It Takes Character to Endure the Climb
Necessary to Achieve Your Dreams
When asked the first requirement for success, Thomas Edison replied, “the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem without growing weary.”
A.L. Williams, the founder of Primerica, would say, “All you can do is all you can do, but all you can do is enough.” The secret is sustaining the effort to do “all you can do.”
Your character will be your destiny. Over a decade ago, I had the fortunate opportunity to attend a leadership training seminar conducted by the Character First Training Institute, where I was introduced to a strategic method of character-based leadership and decision-making, not just some theory. The training identified four critical areas for business leadership:
- Hire for character – train the skill from the receptionist to the CEO;
- Invest in the character growth of your people;
- Focus on the connection between character and success in every decision;
- As the leader, personally commit to your own character development.
Anne Frank stated, “The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” A personal commitment is necessary for a character-based leadership approach to be effective. There are millions of people who make a commitment to marriage, weight loss, financial soundness or a New Year’s resolution, but what happens when the emotion of that decision wears off? Commitment is what you do after the emotion of the decision has dissipated. Helen Keller summed it up well when she commented, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved.” Thus, your character will be forged like steel with the commitment to persevere through the challenges presented to you. Every great leader has endured remarkable hardship in order to successfully build.
Entrepreneurs know endurance plays a critical role in achieving dreams and goals. It takes a seriously focused effort over time to get the train up the hill to then ride momentum down the other side. The bigger the hill, the harder the climb and greater the opportunity. Most people are comparing or measuring their success against those who are already on the other side of the momentum cycle, because nobody highlights the experiences of those climbing the hill. This type of comparison will create unrealistic expectations, therefore causing the entrepreneur to encounter self-doubt and discouragement due to the failure of meeting those expectations. Instead they just need to focus on what they are doing and doing it better every day.
It is correct that one must act with a plan on their dreams, but action without belief will lead to breaking the original commitment you made. Life is more like a marathon full of sprints. You must recognize the times to accelerate the pace. The endurance you need for those periods of acceleration is fueled by the level of your belief. So in order to have the energy for the endurance you need, one must have a great belief system. This little poem, “Believe in Yourself,” by Edgar Guest, sums it up well:
Believe in yourself: Believe you were made to do any task without calling for aid.
Believe, without growing too scornfully proud, that you, as the greatest and least are endowed.
Believe in yourself! You are divinely designed and perfectly made for the work of mankind. This truth you must cling to through danger and pain; the heights man has reached you can also attain. Believe to the very last hour, for it’s true that whatever you will you’ve been gifted to do.
Believe in yourself and step out unafraid. By misgivings and doubt be not easily swayed. You have the right to succeed; the precision of skill, which betokens the great, you can earn if you will! The wisdom of ages is yours if you’ll read. But you’ve got to believe in yourself to succeed.
The great game of life is worth playing at the highest level, which requires a commitment to character development. You deserve the rewards that come with it, so believe in you and you too will have the endurance to sustain the fight. Is it worth it? You bet it is. No matter what, it is better than the alternative. As Lloyd James commented, “The man who tries to do something and fails is infinitely better than he who tries to do nothing and succeeds.”
Congratulations to all of you who are in the arena of life, fighting for your dream.