One common belief amongst business owners is that success is often the result of being in the right place at the right time.
But here’s the thing: It’s not that simple. You can’t expect to appear on the scene and step into a big puddle of success. Success isn’t a one-shot deal. In fact, it can take 10 years to become an “overnight success.” Persistence can play a part in becoming successful. You have to show up and keep on showing up until you make it.
In American Express’s new podcast called Turning Points, business owners share valuable lessons on how they persisted past challenges and navigated the critical turning points in their business’ growth.
Why Does Persistence Matter?
Because we never really know when the right opportunity plants itself squarely in front of you, but when it does you need to be ready.
Running a business of any size can be difficult from time to time. You may lose clients. You’ll likely have money struggles. You may be tempted to close up shop and get a nine-to-five job.
But entrepreneurs are different. We start companies because we have a vision, and only if we’re persistent—if we stick it out even when things are tough—will we have a shot at achieving the goals we’ve set. You have to show up to be in the right place at the right time. Here are five ways to help keep you looking forward toward business success.
1. Find your purpose.
There’s a lot of talk about passion when it comes to running a business. And sure, passion matters. But I think purpose is bigger than passion. I believe it’s more powerful. Purpose can encourage us and give us the motivation to be persistent even when running a business gets hard.
I’ve been an author for nine years, but it’s only been in the last year that my growth has really exploded. Why? Because I’ve found my purpose: to eradicate entrepreneurial poverty. It energizes me every day to get up, fire up the computer and write.
Aware of it or not, you have a purpose too. Take the necessary time to explore it, test it and reconsider it. It can be self-given or a gift from the universe. It can be inspired by something big or small. What matters is that it gives you energy. Purpose is that target you are moving toward and the idea of it brings you energy. Find that and you will have a level of drive that, from my experience, is incomparable.
2. Celebrate your successes.
When times are tough, and you’re not sure you’ll ever make it to the finish line, it’s important to take the time to celebrate your successes, no matter how small.
Whether you’re rewarding yourself and your team for closing a deal, trying out new customer outreach efforts or marking the completion of a successful project, taking time out to acknowledge the positive strides your team makes can help you persist when things look bleak.
3. Harness the power of great days.
One of my favorite little exercises is taking just a few moments to myself in the middle of a particularly great day. Write a letter to your future self, and indulge in the pleasure of detailing how great you feel, and how confident you are about your abilities and the abilities of your team.
Then I put that letter away until you need it. We all have dark days, when our confidence ebbs and we can become grouchy. That’s when you open your great-day letter. It’s a reminder that there are more great days to come. .
4. Surround yourself with persistent people.
You’re a reflection of the company you keep, so choose your peers wisely. If you surround yourself with people you admire, you’re likely establishing a baseline that’s going to stretch you and make you an even better business leader. For example, if you want to be great at negotiating, find a peer who is the best deal maker you know and learn from her. If you want to have a great corporate culture, find a peer who runs a “best place to work for.” In short, surround yourself with individuals who are already achieving what you want to achieve. They are the best guides to get you there.
Consider making time to meet regularly with your peers. You can share dreams, hopes and challenges, and lift one another up. If you’re surrounded by driven people, you may be more likely to be persistent yourself and succeed.
5. Know what you want to be remembered for.
You never know when your story will be revealed. You may give a TED Talk that sets the world on its ear and gets your name out in the world. You may be featured in a YouTube video that goes viral.
But what do you truly want to be remembered for?
Do you want to be remembered as the entrepreneur who wouldn’t quit? The person who had a vision and a purpose and who poured his or her heart and soul into making that vision happen? For me, asking these questions is a simple way of focusing on what truly matters.
Many of us are looking for the next big opportunity, and yet when they present themselves we aren’t ready. It is difficult to make opportunities happen, but it is far easier to be ready to address an opportunity when it presents itself. The key is persistence. If you keep improving, and keep working for opportunities, it is only a matter of time before the right one presents itself and you can ride the wave all the way to the bank.
For more business lessons, tune into Turning Points from American Express, a six-episode podcast series featuring candid conversations with business owners about the crucial moments that changed their companies forever—as well as practical advice on what it takes to improve and grow a business: www.americanexpress.com/podcast
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