Perseverance

A job worth doing is a job worth completing.

One of the fundamental character traits common to all the successful individuals I have met or read about believe in a higher power, a higher purpose. And they are driven by this power, this sense of purpose. These individuals have faith in their convictions and commitments. That faith has been the anchor that has allowed them to manipulate the winds of change without breaking their spirit. Their ability to bend and twist fate is demonstrated in their unusual persistence in going the extra distance during periods of challenge. They focus on the end result in the most difficult of situations. That may be why success eludes many of us.

One character trait that stands out among accomplished individuals is perseverance. Perseverance is a quality of stick-to-itiveness. Its close allies are patience, strength of purpose, stubbornness and resolve. Perseverance is a force rooted in purpose, it enables one to finish a project or assignment from start to finish. This quality, also called persistence, opens the floodgates to creative imagination.

The goal of any technician should be the attainment of a workable skill-set that fulfills his/her expectations of accomplishment. Any individual who gives up a challenge prematurely and side-steps efforts to learn and expand his skills is the real loser. The need to get to the bottom of things, to find a workable solution, stems from the quality of always being inquisitive, of being hungry for wisdom and always wanting more. It’s a feeling of not being satisfied. In certain circles it equates to being “green”, immature, not yet ripe.

Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds and author of “Grinding It Out”  was famous for saying, “When you’re green you’re growing, as soon as you’re ripe, you rot.” Kroc is a classic example of an individual who persevered and never gave up. He really didn’t hit his stride until he was 52. He kept at his vision and stayed green. The rest, as you know, is history.

It’s a long climb to the top of the mountain if that’s where you’re headed. No one ever gets there by climbing straight up. There’s always an obstacle, an intrusion or setback to deter you. Some of those diversions are engineered to test us, to test the principles we’ve learned and adhere to. To the person that perseveres, they create opportunities for growth. If you’re that type of person, consider yourself fortunate. If you’re not, you can develop this quality by adhering to some simple principles well established in the mindset of many high-achievers, some of which I will list forthwith. I need not mention the rewards of reaching the top of your game, because that experience is different for all of us.

The barometer of success, whether it’s a successful task or a successful career, cannot be assessed in one simple act, but by many acts. The measure of a technician is not by how many jobs he performs, but by how many jobs he completes, and by completion I mean from start to finish. Knowing you completed a job to the best of your ability brings a sense of fulfillment, a feeling of accomplishment, and that enhances your skill level; this is the reward of perseverance.  Leaving a job undone because you haven’t the interest or technical capability closes the door to growth and opens the door to stagnation.

In my career, I have performed over 60k service calls. That’s an average of 1200 calls per year for 50 years. One of the supporting attributes during that 50 year span was an innate desire to complete every job I started. Some of the most difficult jobs I encountered were usually the ones where I learned the most, they left an unfading impression on me, enough to last a lifetime. And that’s precisely my point. If we give up and call it quits, throw in the towel, what can we learn from that? If you want to be recognized as an accomplished technician, you have to learn to finish what you start. Accomplishment is all about overcoming obstacles, and victory is its reward.

How many times have we abandoned a job, especially a troublesome job, only to have created additional turmoil in the process. Can we find a reason not to persevere?

Listed below are a few suggestions to help create an environment to foster achievement:

1. Once you have gained a general knowledge in your field or subject, concentrate on learning one aspect of it at a time before diversifying into other areas or products. This will build your confidence and establish a strong foundation to work from.

2. Approach problems with logic and tenacity. Don’t sidestep a challenge, face it head-on. Tell yourself, I can do this. If you’re at a dead end with a problem, try relaxing and reflecting on your successes. Talk it out with your inner self.

3. If you’re stuck on a job and have exhausted all your resources, swallow your pride, seek out help from a coworker or an expert. Remember, you won’t learn anything if you abandon the job. Your priority is to complete the task, learn something new; there is always someone who knows the answer.

4. Always expect to be challenged – and welcome it. After 50 years of doing service calls I’m still stymied on occasion by new products and service procedures. Read, read, read everything you can about your field and the products you work on. Knowledge is your best friend.

If you find yourself challenged, organize all your forces around it. This means that, as far as you can, you should check all your impulses which do not support your ability to overcome the challenge. Success, as postulated by author Malcolm Gladwell, in (“Outliers”), “is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard.”

In closing, try to do more than you’re asked to do. Go the extra mile to help someone out if you can. Be a problem solver. It will make you stronger. Also, complete all your tasks with conviction, don’t allow yourself to get discouraged, persevere. Success comes incrementally, step-by-step, and each success, each step, draws you closer to the top.

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