For the past couple of months, our organization has been focused on perseverance, one of our six core values. This semester has started out with so many new shifts to the program: a new location, being back in-person, and new staff and participants. With this newness come new challenges and opportunities for us to rise up and meet. With so many celebrated differences in our community, we want to call attention to the different strategies our community members use to persevere.
An online survey conducted of staff and participants sought insight on individual definitions of perseverance. Responses included a variety of terms, such as tenacity, patience and pain. Common factors among the submissions were endurance and resiliency. From the survey results, all agreed that perseverance is not something that happens–it is not passive. Rather, there is an active component that requires a person to be present and withstand the challenge that is presented. Maintaining this presence and endurance can be difficult and may require support.
|“What does perseverance mean to you?”
“To strive towards our goals and to continue to work for them despite the challenges.”
“It means pain, patience and resilience”
The survey also sought different methods people use to persevere through different kinds of challenges–mental, physical and emotional. In their submissions, respondents included using sensory input (or reduction), individual reflection, and talking through the problem with others. Notably, there was no common factor between responses, which highlights the array of individual differences in the community.
|“What kinds of things help you to persevere through physical challenges?”
“Music, encouragement, self-talk, focusing on positive outcomes, breaking challenges into smaller steps.”
“What kinds of things help you to persevere through mental challenges?”
“Typically I keep the end goal in mind during mental challenges. It’s very motivating to think of the cool thing I’ll accomplish if I push through!”
“What kinds of things help you to persevere through emotional challenges?”
“Evaluating will it matter in 5 days, 5 months, 5 years? This can help keep things in perspective.”
I want to close by calling attention to the lobster. The lobster is an animal of indeterminate growth; as long as it is alive the lobster will continue to get bigger. However, it is encased within a hard shell which must be discarded to continue its growth. Only when the lobster feels the challenge of its small shell does it recognize the time to molt. We are the lobsters, and it is by persevering through our challenges that we discard our too-small shells and grow.
Thank you so much to everyone who submitted responses to the survey and to those who support our community. We have had a great fall semester filled with so much growth and perseverance. We look forward to continuing the work we do, the growth it inspires, and to a superb spring semester.