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  • Writer's pictureFanny Baert

How to practice perseverance when facing obstacles?

Today I would like to talk about perseverance, another one of Seligman and Peterson’s 24 character strengths that make up the best of our personality and thus have a positive impact on everything we do, think and are. On the website of the Via Institute, you can do a free survey which will rank your 24 character strengths. Our top strengths help us overcome challenges in our life, such as a career change and having to adjust to a new situation. They also keep us on track to reach our personal goals.

According to the Via Institute, Perseverance is sticking with things. It means being hardworking and finishing what is started, despite barriers and obstacles. Perseverance involves organizing oneself to support activities (e.g., scheduling breaks and sticking to them, rewarding in small ways along the way), but when all else fails, this strength helps us to barrel through until the project is done. Perseverance involves the voluntary continuation of action towards our goal despite the presence of challenges, difficulties, and discouragement.

When I ask people how they have overcome obstacles and difficult periods in the past, perseverance seems to be one of the principal keys to success.

At the start of a coaching journey, my client sets an objective they want to reach, for example , make a decision with regard to a career change, to move or not to another country or finish a personal project before a certain deadline. Coaching benefits people because it gives them a sounding board, a structure and strategy on how to move forward towards their objective and overcome barriers like self doubt, lack of motivation, fears and negative beliefs.

Perseverance is the willingness to stick to their objective and to keep going even when things really feel hard to do. When coaching, we also discuss what could be the obstacles stopping a person in their path and preventing them from moving ahead? We can discuss questions such as

  1. Why are you trying to reach this objective? What is the sense of all this? Write it on a post-it and stick it on a visible place in your house.

  2. What is your obstacle? Is it external? Internal?

  3. Where does this obstacle come from? Is it real? Can you prove it is a real based on facts and not on negative thoughts and belief systems tricking you?

  4. What have you already tried in the past to overcome this obstacle?

  5. What could you put into place right now that would help you to overcome this obstacle? What would reassure you?

  6. What small step can you do this week to work towards your objective? After all, life is made out of small steps moving forward.

Finally, do not forget to practice perseverance together with a good dose of kindness towards oneself and lots of humor!🤗


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