“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” T. J. Watson
I have talked in earlier blogs about the importance of networking when you are job seeking, and I realize that there are other tips that I need to share. What I am thinking of are characteristics or moods that you need to adopt rather than actions. In a series of articles, I will discuss the top moods that will carry you to success. Today’s mood: Persistence
Persistence is one of those hard to build characteristics but it is known to guarantee your success. Thomas Edison described it as ‘stick-to-itiveness’. There are many quotes by successful people about the value of persistence. Here are some for you to consider:
- “It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. All that matters is you get up one more time than you were knocked down.” Roy T. Bennett
- “Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.” Cormac McCarthy
- “Success is not the absence of failure; it’s the persistence through failure” Aisha Tyler
These quotes clarify persistence as the relentless and continuous pursuit of success in spite of challenges or failures. Which quote appeals to you? What are the factors that enhance your persistence? How do you develop persistent qualities? Read on to find out what the experts are saying.
Research shows that ability, self-efficacy, support, and interest increase the possibility that you will persist in your career.
Your belief in your ability is crucial for your success. Taking the time to develop your skills is also vital for you to believe in this ability.
For example, if you believe that you can complete a degree in forensics and you put in the effort to study, then you will increase your persistence to complete it. This, of course, will enhance your chances of completing it. Another example? Your ability to sell a product usually depends not only on whether you believe in the product, but also in taking the time to develop your sales pitch so that you are able sell it.
However, ability is only one factor and may not be enough to keep you relentlessly going once the challenges and failures persist. It must be coupled with other factors that will help you pick up the pieces and try again.
Self-efficacy is the “individual perceived capabilities to attain designated types of performance” (F. Pajares). Research shows that your perceived self-efficacy will increase your enthusiasm to set goals and accomplish them.
As you can see, if you believe in your ability then you are more confident that you can achieve your career goals. For instance, you dream of becoming a famous mathematician. You love math and you believe that you can do this. You know that you have developed the mathematical background e.g. you completed a PhD in Mathematics.
The problem is that you have been trying to get a good position that will allow you to show off your skills but have been unsuccessful. In this situation, you have your ability and your positive perceived self-efficacy and yet you have not found the position that you dream of. You are starting to lose your confidence to persist. Here is where the next factor comes in.
You can view your challenges or failures as the barriers to your success – yet T.J. Watson doesn’t agree. What is missing? At this point, it may be hard to keep going and it is time for you to seek some support.
Having a support network is highly recommended for your success. I like to call this network as your Personal Board and you need to have at least four board members. A member with whom you share your successes and failures is important. An accountability member who will check on you to make sure that everything is running smoothly is crucial. The accountability member will ensure that you are moving forward but you will need a third member who is an expert in your field. This third member is your mentor who will share personal experience and expertise to guide you through the failures and build on your successes. The fourth member is your financial advisor.
You may decide that you need more or less Personal Board members but remember that ability and perceived self-efficacy may not be enough without the support of such a network.
Nevertheless, having appropriate ability, positive perceived self-efficacy and an effective Personal Board network may still not be enough to keep you going when the going gets tough. Interest is the final factor and can be the deciding factor in your power to persist.
For example, you dream of a career as a pharmacist. You think that it is a very cool occupation. You start preparing for your dream career by enrolling in a pre-pharmacy college or university program. Very quickly, you find that you are working in a lab five hours a day five days a week. You find yourself losing interest within the first hour and daydreaming about the moment when you can leave the lab. Counting the hours and the minutes can be sign that you have no interest which probably also means that you are not benefiting from the invested time. How work-focused will you be? Do you think you can be successful under similar circumstances?
Taking your curiosities seriously and finding which activities make you lose track of time will help you identify your interests. Identifying your interests clarifies the occupations that are in congruence with your interests. Once your interests and possible career directions are clarified, the other factors come into play. Your ability, self-efficacy, and support network will increase your persistence to succeed.
Persistence will carry you to success. While it may be a challenge to persist after submitting over a hundred resumes with no response, focusing on other job search techniques can help you push forward. I would love to hear whether you believe what research tells us and how you persist in your career search campaign.