How to Develop Perseverance

Sep 14, 2022

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."  

- Albert Einstein


We've all been there in life and leadership of any sort when you just want to throw in the towel. You’re done! Stick a fork in it. But then, something deep inside nags at you and pokes you to try again, so you do. This is called perseverance. It’s a trait that can be developed but is lacking most especially in our younger cohort groups. Why? I argue because many born after 1985 are part of a world that contained cell phones and eventually smart phones.

However, we can’t just always blame the Millennials or the GenZ’s - those of us who are GenX or Boomers have seen the effects “finger-tip info” has on our desire for instant gratification. The dopamine hit is just too real and too satisfying. So, developing perseverance takes some time and effort to build the habits that lead to a “stick-to-it-ness” mentality to prevail over a "throw-in-the-towel" mentality.

In this blog post, I would like to propose 4 areas to help ALL generations develop the perseverance to succeed as leaders and in life. Let’s get started:


1) HAVING A GROWTH MINDSET: Nothing creates a perseverance state of mind as much as working toward a growth mindset. When you start to see failures and setbacks as valuable learning experiences AND when you see your ability to learn skills, not just have them as innate traits, you will begin to develop more perseverance as a professional and leader.

2) DEVELOPING A STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM: Everyone should develop strong friendships and relationships with a trusted group of people where you can vent your frustrations safely and who will be honest enough with you in a compassionate and empathetic way. In doing so, you learn to not only identify what triggers you, but to also monitor and self-regulate those triggers to maintain your emotional equilibrium and stay on course even when things don’t go as planned.

3) FOCUS ON YOU FIRST: Don’t blame others whether it be a predecessor in leadership or current staff whom you lead - the focus should be first and foremost on you. What do you have control of right now? What can you change to create quick wins that show your ability and build your confidence as well as the confidence of others in you as a leader? Take ownership of what is not going well and exercise transparency in how you plan to change things going forward. Some call this “leading out loud”.

4) SET GOALS AND BE TRANSPARENT ABOUT THEM: Leaders and people who you know that persevere through tremendous hardship always seem to have a set of realistic goals on which to focus. They gauge the rate at which change should be made depending on the people they lead and the organization they guide. They find ways to build momentum by clearly stating the goals they have to their people and inspiring their people to succeed through a series of small victories, which then creates a snowball effect - success begets success if you will.


In each of these is a mindset that passion, purpose, and personal growth will bring success. Passion in what they are doing and their people’s ability to succeed; a strong sense of purpose to be successful despite the odds and/or adversity; and a focus on growing their own skills, knowledge, and abilities while inspiring those they lead to do the same.

Perseverance isn’t an easy trait to develop, but those who focus on developing these habits will find that they create the best conditions possible to persevere. This trait has been studied by academia, business, and other organizations and it is THE ONE trait that creates the most successful leaders and dare I say, people. Behind every successful athlete, politician, entrepreneur, or performer, was a willingness to persevere. Aren’t your personal and professional goals worth it?

Have a great rest of the week!

- Dean


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