Once a term I am asked into a secondary school to take a whole school assembly. This week’s theme was about perseverance. So here is what I wrote – I never quite say it word for word though!

When I was a child we often went swimming on a Saturday morning.  At the end of the lesson, the lifeguards would always be setting up for the afternoon event: the giant inflatable obstacle course! Part of me was desperate to join in with the fun! But then; the fear came, the fear of failing, of falling off of not being able.

Has fear of failure ever stopped you from climbing over obstacles? Tweet this

A few weeks ago I was travelling back from Leeds and had downloaded 2 episodes of The Walking Dead and also the Lego Movie to keep me company. At the same time, because I am a double screener, I was working on some of my goals tracking them and identifying barriers to success.

As the two interwove themselves I thought about how we love stories about perseverance. Whether it’s winning the heart, surviving walkers, defeating Lord Business, defying the odds to get back home, proving the naysayers who tell us we can’t, say that we are nothing, proving to them that we are more than what they say: we are drawn to overcoming stories.

Why? because we were made for it because somewhere in us we want it too.

We were made to be determined, overcomers, those who persevere: people with grit.Tweet this

We were made to be determined, overcomers, those who persevere: people with grit. But somewhere, somewhere in the history of us, we became fearful and the fear made us comfortable, unable to persevere, it made the obstacle appear bigger than it was, and we forgot the strength stored within us.

So we stopped pursuing. Yet, don’t you know, even nature shows us, it is the obstacle that grows us and that make us stronger. Plants push through the obstacle and break through to the light. Muscle is grown by increasing weights. Perseverance is part of life’s power!

This week you have been looking at Helen Keller; women born blind, deaf and mute. Who through grit and perseverance overcame the obstacles and learnt to speak. She found a way. And she told us:

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success  achieved

You are powerful people, with purpose, with significance; you will find a way to overcome! Often that way is found through community, sharing hopes and dreams, talents and through accountability, challenge, encouragement and honesty.

I believe God has placed within you hopes and talents and dream that maybe you already know or have seen and a glimpse of, or maybe you don’t yet see. Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

In the Lego movie, Emmett is repeatedly told he is nothing special. Even he believes it – yet it’s not true. It’s not true either for you are powerful people with an ability to change the world – don’t give up because someone says you can’t, don’t give up because it’s too difficult – you are too important for that.

Life is full of obstacles, but you are overcomers, more than just survivors! Obstacles are there to make us grow. You can make it through!

How do we persevere

Change your mindset! We were made with grit! Choose to believe you can

This isn’t about being delusional; we’re not about that x-factor life! But you are powerful people, creators, innovators, idea generators, educators:  some of you have songs to write that you have given up on, some of you have  words to say that you have been scared to speak out, some of you have ideas  stored within your soul, some of you just want to get through because it’s not  always about what you do – it’s about who you are to be.

Ask for help from others and be accountable. Ask others to help track your progress and cheer you on when you are losing strength.

Keep the why! Remember why achieving this goal matters to you. Whether it’s getting help for emotions, or whether it’s writing a book or being able to run a marathon. Remember why it matters. Make the ‘why’ bigger than the obstacle.

That’s our K – can you see where this is going?

Expect the obstacles but also expect to overcome them. See them not as a stumbling block but as an eventual as a springboard to the next thing!

You are a powerful person, made with grit to overcome.
You just need C.A.K.E

So set your goals,
regain your course,
find your cheerleader
And begin to run,
build brick by brick,
walk step by step,
write word by word
And along the way,
your strength will grow
And you never even know
You might even enjoy it!

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