The Power of Persistence

Many well-meaning people have been very kind to me and told me how smart I am because I self-learned and implemented Salesforce Financial Services Cloud and Einstein Analytics. As humbled as I am by these remarks, they bother me somewhat. Why?

First, the world is full of smart people. There are many different kinds of intelligence, and there are a great many intelligent people who are never really given the opportunity to demonstrate their intelligence.

Second, some highly intelligent people never achieve much in their life time, while many so-called average people achieve a great deal. That is, many average people succeed, and many gifted people fail.

Clearly, then, there is a great deal more to success than purely talent or intellect.

Thousands of books have been written on the subject of success, most by people more qualified than me, so I won’t go there. I will, however, muse upon one character trait for a few paragraphs. It is this trait, in my opinion, that has enabled many ordinary people to taste the sweetness of success. In my case, it is an attribute that my amazing parents taught me by example as they endured the trials and troubles of life with a smile.

How important is this character trait? I would go so far as to say that it is impossible to truly succeed without this trait. It is a crucial ingredient for success in any venture. It is…

Persistence.

That is, perseverance; tenacity; determination; resolve; resoluteness; patience; endurance; diligence; dedication; commitment; doggedness; assiduity; steadfastness; tirelessness; indefatigability; stamina; obstinacy.

Vince Lombardi famously stated that, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win“. No one ever won a race who did not first finish that race. The ability to persist and persevere in the midst of troubles, failures, obstacles, weariness, doubts, and criticism is one of the most needful abilities for those who want to succeed at any worthy endeavour. Persistence is indispensable and invaluable.

We live in a day of “quick wins.” Many westerners grow up with a fast-food, drive-through mentality, one that expects something for nothing, a crown without a cross, and gain without pain. This mindset results in weak, discouraged failures that are forever waiting for the success that they think they are somehow owed by an unfair world.

My first six months as a novice Salesforce administrator / implementer were utterly terrifying. If I felt at first that I had no clue what I was doing, it was because I had no clue what I was doing! I could not even count how many times I wanted to run away and get a nice easy job. The project was so completely overwhelming that I regularly cursed myself for ever taking on the role in the first place. Yet, I persevered, and I am extremely glad that I did!

I am often my own worst critic, so I never go easy on myself. I generally don’t think that I am doing a great job, and I can typically name a whole host of people that I think could take my place and excel in my role. This makes the temptation to quit that much harder to resist, because I really don’t think I am great at my job.

Earlier this year, I was thrilled to attend the Salesforce World Tour in Sydney, along with about ten thousand other people. I was also humbled and honoured to be asked to share my Trailblazer story, and was interviewed on stage by my dear friend, Megan Petersen. Little did I know that I was going to receive one of the great shocks of my life when I was presented with the #AwesomeAdmin award and the coveted Gold Hoodie:

Goldie

Why was I so shocked? I don’t think that I’m an awesome admin! Even to this day, I often feel confused, overwhelmed, and scared by the enormity of what we are trying to do. Not only have we built out Salesforce, Pardot, and Einstein Analytics, but we are preparing to launch our own Business Insights company, with me slotted for a highly pivotal role. Scary stuff, right? Yet, scared or not, I must press on, and I ought to encourage my fellow team members to do the same. We must not turn back!

When I think of the noteworthy achievements of my life, none of them would have eventuated had I quit when things got tough. I would never have earned my engineering degree at the University of Sydney – I would have quit along with the 75% of first-year students that did not graduate. I would not have graduated with a degree in theology six months after a near-fatal head-on car accident. I certainly would not have planted a church from scratch and pastored that church for sixteen years while struggling with serious mental illness. I would not have published a book on depression and conducted an incredible book tour across the United States. I would not have remained married to my lovely wife for 22 years. And, I definitely would not have the amazing role of Digital Business Analyst at InFusion360! I am SO GLAD that I did not quit.

It is strange that we often scold our children for being stubborn, or being bad losers, when a good dose of tenacity and ambition are just what they need to succeed in life!

The Apostle Paul wrote these words to his protege, Timothy, while confined to a dark and lonely prison cell: “Endure hardship.” That is, tough it out. Don’t quit! Martin Luther King, Jr., put it this way: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Press on!

How about you, friend? 

Are you weary? Burdened? Burned out? Overwhelmed? Scared? Anxious? Troubled? Doubting? Second guessing?

Let me share some advice with you:

 

DON’T QUIT

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit –

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

 

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a fellow turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –

You may succeed with another blow.

 

Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man;

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup;

And he learned too late when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

 

Success is failure turned inside out –

The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It might be near when it seems afar;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

 

[Author of poem unknown]

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