Persistence is crucial for life, here is how. At the heart of coaching is setting goals in an intelligent way. It is about goals that call upon you and I to step up and begin to unleash our highest potentials. And one of the truly powerful tools that you have as a Meta-Coach is the extensive Well-Formed Outcome Questions. You set a goal when you set out to become truly competent in the Coaching Skills- have you reached that goal yet? Have you sustained that goal?
Reaching a goal is one thing; sustaining it is a very different one. To do that requires persistence. Yet it is here that many people fail. The initial excitement of a goal, of reaching it, carries them through to the point that they develop a particular skill, but upon completing it- they quit. They give up. They move on to something else and then all of their hard work evaporates as their skill level deteriorates. Persisting in sustaining your skill development is critical because in that way, by over-learning, the skill eventually becomes incorporated into your automatic responses.

Failing To Persist

Persistence is also needed for handling defeats, set-backs, plateaus and other temporary blocks to your goal. For that reason we say that “Success is cut from the cloth of persistence.” In other words, the degree of your persistence plays a large part in determining your ability to succeed in any venture. Now given that you undoubtedly know this, here’s the personal question: Do you persist? Do you continue working at what you have started and do you stay with it until the end?
The fact is that failing to persist explains why many people do not succeed in reaching or sustaining their goals. Hence they begin, but they do not continue and integrate their goal so that they sustain it. And many of your clients will be suffering from this ailment of “failing to persist.” As a Meta-Coach, what can you do?

The Experience of Persistence

First let’s get clear about what persistence is. Persistence is not just a positive attitude. While a positive mindset is important, you can be positive and still not persist. In fact, lots of people who are “positive” and “optimistic” are able to be so … until times get hard. Then they quit. Then while they may be positive thinkers, they are not persistent.
Paradoxically, sometimes having too positive of an attitude actually hinders persistence. Have you noticed that? So why is that? The problem is that often we are over-optimistic to the point of being unrealistic about understanding what it really takes to succeed. Then when a set back occurs, it hits the person really hard. Because the person didn’t expect it, the set back shocks and upsets and completely disoriented the person. The over-optimistic person also will have a harder time persuading others to join in with him in a collaborative partnership. The over-optimistic person often strikes others as unrealistic and hence, unreliable and un-trustworthy. And that will scare people off from collaborating.

When To Be Decisive And When Not To Be Decisive

For persistence to be robust it requires an inner commitment. That’s because persistence is mostly needed when there are problems, disappointments, and failures. By contrast, there is the “fair weather” person who persists when things are easy. Yet real persistence operates even when things are not easy, and that requires a commitment. Ask yourself or another, “Have you decided that you will persist regardless of what happens? Are you in it for real?
If you haven’t made a commitment, then when things get touch, when there’s a set-back, trouble, unexpected expenses, etc., you will begin questioning whether you should continue. But that’s no time for decision-making. The decision needs to be made first. Decide what you want before the storm hits, and then resolve to get through the storm and not to quit.

Persistence often requires resilience.

Let’s say you do have a set-back, now what? Do you throw away your goal? This is where you need resilience- the ability to bounce back after a set back. To persist you have to be resilient- to get up when you are knocked down, to shake off the dust, and to learn whatever needs to be learned, what didn’t work, what to do differently, flexibly adjust. Inside of the experience of persisting is being resilient. All great entrepreneurs treat getting knocked down or set-back as just “par for the course.” So they just get up, re-assess where they are in the strategy, adjust the strategy accordingly, and continue on.
Then add a good dose of stubbornness to the mix. Now for a good word about stubbornness- to be persistence you need some stubbornness. So you have to make up your mind, put a stake in the ground, and take your stand.
Persistence draws its strength from adversity. Those who succeed most treat “adversity as a learning university” and so embrace it, and suck all the marrow of life from it. They do not make it their enemy. This is what success requires- sustained stubborn effort for weeks, months, years, even decades.

Mental Preparation For Persistence

In fact, you can pretty much count on this- the greater your vision and dream, the more failures, mistakes, and set-backs you thereby invite.
Prepare yourself for this. If it was easy, anybody and everybody would be doing it. But it is not easy. That’s why you are doing it. You may not succeed at first, or second, or even in the twentieth time. Success may be delayed again and again. Yet when these things happen, rather than calling them “failure,” call them feedback or learning. Treat it as a “Class on Determination, 202.” Have you committed yourself to learn something from every defeat? Are you ready to?
Therefore if you mentally accept the worst that can happen and work out contingencies Plans B and C, you will free yourself from worrying and running the “what if” tapes that only torment your mind and emotions. Rather, you can now act with flexibility and improvise in the moment as things happen. By accepting that reverses any set backs that occur as factors that are just part of the process, you will be more skilled in releasing them and thereby limiting their influence to discourage you. Doing this prevents you and saves you from running scared of imagined problems.

Is Persistence Worth It?

Finally, persistence was the one and single thing that Dale Carnegie found in the billionaires that he studied and interviewed at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Nothing else, he said, explained their wealth, their fortunes, their success, nothing but persistence. How about that! They found something that they believed in, devoted themselves to, and so they focused on that one thing. That now leads to some personal questions: How persistent are you in your Coaching studies? How persistent are you in practicing the Coaching skills? Do you stay with it? Do you persist through good times and bad? Do you keep inspiring yourself with your vision so that you can stay on your mission?
Do you want to learn how to gain persistence now, The Coaching Centre
Co-authored by Dr.L.Michael Hall and Shawn Dwyer

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