So, we stopped doing what we needed to stop doing. And we started new and better activities and positively rewarding habits with an understanding of how important it is to build and maintain momentum in order to achieve success, exceeding our goals and dreams.
And then we hit the wall. What happens when we hit the wall? A dominant and driven attitude would have us think that we can just push through the obstacle, get it out of the way, just break through that wall when we hit it. Speaking from personal experience, I have tried this approach, and far too often I found myself bouncing off the wall and staring up at the ceiling.
The variable in this is the wall. What kind of wall are we talking about? Is it a very tall wall that cannot be scaled? Is it a steel reinforced wall, the kind that hospitals build around radiology departments? Is it a cinderblock wall, the kind of wall we see in schools or military bases? Is it a sheetrock wall? And if we want to run through it, we just have to choose our spot carefully, so we miss running into the beams. Or is it an imaginary wall, a wall we have created in our mind, a self-imposed barrier to success.
Persistence is absolutely a key factor when we think about achieving success. Those things we want most are those that usually take time or are achieved over time. Quick wins are great and fuel the fire and passion to continue, but those medium size goals and big dreams take time. And over time we will run into obstacles or at least speed bumps along the way. And staying with it in the face of adversity makes all the difference.
Persistence is also more than just pushing through. As noted above, there are walls that we just can’t push or break through, no matter how persistent we are, and regardless of how physically strong we become. Persistence also means tapping into our emotional and mental strengths. These are extremely helpful to push through and work through those self-imposed walls and barriers. And leaning into and onto our emotional and mental strengths are vital to working our way through those tall, steel, cinderblock walls of life too.
A few years ago, I was skiing the trees in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It was a beautiful blue sky powder day and we had found a great little aspen glade with fresh snow. It wasn’t a very tight patch of trees, there was plenty of room to pick our way through and bounce through the snow. That was the idea until I missed a turn and instead of bouncing through the snow, I found myself hip-checking an aspen tree and bouncing backwards. I found out the hard way that mature aspen trees do not yield to 200-pound skiers.
And tall, steel reinforced, and cinderblock walls don’t yield to us just because we are persistent. We need strategy, we need a workaround, and we need more than someone telling us to “Just do it.” Yes, that does work sometimes, and when it does, we are back on our way. When a pep talk or strong words of encouragement aren’t enough to do the trick, we have to stick with it in a different way, looking at how we can be smarter in our persistence. How we can go deeper into our emotional resources to conquer and overcome whatever it is that is in front of, standing between where we are today and where we want to be tomorrow.
What’s standing in your way? Is it a problem, a challenge, a very real and reinforced wall? Or is it a limiting belief, imaginary wall, or self-imposed barrier to success? I would love to hear your story of being more than just persistent at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we can use more than just our muscle and strength to push through, it really will be a better than good year.
Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.