Persistence: Here’s The Secret
It collided into my bedroom window one Saturday morning, not once or twice, but repeatedly. That was my first encounter with Mr. Robin. Birds symbolize God’s love and care to me, so the visit of a clumsy Robin that morning was fascinating and even felt a little special. In-between attacking the window, it would sit peering in and looking smug long enough for me to capture this picture.
Turns out this feathered creature had been repeatedly bashing into my husband’s office window unbeknownst to me, disrupting his work for more than a week.
What initially felt special quickly turned into annoyance. Since that Saturday, it has continued to ram into the dining room window, office window, bedroom window, and basement window. Its relentless window crashing even got the attention of my one-year-old granddaughter who repeatedly exclaimed “oh no!” as she witnessed Mr. Robin’s antics.
With Mr. Robin exhibiting such unusual behavior, we turned to the internet to see if our particular Robin friend had lost his marbles or if this was normal behavior we were experiencing. It turns out that Robins are very territorial. They will go to great lengths to protect their food and their “woman” and as a result will attack the reflection of themselves in the window thinking it’s an intruder. Don’t believe me? You can check it out here.
Foolishness, right? One would think that after the first dozen or two dozen attempts at attacking the perceived threat the Robin would figure out that his efforts were pointless, especially after experiencing the certain pain of hurling yourself into a window. Logically it makes sense to fiercely protect your territory, but repeatedly engaging in actions that not only take a toll on you, but are actually a waste of energy, I’m not so sure about.
The more I thought about Mr. Robin, the more I realized that I’ve been just as foolish at times; repeatedly engaging in activities in spite of the fact that they did not produce the results I was after. Being persistent is a very desirable trait, but unless you are persistent at the right activities it’s pointless.
Honestly, sometimes it’s tough to know if you are being persistent and consistent at the right activities. After all, some efforts require time before you see the fruit. So how can you be sure you are engaging in the right efforts when it comes to your work, goals, or even personally? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Challenge Your Beliefs
Mr. Robin’s efforts were based on the misconception that the reflection in the window was a threat. If this belief was true, you would applaud such courageous actions. Unfortunately, his belief was not true. Ironically, you and I often operate in similar ways.
I’ve observed professionals continuing to work the same old way in spite of the fact that their job is on the line. You might say they believed there wasn’t a threat when there actually was.
Others keep on doing what worked in the past to make sales, gain clients, or move up the ladder but are no longer enjoying the same results. Odds are there’s a belief that needs to be challenged.
Maybe it’s time to confront your Fear Monster – he never speaks truth!
Just like Mr. Robin, if you aren’t operating out of the truth, you are unlikely to get the results you are after no matter how persistent you are.
2. Evaluate Often
If you aren’t regularly evaluating your progress towards your goals you are putting yourself at a disadvantage – perhaps even setting yourself up to be persistent at pointless activities like Mr. Robin. Scheduling time to reflect and assess your progress so that you can take steps to adjust, adapt, and modify what you are doing is essential!
My evaluating rhythm is to review what’s taken place at the end of each month. I don’t just stop and think on it, I actually write my thoughts down in my Work Journal. It’s something I refer back to often so that I don’t keep making the same mistakes! I work through these simple questions after reviewing the events and statistics I keep to determine:
- What went well?
- What didn’t work?
- What needs to change?
Depending on your specific situation, you may prefer to evaluate:
- What do you need to keep doing?
- What do you need to stop doing?
- What adjustments do you need to make to what you are doing?
According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of your results will come from 20% of your actions. Identifying what those fruitful 20% actions are is essential so that you can prioritize those activities. Make the first thing you do each day the tasks or action steps that will yield maximum results. Maybe that’s following up with potential clients, writing, or making time to plan.
Now it typically takes me a couple of hours to evaluate at the end of the month, which might seem like a hefty chunk of time, but what I glean is invaluable information that allows me to adjust what I am doing so that I can increase my effectiveness.
You might find that evaluating once a month doesn’t allow you to adjust and make changes as quickly as you might need to. You might prefer to evaluate at the end of each day or at the end of the week. The rhythm is up to you, but get into the habit of evaluating your progress and the effectiveness of your methods so you can make improvements.
3. Get Assistance!
I honestly don’t know if Mr. Robin has bird friends or not. I do know that if he did have friends and spent time with them, he would discover that they too have been literally beating their heads against the windows in vain! That insight might urge him to reconsider his actions.
You don’t exist in a vacuum! The feedback that others can provide is incredibly useful. The insights of those who have successfully accomplished what you yearn to do are also extraordinarily helpful. Having folks you can rely on to check in on your progress and encourage you along the way – a game changer! Enlisting the help of a professional coach who can uncover your beliefs, mindsets, and persistent actions that are taking you nowhere – priceless! A coach that partners with you to help you create an action plan that will allow you to get the results you are after – invaluable!
Being persistent is an excellent quality to have! Just make sure that you are being persistent at the activities that will truly get you the results you are after! No more busting your beak in vain, right?
Success is about persistence and doing the right thing for the long term. –Bruce Rauner
To get the results you are after, what do you need to be persistent about?