Perseverance is a leadership quality that doesn’t enter into business coaching conversations very much these days. It is a shame because at VIM Executive Coaching here in Denver, we are constantly guiding clients to finding a path for themselves and their careers (however they may be defined) that give them satisfaction and a sense of contentment. Isn’t staying on a path a type of perseverance? We believe so.
Unfortunately, most of us hear the word “perseverance” in terms of an anecdote or as part of a keynote speaker’s rousing speech. For example, Thomas Edison persevered and after thousands of attempts found a tungsten filament that worked in a light bulb, or a local politician running for office and after 17 attempts, he finally became the city’s official auditor.
Why isn’t perseverance part of the successful executive leader’s daily lexicon? Have we all forgotten the joys of triumphing after repeated attempts of trying to do something right? What is the outcome when those in a workplace lack the ability to keep on a path?
Just get me the results!
We are certainly in an age of pushing and pulling. Executive leaders are pulled in a hundred directions and for many of us, stress is a major problem. Our digital age certainly doesn’t help, though we are constantly being told how much our devices assist us in simplifying life. We dance with every pressure that comes along, and our workplaces demand a faster and faster dance. It is amazingly easy to stray off the paths of our tasks as new “priorities” replace the old.
We love to see results come pouring in, but we rarely look behind the screen where the work takes place. All of us, we are sure, cannot wait to see a cure for Alzheimer’s disease or to read about a breakthrough technology that develops a low-cost, tiny and highly powerful solar energy cell or even a new way to make something taste like a delicious chocolate chip cookie without one molecule of sugar! What many of us don’t realize is that while these things will one day happen, it will take months and years of perseverance to get us there.
While the results of labor are shouted from the rooftops, what we often don’t hear about are those who are laboring day in and day out in the “basements.”
However, on a much more personal level, an individual executive leadership level, we might wonder how we can persevere at our tasks to achieve results when so much is going on around us. A major organization does not develop a new drug or technology or socially beneficial program without individual departments persevering in their tasks. In fact, it might be argued that despite the fact that many executives on a large team might see the positive results ahead of them, that often those results are delayed not because the technology is flawed, but the people.
If the executive leader can persevere, indeed if her team or company can learn to persevere on a path toward achieving positive results, both major results and solving minor, everyday “pushing and pulling situations,” great things can be accomplished.
To be mindful in the moments of perseverance does not take digital devices or additional software, it takes an inner journey. Often, a meditative journey.
We all have paths we want to follow either personally or professionally (or both), and these paths, if true paths, are best followed by our authentic responses. If we are mindful as to what is a real path upon which we need to persevere, and what will divert us from our goals, we can achieve our results. At VIM Executive Coaching, we teach executive leaders many mindful techniques and give them the tools to persevere.
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