When you have set SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Based) you must persist until you succeed. Consider your goals as a contract with yourself, and don’t let anything stop you. The fifth secret of successful people is that they never, ever, ever give up. They understand that it is not being knocked down that matters. It’s the importance of getting back up. Fall eight times, get up nine.
I’ve run the 26.2 mile marathon distance 20 times. There is a variance of 150 minutes between my best time and my slowest. (The current world record is 2:02:57. In other words, world class athletes could run a full marathon in the amount of time between my fastest and slowest times.) Each time that I stepped up to the starting line, I had reasons to not start. During every marathon, I had to silence the voice in my head that told me that I could stop now, or that starting had been success enough, or that the goal by itself had been noble. But I did complete all 20 with a personal best for the person I was on that day.
It took me 19 years to land what would become my biggest and highest profile client. The reason I was able to work with some terrific international brands with multimillion dollar budgets was because I refused to listen to the voices that tried to convince me that I had given it my best shot, that I had tried, that is would be okay to lower my aim.
Being awakened at 11:30 p.m. at an altitude of 16,000 ft., one begins the final push for the summit of the highest free standing mountain in the world and the roof top of Africa. Illuminated by only headlamps in cold, thin air, you take a step and then a breath. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. At this point, it is not the planning or the preparation that will get you to the summit. It is persistence and hard work.
The difference between successful people and average people is that successful people work harder, work longer and never give up.
The African mountain guides gently remind you each step of the way, “Pole, pole”—pronounced "Poley, poley"—Swahili for "slowly, slowly." Take a step, take a breath and do it again and again.
Persistence and hard work. It’s one of the 10 secrets of success.