Perseverance. To get what you want, are you just willed to “dance in the rain” or are you prepared to keep dancing until it rains?
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Have you heard of the mythology of the African tribes that practice the rain dance? In parched areas of the country those dances often formed part of their spiritual rituals and they performed a range of different tribal dances to encourage the Gods to bring the necessary rains.
The story goes that there was one tribe however that whenever they danced, it rained. Every time. What was the difference people wondered? After some research it was found it wasn’t the specific dances they used, but that they simply “danced until it rained”, no matter how long that took.
Wow, how simple, but yet how powerful.
Perseverence; determination; endurance; patience; belief; focus…
Perseverance: Difficult or Possible?
Transferring that wisdom into our life and work realms, there is quite a lesson there, isn’t there? How often do we get inspired by something to do something and start racing towards achieving its “something” with great enthusiasm? And then we hit a few bumps and obstacles and can so easily lose momentum, can’t we?
- Do we just keep going?
- Or perhaps we step back and regroup to find and pursue some different approaches or options and say: “it may be difficult, but it’s got to be possible”?
- Or do we just give up and say: “it may be possible, but it’s too difficult”?
Some of us are more big-picture and creative in our orientation. Others are more delivery and execution focused. The former often need to surround themselves with the latter in order to get things done. The latter often need the former to get things designed or created or started before they can get into “their groove” and get it done. Neither is right or wrong or good or bad, just the ability to recognize and know the difference is what counts, right?
Perseverance: How Long Must This Take?
And so it is with perseverance. (By the way, the symbol in my logo is an age old African symbol representing endurance and resourcefulness). And I recently found it quite fitting to remind myself of that. When I started my coaching business it was 90% marketing and 10% coaching. Over time those percentages grew closer together and then passed each other so that today they are largely inverted in their ratio. That was part of the journey – learning to persevere and to do what it took to keep going. Obstacles, I hear you ask? Too right. There were many and they were quite varied.
How often did I ask myself : “how long is this going to take?” There were times when I was not only frustrated, but also disappointed and even downright depressed that things weren’t moving as fast as I wanted them to (or needed them to). Running your own business can be very lonely, and that gives the left brain mind chatter free range to engage in feeding you all sorts of negative perspectives and scenarios in order to protect us from having a go and failing, right? Too right – there was a bunch of that too.
What We Resist, Persists
I have heard insanity defined as: “keeping on doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result”. I remember asking my coaches “when is it going to rain? – and at what point do I cross the line into the above insanity equation”? They were so good – they just kept helping me reframe the situation to look for the positives and the encouragers so that I kept my faith and just kept going. I learned to focus on what I wanted, not on dwelling on how I could get away from what I didn’t want.( Remember Moving Away versus Moving Towards?) They kept suggesting that my “turning the corner” could be “just around the corner”. And so it was. First a few new intermittent showers. Then some fairly consistent showers and finally an ongoing source of good rains. Word of mouth referrals are the best business generators, but they take time to build up momentum.
Wow, am I glad I did. I know that I was born to do what I do as a coach and a mentor. It is a very important part of my life and I am very passionate about what I do. That makes it very easy to be very good at it too. Imagine if I had given up? Imagine if I had listened to my left brain?
I had to learn patience. I had to just keep reminding myself to believe in myself. To trust in myself. That I was doing the right thing, but perhaps not enough of it. That “what goes around comes around” and that my turn was coming. And it has, and now it has a momentum of its own and it keeps on so.
Any great endeavour starts out as an enthusiastic journey and most are not just plain sailing. Expect that. Character is sticking with what needs to be done long after the euphoria in which the decision was made has passed. Anything worthwhile is worthwhile sticking with until it is done. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s those that keep dancing and dancing and dancing until it finally rains that collect the results. And that’s the way it should be, don’t you think?
So if you are wondering when it is going to start raining for you, don’t allow yourself to be lonely and too self reflective. Go and find someone supportive and encouraging and inspiring and let them remind you why you set out in the first place and how worthwhile that dream or goal or outcome really is to you. And if I can be of assistance in that, I would be delighted. Just contact me and “Let’s Talk Coaching”, OK?
Go on – get dancing and keep dancing – I believe that the rain for anything really worthwhile is just around the corner.
Nick Gole says
Perfect – so much I can relate to where I am in my life at the moment. A river cuts through a rock not by its power but by its perseverance. Thanks for the refresher on this blog Heiner. Cheers Nick
Mark Cooper says
Great story. Like MASTERY nothing comes for free. Everything you desire requires work and persistence and honest preparation for the setbacks whenever they come. There is one thing for certain and that is they will come!
Thankyou for another good reminder.
Nick Gole says
Incredible analogy 🙂