Action Catalyst Blog

2 Keys to Building Endurance

My wife and I have a little 8-month-old, Jasper James, and he’s had his first cold for the last few days.

You know what that means if you have kids. You’re not going to sleep very much.

That was the case for us. In fact, my wife did something I’ve never seen her do in the more than 10 years we’ve been together.

She stayed awake the entire night, because Jasper was so clingy. He needed her. He wanted to be with her. Every time she tried to put him down or hand him to me, he cried. He wanted his mom, so my wife stayed awake the entire night.

What amazed me was watching my wife’s endurance: dealing with a sick baby, and his screams, cries, and tears, along with the snot bubbles.

My wife and I are business partners at Southwestern Consulting. We’re two of the original members who helped start the company, and I’ve witnessed her tremendous endurance at work too. During several of her years at Southwestern, she’s been the company’s top producer.

She has a lot of business endurance, but from a physical standpoint, to see her stay awake the whole night with our son was inspiring.

I realized there’s a message for all of us here.

My wife stayed awake for a total of 36 hours because she loves our son and cares about his well-being.

All of us, no matter what we’re doing in our lives or what our job title is, can benefit from raw, powerful endurance.

Endurance is the singular trait that maybe trumps all others in business. If you do anything long enough, you’ll eventually figure out a solution. We don’t take classes on endurance, so what causes us to persevere in the face of fatigue and setbacks?

The first thing that causes and creates endurance is an actual love and a passion for what you’re doing, the way my wife stayed awake for our son.

The same is true for you in your life and your work. The more passionate you are, the more endurance you’ll have.

That’s why we often say, “The amount of our endurance is directly proportionate to the clarity of our vision.”

While you might think you don’t have endurance, you do. You pull it out when you need it.

It’s just that discipline becomes dormant in the absence of a dream. If you can clarify what you care about most and what informs your vision, you’ll be amazed at the endurance that shows up.

I’m reminded of our recent Action Catalyst podcast guest, Mark Divine, who was a Navy SEAL. He was the honor man, the number one SEAL on his BUD/S training.

Mark shared the concept of “20X,” this dynamic that when you’re about to give up and when you’ve got nothing left, you’re capable of 20 times as far as you’ve come when you reach that critical moment.

That’s really powerful, right? That speaks directly to our endurance.

The second aspect is selflessness, which creates endurance. Thinking about other people gives you strength. A focus on serving others gives you power.

Selflessness is one of the greatest discipliners and sources of strengths.

If you’re going to just let yourself down if you give up, it’s easy. But it’s much harder to let someone else down, like when baby Jasper is sick and needs our help.

Who in your life are you working for?

If you think about who you’re working for and who you’re going to help, you’ll watch your endurance increase by a factor of at least 10, or even 20.

So, how do you create endurance? Simple: Clarity about your vision, and a passionate focus on serving other people.

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