Posts tagged #Perseverance

Do What The Great Ones Do

As a speaker and writer, I do my best to learn what makes the “great ones”—orators and authors of the world renown—great. I study their speaking and writing styles, their word choices and use of language, their presentation skills and means of grabbing and maintaining the attention of their audiences. More than anything else, however, I study their lives, specifically the obstacles and trials these men and women had to overcome on their paths to success. What I glean from my examinations I integrate into my own life because, if there is one common thread of human character that links the past, present, and future, it is our ability to persevere.

JK Rowling's most famous book series.

JK Rowling's most famous book series.

As evidence of this, consider the example of a poor, single mother who once lived on welfare. Divorced and jobless, she had been diagnosed with depression and had even contemplated suicide. Then, while taking a train trip one day, she had an idea for a novel. She worked on her book in local cafes while her baby took naps in the stroller. Once her manuscript was finished, she submitted it for publication; it was rejected countless of times before a publishing house finally accepted it. This woman’s birth name was Joanne Murray, but today people the world over know her as JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.

In a commencement speech at Harvard, Rowling mentioned something about failure that I believe is very relevant for us to truly understand and grasp what perseverance means.

She said, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

Rowling did not allow her difficulties to keep her mired in poverty, but rather endured them and, as a result, became the world’s first female billionaire author. She is literally living the “rags to riches” fairy tale, all because she chose to persevere rather than surrender.

Struggles in life are unavoidable. As surely as the sun will rise, they will come. Some may batter us so badly that we will want to give up on everything we have planned, but that does not mean we must allow them to steal our hope. We can instead choose to see our trials simply as steps we must take along the path to greatness.

Remember this: You always have a choice; persevere or surrender? The great ones; leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, students, artists, etc. know that greatness comes because they choose not to give up on their mission. 

What will you choose today?

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Keep Standing!

Challenges exist for a reason...
and that reason is not to keep you from what you want to achieve. They exist to reveal how much you want something, to determine whether or not you want it badly enough to endure whatever it takes to earn it.

I understand that this will not be easy. I have certainly had days when I woke up and, even though the sun had risen and shone through my window, I could not see it because the shadow cast by the difficulties I was facing loomed far too largely.

In those moments, life seemed bleak, and my vision for the future was blurred.  Amidst those temporary lapses, however, my belief that the grandest things lay just on the other side of my tribulations, urged me to hold on...to stand by my purpose.

What great things will you accomplish if you just hold on tight to your dreams?
Whose life will you impact today if you truly grasp the great opportunity that is in front of you?
How will you impact those around you knowing that you are here for a greater purpose? 

Don't let your mission in life be derailed by failure, criticism or discouragement.
Stand by your purpose.

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Win Their Trust

Some of you are a couple of weeks into another school year. Has the excitement of a new school year already vanished? Are you counting down the days to Thanksgiving break?

Perhaps the answer to the above questions is a resounding “Yes.” If that’s the case, is it fair for me to assume that the reason why you may be feeling a bit dejected is because the students have switched gears on you?

No longer are they the sweet, quiet kids. Now, they are testing you and your limits. Now, the lesson you worked hours and hours on during the weekend creates little to zero engagement with them. To top that off, maybe your calendar is filled with deadlines from administration of paperwork that must be completed ASAP. It’s no wonder, right about now you’re probably feeling down.

I feel your pain. I’ve been there.

Maybe you don’t work in a school environment at all, but you’re experiencing discouragement because your business isn’t taking off the way you envisioned it to.

Trust me. I understand.

Regardless of where you find yourself, allow me to offer you two pieces of advice.

1.     Don’t quit.  Yes, it sounds elementary, but perseverance is a quality we love to claim we have until we find ourselves facing a huge obstacle that reveals to us otherwise. However, any successful person succeeded not because he or she always did the right thing. Rather, it was because he or she stayed committed to their purpose. Countless times they failed, but they always rose back up.
2.     Win Their Trust.  Realize that the people you are trying to influence will not listen to you or give you the time of day, until they are able to trust you. The relationship you have with the people you are serving matters. It matters because it influences the results you are getting and will continue to receive.

In a study conducted by Mensah and Atta (2015), teachers expressed that a supportive relationship with students was one key factor that inspired the students to succeed.  So, continue to get to know your students. Value them. Not just when it’s convenient either.

For those in business, the relationships you build are also vital to your success. Get to know your potential clients. Treat them with respect. Provide them value. Build trust.

Remember, any person will work with you and for you when they trust you, and that the strongest of all relationships is always built on trust.

3 Ways to Win Trust

1.     Do what you say you are going to do.
2.    Your communication both verbal and nonverbal matter.  Choose both words and actions carefully.
3.     Value every single person you are serving, whether they treat you fairly, do the right, or not.

Here’s to you staying Mission Driven and creating a legacy that makes an impact!

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The Whole Picture

It’s been three months since I took one of the greatest leaps of faith ever in my life.  I was speaking with a friend of mine a week ago, and she asked me how I felt about leaving a steady, secure career. My response to her was that, although I am doing all I can to survive on the finances that I have, which at times lead to stressful days, I am ecstatic I made the leap. I now have a liberty that money can never buy.

With this liberty, however, comes great responsibility. I’ve been freed from a career that wasn’t fulfilling me any longer, yet that doesn’t mean that I can just sit around doing nothing. I have to work. Correction. I MUST work. I left my career not having any sort of steady income in place, but what I did and do have is my dream.

Dreams don’t pay bills though. Therefore, my only option is work. Work on what I strongly believe is my destiny in life, which is to impact the world. High aspirations, I know, but if we’re reaching for something we can easily grab, is there really joy in that? Sure, when we get something we want, we’re happy. Yet, if it was easy for us to attain, that happiness quickly fades.

What I am referring to is reaching for something everyone and every thing in the world says it’s impossible to attain, YET you. You know deep down inside that what you are reaching for, you will one day get if…

There is an “if.” The “if” is “if you work for it.” Most of us like to believe that once a dream is conceived in our minds, BAM, we get it. Not so. Others like to believe that simply taking a couple of steps after your dream will get it fulfilled. Not quite.

You will encounter detours, obstacles, and rejections. You will cry, question and doubt yourself AND your work. You will want to quit.

These past three months I’ve traveled a bit, nationally and internationally, and have had the privilege to empower over one thousand students. Last week, I was on the news (for something good!) and received some great exposure.  Great things, but that’s not the whole picture. Don’t just look at my successes. Look at my struggles. For my struggles legitimize my success. The whole picture of success includes the valleys, the climb, the falls and the peaks.

You can accomplish your dreams, “IF.” I’ll let one of the greatest motivational speakers, Les Brown explain to you what I mean: (emphasis added)

If you want a thing bad enough to go out and fight for it, to work day and night for it, to give up your time, your peace and sleep for it… if all that you dream and scheme is about it, and life seems useless and worthless without it… if you gladly sweat for it and fret for it and plan for it and lose all your terror of the opposition for it…if you simply go after that thing that you want with all your capacity, strength and sagacity, faith hope and confidence and stern pertinacity…if neither cold, poverty, famine, nor gout, sickness nor pain, of body and brain, can keep you away from the thing that you want…if dogged and grim you beseech and beset it,
with the help of God, YOU WILL GET IT!”

Posted on May 8, 2014 and filed under Blogs.