Do you persevere or just persist?

I was speaking to someone who had been in the same job for years. He wasn’t happy there, but almost felt it was his duty, pride and honor to stay.  

We questioned whether this was perseverance or just persisting? Knowing that choice is key to growth or stagnation.

Are you on the path to mastering your strengths, or merely persisting in the current world waiting for events to buffet you elsewhere?

It is what makes the difference between an Olympic gold and a mere competitor – growing through perseverance.

The first step is knowing your purpose and passion (try the 30-day challenge). This is key. There’s no point in struggling at a job or a relationship if this is not your passion. You’ll be frustrated, and not do your best.

Inevitably, to grow, you will need to struggle. When I learnt the guitar in my 40’s, I felt like a 5 year old trying to make my muscles move my fingers to the strings. I had forgotten the continuous struggle children have in learning and mastering each step of life. My choice was – do I persevere at this to grow, or will I give up and stay as I was?


Charles McLachlan and the team at FuturePerfect have put together a model for perseverance, and a good test if you are on the track you want.

  1. The Struggle –  Have you ever grown as a person without struggle? Sadly, suffering is part of life (which is one of the Bhuddist’s 4 noble truths). The good news is that the stories or testimonies of others, and perhaps your past can give you the courage to carry on.
  2. Perseverance – This is the core. Will you carry on. “If you are going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill. This is the passionate patience to continue, to adapt, to learn, and not give up. This is the point of going through ‘the wall’ in running.
  3. Character – Through perseverance you build your character. It might be the mental skills to carry on, and also the technical skills of communication, or growing your business.
  4. Hope – By pushing through one area of growth, you now have the stories and testimonies to give yourself and others home to grow.
  5. Mastery – By perseverance in your purpose and passion, you have mastered one area of growth and your ‘ceiling’ now, in competence, becomes the ‘floor’ for the next stage of growth.

When you look at athletes they master skills in each minute area of their sport so that they become capable in all. For me, when I was developing my training skills, it was from delivering the same training in over 14 countries that gave me the agility to adapt to different cultures and audiences, and the confidence to know how to run the training, plus the resilience to difficult questions or delays.

Three questions for you:

  1. Do you know where you want to develop in your purpose and passion?
  2. Are you persevering in growing in those areas, or persisting without moving forward?
  3. What stories or testimonies from others do you need to hear to give you the courage to persevere? 

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