PERSISTENCE: Five Pointers to Climb Every Mountain

Have you ever climbed a mountain? There's nothing better than standing on top of the world with a 360-degree majestic view. From here you can see forever and this is one of the real rewards. Of course, there are many other rewards, including getting physically and mentally stronger from challenging yourself, receiving positive feedback in knowing you can accomplish a big goal, gaining confidence in your abilities, spending time with friends, learning to make good decisions along the way, and enjoying the journey.

Everyone has a mountain, figuratively or realistically, to climb in life. Building your business, starting an entrepreneurial venture, raising a healthy family, or pursuing any passionate purpose are all like climbing a mountain. Last weekend I actually climbed Mount Audubon at 13,223 feet. In doing so, I used the Persistence Strategy to mindfully persevere with focused determination and a divide-and-conquer tactic. A big purpose, which can seem overwhelming at first, is made up of many smaller purposes, intentions, and goals.

Practical Pointers for Climbing Every Mountain

COMMIT. Pledge yourself to a clear purpose for which you have passion. Increase clarity.
DIVIDE. Choose to work on a small piece of your purpose. Build focus.
CONQUER. Take action and direct — with relentless determination — your head, heart, and hands energy toward your purpose.
ASSESS AND ADJUST. Establish ways to receive feedback. Open your ears and hear the response. Use this information to adjust as necessary as well as build your energy.
ALLOW. Let go of attachment to a certain way to attain your goal. By reducing internal struggle, you increase the impact of your energy.

The more energy you focus toward a narrowly defined, clear purpose, the higher your persistence. Using the Persistence Strategy generates clarity, focus, and energy toward your purpose.

Johnny Halberstadt, a sub-4-minute-mile running champion, footwear inventor, and running store entrepreneur, shared his wisdom of breaking goals into pieces and unremittingly working at them with the right attitude. "If you want to climb Everest, you need a vision of where you want to go and you need to break it into smaller steps on how to get there. When you achieve a sub-goal, look up at Everest again and feel good about the progress you have made, but continue working on the next increment of the journey. Once you got the process down, keep going."

Assess Your Persistence

When you have a purpose, do you persistently work toward it? The Persistence Inventory will provide a quick assessment of your level of persistence and some guidance on areas that might need attention. Take it now.


Use the Persistence Strategy. Commit to a clear purpose. Divide the whole purpose into parts. Conquer the whole, piece by piece. Persevere with unremitting will to accomplish each part. Assess progress and adjust the action plan. You will receive real rewards. As it was sung in The Sound of Music, "climb every mountain, ford every stream, and follow every rainbow until you reach your dreams."


Theresa M. Szczurek (,,

Seven Pointers for Life and Business Success Learned from a Canoe Trip

There is nothing like a break to give perspective.  What plans do you have to unplug and get off the grid, so you can recharge, rewind, and refresh?  Thanks to my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, I had the opportunity recently to spend 5 days canoeing in the Buffalo River National Park in Arkansas where the temperature hit 102 degrees with 90% humidity.  There we were with four 15-year-olds, two leaders, three canoes, nine paddles, two tents, and one large, slowly moving river.  Of course, there was also one van to carry our troop and its gear 917 miles from Colorado to Arkansas and back again over two days each way.


Here are Seven Practical Pointers from the River:


Go with the Flow.  Life is like a river flowing.  Slow down.  It is so much easier to go down stream, rather then fight the battle to paddle upstream.  How often at work do we paddle upstream when we don’t have to? Use the Allowing Strategy – let go and go with the flow. ( See the book Pursuit of Passionate Purpose for further explanation on all success strategies.)
Divide and Conquer.  We divided the 50 mile trip into five days, approximately 10 miles a day traveling at two miles an hour….Piece by piece, part by part we flowed (and paddled) down the river.  Try tackling your next big project using the divide and conquer approach of the Persistence Strategy.
Surround with Proper People and Beauty.  Besides the participants and leaders, many people helped along the way.  One family allowed the troop to use their van.  Another family let us use their tents and other river gear.  Another troop leader, worked as the trip treasurer.  The National Park rangers were extremely helpful in sharing pertinent information to plan for the trip.  Our outfitters provided the necessary equipment for a price. Nature provided the proper environment to relax and learn. We used the Connections Strategy – connecting with self, proper people, other beings, and spiritual sources.
Prepare and Pack.  A big trip like this does not just happen—it takes preparation, planning and packing.  We set the goal in September to have a June canoe trip.  While we did not know where we would go and exactly how much it would cost, we knew the girls would need to earn money.  The girls sold lots of magazines and cookies.  It turns out our actual budget was correct within 1% of our planned budget.  I wish all of my work budgets were so right on. We learned to pack the energizers and unpack the hindrances along the way – we used the Pack Strategy.
Be a Firefly.  How I love those bugs that fly around at night rhythmically flashing on and off.  They remind me of hot, lazy summer evenings in Illinois where I grew up. The message from these lightning bugs: Focus on your strengths.  Do what you do best.  Try to delegate the rest to others.
Skip Rocks.  We arrived at the take-out two hours early on the 5th river day.  There was NO phone coverage so we could not call the outfitters to pick us up early.  So what did we do with time and no electronics for entertainment?  We decided to learn something new.  Be curious.  We learned about the optimal shape for a rock that will skip, how to hold and let go of the rock, and the fun in the contest.  There was the thrill on the face of the girls when they successfully skipped a rock two, three, or even seven times.
Take a Break.  Sing a Song.  What do you do when its mid-day, 100+ degrees, and you are tired after paddling only half of the required daily distance?  Be flexible on the distance for that day AND jump in the river for a cool, rejuvenating swim.  The paddling also goes much faster when you are singing a song together with your partner. Can you find a way to do this, have more fun, at work?  Enjoy the journey.

