“I am determined … to be invincible! Until he has finished his purpose in me.” I was working my way through graduate school when I first heard this song. The song was one of the most powerful I had ever heard. And when I had the privilege of singing backup on this song with the author, Tim Shepherd, it was a great honor. It became my theme song. And now, many years later, I still burst into that song when I need to inspire myself.
Determination has been defined as:
• Firmness of purpose
• The quality of being resolute
• The quality that you show when you have decided to do something and will not let anything stop you
My personal definition is to become so laser focused on an outcome, that obstacles and challenges are simple nuisances to be resolved, and that retreat is never an option!
It seems that we live in a society that is “soft” on determination. Our softness is expressed in many examples: this project is hard so I’ll just quit; this relationship isn’t perfect so I’ll just move on to another one; this book on self-growth will work for me only if I am willing to change some things so I’ll just put it away.
Whatever happened to rolling up our sleeves, facing challenges, getting our hands dirty, seeing great results and feeling proud of our accomplishments?
What happened to never quit? Never give up?
Perhaps we have forgotten about determination. In my world of self-talk, it became a huge deal the first time I heard Tim Shepherd’s song. Shortly after that a speaker at a conference I attended said this: “Determined people live like champions.” Something about that comment captivated me.
The speaker went on to say more about how champions live:
- They take excellent care of their health
- They do things with excellence (unhindered by perfectionism)hey seek to add value to others’ lives
- They are high in character
- They consistently seek to grow their knowledge and skills
- They use their knowledge and skills in service to others
I think all would agree that these are powerful aspirational traits. Champions become champions because they are determined to do these things.
So there it is again… The power of determination.
During World War II, the US Army Core of Engineers put their determination right into their motto: “The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer.”
What about you? Are you determined? Before we examine the benefits of determination, let’s look at the deterrents to it:
- Aversion to risk
- Lack of vision or purpose
- Lack of belief in yourself
Those are all things that can be worked on and improved. This means that if you perceive your determination to be lacking, and that some of these characteristics describe you, there is no need to despair! Your determination can grow by simply admitting your challenges and deciding to address them.
Why bother? Because the benefits are truly amazing.
What has research identified as benefits to being determined?
- It sparks hidden gifts and talents.
- It is a motivator.
- It improves your focus.
- It improves your health.
- It improves depression and anxiety.
- It improves relationships.
- It is a better predictor of success than intelligence.
- It assists you in overcoming challenges with less stress and anxiety.
- It is a great predictor of financial success.
- It produces more restful sleep.
Wow! So how do we foster determination? Here are some of the ways you can do just that:
- Begin by setting a small goal and working diligently to complete it.
- Celebrate small wins.
- Do not allow distractions (like the rectangular device in your pocket!). Texts/emails can wait.
- Avoid multitasking. (Guilty! My current focus!).
- Do not stoop to complaining, criticizing, or rehearsing the wrongs of others.
- Surround yourself with determined people and learn from them.
- Practice gratitude. (You know this is my “go to” strategy … and it works!!)
One of my mentors once told me that determination is a positive trait for each of us. But, she said, determination becomes a great force in our lives when it involves our becoming and our creating meaningful things. She also taught me that our determination in lifting up others helps reveal our better selves.
Where do you need additional determination? In your business? In your finances? In your relationships? In your health?
Determination in your business benefits your employees, and those who receive your services or products. Determination in your finances can create an amazing future for you and your family. Determination in your relationships keeps you investing in the other person, instead of assessing their faults. Determination in your health not only extends your life but makes you the best you can be!
Ten years after adopting Tim Shepherd’s song, “I am determined!”… I was with Tony Robbins and 30 other students at Mastery University in Fiji. He began with an exercise to identify our personal values. As a part of this lesson, we learned that, for the most part, our values were determined for us before we were seven years old. The exercise led us to reassess those values and to consciously decide what values we wanted to hold most dear.
After that exercise (which took several long days), Robbins asked us to choose 4 power words by which we would live our lives. He specifically reminded us that these words must align with the values we had adopted.
Immediately, I knew without a doubt that, for me, DETERMINATION would be one of those. Then he encouraged us to speak our power words out loud several times each day. He taught that the daily vocalization of our power words would guide our decisions and how we chose to live.
I’ve used this exercise many times with my students and my clients. I never assign their values or their power words, but I do suggest that determination be considered.
My power words are: COURAGE! FAITH! COMPASSION! DETERMINATION! Where are yours? I hope you will consider determination as an option to be one of yours.
I love the story about Nehemiah, who was the governor of Persian Judea from 465 to 424 BC, during the reign of King Artaxerxes. He had heard that the walls of his hometown, Jerusalem, had been destroyed. He asked the King if he could go to Jerusalem to facilitate rebuilding the wall. Immediately after he got to Jerusalem, he inspired thousands to help with the walls and the gates.
Sanballat, who was a Persian official at the time, did not favor rebuilding the wall. He did everything he could to stop the process. He made threats, he insulted the Jewish people, he asked for Nehemiah to meet to talk about the wall.
Nehemiah was not moved. I love what he later wrote about Sanballat and his friends: “They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination.”
Determination can save relationships, it can make a business successful, it can create a healthier life, it can make you the best version of you.
As for me, “I am determined to be invincible…” What about you?