Life is made up of seasons, some of which are more difficult than others. Even though the calendar says it is springtime, this season of your life and mine is winter. Winter is when things die for a time, always followed by a time where green shoots appear, and spring arrives. When you are in the winter season, your mindset has to shift from “optimal” or “desired state” to “perseverance,” a recognition of winter’s awesome power.
The word “perseverance” means something more than persistence. It means continuing to do something difficult even though it may be some time before you produce the result you want. What makes perseverance so difficult is that you do the work without the reward of having accomplished something. The lack of results is what causes most people to give up.
Now is the time to persevere. Here is how to persevere now.
Always the Right Thing
The right thing is always the right thing, in winter or springtime. Doing the right thing is an exercise in perseverance, which means you have to keep taking action even when it isn’t producing any result, and without the results you would expect under normal circumstances.
When the right thing to do in ordinary times is to call your clients and dream clients and try to help them improve their business results, then it is even more critical that you call them and try to help them dig out of what is sure to be the deepest recession in history, even if it is shorter in duration (the hoped-for V-shaped recovery).
Even if the calls you make result in no meeting, no opportunity to help, or no outcome that would suggest any reasonable success, it’s still the right thing to do.
Perseverance is slow to deliver the result you want, and it is only through your sustained effort over time that it is willing to reveal success.
There is never a season when relationships are not critical to your health, your happiness, and your success. You are never going to be wrong working to strengthen your relationships, be they personal or business.
When people are fearful, anxious, and under immense stress, they are often short with others, sometimes without recognizing their tone or the problematic nature of their response. Doing your very best to be there for people who greet you with a foul, stress-induced response that exceeds what might be justified, but it’s never wrong for you to try.
Perseverance means continually doing something difficult, with no result other than continually having your efforts thwarted by reality.
Some suggest it is empathetic not to bother people right now. I would recommend that instead of empathy, you exercise compassion. Empathy is walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. Compassion is recognizing those shoes are three sizes too small, and getting them a pair of shoes that fit them. Empathy is understanding; compassion is doing something to make things better.
Results Come Later
No matter what you do now, you are not likely to produce the results you would if it were not winter. That is no reason not to do what is right now. Your results come later after you have persevered.
Many have yet to recognize their actions contradict the idea that doing the right thing is always the right thing, even when it doesn’t work. Instead, they have withdrawn, deciding that because it is difficult to generate any results, there is no value in doing anything, an enormous mistake.
There is no benefit to adopting a “victim” mentality, believing that the world is acting on you and that you are powerless to act in your interest, accepting your fate without any resistance. Worse still is thinking and behaving as if you cannot help others.
You are the protagonist in your story. Maybe the reason no one is coming to save you is that you are supposed to be coming to save them.
When it feels like there is nothing you can do about external factors outside your control or influence, you must shift your focus to what is in your control. You control your response to this and any crisis. You control how you spend your time. You also control what you believe about your responsibility to yourself, your people, your clients, and your company.
You have to persevere through the external factors, waiting them out, confident they will end, and they will end. You also have to continue doing all things you can do to make things better now and position yourself for the turning point, the better future that comes after we get out of the middle chapters.
You deny yourself, your contacts, your clients, and your company the benefit of better results sooner when you refuse to persevere. The results will come later, and in any season, the time passes faster than you believe. In the end, you will have been the person who worked for their clients, contacts, and their company to make a difference, or you will be the person who, frustrated by the need to persevere, gave up and withdrew from the fight.
Recognize Your Power
Recognize your power to do what is in your control. Exercise that power every day, even when it is not working. When you are frustrated by the lack of results, recognize that you are giving to perseverance what it demands of you.
Recognize your power to help others, limiting the damage they suffer due to this economic crisis, as well as your power to help them recover faster than they would without your help. When you don’t feel like doing anything, shift your focus away from yourself and towards others, and do what you can to help them, even if it is less help than you think worthy of your effort. When nothing works, recognize you are persevering.
If at any time you are not frustrated by a lack of results, then know that you are not persevering and do something you know to be right, especially if you believe it is an exercise in futility.
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Filed under: Mindset