It’s been a personally tough time over the last eighteen months with a huge dip in business due to the impact of the state of the oil and gas industry in the north east of Scotland and the quite significant tsunami of destruction that it sent outwards. It’s been tough particularly recently with injuries, surgery and personal issues to sort out and with not being able to drive at the moment and with not sleeping well after having my shoulder repaired yet again, I have had plenty of time to think about what’s going on and look for ways to resolve the problems. I have looked back at how I resolved other problems in my life, what I did and what it took for me to resolve them.
It’s actually something I enjoy doing, taking time in the early hours, a way to spend some time for myself and get refocused. This morning I found myself focusing on what it takes to be successful in any endeavour and I kept coming back to the word perseverance.
Being a Royal Marine took a huge amount of perseverance and there were times in training, the few times you get any time to yourself,which was usually sat on the toilet, where I thought to myself ‘what the fuck am I doing here, this is insane?!!’
8 months of patience and staying focused and I finally completed Royal Marines Basic Training and I can not tell you how amazing that feels when it’s done and you are handed your Green Beret.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a military training course, a black belt or a weight loss/ body composition goal… at the very heart of it is perseverance.
Since then I’ve completed many courses, some extremely physically demanding, some mentally and some a mix of both. Since then I’ve set myself challenges in business and in my personal life and almost everything I set my heart on achieving I have achieved so far. There have been some heroic failures along the way and some goals I haven’t yet reached and no matter how frustrating that is I never lose sight of what I’m aiming for, well, not completely anyway.
This is what got me thinking this morning, I realised I have lost my way a little recently, I’ve lost sight of what I’m aiming for in business and in my personal life. I’ve begun to doubt myself. Doubt whether I really want what I’d set myself, doubt my ability to even get anywhere near it. I felt myself feeling like giving up because it’s taking too much out of me. Needless to say this morning was a bit of an emotional roller coaster that left me reeling, spinning and not knowing the difference between my arse and my elbow. In all honesty I found it a bit disturbing.
I haven’t felt like this in a long time and I was in a similar situation then as well so in hindsight, it’s not surprising that I flipped back in time to that same emotional state.
I’ve had to dig deep into my reserves of perseverance many times in my life. I’ve lost my way before and at one point I was fat and out of shape, disillusioned, angry, probably depressed and a nightmare to live with.
So this afternoon as I have done before, I made the decision to change the track of my thoughts, and as it was before, it wasn’t easy. But I persevered and I still am.
So what does it take. Some magical ability to simply head down a road with your blinkers on and just get shit done?
Not entirely, although at times this can help too.
There is a system involved which ultimately allows you to persevere through anything. It’s a mindset that you must be willing to adopt.
The mindset is comprised of a few key elements. These include grit, determination, optimism and realism.
The process runs like this:
You set your goal – It doesn’t matter what it is. Whether it’s passing a course or losing 60 lbs.
You make your plan and begin to take the small steps toward it every single day, until you arrive there. What happens in the middle is called perseverance, it’s not reserved for the super-elite. We can all learn this life altering trait.
Grit, determination, optimism and realism are the foundation of perseverance.
Let me talk you through them to see if you might have these traits hiding inside you too. (I’ll let you into a little secret…yes you do)
The dictionary defines Grit as having courage, resolve and strength of character. Icon early think that grit is an awesome word and very apt.
Courage is simply having fear and pushing through it no matter what and harassing and channelising that energy to drive you towards your goal.
Resolve is the mental strength and strength of character is knowing that once you commit to something, you must do what you say you will do. Keeping the promise to yourself most importantly and then to others secondly.
Determination is having a firmness of purpose. You make your decision to achieve your goal and you will not be swayed.
Optimism is having hopefulness and confidence about what it is that you are doing and that you will be successful. It doesn’t matter if you are in a body transformation phase or seeking a promotion at work. If you are optimistic about it, that energy is carried throughout your body and to those around you.
Realism is the attitude and practice of taking something as it is and moving forward accordingly. For example, you missed a workout…who cares, we all do. Get back on the train and continue moving forward.
Now not all of you will be able to relate to this yet some of you will. Can you imagine for a second what it would take to persevere through an armed conflict or a lengthy battle with a determined enemy. Even the residual issues many soldiers and medics face upon arriving home having been exposed to multiple atrocities, suffering the mental anguish and pushing through it to continue to serve their fellow man.
Our country was built on the backs of soldiers who could persevere, and having been one I know what it takes…and the fact is you can do it too… Every soldier would want you to learn that from them.
So this week be thankful and learn to apply the elements that make up the recipe for perseverance, dish yourself up a large serving and use it to get you through whatever you set your mind to.
Be bold, be strong, be brave, persevere and fight for what you want in this life.