Creating Confident Leaders - The Importance of Perseverance

Uncategorized May 07, 2020


Don’t Quit

By John Greenleaf Whittier


When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit



Hello again everyone

First of all, I hope you are all staying safe and well and finding help and positive ways of dealing with the situation we are experiencing.  I know the word unprecedented has been used, used and used again, however this is for all of us, completely different and unknown territory, so taking care of yourself as well as others remains top priority.

I have been speaking to so many of you over the last few weeks and I know that the challenges are different for everyone however, what we have in common is that everyone has been stretched and challenged in ways that we would not have thought possible a few short weeks ago.  That stretch is also very far from over yet.

It’s very tempting to see the last few weeks as the pinnacle of the crisis, however I think we are all aware that the real challenge is only just beginning.

The stuff we faced about getting into lockdown I believe will be just the tip of the iceberg we look at what will be needed as we start to come out and create a new reality. 

Leadership has never been more important than it is right now.   Every organisation needs those who can rise up and lead when it matters most and YOU are the ones who can make real differences right now.

Which is where perseverance comes in.  The poem “Don’t Quit” has been one of my favourite poems for 20 years.  I first discovered this poem just after my beloved Dad died in 2000.  It was a time when “the road I was trudging seemed all uphill”.  I had been running an event in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and I just took some time to be quiet in the chapel area following the event and I saw a card with this poem printed on, which really spoke to me.  I bought one of the cards and have carried it with me ever since to remind me not to quit when things get difficult.   It can be really tough to remember that sometimes and as you, my leadership community,  start to look at how you face not just today’s but tomorrows challenges, I wanted to share some tips for you on how to draw on your determination to persevere and be the best you can be for yourselves and others:-


  • Stay focused on what you CAN control and influence, don’t waste your energy on what you cannot. Mental and emotional resilience is based on energy and no one has an unlimited supply, so why waste energy on those things you have no control and influence over?  Speculation regarding just about anything, is rife just now, but the truth is, time spent speculating and ruminating over things outside of your sphere of influence, just wastes your precious time and energy and fuels anxiety.


So, do what you CAN do, plan for what you CAN plan for, influence the things YOU can and your focus and determination will rise and you will be contributing in the best way you can;


  • Building on the first point – don’t stoop to criticising, complaining and judging others. One of the things which has struck me forcibly over this period is the amount of kindness and compassion which has been shown but conversely the amount of judgement going on!  Its very easy and natural to become judgemental right now, however, as leaders you are better than that – find your kindness, your compassion and your empathy – those are the things which will carry you through.  I spoke last time about limiting your exposure to news and social media – please don’t become part of the negative cycles that are out there.  Be kind to yourself, be kind to others and remember that this is part of handling fear and anxiety.


  • Work from your strengths and be optimistic. Its important to use your strengths and to remember that even if the times are unprecedented, you have strengths which are tried and tested and can help you now.  So make a list of your strengths and decide how you can use these to make your best contribution.  Also be optimistic.  Optimism fuels determination and enables you and others to persevere because it provides energy.  Pessimism drains energy.  I have had some conversations with people in the last few weeks about whether its “right” to be optimistic or if optimism means you are not being “realistic”.  Please do not fall into the trap of believing that only pessimism represents reality.  We can absolutely focus on best case scenarios and plan for those (as well as looking at obstacles and challenges).  However, what most people want from their leaders (not just now, but particularly now……), is a sense of hope and how to move forward and being optimistic will raise motivation, energy and resilience.  So please look for reasons to be optimistic and spread that out!

I hope these tips and thoughts will help you to persevere and raise your resilience and determination as we move into the next phase.  Look out for more content and an invitation to join our free Facebook Group, Leading When It Really Matters which will be coming out next week.

Take care of yourselves, your loved ones and your people.  Stay well and safe and lets bring some good out of this for all of humanity.  You are the leaders who can.

Warmest regards





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