“The path from dreams to success does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get on to it, and the perseverance to follow it.”
– Kalpana Chawla
Samuele Macora defines endurance as “the struggle to continue against a haunting desire to stop”. Stop is to close, cease, give up. To break one’s journey. Decisions to slow down or stop lead to a mindset of good enough.
Good enough is not enough.
Our hyper competitive work environments demand us to meet our goals, keep our promises, and advance the organization. However, the reality is things don’t always go according to plan. Our professional and personal lives are complicated with family challenges and office politics, just to name a few, and our path to success hits a few potholes. We are tempted to slow down or stop before our commitments are met.
A few examples:
Sales goals – we stop making calls because our incentive bonus seems out of reach.
Teamwork – we stop appreciating fellow team members because they don’t reciprocate.
Professional development – we stop learning new skills because we are too busy in our current job.
I have felt the urge to give up and been guilty of failing to persevere. My story is I was asked to lead a task force for a professional organization and our group got off to a running start. Soon into the project, I began to see the significant challenges ahead and lost interest. This was a volunteer opportunity and my day job came first.
I had the sense to admit my leadership failure and another individual took the helm. The shame of giving up was difficult for me personally, as I realized I was not the right person to lead this effort. Even more painful was the fact I let down the task force and organization who were counting on me to deliver – a humbling lesson.
Alex Hutchinson in his book Endure highlights the stories of athletes, primarily runners, who go beyond what others believe is possible. He believes that achievement is not possible without discomfort, and endurance is all about going beyond physical and psychological limits – limits set as much by your brain as your body.
Who is causing you to stop progressing forward, restraining your professional and personal dreams? No need to start a list – it begins with you. Your brain – your body. How can you get back on the path?
Three keys to resisting the urge to stop:
Understand your personal commitment – what you and others believe success looks like. Establish an accountability process through regular check points and identify partners to make sure your goal stays on track. Finally, visualize a successful ending and how you will celebrate your success.
Your commitment may be clear, yet obstacles will threaten your progress. Clients, supervisors, and co-workers are either our allies or adversaries. Remaining resilient through setbacks requires adaptability, optimism, and social support. Build these skills today to counter future negative forces.
Great athletes and leaders consistently perform at a high level, particularly toward the end when others are fatigued and anxiously wait for the final whistle. They excel by building a deep mental and physical reserve throughout the year, taking care of their body and mind through disciplined exercise, nutrition, and recovery. Their reward is a running start, consistent performance throughout the year, and having the reserve needed for the final stretch – sprinting not limping across the finish line.
Now is the time to resist the urge to stop by owning a more effective personal accountability process, demonstrating resilience through challenges, and investing in yourself to start and finish strong. Quell the urge to stop by finishing what you start. The path to success begins and ends with you.
Have a great week!