After 13 years, Tawny O’Dell had written six unpublished novels and collected 300 rejection letters. She jokes that her epitaph should read, “Here lies Tawny O’Dell. Just not right for us.” Finally, her first novel was published and receiving great reviews.
A month later, O’Dell was fixing dinner while moderating a debate between her kiddos about who the dog liked best when her phone rang. Answering the phone was not a top priority, she almost didn’t. The voice on the other end said, “Hi, Tawny. This is Oprah Winfrey.” After accusing Oprah of being an impersonator and a poor one at that, she finally realized Oprah had a book club and Tawny was an author and this could really be happening.
O’Dell would say that Norman Vincent Peale was right, "It’s always too soon to quit!" Thirteen years is a long time to wait to be published. Because she didn't quit, she made it as a best selling novelist.
Whatever you are pushing toward — a business, a project, a job, a movement, a new life — don’t quit.
I have a friend who is a triathlete, at mile 60 of a 100 mile bike ride she wanted to quit. She was done. It was over. The hardest part, according to her, is not the physical preparation but the mental preparation. At mile 60, she decided to go 10 more miles. Then at mile 70, she decided to go 10 more miles. The best way for her to negotiate past the desire to quit was to break down the huge task into small goals. She did quit that day but not until she got to mile 100. Persistence is the most common quality among people who have achieved something of value. They simply refuse to give up. In refusing to give up, we learn new lessons, experience new growth and arrive at difficult decisions.
“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.” ~ B.C. Forbes