Kick On! 3 Ways to Develop Persistence

There once were two frogs that had become bored with life in the River Torrens, so they decided to go on an adventure to a neighboring dairy farm.

There they found a bucket of lovely cream and decided it would be a wonderful experience to wallow in it, so they hopped in.

The first licked his lips with delight and the two swam around with momentary joy. But cream is much thicker than water, and soon the frogs tired. It was time to get out and return to the Torrens.

The first frog kicked and kicked and kicked, but the cream was thick, and he couldn’t get out of the bucket. Soon he gave up, licked his lips, and drowned in the bucket of cream.

The second frog was far more determined. He kicked and kicked and kicked and kicked some more. Eventually the cream turned to butter, and he jumped out of the bucket and returned to the River Torrens.

Attitude does make a difference to the outcomes of our lives. “Don’t give up on life. KICK ON.” (Anonymous)

I’m sure many of us, in our respective lines of work (or even life in general), have felt like the frog in this story, where your choice comes down to just one: Should I sink or swim? With many failing businesses today, some of you may even feel that way right now. None of us want the fate of the first frog, so how do we do as the story suggests and simply “kick on”?

Persistence is often touted as the one characteristic that will either make or break your goals. Denis Waitley, motivational speaker, writer and consultant, said, “Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning.”

Studies suggest that persistence is a learned behavior. If this is so, how do we develop it? Might I suggest three simple ways to help get you started:

  1. Set goals and keep the end in razor-sharp focus. Set goals, small at first, then gradually increase them to your more lofty goals. Once you feel the success of achieving your smaller ones, it will then give you the drive to achieve another. No matter what, keep your eye on the end prize, unwavering from distractions, because there will be many. In the same vein, eliminate any unnecessary distractions. This will help keep your real goals in sight.

  2. Run and Walk. Running coach, Jeff Galloway, trains others to complete marathons using this approach, claiming one will run farther if he alternates between running and walking. Run when you can, but walk when necessary. It is much the same in business or in any goal we strive to achieve. Yes, keeping a steady pace is important, but what is more important than speed is direction. As long as you are pushing forward, you are moving toward your goals.

  3. Practice Positive Self-Talk. An associate of mine doesn’t allow her children to use the word “can’t”. In fact, is has been known to be somewhat of a curse word in the home. Regularly take note of the chatter in your own head. Is it positive and uplifting or negative and doubtful? The word “can’t” shouldn’t be allowed in our workplace. It creates resistance and will ultimately keep you from accomplishing your goals. Next time you hear your inner voice say “I can’t”, respond with “Why can’t I” or “What can I do”?

Julie Foucher is best known, not for her career path as a current medical student, but as being one of the most successful women in Crossfit. She qualified for the Crossfit games within the first year of starting the sport, and finished in the top 5 in each of the four years she competed at the Crossfit Games.

She prepared to compete one last time at the Crossfit Games in 2015. During the second qualifying event, however, she tore her Achilles tendon and was unable to complete the event.

However, “can’t” does not exist in this woman’s vocabulary, so during the next day of competition, she emerged to the competition floor in a medical boot, ready to compete. Now, she knew she wasn’t going to win, but quitting wasn’t an option. I’d imagine her mental chatter included phrases such as “why can’t I?” or “Kick on!” As Jimmy Dean said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” Julie still ended up finishing 11th in the competition.

Watch Julie's story here.

After losing a senate race in 1858, Abraham Lincoln said this: “The part was worn and slippery. My foot slipped from under me, knocking the other out of the way, but I recovered and said to myself, ‘It’s a slip and not a fall’.”

According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months. That’s 80%! So you have to ask yourself, will you be part of the 80% that fail or part of the successful 20%? Commit to being part of the minority that succeeds! Set regular goals, pace yourself as necessary, and feed your mind only positive self-talk.

Above all, my friend, KICK ON!

Let me know: When have you faced an obstacle so challenging that persistence was the only way you found success?

Written by Mike Williams

I am a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of business experience. My goal with this blog is to pass on some of what I have learned in order to help you achieve success in business.

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