Why Persistence and Leadership Go Hand in Hand

Why persistence and leadership go hand in hand

By Janet Kendall White

There are many things that constitute a good leader, one fundamental one is Persistence. Persistence is tied to your personal development and improvement as well as your ability to lead and achieve.

Persistence to continue to develop yourself as a leader, persistence to develop knowledge in your field, persistence to deal with the everyday challenges that you will be faced with. Those challenges may be interpersonal, technical, personal, or business related and they may come from different directions all at once. Persistence and persistence alone often separates the winners from the losers.

One great example of persistence that in my opinion has stood the test of time and never gets old is the Dan Jansen story. This 24-minute video is worth your time:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfBvv9onC2M.

Would you have persisted? If it was worth it, I believe you would have. A great question that a friend once asked me about something I was going after has helped me when I don’t “feel” like persisting. Will you regret it if you don’t achieve or do that? Will you regret it if you go through life just being a mediocre leader? Will you regret it if your team does not achieve its goals and you could have gotten them there? Clearly, Dan Jansen would have regretted not getting that gold!

If persistence is so important, how do you develop it? Here are just a few things to consider:

  • Surround yourself with people who follow through and don’t quit.
  • Know the reason behind what you are doing, start with why.
  • Think big, start small.
  • Rest, rejuvenate, don’t quit.
  • It’s ok to start again.
  • Look for alternative solutions to the obstacles. Can you go under, over, or around versus through?
  • Watch and listen to things that motivate you.
  • Develop a growth mindset.

I recently participated in two things that have brought persistence to the top of my mind and caused me to write this. One, I am teaching entrepreneurship and we did a “persistence prowl” where all the participants came up with something that really motivated them related to persistence. The result was some amazing speech clips, a cartoon, TED talks and sports related videos. I thought you would enjoy a few of them. If you only listen to one of these, choose the first one. You will gain a nugget from a child you should never forget.  I encourage you to seek out other examples on your own or reach out and I will share 10-15 more examples of different kinds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px9CzSZsa0Y (6:48)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4SCoG-BXfY (6”12)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn0bZ0hBzCw (6:18)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MGMvEnoD6U&t=52s (4:22)


https://youtu.be/5JAHAFvcr2o (2:25)

The other thing I participated in was a cycling challenge for a cause that is important to me. When there were just a few days left I had some miles left to go. One day I rode the last 8 miles of the ride in the pouring rain and a thunderstorm, it wasn’t fun. That day more than others, I thought about WHY I was riding, and it is THE thing that kept me going. Those I was riding for sacrificed way more than I was by getting out on my bike.  I would have regretted not finishing what I set out to do.  Persistence is so critical to leadership and life and not something to take for granted. It requires nurturing regardless of how much we think we have it.  For other examples or to learn more about leadership development and the entrepreneurial mindset please reach out.