Growth is never linear. Even if we know where we want to go, we might lose motivation or have other surprises and pitfalls that get in the way of us achieving our goals. That is not reason enough for giving up, however. We must persevere through the challenges in order to truly grow. 


Perseverance In Motivation

Intentionality and diligence is required for growth, and you won’t always have the desire to do what it takes, even if you desire the end result. In any endeavor, you will reach a point where you will wonder if it’s worth continuing on. This is what we usually mean when we talk about the Pit in the Project Mood Curve. The Project Mood Curve is a mental model that tracks your feelings towards the project at different points along the journey. 

Project Mood Curve

When you start out with something, you feel excited about it and eagerly make plans. We call this the Forming Stage. But after forming comes the Storming Stage where you reach the Pit. This is the point where you either persevere and make it through to the Norming and Performing stages, or you give up and restart the Mood Curve with a different project. 

For our example about growth, let’s say that you have a goal of waking up one hour earlier than normal for two weeks. You do this because you’ve noticed that your mornings have been feeling rushed and stressful, and you want to add some more margin to your life. You are excited about what you could do with that extra time. The first few mornings go well, and you wake up feeling rested and ready to start your day. But then the new schedule starts to catch up with you and you notice yourself getting cranky in the afternoons. 

It would be all too easy here to give up and decide that this habit is just too hard to change. But growth requires sacrifice, and pushing through the Pit and persevering in what you know is good even when you don’t feel like it is what cultivates real change and leads to growth. 

Perseverance Through Pitfalls 

Sometimes though, you have the motivation to keep going but outside circumstances get in the way of achieving your goals. 

Let’s continue our example of waking up early, except this time instead of losing motivation you get sick halfway through the project. In this scenario, it would be unwise to continue with your original plans, and you should instead take the rest that you need to get better. We set goals for growth, but if we learn along the way that they are not serving what we intended them for, it is okay, and even good, to change them. We’ll dig more into the concept of Act-Learn-Adjust in the next article. 

Getting sick during the project, however, doesn’t mean that you should abandon the endeavor altogether. Rather, give yourself the space you need to recuperate, and then start again. Persevering through the pitfall means not allowing the hardship to overtake your original intent. You can still accomplish what you set out to do, even if it is achieved in a different timeline or manner than you thought it would. 

Growth doesn’t happen without hard work. If you’ve ever had a houseplant, you’ll know that in order for that plant to grow it needs the right environment–its soil and pot–water to feed it, and sunshine. You can’t stick a plant in a dark corner and never water it and expect it to thrive. So why do we expect ourselves to grow without the same kind of attention and care? 

We must act with intention, especially persevering through hardships, to see growth happen in our lives. 

Gracie McBride is the Content and Systems Management Coordinator for The Crossroad.