Summary.  Every experience in life brings lessons.  What will you learn from your summer vacation?  How can you apply these to your pursuits of passionate purpose?


Theresa M. Szczurek (,,

MANAGE YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESS AT AN OLYMPIC LEVEL: What Lindsay Vonn, Shaun White, and Gold Medalists Know

The 2010 Winter Olympics provide great examples of how the most successful organizations and leaders can achieve greatness by the Pursuit of Passionate Purpose.  Here are five Practical Pointers for your life and work as demonstrated by the best athletes:

1.    Find and Foster Passion.  Lance Armstrong declared, when asked after he won his 6th Tour de France bike race why he had accomplished what no other person had ever achieved, “Passion made the difference.  Passion.”  This fervor releases tremendous energy that propels people forward toward their purpose.  Intense desire, zeal, and enthusiasm—passion—is the fuel that keeps you and your people going. What are you doing to foster passion and keep it burning?  What are you doing that hinders that enthusiasm?  How can you unpack those hindrances from your pack and take them off your back?

2.    Align Passion with Clear Purpose.  Ask the gold medalists, American snowboarder Shaun White or skier Lindsay Vonn, what was their purpose.  The definitive answer would likely be, “Do my absolute best and bring home the gold.”  Top athletes have visualized achieving their purpose thousands of times—in their dreams, meditations, and visualizations. They have a clear purpose and a vision of living it.  Do you and your organization have a clear purpose?  What is your vision?  Can each employee describe that vision in detail?

3.    Pursue Through Participation, Focus, Preparation, and Persistence.  For seventeen magical days, people across the globe are united as Olympic spectators watching great athletic feats.  Yet, you can not live life to the fullest and take your business to new heights on the sidelines. Do NOT be a spectator in your own life and business.

· It takes participation.  Pursue your dreams by actively performing with your whole focused self – head, heart, and hands. It requires courage to fully commit.

· It takes focus.  You must say NO to many things in order to say YES to your passionate purpose.  Many of the winners avoided media coverage in order to concentrate on their true purpose.

· It takes preparation.  Consider the decades of training and sacrifice of so many of the athletes.  Recognize the homework you and your team have done.

· It takes persistence.  Recall how Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, the skier who was seriously injured at the World Cup in 2007 in Beaver Creek, CO, picked himself up, slowly healed, and continued with determination to come back to win a gold medal in the Men’s Super G in 2010.  You need to continue even when the going gets tough.

Are you and your people fully engaged or are they leaving part of themselves on the sideline? 

4.    Assess Progress.  In Olympic competition, it is well defined what it takes to win.  You must receive the highest score, however it is measured, while following the rules.  This is also the case in work and in life.  However, as organizational leaders you have more influence in determining, based on your own values, how success is measured.  How do YOU define success—is it financial performance alone, or does success also include living true to your highest convictions, having fun along the way, maintaining integrity of effort, and balancing work with the rest of life?  Do you have clearly defined metrics? Do you have regular assessments built into your calendar—monthly, quarterly, and annually? 

5.    Connect with People. The winners do not do it alone.  The best athletes, and business leaders, have many people who support their pursuits—a coach, financial supporters, friends and family, and teammates.  Who is on your support team?  Thank and appreciate them, and give back! 

Not surprisingly, these winning pointers are consistent with the proven “Pursuit of Passionate Purpose” formula for success in business and life. Use them and we'll see you win Gold. 

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and


Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France bike race, just announced that at age 37 he is coming out of retirement and jumping back into the game.  He states that his real purpose is to build awareness and money for cancer research, not only to win bike races. Here is a NOBLE purpose greater than himself which can make a huge impact on the world. In my opinion, Lance's real purpose is to PURSUE this noble purpose.

After winning the seventh tour, he went in-between to take a rest.  What most passionate pursuers find is that in-between is not satisfying for long.  The PURSUIT of a passionate purpose, as well as its attainment, and the connections along the way bring the real meaning and satisfaction to life.
After you have had your passion aligned with a meaningful purpose, after you have pursued it relentlessly with all your heart and all your soul with a team of people, after you have tasted success and reveled in the rewards of its achievement, you find that retirement is not fun for long.  The PURSUIT of a passionate purpose is fun!

People have asked me, "Theresa, why after selling your company are you still working?"  Why?  Because I am having fun PURSUING my life purpose.  This world needs help and I am called in my life's work to use my research, work, book, experience -- my gifts -- along with my values to help others succeed. 

YES to Lance for setting another great example as an American hero!  YES to each of you in you own large or small ways who persist, through the ups and downs, in pursuing your dreams.  Your spirit brings hope. You are impacting the world and making a difference. Keep pursuing!

Theresa M. Szczurek (