“Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful (people)with talent. Genius will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” — Ray Kroc
The next time you find yourself sitting there gazing at your smartphone, somehow expecting the answers are magically going to come to you, remind yourself first — it never works that way. And second, think of this great line from the movie Boiler Room,
“Motion Creates Emotion”
I say this because the biggest thing that holds all of us back is:
- Sitting still and believe it or not, what may actually be worse…
- Tepid action. Lukewarm, half-hearted, uninspired, simply-not-gonna-get the job done … action.
I’ve seen this manifest itself in my life, and I’ve seen so many very intelligent people’s career dreams crash and burn because they just weren’t persistent enough. They didn’t know the right way to communicate. They thought they were doing the right thing, but they weren’t truly going all-in and giving things maximum effort.
Please don’t make the same mistake. You and I will make mistakes throughout our lives, and we’ll find that we actually improve and learn from those mistakes. But some mistakes tend to compound themselves, making it harder to rise from our feet. And no mistake is more damaging than repeatedly giving a half-ass effort. You must give things maximum attitude and effort if you want to live the life you dream about.
A story to tell
Earlier in my career, I had a manager who genuinely cared about both my personal and professional development. It was more the “tough love” type of encouragement and motivation that I needed.
I was trying to move forward and make progress on some important tasks but I seemed to keep running into the typical red tape that plagues many organizations: Poor responsiveness to communications; multi-tasking and missed deadlines. I wasn’t getting responses. But then again, I was doing virtually everything by e-mail. Maybe an occasional phone call.
When I explained this to my boss, he patiently sat there and listened to everything I had to say. When I stopped talking he asked, “Are you finished? Because here’s my advice:
GET OFF YOUR ASS AND MAKE IT HAPPEN.”
The point was taken.
It was blunt, somewhat startling, but the exact medicine that I needed. I was doing something, but I wasn’t doing enough. Sending emails weren’t as effective as physically getting up and meeting with someone to send the message I needed. The act and art of face-to-face communication was needed for me to complete my work.
It was needed for me to build the vital relationships in the organization with executives and senior-level influencers. It was needed for increased exposure and opportunities that would only help me grow and build confidence.
Sitting behind my computer was getting me nowhere. It’s a story, for sure, but it’s also a microcosm for where so many of us find ourselves all throughout our lives and career.
We complain about not knowing the way.
We complain about not getting a response for that opportunity we want.
We get so complacent when we don’t get what we want, and sometimes we stop right there and don’t think about what could be a more effective way. Far worse, we stop altogether and give up.
Focus on taking action
“The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something.” — Seth Godin
Part of the pitfall of living in a digital world is thinking that everything is going to come to us as instantly as the delivery of a Direct Message via Twitter. No matter how old you are, think about how truly astonishing it is that someone in Jakarta can send a message that is instantly received by someone in Buenos Aires. Communication, at the speed of now.
There is a way to give your all without burning out. There is a way to meet your obligations without feeling like you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off. You have to start with planning, but here’s where most people get it wrong: They put together a plan, thinking it won’t change, and then end up terribly disappointed when their plan falls apart.
Life changes and as a result, plans must be modified accordingly. I encourage you to bake into every plan the values that will carry you, enabling you to flourish and sustain you when you think you’ve hit too devastating a setback: Values like persistence, perseverance, hard work, optimism, courage, and hope. These things are the bedrock foundation for success.
So what are you waiting for? The world is not going to come to you. There’s too many other qualified people. There’s way more effective ways to get things done that earn results. You can’t just sit around and function at lukewarm. Get inspired. Get fired up. Get off your ass and make it happen!
Get moving into high gear
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This article first appeared on Medium.