“Press 1 for ….., Press 2 for ….., Press 3 for ……” And it goes on and on. It used to be easier, right? You’d just hit 0 and the call would be routed to an operator. Not so much anymore. More often than not, what you hear now is “invalid selection” and the menu starts all over again. There are valid reasons for companies to use these menus. These include tracking the reasons for people calling and to create appropriate departmental staffing levels based on call volume. I get that. What annoys me to no end are the endless attempts by those organizations to placate me while I’m on an extended hold. “Your call is very important to us….” And that’s if they have those recorded messages in place at all. Many of them don’t.
If you’re like me, there comes a point during the hold where you start to debate (with yourself) the merits and consequences of just hanging up and calling again later. On the one hand, you decide that your time is just too valuable to continue holding. On the other, you realize that if you do hang up, yours might just be the very next one in the queue. Some companies tell you where you’re at in the queue but it’s certainly not the norm. Again, if you’re like me, you suck it up and continue to hold until you finally get a chance to speak to someone but not before your finger hovers over that “end call” button.
I’ve been in business for myself for a few years now. I was prepared for the challenges that go along with being your own boss and running your own company. But I’m human. There were the “lean” times when I thought of throwing in the towel. There are still times like that but I’m grateful to say they are far fewer than in the beginning. Whenever I got into that rut, I recalled the various stories of successful leaders that were going to give up but instead made the decision to recommit and hang on. As a result, they were able to achieve great things. Honestly, I wonder how many times Thomas Edison thought of giving up when he was trying to invent the light bulb. The guy had tried and failed a couple thousand times. But he didn’t quit. He believed in himself and in his ability to achieve the desired result of his labor. He accepted his failures and learned how to be better. He tried different tactics and performed other experiments. It’s the consummate definition of “trial and error.”
The point is that we are all faced with our doubts and realization of our limitations. This is true for self-employed individuals as well as for those who work for others. The principle of persistent effort applies just the same. When faced with disappointment or failure in an endeavor, experiment, try different tactics, and press on. It really is about the journey, not the destination.
The poem “Don’t You Quit” may help you in your quest. The author of the poem is unknown. Perhaps it was Edison?
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.