Be persistent no matter how slowly you may, at first, have to move. With persistence will come success. (…) There is no substitute for persistence! Remember this, and it will hearten you, in the beginning, when the going may seem difficult and slow. Those who have cultivated the habit of persistence seem to enjoy insurance against failure. No matter how many times they are defeated, they finally arrive up toward the top of the ladder.” Napoleon Hill, Think and grow rich

Persistence is what characterizes one dear colleague of mine, with whom I shared so many lunch breaks. She showed this trait every day, in her job as production manager and in her life. What impressed me the most about her was her ability to deal with daily management and simultaneously keep an eye on the goal. I had in front of me a motivating leader and a great example. There were months in which her goal seemed unreachable, but she kept on moving.

The word persistence derives from Latin persistere, that means to continue with no interruptions, to stay firm in what one believes and wants to achieve. It means perseverance in doing something despite facing difficulties or delays in achieving success. It is the steady pace of the ones who know where they are aiming at; it is the rigour that stems from a strong will-power.

Napoleon Hill, in his famous book Think and grow rich, lists some symptoms of lack of persistence. Among those we find:  

  • Failure to recognize and to clearly define exactly what one wants
  • Procrastination, with or without cause
  • Indecision, the habit of “passing the buck” on all occasions
  • The habit of relying upon alibis instead of creating definite plans for the solution of problems
  • The habit of blaming others for one’s mistakes
  • Wishing instead of willing
  • Fear of criticism, failure to create plans and to put them into action, because of what other people will think, do, or say.

In leadership, being aware of these symptoms can give a tremendous advantage. Awareness allows us to take control over our choices and change sustainably our behaviour.

When reflecting on myself, I found that what I struggled the most with was defining exactly what I wanted. In a world of abundance, one can choose among so many options and this can be overwhelming and sometimes, paralyzing. Meditation and coaching are the tools that helped me reach more clarity about my goals, allowing me to plan and execute the next steps with persistence.

Which are the structures or habits that you are putting in place, to be persistent and achieve your goals?