer.

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