Success Tweet 97: Activity and Persistence

I’m really enjoying writing this series of posts further explaining the ideas in my latest career success coach book, Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less.  I hope you’re enjoying reading them.  I’m pleased to say that Success Tweets is now in its second printing.  You can pick up a copy at your local book store, or online at Amazon.com.  Better yet, you can download the eBook for free at http://www.successtweets.com.

Today’s career advice comes from Tweet 97…

Today, do the things others won’t do; so tomorrow you can do the things they can’t.

I got this one from Jerry Rice an American Football player.  He is in the NFL Hall of Fame.  When he retired, he held all of the important records a wide receiver could amass.  I’ve never seen anyone better – and I’ve watched a lot of football over the years.  Growing up in Pittsburgh, Sunday’s meant two things – church and watcing the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jerry Rice was well known for his commitment to fitness.  He worked out harder and longer than any other pro football player.  When he was asked the secret his success, he said, “I am willing to do the things today that others won’t do, so I can do things on Sunday that they can’t do.”  In other words — work hard, prepare, commit to taking personal responsibility for your own success.

It’s simple, really. Success is all up to you, and me, and anyone else who wants it. We all have to take personal responsibility for our own career success. I am the only one who can make me a career success. You are the only one who can make you a career success.  When you become willing to do things that others aren’t willing to do – and this can be a million little things like keeping your clothes in good repair; shining your shoes; rehearsing your presentation out loud; proofreading your emails, not just relying on spell check; staying up to date on your company, your competitors and your industry; building relationships by doing willingly for others.

If you already do these kinds of things, bravo.  You’re in the minority.  Too many people do only what they have to.  Successful people always go the extra mile.  As Jerry Rice says, they do the things others won’t.

Think for a minute.  What are the kinds of things that you can do that go above and beyond, that demonstrate your commitment to your own career success?  Make a list.  Then go about doing these things regularly.

Here’s a bit of important career advice.  Stuff happens: good stuff, bad stuff, frustrating stuff, unexpected stuff.  Successful people respond to the stuff that happens — especially the niegative stuff — in a positive way.  Humans are the only animals with free will.  That means we – you and me – get to decide how we react to every situation that comes up.  When you take responsibility for responding positively to people and events – especially negative people and events – you’re taking personal responsibiliyt for you career success, doing the things that a lot of people won’t do.  This means that you’ll be more successful in the long run.

Personal responsibility means recognizing that you are responsible for your life and the choices you make. It means that you realize that while other people and events have an impact on your life, these people and events don’t shape your life. When you accept personal responsibility for your life and career success, you own up to the fact that how you react to people and events is what’s important. And you can choose how to react to every person you meet and everything that happens to you.

The concept of personal responsibility is found in most writings on success. Stephen Covey’s first habit in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is, “Be proactive.” My friend John Miller’s book QBQ: the Question Behind the Question asks readers to pose questions to themselves like, “What can I do to become a top performer?”  When you ask and answer this question, you’ll be on your way to doing the things that other won’t do – and getting the promotions and recognition that they can’t get.

In my opinion, all of this comes down to two words: activity and persistence.  Activity and persistence are my watchwords.  I set some very high goals for myself for every year.  I begin each year in high gear and then I kick it into overdrive.  And, I persist until I achieve all of my goals, no matter what.  I am committed to activity and persistence.

My friend, Mike Litman has some interesting things to say about activity…

“Activity. Activity. Activity.  Too many people are standing still.  Too much pondering, too little action. Too much scatterness, too little focus.  Too much talk, too little results.  In 2009, commit to a year filled with activity.  Be 1% more active each day in your business.  Start at 1%.

“Activity. Activity. Activity.  When you stand still too long, moving becomes real tough.  Very tough.  Every day, do at least one action that moves you forward.  What I love best about a lot of activity, is that I get to make mistakes and learn what works.  You can do the same.  Activity. Activity. Activity.  2009 is about you being more active then you’ve ever been.  Are you in?  Are you ready to commit to a year filled with activity?”

Kevin Eikenberry writes to leaders, but his ideas apply to anyone who wants to create life and career success.  He says…

“Let me be blunt.  We can create and engage in the best leadership skill training, we can create the best leadership development opportunities, and we can provide coaching and mentoring that is outstanding, and yet, if all of these programs and leadership activities, don’t include an ongoing persistent process of improvement – a way to instill and inspire persistence, we will fall short of what is possible…As a leader, when we practice proactive persistence – persistence that is positive and supports people through both an example and support to pursue the desired objectives persistently, we are truly leading…Ask yourself today what you can do to create greater persistence in yourself and your organization.  Your answer (and the action taken on that answer) will pay you rich rewards.”

These guys are right!  Activity and persistence will make you an outstanding performer.  And they are the key to putting the career advice in Success Tweet 97 to work.  Activity — even 1% more than you currently do — and persistence — fighting through problems and setbacks — will yield positive results in the long term.  But you have to commit to them. 

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Successful people commit to taking responsibility for their life and career success.  They follow the career advice in Tweet 97 in Success Tweets.  “Today, do the things others won’t do; so tomorrow you can do the things they can’t.”  Be willing to put in the time necessary to create the life and career success that you want and deserve.  Successful people are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.  They are active and they are persistent.  The law of inertia says that a body in motion tends to stay in motion.  That’s why activity is so important.  Once you get moving, it’s easier to stay moving towards your goals.  And it’s easier to persist in the face of problems and setbacks.  To paraphrase Muhammad Ali – “Inside a ring or out, ain’t no shame in going down.  It’s staying down that’s shameful.”  Persistent people don’t stay down; they get back up and keep moving.  Make activity and persistence your watchwords.  You’ll amaze yourself with how much you will accomplish, and the life and career success you will create.

That’s my take on the career advice in Success Tweet 97.  What’s yours?  Please take a minute to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.

Bud

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