Thoughts On Leadership: The Perseverance Of Goal-Setting

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me in New York City, networking with brokers in the Big Apple then taking a day trip to Pennsylvania for a visit with the team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodrick Realty. I was honored to deliver presentations on three topics: 1. Creating an unstoppable mindset. 2. Building a morning routine and 3. Exercising proper time management. These are three key components to sustainable success. The team at Hodrick Realty is energized for the year ahead, and their enthusiasm and passion to unequivocally succeed reinvigorated my own.

Success has been something of the tangential theme for our January blog posts, which really center on goal-setting, the great gateway to a successful career, a successful business and a happy life. If you set small goals then execute and achieve them, you’ll always be on a path toward greater success.

To explain, let’s use the metaphor of food, an industry simmering at the very heart of Manhattan; some of the finest chefs in the world prepare some of the very best dishes in this city that never sleeps. Now, imagine life as an all-you-can-eat buffet rather than a one-time meal. Instead of a waiter or waitress serving you, in the dining establishment that is your life, you always serve yourself and you always pay before you can eat the food you’ve put on your plate.

Some people idealize life as a sit-down restaurant; they want the bill after their meal is served. It makes sense, as that’s the process we’re used to, but in the buffet of life, you can’t enjoy success then expect to pay later. It simply doesn’t work that way. It’s just like sitting in front of a fireplace before you build a fire and expecting to get warm.

Real success takes work and perseverance. Remember, you’re the one serving yourself and the payment—the work you put in—comes before the meal. And yes, this work is hard but it’s the hard that makes you great. We shouldn’t expect success to come easy, otherwise everyone would find it. As Zig Ziglar said, “The elevator to success is out of service. But the stairs are always open.”

Your ability to persevere in the face of tough challenges is directly proportional to your ability to achieve your goals. In fact, it may be the single-most important human characteristic you need to possess in order to accomplish them.

Another characteristic related to perseverance is courage, as it walks hand-in-hand with persistence. Winston Churchill once wrote, “Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend.”

If you have courage, you’ll start to see those challenges as merely payment for the pay-off of success. But courage isn’t some intangible ideal; it’s a habit we can create through our actions and mindset. Here’s a process to build courage:

  1. Recognize that you can learn anything, even how to be courageous.
  2. Realize that to overcome the fears preventing you from achieving, it’s important to take time to identify, define and analyze them.
  3. Take out your journal and write down all your fears. Leave nothing out—from the very biggest fear to your smallest fear. Then, review the list and prioritize your fears from the ones that have the greatest impact on your life’s philosophy to the ones that impact you the least.
  4. Next, for each fear, start from the top of the list and ask yourself: How is this fear preventing me from achieving my goals? What would happen if I eliminate this fear from my life?
  5. Once you answer those questions, you’ve begun the process of objectively removing the fears from your life by viewing them from a practical, goal-setting perspective.

So, what’s the message? Above any other factor, persistence—and the courage it takes to persist—means that winning is not an uncertainty but an inevitability. When you persist in the attainment of your goals, no matter what life throws your way or how many obstacles stand between you and the completion of your goals, eventually, with persistence, you’ll achieve them. I’ll end with this statement from Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, who I coincidentally quoted at a past Sales Convention. He wrote: “Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful [men and women] with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

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