A Great Leader is a Persistent Leader


A Great Leader is a Persistent Leader

The Successful Spider
A tale of persistence!

Recently I have been starting my mornings immediately after waking, with a Facebook post from my bed, a mixture of ramblings and what became known as my quote of the day.

I thought a positive start to the day was essential, so often the quote was leadership based and usually quite old fashioned by today’s standards.
The leaders quoted included Franklin D Roosevelt, Dale Carnegie, Winston Churchill, Napoleon and an old favourite of mine Zig Ziglar.  I quickly realized that each of these men had suffered many setbacks in life and their careers but through sheer guts, determination and persistence they moved forward and succeeded.

The dictionary defines persistence as, “Firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”  In other words, don’t expect it to be easy and understand that most will tell you that you are wrong in your chosen pursuit. Until you are successful; at which stage they always knew you were a genius.

For entrepreneurs or management starting life’s climb, an MBA, technical competence, talent, intelligence, and leadership ability – are assumed traits.  However, the characteristic that is missing for sustained achievement is persistence.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people 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.”  – President Calvin Coolidge

In order to achieve complicated or difficult goals, persistence is the most significant factor.  There are lessons to be learnt from the successful, persistent leaders in all walks of life who have overcome enormous obstacles.

Hold firm to your vision: Even when others tell you it’s foolish or unachievable.

Train your mind to focus on your vision: This doesn’t mean be blind to issues but don’t allow the problems distract you from the objective.

Grow Stronger: Constantly improve your skills and knowledge, constantly question and analyze especially after failure
Change: Be prepared to change 180 degrees if you are wrong, accept your failures

Be Reliable: Be there, be seen trying, be consistent, and demonstrate that even small steps are still results delivered and failures lessons learnt on the journey..

Complete the Task:  Finishing the job requires the courage to hold your vision, an ability to think through and overcome obstacles and to persist when others would walk

Never ever, ever, give up: Keep at it despite the obstacles, despite negative comment, despite the odds
In principle these points are so easy to state and yet it takes enormous reserves of mental strength, courage and character to swim against the tide and achieve great things.

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” – Dale Carnegie

“Never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill

What about the Successful Spider? I hear you say; well as a small child I heard a great motivational story involving The Scottish King Robert the Bruce and a Spider.

Robert the Bruce was defending his country from invasion by the English and their armies. Battle after battle he had fought with England. Six times Robert the Bruce had led his men into battle. Six times his men were beaten, and finally driven into flight. The army of Scotland was entirely scattered, and the King was forced to hide in a cave.

As he lay recovering, he noticed a spider over his head, getting ready to weave its web. He watched as it worked slowly and with great care. Six times it tried to throw its thread from one edge of the cave wall to another. Six times its thread fell short.
The spider persisted and on its seventh attempt was successful. Legend has it that Robert the Bruce gathered his remaining troops and told the story of the spider’s persistence and motivated them into one last battle which they subsequently won.

This childhood legend has had a very significant impact on my life during times of difficulty and failure.

Neil Steggall

Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Neil is the CEO of Wardour Capital Partners, leading emerging growth & mid tier advisors. He is also a Non Executive Director of Family Planning Australia and The Australia Asia Business Alliance. Neil is an experienced director & corporate mentor and has chaired or served on numerous board committees including finance & audit, governance, compliance, strategy, acquisition, remuneration & ethics.

Comments (1)
John Belchamber

John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Great article, thank you Neil. This is particularly poignant as we head towards the end of another year and many (like me) are reflecting on the highs and lows of 2013 and what they want to achieve in 2014. Onwards & Upwards!