A few years ago, I had the privilege of hearing Lilly Ledbetter speak, author of Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond. She has one of the most amazing stories of perseverance. Hearing of her resolve to stand up for what she believed to be fair and just was both heartbreaking and inspiring.
She endured a 15-year battle with a large corporation, personally sacrificing everything “… to make sure people are paid equitably and fairly.” She ultimately lost her legal battle at the Supreme Court level but was triumphant in 2009 when President Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, ensuring that victims of pay discrimination can effectively challenge unequal pay. When asked by a young audience member why she endured and preserved for 15 years her response was simply, “Because it was the right things to do.”
There are many great people who preserve and sacrifice for the greater good of all. Many of them have gone before us and many currently walk beside us that. I feel indebted and hold deep gratitude for their perseverance and sacrifice.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll examine perseverance — what it is, different ways to approach it and how we can build greater capacity for perseverance.
This is part 1 in the 5-part series on The Power of Perseverance by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.A leader who perseveres stands ready to endure for the long haul. Click To Tweet
Do you have the power of perseverance?
The rigors of today’s competitive business climate push even the most seasoned leaders to their limits. No organization is immune to setbacks. Many top leaders agree that there is an ever-changing landscape in leadership—the new normal. Some, however, are ill-prepared for it and pay a dear price personally and professionally.
Leaders like you who find yourselves successfully negotiating the landscape, achieve success through your agility, awareness of your strengths and talents, and surrounding yourself with a well-rounded team with diverse strengths. Knowing where you are strong and where you are not, your core values, and purpose provides you with a foundation for perseverance.
What about those of you who lack the necessary foundation or stamina? What happens to when you don’t know how you’re going to manage to lead, day in and day out, under the heaviest of loads, and in complex situations? Through all of this, how do you stay aligned with your own integrity? Are you simply destined to fail?
The answer is no, according to Dr. Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (Scribner, 2016). Perseverance can be developed from within. If you’re a leader who has taken a step back to reflect on your core values, what gives your life meaning and purpose or discover your strengths then you have a foundation to cultivate stamina and sustainable perseverance.
What Is Perseverance?
It’s more than simply trying hard; perseverance is a gut-generated determination to not give in and never give up. It comes from a spirit that refuses to accept failure. Not succeeding in your vision of what is possible is not an option. A leader who perseveres stands ready to endure for the long haul.
Leaders with perseverance strive to realize their vision of what is possible. As Duckworth puts it, perseverance is a satisfaction with being unsatisfied. Dogged leaders continually measure how far they’re willing to push themselves, their teams and what it would mean to be successful.
What are your thoughts about Perseverance? Who do you know or admire that demonstrates courageous Perseverance? Are you one to be satisfied with being unsatisfied? I’d love to hear about it. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.