Category Archives: Dave Martin

How to Stand Out in Your Professional Life

The Boundless Value of Persistence and Perseverance

By Dave Martin

As the old man stood steadily before the university graduates, they quieted with respectful attention. His years of experience forging a commercial dynasty elicited admiration in business minds from Wall Street to the classroom. He had decades of hands-on wisdom and keen leadership skills honed by the emotionless bottom line of profit statements and the necessity of converting untrained rookies into dynamic producers. The man had seen it all, had been through the fire of business competition and regulation, and he had emerged with one of the leading financial empires of the era and with the well-known respect of his shareholders and employees.

His opening statement to the graduates drew the total focus of the crowd.

“I have one question for you today. Do you want to stand out? As you leave this university and enter the workforce, do you want to distinguish yourself from your competitors? In the business world, you will be evaluated by a different set of standards. You will be viewed through the dispassionate lens of the impact you render. So, what you are about to hear is the most important information you have been given during all your years of education.

“Two qualities are required of both the exceptional leader and the outstanding employee to distinguish themselves from the hundreds of thousands of others in their field. Number one: you must possess integrity. Number two: you must own the traits of persistence and perseverance. To put it simply, you must do what you say you will do, and you must have a consistent, productive work ethic.”

You must do what you say you will do, and you must have a consistent, productive work ethic. Click To TweetThis advice is applicable not only for those starting their careers, but it is also relevant to anyone who wants to set himself apart from his competition and his peers. No longer will your education alone be the differentiator. Your contemporaries are equally educated. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in 2016 over 3.2 million students graduated with a college degree. Of that number, almost 1.2 million received master’s or doctorate degrees. There is no substitute for education, but just being educated will not provide significant differentiation. No longer will your creativity set you apart; the artist and inventor will starve without a working business model.

To stand out, the formula is simple: integrity plus hard-working tenacity. Half of this blueprint for success is based on who you areyour integrity. The other half is based on what you dolearning the importance of and mastering the practices of persistence and perseverance. It is vital to understand the difference between these two characteristics and then to see how they act fully in tandem. Once that understanding is reached, it is critical to put these traits into practice daily.

The sage Siri will tell you the definition of persistence is the fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. Persistence is ‘keeping on keeping on’. Persistence is making calls over and over. Persistence is directing your team again and again until excellence becomes ingrained. Persistence is working your plan even when you don’t see immediate results. Persistence is consistent effort, maintained daily.

Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Persistence is not giving up, or giving in, or giving way. Persistence is not grabbing something new just because it is shiny. Although processes and systems should be continually evaluated for improvements and for effectiveness, persistence is not reorganizing your structures every three months when you see someone else’s success and think you should emulate them. Persistence is not expecting to hit millionaire status immediately. To covet wealth without persistent effort is to have a ‘hope to win the lottery’ mentality. But lottery winners don’t have a stellar track record of keeping their wealth. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, about 70 percent of people who win a lottery or get a big windfall end up broke in a few years. There is an apparent correlation between the qualities that build wealth and the ability to maintain it. One of those vital qualities is persistence.

Perseverance is doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Perseverance is continued persistence. Think of it like this. Persistence is the athlete, working out each morning in the gym. He continues to get up, get to the gym, and work his routine, even when he is tired, even when his friends are still sleeping, even when his schedule is interrupted. Perseverance is the lifestyle of working out week after week, month after month, year after year. Persistent running water erodes rock; persevering in that erosion pattern creates canyons.

In short, persistence speaks to continuing in a course of action even against opposition, and perseverance connotes longevity in that persistence. Together, these are the twin building blocks of success.

Do you have these traits of persistence and perseverance in your professional life? In some areas you most likely do. What specific discipline have you consistently performed week after week, month after month, year after year? Perhaps you make a point to turn in your reports a day early. Perhaps you participate in a new employee mentorship program. Perhaps you’ve taken on the responsibility of planning company teambuilding exercises. You are persistent in this activity and your longevity has created perseverance. When you are persistent, you push through adversity, you stick with the project until it’s complete, and you don’t look for the easy way out. The persistent professional will persevere and will live out the familiar quote, “Don’t stop when you’re tired; stop when you’re done.”

Do you want to stand out? The formula is simple, and the rewards are boundless.

