I think of Perseverance as the paternal twin of persistence, which elicits the old Calvin Coolidge, quote: “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Many of us have heard Coolidge’s timeless quote at some point in our lives. So, if persistence is omnipotent, then where does perseverance fit in or compare?
Persistence is the firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action despite difficulty or opposition. It’s having a dogged determination to forge ahead toward a successful end. Perseverance, on the other hand, is not only doing something despite the difficulty, but also weathering setbacks in order to achieve ultimate success. Perseverance is resolute, methodical, and never gives up nor accepts defeat. Winston Churchill nailed the definition of perseverance when he famously stated, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”
Obviously, there are times when it’s best to give in and be flexible when working with clients, partners, or associates. And there are times when perseverance is required. The problem most people have with perseverance is that they don’t have the patience nor resolve to stay the course. They give up when things get tough or they just lose interest and move on. No one has ever attained greatness without perseverance. I could speak endlessly about situations big and small where I would have failed without having perseverance. And many times, when exercising perseverance, you are alone, because perseverance is typically the exception.
Years ago, we were pursuing two very large Infor ERP implementation opportunities at the same time. They were both longshots, but we kept at it and stayed the course. It’s amazing how long timelines can be when it comes to larger pursuits. It goes without saying that these larger pursuits take perseverance, but most people don’t have the staying power to go the distance. As the great late motivational author and speaker Wayne Dyer once said, “It’s never crowded along the extra mile.” Then within a day of one another, these two very large Infor ERP implementation opportunities selected GlobalStar. I’ll never forget my oldest son coming up to me and saying, “Dad only you would have landed those two deals because you’re the one who would have never given up.” Of course, a son can be very biased, but the greater message is never forgetting the power of perseverance.