Perseverance: A common trait of all successful leaders

Perseverance is a common trait of successful leaders. Maintaining perseverance at work can be tough, particularly during challenging times, so here are some ideas to help you through.

Perseverance is a quality that every good leader possesses. Because, life’s not just about having skills or talent or a vision or plan, but following them through.

Famous leaders from all walks of life, many of whom experienced challenges or adversity, have talked about perseverance.

Nelson Mandela said: “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

And scientist, Marie Curie, said: “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves”.

However, recognising the importance of perseverance is one thing, but finding that perseverance during tough times is more difficult. Here are a few tactics to help you push forward.

  1. Keep going

A while ago, I shared a story about my colleagues, Kari Fulmek and Carolyn Charles, from Equine Connection – The Academy of Equine Assisted Learning in Canada.  They were hit by an unprecedented cold snap which meant all ten of their horses had to spend a week inside an indoor arena.


They found themselves shovelling manure constantly and by the end there were still piles everywhere. However, they kept going; a great lesson in perseverance for us all.


  1. Be present in the moment

Working with horses has taught me how to remain present in the moment, because they simply don’t feel safe if your mind is elsewhere.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you want to give up, being present can help you focus on what needs to be done now.

  1. Align to your sense of purpose

Helping others develop leadership skills is what gives me purpose. Aligning to your own will in turn lead to greater satisfaction and more motivation to keep going.

  1. Take it one step at a time


In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear says real change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions. Focus on achieving small targets if larger goals seem overwhelming.

  1. If you feel like giving up, talk to someone


It takes courage to admit when you need help. But there is absolutely no shame in seeking outside advice and guidance and very often, another perspective will help. As the saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem halved”.


  1. Prioritise what really matters


Maybe you can’t persevere with every task you’ve set yourself – particularly if you have a tendency to overstretch yourself. In this case, it’s worth asking yourself if it’s important enough to persevere with.


  1. Find balance

Perseverance does not mean pushing yourself to burnout – make sure you maintain balance between your personal and work lives.

What are your tips for persevering through adversity? Let me know in the comments.

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