Lessons from a New Self-Earner: The Power of Persistence (and the Things that Inhibit It)

Photo Credit: David Melchor Diaz
Photo Credit: David Melchor Diaz

The previous lesson I wrote focused on execution. This time around, I’m going to start with something more obvious: persistence is key to ensuring the completion of any project.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the purpose of these posts isn’t to to feed you some blurbs of what should be done. This is to expose why you and I don’t do these things and why they impact potential for success.

So we know being persistent is important to being a self-earner. Then what prevents persistence?

  1. Confidence – Have you ever felt like a fraud or an impostor? Have you at any point felt as though you were not truly prepared or worthy of a certain job or task? Maybe you felt as if you were one slip up away from being exposed.Face it; you’re just not good enough.Don’t feel ashamed to admit you’ve felt any of this. It’s called Impostor Syndrome and many people experience it at least once in their life. Don’t address this by simply telling yourself you’re awesome…

    Although it feels really satisfying. You should totally try it sometime.

    …Increase your odds of success by focusing on ideas that cater to your strengths. Try this tactic for one of your first ideas. It’ll lessen the chances of you giving up while you simultaneously gain more confidence in your general ability to execute ideas.Also, remember you’re not alone here. Many people go through this and they succeed just fine. Are you going to let them (or me) outdo you? Why? Don’t you want this? Who cares if you’re not “good enough?”

    Why am I asking these questions for you? You don’t need to have confidence to the point of hubris, but just remember those thoughts are just thoughts and not reality. But if you keep painting with that same brush of gloom and doom, you’re sure to lack faith in your abilities.

  2. Failure – This can fall into the confidence category, but pessimism has a ton to do with an inability to push past failure as well.Boo hoo.Failure happens! Anyone who says they’ve never failed is either deluded or they’ve had an exceedingly easy life. The thing is, some people push past failure while others don’t Are you the former or latter?There was a time in my youth when I found it difficult to approach women. I had a couple instances where I crashed and burned hard so I stopped trying as much. Instead of learning from my mistakes (and realizing I can’t guarantee success, just maximize my chances) I slowly became less persistent. Guess what. That didn’t get me any closer to finding Ms. Right either. In fact, I noticed I was getting increasingly frustrated with myself because I thought about what I could be doing instead of just doing it. Thankfully I smartened up and learned from those past failures.

    How badly do you want this? Bad enough to learn from a failure instead of giving up? If failure is too much for you to bear, continue with your 9-5 job. FAILURE WILL HAPPEN AS A SELF-EARNER. There’s no two ways about it. Learn from them and make your failures manageable.Or give up. There’s no shame in that. If there is, it’s only because you know what you could be doing something instead of just doing it.

  3. Monotony – Some people thrive on routine. I am, in no way, one of those people. I get bored extremely easily…Thanks, ADD….and I tend to only be consistent with work that I truly enjoy. As such, I do a few things to break up the monotony.

    Create a Game: This is somewhat cliche, but it totally works for me. I’ll assign points to certain tasks to see how many I can accumulate by the end of the day. I may also compete with another person I know who is doing similar work. Whoa, healthy competition? What a novel idea!

    Schedule Undesirable Work: If you know you only have to do the tasks you don’t like during a certain time, it can help to make them more bearable. However, monotony sets in much more quickly on rote tasks that are performed often. Schedule it out. If you have the means, outsource it so you don’t have to deal with it at all.Regularly Try Something New: Do it! Firstly, you never know when you might discover a new passion. Secondly, new things are awesome! Bi-weekly should be enough, but if you have severe attention span issues like I do, once a week will do the job just fine.

    Work with People Whenever Possible: Monotony sets in much more quickly when you’re working alone. If you have the option to collaborate and cooperate, do so. Not only will it help to keep things fresh, but it will also give more opportunities to share ideas and thoughts.

  4. You – How well do you know yourself? More importantly, how honest are you with yourself? If “100 percent” isn’t your answer to both of those questions, you risk your chances of seeing an idea/project through to the end. Are you lazy? Do you learn best from lecture or hand-on experience? Do you actually want to become a self-earner or does it feel like a pipe dream? Ensure your knowledge of self and don’t fall into self-delusion. I personally listen to some very open people in my life who aren’t afraid to be totally honest with me. Their perspectives help to build my own.

    In any case, learning why I do things was an essential part of maximizing my potential. Hell, I feel as if I’m still learning new things to this very day.

I hope some of this is helpful to anyone reading this. Give these a shot if they make sense; they certainly helped me. But for now…

Peace out, party people.

Previously: Lessons from a New Self-Earner: 10 Steps for the Improvement of Project Execution


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