Putting Our Passion and Perseverance to Work for Long-Term Growth
Imagine that you’re building a house. This will be your dream home — the place you and your family will cherish the rest of your lives. You work with an architect and an interior designer to develop a design that you both adore on the perfect piece of land that you both agree is close enough to the city without being too close.
When it comes time to speak with the contracting team who will be in charge of building your dream house, you tell them you want to spend as little as possible on the foundation because no one will really be seeing that part of the house. You’d also like it to be built as soon as possible, so if a corner or two gets cut, that’s fine.
We would never build a house like this, but many of us apply this philosophy to vital areas of our lives every day.
The structure of our career, our finances and our very lives is based on the strength of the foundation we’ve constructed for ourselves. There will be times when we must take actions that will have an element of pain or discomfort in the short term, but these are the actions and behaviors that provide us with a rock-solid base.
When we take short-cuts, apply “quick-fix” patches to problems without actually solving them and constantly “live for the moment” in our everyday activities, however, our foundation will provide very shaky ground to build upon, and won’t stand up to the challenges life will inevitably throw our way.
Over the years, my mentors have modeled four behaviors that have allowed me to build a foundation that has not only sheltered me from life’s storms but has provided the tools to support my career, my goals and my life.
The ability to focus on the task at hand, whatever that task may be, is one of the most valuable attributes we can develop to build our life’s foundation. When we put aside temptations for instant gratification and give our full attention to the challenges ahead of us, that’s when we can make real progress.
Goals are key to maintaining our laser focus where it needs to be. By having concrete, actionable, measurable plans and objectives, we will monitor our progress. If we discover we’re veering away from our intended destination, we can take steps to correct our course. If we take our eyes off our target, we will quickly lose momentum.
To achieve what others only dream of, we have to make a consistent effort to reach our goals, and that takes passion. Passion means coming in early every day to get a jump on the competition. Passion means learning all about our product and anticipating every question a customer could conceivably ask. Passion means being prepared before the day begins, ready to hit the ground running as soon as we enter the building. When we put the full power of our heart behind something, we will see results.
To accomplish what we know we’re capable of achieving, we’ve got to constantly grow and become more today than we were yesterday. People often overlook the role of training and education because the realities of our day-to-day lives can take center stage. When we neglect to keep expanding our knowledge, however, we soon start missing out on opportunities.
Learning about new ideas, technology and methods is essential for us to keep our edge and to be our most effective. To go back to our house example, once the foundation is built, it also needs to be repaired from time to time. Training, education and being open to new ideas allows us to fix any “crack” that forms in our foundation — or prevents them from happening in the first place.
When discussing this topic with my mentors, we’ve discovered that the “average” person gives up on their goals if they don’t see results in a few days. When we persevere, we allow our efforts to stack and multiply, and eventually we will realize the results we’ve been seeking and we’ll see the rewards of our efforts.
Some days there will be pain. There are days when, despite our best efforts, we’ll lose ground when working toward our goals. If we only measure by the hour or day, we might get discouraged when setbacks happen. If we look at the larger picture, though, we’ll see that — week-to-week, month-to-month and year-to-year — we’re making steady progress. We’ll also see that our temporary setbacks were just that — temporary.
When we put our focus, passion, training and perseverance behind what we’ve set out to do, we’re building an unshakable foundation and unleashing a power that few in our society can match. We each have the ability to make this happen; we just have to decide to do it.
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