When I was a child, I wanted a palomino pony. Many little girls go through a horse-crazy phase at some point, but I was passionate about having a pony. My family lived in a rural part of Connecticut and we certainly had room for a horse. Although not rich, it seemed that cost was not a significant factor. I was a responsible kid so my parents knew that I would take care of it. But after what seemed like incessant unfulfilled requests, I decided they were never going to buy me a pony. I moved on to other interests.
In a recent conversation with my mother, I inquired about why I never got my pony. Her answer was, “You stopped asking.” It seems that she and my father were ready to give in and only needed to be nudged one more time. Isn’t this the difference between success and failure - pure persistence! It got me thinking about the importance of business success and leadership resiliency.
Succeeding in the competitive world of dentistry requires creativity, imagination, and most importantly, mental toughness. Resiliency is the ability to ‘bounce back’ when circumstances are difficult. Tenacity. Staying power. Determination. The desire to not give up. Perseverance is the key factor to surviving in these enormously challenging times in which you live and work. Remember that you have no control over others, but you have full control over yourself. Reminds me of a fun story.
There once was a bunch of tiny frogs who arranged a climbing competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around to see the race and cheer on the contestants. The race began but no one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. Some shouted out, “Oh, WAY too difficult!! They will NEVER make it to the top” and "Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"
One by one, the tiny frogs began collapsing. The crowd continued to yell, "It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!" More tiny frogs got tired and gave up. But one continued higher and higher. This one just wouldn't give up! He reached the top of the tower to the crowd's amazement. When the race was over, a contestant asked how the tiny frog had found the strength to reach the goal. It turned out that the winner was deaf.
There are two points to my pony-story and the frog competition:
1. All of your life you will have many people tell you, including yourself, that it is too hard, you should quit, don't try, etc. Choose to not listen.
2. Being positive works. As a leader you can shape the behavior of your employees' so much better by being positive than being negative.
If you have been experiencing lower productivity and/or a tendency to become overstressed with life's inevitable downturns, evaluate your thoughts. Challenge automatic beliefs. The difference between a business that succeeds and one that doesn't is similar. Great leaders carry on, even in the face of critics and insurmountable odds. Perseverance is about forging on in spite of adversities.
Did you know that Steve Jobs was a college dropout and got fired from his own company? He persevered and created the most admired company in the world. Albert Einstein had a learning disability. Stevie Wonder is blind. James Earl Jones was a stutterer. The great physicist of our time, Stephen Hawking, has Lou Gehrig's disease. When J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book in 1995, it was rejected by 12 different publishers.
The bottom line is you can never quit. Stay focused on your vision and encourage those you lead. You may not have it all figured out, but you have to keep climbing. Learn from your mistakes. Keep an agile mind and an insatiable curiosity. From the top no one will doubt you have succeeded as a leader. It will take constant effort and courage to get there. You will have to trust yourself and trust those you lead. Never give up!
You can learn to be more persistent. Contact Dr. Haller at email@example.com. She'll help you to build your resiliency.
Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like to learn more contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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