Persistence

Persistence helps make dreams come true.  Do you have some dreams you want to accomplish?  Invite persistence to walk with you hand-in-hand.

I have had a great weekend watching the US Open Tennis tournament.  I’ve been a tennis fan since I started playing in Miami when I was eight!  I also had the opportunity to work with the professionals for three years promoting their tournaments; it was a wonderful job for me in my mid-twenties.   Now, I rarely pick up a racquet, but I’m glued to the television during the Grand Slams and other tournaments.

The US Open has profiled two new Americans on the tour – 17-year-old Melanie Oudin and 26-year-old Jesse Witten.   Jesse Witten’s story is not only inspirational, but also heart-rendering.  This young man almost gave up the game last year; he only made $21,000.  But through mental and physical persistence, he gave himself a few more months of practice and the opportunity to qualify for the US Open.  When he arrived in New York he brought a few of his college buddies with him to share the expenses of the hotel room.  His buddies slept on the floor!  Jesse did qualify and made it through the third round.  Making it to the round of 16 at the US Open pays $45,000!  That’s twice as much money as he had made all of last year, and he made it in only 10 days of play.

His loss came at the hands of the number 4 seed, Novac Djokovic, and it took four sets and over three hours for Djokovic to pull off the victory.  You can imagine how Jesse felt after this tournament and how much he recognized that his persistence and love of the game, not to mention his talent, paid off.  We’ll see more of Jesse Witten in the 2010 season.

Are you determined to achieve a goal and yet, you don’t put in the time?  Do you know where your persistence stops and disappointment starts?  How much time have you put into a relationship, work, a professional or personal project and then given up? You’ll never know if you would have accomplished your goal because you didn’t put in the time, energy and persistence.  Giving up accomplishes nothing.  I’ve given up on a few areas in my life and I’ll never know if I would have made a difference because it’s gone; done and I’ve moved on.

I do know that the commitment and persistence we put into relationships and projects – personal and professional – take time.  They can also bring disappointment early on, but when we keep the dream alive, when we continue on and believe in ourselves, then those early disappointments disappear.   How many stories do we hear  telling us about how Fred, Joan, Steve, Marsha, Nick, Sally… the names are endless, gave up and are now in the negative column of achievements.? Now think about the stories of Sarah, David, Mark, Joyce, Jesse and Melanie who’ve not only achieved their goals, but gone on to excel and made a difference in their lives and of those around them: been an inspiration.  It’s every-day people, like us, who also make a difference in other’s lives.

Persistence collects energy from making a commitment to quit smoking, lose weight, write your book, design your new career, continue the project, save money, practice the sport, or think  – or perhaps believe – your dream will come true.  Never give up! What do you want to achieve by this time next year?  What can you start now – today – and make come alive?  What are you waiting for?  As daylight dwindles and winter approaches, we have only ourselves to look at if something passes us by.  Yes, summer comes again, and what will the longest day of year produce for you?

Did Bill Gates give up?  No!  Did Donald Trump give up? No!  Did J. K. Rowling give up? No! (She was on “the dole” when she created Harry Potter’s character, and is now the richest woman in England!)  You too can make a difference with your persistence.

Melanie Oudin, the 17-year-old Cinderella at the US Open is the youngest American woman to get to the quarterfinals.  She did so by defeating three seeded players, including Maria Sharipova – a US Open Champion and previous #1 player in the world.  She’s 17.  She decided to become a professional tennis player, while her twin sister decided to go to college.  Melanie’s been home schooled so she could practice and practice and practice.  Has her persistence, commitment, verve, and sheer guts paid off?  In myriad ways.   When she just finished her match – only a few minutes ago – the camera scanned her family and her twin was in tears:  joy and recognition of a dream come true.  It was another emotional moment for the world to see. Melanie has “believe” inscribed on her tennis shoes!  How too wonderful is that?

Believe.  Believe in yourself, your dream, your talent, and your gifts to make your tomorrows more worthwhile than you might possibly imagine.  Keep trying.  Keep on keeping on even when times get tough. Even when you think you can’t go on, you can when you believe.  Become your own hero in your book of life.

What can I do today to help myself be a better person, whether I focus on my work or on myself?  I know that I have made a commitment to myself and to you – dear readers – to write daily for my 100 days.  I’m only in the first days of my personal writing tournament and my only opponent is me. In me though, I face the opponents of fear, excuses, laziness, who cares?  lack of action and most powerful of all, my thoughts!  Phew, so far, my persistence is paying off: writing everyday for 100 days. 

Let’s work together. Make a commitment to attain something within the next 365 days – or fewer. Write “Persistence” on your forehead, your wrist, your mirror, your front door, your computer screen; tattoo it on your brain!  We’ll succeed together.

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