Thursday, May 7, 2009

30-Day Persistence Challenge: Passion + persistence = success

"Flaming enthusiasm, backed by horse-sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success." - Dale Carnegie

Last week, I came across a great blog post that talked about the power of persistence in bringing your dream to life. The key, it seemed to say, was that you needed both components: Passion and also persistence.

The implication, the so-called Mrs. Micah seems to be saying, is that one without the other is like wood without flint: No fire.

"In an ordinary job, you can survive on inertia," she says wisely. "As a freelancer, you can’t."


The passion part seems to be getting back to the idea of what motivates you. She writes:

Passion is what keeps you going when you’ve just come off a project that made you feel like a sellout. Passion is what keeps you going when a client stalls on paying or turns out to be difficult to work with. Passion is what keeps you going when a project takes longer than expected and you have to stay up late or give up something fun.

If you can’t find a passion somewhere in your work, then you won’t be able to keep going when you hit the wall. And you will hit the wall. No matter how good you are at what you do, no matter how easy it is, you will always run into things that make you think, if just for a minute, that you don’t want to keep going with your work.


The persistence, she says, is how you put your passion into action. It's the marriage of the motivation and the to-do list. It makes sense: Most of us know a freelancer who's brimming with ideas but seems oddly averse to putting those ideas out in the world. Heck: Look in the mirror. Sometimes, that's me. We all go in and out of being able to act on our passions.

Mrs. Micah says:

Persistence is what makes you go out there and find the next project. Persistence is what you need when you keep losing jobs to other bidders. Persistence is the tool that unlocks your freelancing future.


Persistence is what keeps you checking job postings, it’s what helps you network with others in the field when you’d rather just wait for the next person to approach you. I think my biggest failing…or learning opportunity…as a freelancer was not being persistent enough between jobs. I probably could have done more, had less downtime, earned more, and even developed better skills.

I was persistent enough to find new clients and I always made ends meet on the financial side. But if there’s one thing I’d advise freelancers to learn from my experience, it’s to be more persistent.

How do you put your passion into action? The way I do it is with a little prompt a creative coaching friend is always reminding me:

  • Ask yourself: What's the smallest step I can take today to move toward that goal?
  • Put it on your to-do list.
  • Bookend the action by calling a support pal.

How about you? Where does your passion meet your persistence?

Photo by Kecko.

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