Perseverance is a slice of grit.

Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC

Some people believe success is a matter of happenstance—something that happens to you and requires no agency. That couldn’t be further from the truth. While sometimes fortunate coincidences happen, there are no overnight successes. Startups that make the cut, in the long run, have one thing in common: a persistent driver and business builder behind them who perseveres despite adversity and obstacles. Here are 4 ways to make that happen in 2018:

Find your Why (purpose + passion).

Passion is good, but it’s more surface level. The purpose is what gets you out of bed every day. Purpose can encourage us and give us the motivation to prevail when times are tough. The purpose is that end goal and the mere idea of it fills you with joy. Find that, and from my experience, the rest will follow.

Celebrate wins.

It’s a jungle out there. You will have failures or false starts—and lots of them, but the goal is never to start out with failure as your strategy. Those who brag about failure are those who seldom had their own skin in the game – they lost someone else’s money – friends, investors, or the bank’s money. Taking time out to bask in success (pause and reflect) can keep you grounded when times are tough.

Be your own best friend.

If you need a specific example of how to apply this, try this exercise. Write a letter to your future self. What would you want to hear when you are having a bad day? Then put that letter away until you need it and take those words to heart. In the heat of the battle, we all need encouragement and inspiration. Having a strong and caring support system can combat the loneliness and isolation from being a contrarian (entrepreneurs are by their nature contrarians).

Surround yourself with persistent (driven) people who make you better.

You’re a reflection of how you spend your time and with whom, so choose your company wisely. The best social circles, whether personal or professional, stretch you and make you an even better person. For example, if you want to learn sales skills, seek out people who are adept at closing the deal. Over time you will adopt those traits and tendencies which can position you for success.

Many of us are looking for the next big thing, and yet when we present ourselves we aren’t positioned to capitalize on it. It is difficult to make things come to fruition, but it is far easier to be prepared when the right opportunity manifests itself. Perseverance is a slice of Grit, and the other slice is Passion. If you keep improving and keep working hard and smart, it is only a matter of time before things align and the economic and social dividends of your dream are more fully realized.


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