Perseverance pays

Misfortune isn’t always what it appears to be.

I believe we have to go through certain circumstances to find out what our real character is made of. How we respond to these trials reveals our true attitude toward adversity. Do you want to quit and just get it over with, or are you willing to persevere through tough circumstances and learn from them?

Perseverance is what develops our character and prepares us for life’s challenges. In business, every day, we encounter circumstances we would prefer not to deal with, but part of leadership is finding a way to survive.

Here are four examples that will affect every business leader at some point. How will you respond when one of these situations occurs?

1. Losing a good customer. Losing one large client can have a real negative impact on a business, especially if that customer makes up a significant portion of your business. What would you do if your largest customer left you for the competition tomorrow? Could you hang on long enough without it to recover that revenue from new sources?

2. Losing a key employee. Losing your best salesperson can be like a sports team losing its star player. Are you prepared to deal with such a departure? Could your business survive?

3. Being hit by the unpredictable. Sometimes things happen that are beyond anyone’s control. Outside variables in your industry or the economy, such as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, can send shock waves through your business. Don’t stretch yourself so thin that you are unable to recover from such a blow.

4. Dealing with personal problems. Everyone goes through ups and downs in their life. Problems with a spouse or a sick family member can be major distractions from running your business. Can the business survive without you? Is there someone else who can lead in your absence?

No matter what life throws your way, remember that life is a journey, not a destination. Don’t be too hard on yourself. No one bats a thousand, and your business will not be immune to adversity.

The best you can do is to try to have safeguards in place where possible. However, it is impossible to escape everything. When something bad does happen, embrace it and persevere with the right attitude.

In the long run, you may discover that what you thought was misfortune turns out to be a blessing. If you persevere, you will be pleased with the outcome and the character it produces in you.

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