August 17, 2009 Chris Fuller

Essential items

Competitors in the Iditarod have mandatory items that must accompany them throughout the race – they are to be in the leader’s possession – in their “sled” – for the duration of their “race”.

This led me to think about some of the mandatory competencies that business leaders should possess. As leaders lead across so many different types of businesses – are there some commonalities that we can draw to say – these are the ‘mandatory’ items that can determine or affect a leader’s success?

One of the top, in my mind, has to be perseverance.

Perseverance comes in many shapes, sizes and reasons – but however a leader gets there – it’s crucial to their success.

Dogged determination (pun intended) can come through emotional strength, vision, passion – or just a simplistic hard headed stubbornness that says, “Over my dead body!”

In the midst of a challenging project that was outside of my normal expertise – I was reminded of a quote from Winston Churchill. It came from the unlikeliest of sources – but was right on time! The quote?

Never, never, never, never give up.”

It led me to remember another one of my Churchill favorites:

“The nose of the bulldog is slanted backwards so that it can continue to breathe without letting go!”

I started thinking about perseverance in my life and “paying the price” to succeed. There are so many that I meet that seem to be unwilling to pay the price of leadership or of their dream. Many things can be achieved with the simple will to succeed and the pre-determination to “pay the price.”

So why do some make the choice and others don’t? That’s a mystery to me!

If it is your dream – your ‘Destiny” – than how could you quit?

What motivates you to persevere when you want to quit? A parent or mentor’s training? Belief in a higher purpose? Raw determination to prove nay-sayers wrong? Fear of financial lack or professional failure?

It’s a true statement that necessity is a tremendous motivator. If failure is not an option – than it’s only a matter of time until you succeed! And every setback only serves to push you to learn – to push you to change – to push you to improve.

I’ve said for years that if people think the drive in me that they see is strong or tough – they ought to be on the inside!

The work ethic that I learned from a football analogy is: Keep your head down and your feet moving…

Now – I would change that today to just say, “Keep your head up! And your feet moving…”

When it comes to paying the price, I have heard so many times from my mentor, John Maxwell, “Pay now, Play later” and “If you choose to play now and pay later – the cost will always be greater”.

I, usually, put it into financial terms – the sacrifice and investment on the front end yields much greater rewards or dividends on the back end.

Paying the price means we don’t quit after the first checkpoint, or the 5th, or the 17th – there are 20+ checkpoints – but at the end – our Burled Arch awaits and Success will come to those who simply don’t quit – those who never, never, never, NEVER give up!

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