Perseverance will get you anywhere

Perseverance is defined as 'continued effort and determination'

Through hard work and perseverance, he worked his way up to the top.

So on a morning where against all odds the NASA rover Perseverance has landed on Mars, I find myself inspired not just by the feat itself, although it is hard not to be impressed by that alone, but by the seemingly unwavering perseverance shown by all involved. The effort and determination and belief that something that has never been done before could actually be possible.

The rover, as I understand it, will now search for signs of microbial life on Mars collecting samples that will be left in Mars' orbit and collected again for analysis in 10-15 years time. This timeline, although varying slightly depending on the broadcaster, means that some, maybe a lot, of the team that has been planning this mission for over a decade, will not be there to witness the results. They, like us, will have to wait for news reports in order to find out if the mission is successful.

In business it can be all too easy to dismiss ideas or not start projects because the finishing line is too far in the future, it's not that we are being shortsighted, well not always, but instead that the project can seem overwhelming in its size or duration. So let's keep this in the back of our heads and instead look at what we, as individuals, can achieve if we persevere.

2020 has been a year where despite plans being made, many have not happened or been possible, and this has obviously affected not just businesses but business people. Our resilience has suffered, our confidence and our determination have, at times, wavered and the knock-on from all this is our ability to 'keep going' has been affected. So how do we bounce back? The obvious answer is perseverance, but this ability to keep going, to keep on trying is not always enough despite what the title of this says, and despite the now-famous Tweet from NASA's Mars rover. You also need tenacity, determination and a whole heap of bloody-mindedness.

Now you may be forgiven for thinking that these are all the same trait, after all, tenacity is the synonym for perseverance, but I don't agree, to me tenacity is grittier, harder and rawer mindset borne from perseverance and taken to the next level. It is the thing that makes giving up not an option - ever. Tenacity and bloody-mindedness are driven by emotion, where perseverance and determination are driven by logic and reason. And it is because of these drivers that I believe we need a healthy mixture of all four to help us bounce back from 2020 and thrive in 2021 and beyond, to help us see the bigger, longer future and welcome it rather than hiding from it.

I have always believed myself to be determined, I welcome challenges, personal or business-related; but my dad has always said I'm just too bloody-minded to give up or be told it's not possible. This used to concern me, but in the last 12-18 months and since I started Justelle in 2015, I have realised that this bloody-mindedness is actually a positive trait, as long as it is balanced by determination and used to achieve a goal. I am aware that sometimes walking away is the best option but only if you have explored all opportunities, and only when you recognise that by using reason there is a better plan.

So yes, perseverance will get you anywhere, but you need to know where that is before you start and perseverance in business, unlike the NASA rover, does not and should not travel alone. Pull all your strengths and weaknesses together and reach out to colleagues and friends and anything is possible!

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