MANY OF US STRUGGLE to keep the energy going.  knight-321443_640Running a business is hard work!

It can be a deep test of character.

I’ve found that persistence is partially an innate characteristic, but is also a skill which can be intentionally developed.

I was amazed (and grateful!) to discover that my 2-year-old’s weakness was having the attention span of a goldfish.  Five years later, she was starting to be able to focus and concentrate.  Twenty years later, she was able to keep long term goals in mind.  She stuck to it through thick and thin.

Clearly this develops during your lifetime.

How do you keep your energy up, when the whole world seems to be kicking you in the teeth?  You’ve lost customers.  The economy is getting worse.  Employees are making mistakes and heading off in weird directions.  Even your key leaders seem to be losing faith.

The answer is simple:

  1. Keep your core purpose at the center of conversation.
  2. Build confidence that we CAN surpass these obstacles, even thrive.
  3. Nurture optimism that things will get better, especially when we MAKE them better.

Your core values, purpose and vision will be a touchstone for people in tough times.  And, paradoxically, during the great times when opportunities are coming thick and fast.

Confidence can be tough to maintain in the face of major challenges.  Your job as leader is to point out to people every point of optimism you can find, to be honest about the challenges, and to display confidence in their abilities to work through it.  Not machismo – that’s just baseless bravado that people quickly see through.

In a workshop I led today I showed this scale:


Both ends of the spectrum are dangerous.  In tough times, people can experience wild swings between optimism and pessimism.  As they get drained, they tend to wander into the emotionless neutral zone in the middle.

Your role is to steer people into that blue Optimism zone where productivity is high and emotions are constructive.  If you can help people maintain that 75% of the time, you’re doing well.

And your organization will display resilience and persistence.