Ever think it’s time to call it quits on something you really had hoped to accomplish? Enough people have told you or enough time has passed to help you see the writing on the wall–it just wasn’t meant to be! Most of us have felt this way at one time or another, we weren’t talented enough or we started too late; it was just time to quit and count our losses.

Einstein had a wonderful anecdote for quitting. When someone asked him about his amazing intelligence, he modestly replied that he wasn’t smarter than anyone else, he just stayed with the problem longer.

What a statement! If we just decided to stay with the problem (or challenge or goal) longer, perhaps we would get exactly what we wanted. Here are some thoughts on mentally staying as long as it takes to achieve success:

1.    Change your brain, change the outcome.

If you’re not making progress with your goal, it’s often because on some level—despite the work and the desire—you don’t believe it’s going to be a reality, you may feel like you’re only kidding yourself. Rule of thumb: If you can’t imagine having what you’re working on, then it won’t happen.

Examine your beliefs and ask yourself, whose voice might be behind any limiting belief you still have about the outcome.  Professors, teachers, spouses, bosses and others all contribute to the image we have and the worth we feel about ourselves and our abilities. Imagine what it feels like to have accomplished a goal (closing the enormous sale, standing up to the person, writing the last page of the novel) and maintain that feeling. Hard work is a given, but success stories have an additional element, successful people just keep imagining the outcome and it helps the prefrontal cortex look for opportunities to make the dreams a reality.  With the right belief many opportunities seem to fall into place.

2.    Change your strategies.

We all know that doing things the same old way but expecting new and different results is the definition of insanity, but it doesn’t stop people from doing just that!  To move forward exponentially it’s often necessary to hit the “restart” button in your brain.  Create five new and different strategies to move your project forward, and don’t be afraid to go over the top in your ideas.  When you add your right brain creativity into the mix, you end up with new insights that can be channeled toward the results you’re looking for.

As an example, you might consider becoming part of a master mind group to get insights from others, hiring a part time employee to free up some of your time, taking off half a day to fish or get a massage or start your own virtual advisory committee.  Let me add another good Einstein quote, “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.”  That’s a hard quote to take at face value, because we all know the value of knowledge, but we need imagination to propel us past information to discovery.

Consequently, imagine the top five people (living or dead) you’d like to be in your think tank; people who you admire, whose brains you would love to pick each day.  Now imagine they were on your advisory board, and you were asking their advice.  What amazing insights would they offer?

3.    Make it fun.

When we can find an element of fun in what we’re doing it increases creativity and enables us to be more resourceful and effective in strategizing our goals.  Many top execs emphasize fun, including Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, who spells out the importance of an upbeat attitude in his best-selling book, Delivering Happiness.

Thoughts create chemical reactions in our bodies, and as we pay attention to what we’re feeling, the better we feel, the better we think, create and solve problems.  Create mandatory fun breaks each day, whether it’s to exercise, take a 30 minute lunch with one of your kids or colleagues or something entirely different that brings out the kid in you. These are investments in a better life, and they enable you to be more productive.

4.    Take action; action stimulates more action.

The smallest movement, on a continuous basis, will yield results. Will Rogers said “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” And sitting there is another term for being stuck, giving up, not moving forward.

It would be great if we all had Einstein’s genius, but what we have been blessed with is the ability to  imagine, create and stay with our dreams (problems, goals, challenges) long enough to get the results we want. If we’ve been given the desire, we’ve been given the ability to create it and make it happen. Maybe it’s not happening as quickly as we would like, but with tenacity—staying with it longer than others—it can become a reality.

Looking forward to seeing some of you as I travel around the country. I’m speaking for the prestigious Athena Awards in San Antonio, then on to Austin  and Dallas for business and then to Boston. Just returned from working in Oslo, Norway for two days. Great fun with wonderful people and beautiful fjords!

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Have a great day!

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