Dave Martin, Your Success Coach, is a world-renowned speaker and the international best-selling author of 12 Traits of the Greats and Another Shot. For over twenty-five years, Dave has been a mentor, inspirational speaker, coach, and business leader. Using these experiences, Dave shares timeless truths, wrapped in humor and delivered with passion, teaching people how to pursue and possess a life of success. For more information on Dave, please visit www.davemartin.org.

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An Integrity Self-Test For Leaders

By Dave Martin

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower

Integrity:

  • It is essential for every leader.
  • It cannot be bought.
  • It cannot be delegated.
  • It is recognized across all cultures, races, and eras.
  • It is wholly unassociated with economic status.
  • It is the ultimate measure of a leader.

Although many people struggle to completely define integrity, most everyone can recognize it. You know someone you trust completely. You know someone whose word is his or her bond. You know someone who would not compromise. You know someone who would tell the truth, would stand by their promises, and would keep their agreements, even when it hurt them. Integrity is doing the right thing. The question we all ask ourselves is, “Are we that ‘someone’ other people think of when asked to name a person of integrity?”

Integrity is built over a lifetime of doing the right thing. Click To TweetThe following self-test has five questions to ask yourself. These answers are for you alone, and the only way for the test to work is for you to answer the questions honestly and transparently. It is not about perfection. It is not about comparison. Integrity is personal. If, as you read the following questions, you begin to think that your initial personal integrity evaluation was perhaps optimistic, do not despair. Integrity is built over a lifetime of doing the right thing. Appreciate that your attention has been drawn to these areas and let it make your future decisions more considered and intentional.

How would you react in the following scenarios?

  • You have just heard an extremely compromising—but unfounded—bit of information about the guy at your office who has the position you desire. Should he move on, you have a very strong possibility of being promoted to his position. This move would almost double your current salary. Furthermore, you have never liked the guy. Do you casually share the gossip?
  • You were delayed at the office, then you were stuck in traffic for an extra 45 minutes, and you have a dinner engagement that is pressing. As you walk in the door, the phone rings and your teen says, “It’s for you. It’s that insurance guy that talks forever!” You say, “Just tell him I was delayed, and I’m not home yet.” Yes or no?
  • You have a small team of direct reports, and you are responsible for their reviews, salary raises, and bonus amounts. Last year, you told your sales guy that if he doubled his sales, you would double his bonus. To your surprise, he showed up at today’s review with a documented increase in sales of twice his number from the previous year. Although you clearly have not kept up with his monthly sales, you do know that the bonus amount you were allocated is not enough to cover his increase without decreasing your own. Do you explain that you are delighted with his work, promise great things in his future, and give him a moderate increase? Or do you keep your word and double his bonus, even though you are personally left with a fraction of what you had anticipated?
  • On your way back to the office from an early meeting, you stop for coffee. The line is long, and by the time you have your latte, you sincerely wish you had opted for the drive through. You hand the barista a $20, and she gives you change. As you are leaving, you realize that instead of giving you a $10 and change, she mistakenly gave you a $20 and change. Do you go back to return the extra $10, or do you consider it your lucky day? After all, you did have to wait.
  • Your child desperately wants to play in the city soccer league, and the teams are based on your geographic location. The team roster for your area is full, but the team where your sister lives has one remaining opening. Do you put her address on the application so your child can play soccer this year?

Integrity. It is a quality of being—not of doing—but the great paradox is, it is completely based on what one does. It has been said that unless a leader has integrity, they are just a manager. This statement may be viewed through many lenses, but certainly, the true determination of a leader is in the loyalty of his followers. To engender that willingness to follow, integrity is indeed essential.

Integrity is doing the right thing, every time. It is being upstanding and honorable. Great leaders have integrity. This means they will do exactly what they say they will do. Circumstances may change. New situations may arise. The agreement may no longer be beneficial. Nevertheless, the great leader will keep his word. He will not compromise his principles for convenience or advantage. Are you a leader of integrity?

Dave Martin, Your Success Coach, is a world-renowned speaker and the international best-selling author of 12 Traits of the Greats and Another Shot. For over 25 years, Dave has been a mentor, inspirational speaker, coach, and business leader. Using these experiences, Dave shares timeless truths, wrapped in humor and delivered with passion, teaching people how to pursue and possess a life of success. For more information on Dave, please visit www.davemartin.org.