Perseverance: The Key to Bringing Your Vision to Reality
July 15, 2019
Leadership is hard. We may have a vision that we are trying to pursue, but for some reason it’s not happening. We feel stuck. We feel despondent. We don’t want to give up, but what else are we going to do? We might even think it’s time to quit.
Great leaders don’t give up. George Washington and the American colonies fought an eight-year-long war for independence. Winston Churchill spent most of the 1930s as a lonely voice railing against the threat of Nazi Germany, eventually becoming prime minister during the six year-long Second World War. These leaders had huge, almost insurmountable, goals they were trying to achieve with the fate of a nation depending on them. Your goal might not feel as hard as winning independence for the American colonies or ensuring freedom for your country during the Second World War, but it still may feel extremely difficult.
What is perseverance?
Perseverance is the ability to keep going no matter what. Giving up is not an option. The obstacles may be large, but you are going to press on. The kind of tenacity that is required to keep going in the face of seemingly impossible barriers requires a high degree of commitment and a strong belief in the vision or cause you are pursuing.
How do you persevere?
Before you take more practical steps, you first need to both understand the nature of why you feel stuck and then what to do about it. In order to do this, it’s helpful to do an internal review as well as an external review of why you have hit a roadblock in accomplishing your vision.
- Why is this vision so important? Life is hard. So is leadership. Your vision should be important to you or it will have no staying power. You need to be able to articulate why it’s important to make your vision become a reality. And, by the way, this needs to be your vision, not your friends’ or your parents’ vision. As I have often said, you cannot inherit a vision.
- Do you have the skills to accomplish the vision? You might feel like it would be great if your vision happened — someone should do it — but should that someone be you? Do you have the inherent wiring and the skills to make your vision a reality? A key part of accomplishing your vision needs to be related to your skills. Walt Disney was an animator. He was able to work alongside his fellow animators in the early days, guiding them to make such classic movies as Snow White.
- Are you passionate about your vision? Your vision might relate to a crucible experience you have gone through. For those that have suffered abuse, you might want to help others who have gone through abuse. Ideally your vision would be fueled by your belief system. If your vision is anchored by your most cherished beliefs, that will give it a lot more staying power.
- Do you have the resources to accomplish your vision? You might not have sufficient financial resources to take your vision to the next step.
- What are the external threats? Perhaps the economy is challenging, or you have significant competitive threats.
- Do you have the right people? You might not have the right people on your team. Ideally you would have a team with skills and abilities that are complementary to yours. They should be totally committed to — and passionate about — the vision.
Creating an Action Plan
You might have a number of issues from the above lists or you might have only one. Identify the issue, reflect, and then consult with relevant advisers and/or your team to help you figure out the next steps.
For the internal side, often a group of people that really know you can help. They could be friends or fellow team members of yours. Ask them to ask you tough questions, questions such as:
- Is this your vision or someone else’s?
- How passionate are you about the vision?
- Are your skills and aptitudes a key part of accomplishing the vision?
- Is your vision related to and fueled by your core beliefs?
Between your own reflection and the input from your team and those close to you, you might have to face some tough decisions. If you are pursuing a vision that is not yours, that you are not passionate about, that you don’t have the key skills for, and that is not anchored and fueled by your fundamental beliefs, you are in a difficult position. You would be right in asking yourself some serious questions about the viability of pursuing your vision.
For the external side, in a similar vein, you need to reflect and consult the relevant people.
- If there are financial issues, consult with people with financial expertise on what your options are.
- If the issue is the economy or competitive threats, you might consider getting input from your core team and potentially outside experts.
- If you don’t have the right people, first make sure you understand your own skills and aptitudes, and then determine the complementary skills that you need to hire. It might even be worth asking your team what, if any, skills and aptitudes are missing from the team.
The Bottom Line
The internal and external analysis of what is holding your vision back is valuable and can be very helpful. At the end of the day, however, the two questions you have to ask yourself are:
- How passionate are you about the vision?
- How much is the core of your vision tied to your innermost strongly held beliefs?
Passion and perseverance break through many walls. If the answer to these questions is a resounding absolutely, then you will have a much greater chance of making your vision a reality.