Why = Perseverance Fuel

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”

Newt Gingrich

Is perseverance still required if you love the hard work you are doing?

Personally I have found that even when I love the work, getting tired will still happen. But I have also found that perseverance is easy when you are mindful of what (or who) you are working for. It is hard to stay committed to the hard work if you don’t have a burning and compelling “why” that is driving you forward.

If you have a clearly defined “why” then perseverance is easy. If you have lost your “why” then you are going to lose the will to get it done. Stay focused on the why.

“Why” fuel…

“Whatever the struggle, continue the climb. It may be only one step to the summit.”

Diane Westlake 

Sometimes it is when you are just ready to give up that the breakthrough occurs. When faced with discouragement and you are at the place where quitting seems like the easier option, take the time necessary to reconnect with your “why.” Why are you doing this challenge or initiative? Why is this important? Understanding and reconnecting with your “why” can provide all the fuel you need for the next step.

Have patience…

“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.”


Do you remember the first time you rode a bicycle? How about the first time you gave a presentation or spoke publicly? Both are hard and it likely took a lot of effort and energy to master these skills. But through dedication and repetition those difficult tasks become easier and even routine (well, maybe not for public speaking). To master the skill you have to weather the storms and deal with the inevitable setbacks and bruises. The key is to have a goal that is more important than any temporary pain or frustration. Only then you can achieve your dreams.

All the small things…

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”

Walter Elliot

If you ask anyone that participates in long distance endurance events they will tell you that they aren’t at the start line thinking of the race in it’s entirety. No one starts an Ironman race thinking about the 140.6 miles that are in front of them. Instead it is broken down into much shorter segments that are easier for the mind to focus on and control. For example, it’s not a 140.6 mile race, instead it’s a 2.4 mile swim. Yet it’s not a 2.4 mile swim, it’s a swim to the first turn 800 meters out. It’s not even a swim to the first turn, it’s a swim to the next course marker buoy 200 meters away. It’s not a 200 meter swim, it’s settling in with a smooth stroke and easy breathing.

The same logic applies to the bike and to the run in an Ironman. It applies in marathon and ultra-marathon distance races. That is how one perseveres over distances and challenges that are too great for the mind to comprehend and embrace. It applies equally well in life. It’s not about the great thing you want to accomplish five years from now, it is the exact next thing that you must accomplish to become the person you want to be. To be a person of perseverance and determination doesn’t happen with the big things, it happens with all the small things that are strung together.

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