As I think about all the changes we have had to accept recently, it makes my heart hurt. First, it was the COVID-19 pandemic, which was followed by the civil unrest due to racial police actions in several states. Change is upon us. What is clear to me is change cannot and will not happen unless and until we approach it with persistence.
Whether a change happens to us, we seek it, or we are demanding it, we are required to meet it with a resolve to make things better for ourselves.
Following is one of my favorite quotes. I calligraphed these words on parchment and framed it in 1985. It has hung in my home office ever since to remind me how vital persistence has been in my life.
Our astute 30th President, Calvin Coolidge, said,
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved—and always will solve—the problems of the human race.”
I believe our power lies in the commitment to ‘press on’ when change is what we need. Whether it is a change in our life that’s necessary or a change in our social systems—it will take persistence and determination to make it happen.
What does persistence mean? The dictionary describes it as a firm or obstinate continuance in the course of action despite difficulty or opposition. In other words, it’s endurance, grit, perseverance, tenacity, doggedness, and resolution.
It’s a perfect description of the characteristics we can lean into when we’re in transition—in our lives or our world.
Think about it. If you don’t show persistence for what you want for yourself, how will you get what you want? Once you have a vision of where you want to go or what you want to do, nothing should stop you from fulfilling that dream.
Persistence will get you there. Commit your vision to paper. Map out your plan. What are the steps you need to take to get you to your final destination? Record each step. How will you tackle them one by one? Who can help you stay on track and hold you accountable?
Show your “true grit.” Be like “a dog with a bone.” Don’t take “no” for an answer.
Once you master how to be persistent in the pursuit of your vision and dreams, it will come naturally to show the perseverance necessary if you want to tackle the significant issues that plague our country and the world. The practice starts at home.
Like persistence, having the determination to keep moving forward when a change has turned your world upside down, will create momentum. That means you are resolute and firmly rooted in your purpose. You resolve to make it happen. With sheer willpower and strength of character, you put one foot in front of the other. Single-minded. Purposeful. Intent.
Blend those characteristics, and you have a powerful combination that is magical. All you need to do is put them to good use as you work to make your dreams happen. Simple.
But, life transitions are hard. Persistence and determination are probably not the first words that come to mind when getting through your divorce or relocating to another state or country. Likewise, it’s probably not what you think about when you’re retiring, caregiving, or have lost a loved one.
You might be wrestling with overwhelming thoughts and emotions, and you do need to sort through those first. There’s no sense trying to avoid this step.
But, once you start to heal from the trauma, once you’re ready, the magic can begin. You begin to see those brilliant ideas form—and they are all about one particular dream. That’s when you bolster your resolve and become firm in your course of action, regardless of the obstacles and difficulties that may present themselves.
Persistence and determination will help you work through the challenges of your transition! Once you have that nailed, you can tackle the issues for the human race.
Believe in yourself. You can make it happen. You can make a difference in your own life and, in turn, make a difference in the lives of those around you. You can create ripples.
Be persistent and unleash your determination. Become inspired to reimagine your journey in a new and exciting way.
Take the First Step
If persistence and determination seem out of reach right now because you are facing adversity and living with uncertainty about how to move beyond it, you may wonder if it’s even possible. Making choices that move you forward can be hard, and getting some guidance may be just what you need. Start by exploring how change can impact you? And learn how to move through it with more dignity and grace by reading my free ebook. Click here to take the first step: From Darkness to Light: Learning to Adapt to Change and Move Through Transition.