persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
So simple to look at these black and white words as defined by Merriam Webster and comprehend it. Less easy to find the strength or grit to actually do it. Let's talk about why.
It is easy to keep momentum when something feels easy, or when we keep having wins. I talk about this with clients often, if you are used to being successful and not having to overwork yourself to accomplish your goals or the goals set by others; society, family, partners it can be highly disruptive and jarring when you suddenly aren't.
Here's an example (based on no one in true life. If you think this is you. YOU WRONG DON'T @ ME) You did well in school without having to push yourself too hard, either honor roll, or decent grades, did not have to study too hard for tests or SATs, did great in college and then you get a job and don't immediately pick it up ... you start to feel like you are failing and don't belong then start to worry you are going to get fired at any second for not being able to do something that other people are able to do with ease.
YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE.
Read it again, I'll wait.
If you don't immediately succeed at something it doesn't equal a failure, it means you will need to find a way to persevere through it. This is called so many things: toughing it out, grit, determination, tenacity, endurance, persistence, sticking it out ... etc. When the way you've always done it hasn't worked you may need to adjust.
It can be externally based, or internally based, change is hard as shown in that example. Or it can be a feeling of being overwhelmed, maybe life is just really hard right now and it feels like too much to keep going. You are struggling with your mental health, work sucks, the pandemic has really been difficult for you and you are just fucking exhausted. I get it.
This is what perseverance is, finding the way to stick it out even when things feel unmanageable or overwhelming. That you adjust or take a step back or sideways when you need to to just get through it. Heres why it is so goddamn important ... because if we stop in our tracks, if we don't adjust or stick it out, keep going, we give up. and honestly that just blows. It means we are giving up on the thing we've worked towards or have had as a goal, or it means we are giving in to the feeling that we aren't worth it. Or giving into the feeling of helplessness, the toll that our mental health is taking on us.
And listen to me verrrrrrry carefully there will be days that you need to stay in bed. Where you have a pity party, where you just cannot find the energy to get through it, we all have those.
The perseverance we are talking about? It's the kind that shows up after that. Its the kind that keeps you alive, it's the kind that gets you out of bed after a rough few days, that kind that keeps you going in that job that you find challenging .... the kind that has you making dinner for tiny humans who have food critic on their resume and nothing nice to say about anything you make every. single. night. The kind that has kept you afloat (even if barely) for this past year.
You have grit, You have determination, You have resilience.
I'm so proud of you for making it to today.