There are times in all of our lives when we feel like giving up. Circumstances and challenges can conspire against us in a way that makes it difficult to press on. For these reasons, perseverance becomes critical in the life of every leader. Perseverance is necessary for anyone passionate about living a life of purpose through their leadership. It will push you through the times in life when you feel like giving up or checking out. Any leader who is committed to transformational, life-changing leadership must embrace the principle of perseverance in order to walk in purpose. The principle of perseverance is simply this: perseverance will propel you towards your purpose.
Digging a little deeper, perseverance can be defined as simply running YOUR race well, one step at a time. Purpose can be defined as the work that only you can do. Armed with these definitions, let’s look at how we can apply the principle of perseverance to our lives.
The Path of Perseverance
No two people ever walk the same path. History is replete with examples of men and women who persevered through the peaks and valleys on their journey to help others. Men and women like Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Harriet Tubman demonstrated perseverance to endure through challenging times which ultimately helped propel them toward their purposes. The path of perseverance will look different for everyone, but leaders who are committed to excellence will anticipate the inevitable valleys and prepare for the challenging times ahead. They will have the foresight to encourage their teams to run their races well, each and every day, one step at a time.
The Place of Perseverance
The place of perseverance refers to the times when perseverance becomes most critical in a leader’s journey. The two most difficult places to exercise perseverance are in the peaks and in the valleys. Everyone can relate to valleys (most people can remember a time when life was especially difficult), but why is it difficult to persevere during the peaks, when you’re on the top of the mountain? Peaks are especially challenging because when you experience success, you can lose sight of where you want to go. You can lose focus on why you do what you do. You can misplace your focus on the things that don’t really matter. Perseverance requires having an aim and a perspective that allows you to push through your present circumstances so that you start climbing towards a new peak in the future.
The Prize of Perseverance
For Christians, the prize of perseverance is not a trophy, an accomplishment, or a destination. For followers of Jesus, the prize of perseverance is a person. The reason we run our races well is to obtain a prize that does not perish and will never tarnish; the prize of perseverance is our motivation, our guiding light, and our reward. The author of Hebrews writes that we should “run with endurance the race set before us, looking to Jesus…” The motivation to persevere comes from looking to a prize that is worth the work and worth the challenges along the way. Leaders who understand the true prize of perseverance will learn to run their races well.