“One of the greatest tests of leadership is how you handle opposition…
Persistence is the ultimate gauge of our leadership; the secret is to outlast our critics.”
I read the above quote today and was struck by the last part.
How important is persistence? Is it really the “ultimate gauge” of your leadership?
In his notes on Nehemiah, Maxwell points to this great leader as an example of persistence, of outlasting his critics and seeing the fruit of success on the other side of tenacity.
Last year I finished the work on a new book that will be releasing later this month, on Tuesday, January 25, in paperback and on Kindle. I’m excited about it, and hope it will be helpful to leaders in a variety of contexts. It was challenging to write, as every book is, and it took more time than I anticipated. I had a team of folks helping me with copyediting, proofreading, and cover design, and it’s going to be great to see the book launch into the world. But that would not have happened without persistence on the part of every person who contributed to the project.
We moved to Virginia from Texas in the fall of 2004, and serving at one church, Southview, for that long has challenges to be sure. But you know what? As I reflect on the last 17+ years, I find the truth of Maxwell’s statement above. Persistence matters.
Winston Churchill famously said, “Never, never, never, never, never give up.” That’s an easy quote to remember, but boy is it difficult to do sometimes. We go through a rough season when we think the grass must be greener over there, or really anywhere else. But if we bail, we lose the power and the reward of persistence.
What’s a secret to leadership? Outlasting your critics. I’ve experienced that. And on this side of it, I’m grateful.
As we begin a new year, some of you might be thinking of throwing in the towel, of changing jobs or careers, of just leaving. I get that. The last 22 months have been tough in so many ways. It might be time to go.
But what if it’s not?
What if just a little more persistence will lead to what you’ve been hoping and praying for? What if the fulfillment of your dream is just beyond the next bend, through one more season of persistence?
Don’t allow the criticism of others to derail your leadership. Don’t give them that power.
Nehemiah points us to the power and efficacy of persistence. I can attest to it in my own journey.
Press forward. Don’t give up. And see what might happen on the other side of persistence.