Perseverance might not be a long race. But let me tell you, it isn’t an easy one either because you have Murphy running beside you; when Murphy is with you, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and at the worst possible time!
While this is true, it is also true that the universe always falls in love with a stubborn heart.
In this blog, I will introduce you to two such stubborn hearts who will serve as real life examples of one of the core values of being a ninja – perseverance.
So if you want to be a ninja at work (and in life), do not miss out on the action!
If you are going through hell, keep going! (Winston Churchill)
As powerful as this quote is, the quality that makes it possible is even stronger. There is always a light at the end of every tunnel, and the only thing that can get you to that point is perseverance.
This drive and persistence to achieve success against all odds has been a big motivator for me at the most challenging of times. I am sure many of you can relate to that thought. In my current work as a facilitator, when I see participating teams forge ahead through their activities despite the difficulties they face, I see perseverance come to life in its truest form.
I saw a very interesting quote the other day that read, “There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can’t. What you’ve got to do is turn around and say, watch me!”
I don’t think this could have been truer! We see it all around us – in a head-strong colleague, an ambitious leader, and even an enthusiastic teenager. We all have it in us. It is only when we put our minds to it that we can really overcome defeat and rise like a phoenix.
I consider myself lucky to have a job that gives me an opportunity to meet so many interesting and inspiring people who truly are phoenixes, warriors, fighters… or even Avengers!
Many wise sayings and lessons learned come from lengendary tales. Let me share two such stories with you that truly bring the concept of perserverance to life, and will inspire us all.
I met Guru during an induction program I facilitated for an ITES client. He was a quiet, timid, and reticent participant. The other participants and I were in the midst of a deep discussion on ‘defining moments in our lives,’ when he spoke up for the first time in all our sessions. Honestly, I didn’t leave him with a choice, and I am glad that I didn’t. For that is one day I will never forget, and I am sure it holds true for most of the other participants who were present also.
Guru’s parents passed away when he was just an infant. His grandmother, a construction site labourer, raised him. When work was good, they could afford one meal in a day. But most days they would fill their stomach using the money they earned by begging on the streets or through scraps of food they found while scavenging through public garbage bins.
They had no home, no spare clothes, and in his word’s, “no life.” But there was one thing Guru had; he had the perseverance to change their dire state. They faced many challenging times, some of which even made his grandmother want to give up. But what would have fazed some of the strongest of hearts, only made Guru’s resolve stronger. He knocked on the doors of many NGOs for many years, until he finally found the one that helped him and his grandmother find a life. It was in that darkest period of his life that he remained a strong soul who, despite all the obstacles and challenges, achieved what he set out to!
Today, the very same Guru is a software engineer with a leading Indian MNC and is truly doing wonders in his life.
Hansa is a fellow facilitator and a dear friend. Her story always serves as one of my biggest inspirations and motivations.
Although she studied from an English medium school, Hansa’s formative years did not provide her with sufficient opportunities to exercise her spoken English. As a consequence, by the time she reached undergraduate studies, her English became the subject of many jokes among her peers, especially because she was in an academic course that was riddled with presentations and public speaking. Albeit she did her fair share of hiding-in-the-washroom and late-night crying sessions, Hansa refused to let her speech define who she was and who she would become.
She confronted her challenges by proactively engaging with spoken English in every way she could. Be it listening to English songs, watching English movies, or zealously having conversations in English with everyone she could (including herself), she did it all repeatedly and tirelessly until she became good at it. Once that hurdle was crossed, she went the extra mile so that she could one day help others face their challenges with the English language.
From being the college girl who made her presentations with a handkerchief clenched in her hand to help her deal with the anxiety, to a soft-skills trainer with an expertise on spoken English communication, Hansa has come a long way. The mettle she showed allowed her to become who she knew she truly was all along.
There is one thing that is clearly highlighted in both of the ninja stories – the need to persevere in order to succeed. Some of us might be lucky while on the road to success, while others like Guru and Hansa have to try and keep trying to reach where they aim to be.
I saw a line somewhere that read, ‘Success often has much more to do with perseverance than it does with a person’s innate qualities.’
Our biggest achievements do not reflect who we are but what we do on our journey to reach that destination. So if you plan to be a ninja always remember, the journey is greater than the destination. Perserverance is only one of the core values needed to be a ninja at work. Watch this space for more ninja stories.