I’ve been thinking a lot about persistence this weekend as I watched thousands of athletes showcase their work to the world. Regardless of the sport, all these Olympians are demonstrating persistence in their craft. I can’t help but imagine all the workouts, coaching, setbacks, achievements, disappointments, surprises, and ultimate success that has led them to compete on the world stage. Add to this the impact that Covid 19 has played in forcing the “pause” button and deferring the games for a year. All their work goes into a sport that defines the top three in the world often by hundreds of a second or hundreds of a point. Yet, these athletes brushed off the pandemic delay and continued to show up, practice, and do what was necessary to improve. That’s persistence! Regardless of the medals that are won or not, each athlete has demonstrated to the world (and more importantly to themselves) that persistence pays off.
We’re not all Olympic athletes, however there is a lesson to learn from their discipline. The act of persistence is the ability for us everyday folks to embrace patience. This may be difficult in the “next day delivery” loop our brain commonly operates from. We are all consistently moving, reacting to life events happening around us which makes slowing down difficult. We seek answers and results now, better efficiency, and getting the most we can from where we are. What might be possible if we just slowed down and set time aside to think?
I believe this slowing down is the key to persistence, be it winning an Olympic medal or simply living your best life now. Making the time to get clear on what matters the most to you, clarifying your possibilities, focusing in on a goal/s, then outlining steps to stick with it regardless of the initial outcome. We all seek immediate feedback and results, perhaps we need to wait a little longer to better assess our progress? Focusing instead on a repeatable process, much like athletes focusing on their training and readiness for the next event. Persistence takes time and a plan with a willingness to continue regardless of what’s happening now.