Persistence is the path to the best placesSmall things done consistently over a long period of time will produce above-and-beyond results. We’ve learned some lessons about persistence in recording 99 episodes, and in this episode of the Calibrate Life Podcast we will discuss the power of persistence.

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Persistence is the Path to the Best Places

We started a podcast in January 2017, and you are listening to episode 099 of that podcast. It is a small win but I am glad this is the last episode where our three digit numerical identifier starts with a zero. 

The greatest lesson I’ve learned on this journey is the power of disciplined persistence. This episode is a 100th episode celebration, and we are going to talk about a few things we’ve learned about starting, pulling the trigger, and the practice of persistence.

((Listen to Episode 52 for another podcast on the topic of persistence.))

Next week we will release episode 100. In the beginning, we planned to do an episode 000 where we told our story, an “about us” episode, so when we referenced our story we could direct people to that episode. We decided to make episode 100 that episode. That being the case, we are going to make this episode, number 99, our cap on the first 100 episodes. 

PERSISTENCE as a Core Value

I have seven core values that guide me through life. Those core values focus my mission. Quickly listed, those values are…

  1. Presence, because everything starts in the Presence of God, and we must be fully present with the people in our lives. 
  2. Passion, because when I am passionate about something I do it joyfully and with excellence.
  3. People, because life is always lived in the context of relationships.
  4. Prophetic, because I have to “see” something before I can say it.
  5. Priority, because I need to intentionally keep everything in its proper place.
  6. Persistence, because significance is achieved through small things done consistently over a long period of time.
  7. Perpetual, because I must remember that eternal (unseen) things are more important than temporary (seen) things.

When we started the podcast I committed to myself that we would release a new episode every Thursday morning, without fail for the first two years. I would not give myself a pass, I would not make excuses, I would think ahead and make sure it happened. 

I’ve been more consistent, over a longer period of time, with the Thursday release of this podcast than any other single thing in my life. 

We recorded episode 012 beside a canal in Venice, and, then, because of a missed flight in Rome, after looking around for cameras, I reconfigured a computer in the hotel business center to accept my flash drive, and got our episode uploaded. It would have been easy to make an excuse and make it one day late, but I was determined to keep my commitment to myself for a reason. I knew if I broke the promise I made to myself to post 104 episodes without fail, it would be easier to give myself a pass the next time.

We recorded episode 078 in a borrowed house in Paris while jets flew over celebrating Bastille Day. Episode 079 was recorded while sitting on the grass in a park at the base of the Eiffel Tower, where I then took a long nap.

We’ve recorded in hotel rooms in Valparaiso, Indiana; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Springfield, Missouri; and a couple in Princeton, West Virginia. One near Rustenburg, South Africa and one in Cape Town (episodes 063 and 064). Those are the ones I remember. Some episodes were put in the can ahead of time so they would be released on time.

Most of them were recorded on the Wednesday morning before release, in our study/studio.

We look forward to recording episodes in yet unknown places on the other side of the world as the great adventure continues. 

Persistence Conquers Perfectionism

Perfectionism had to die a little… actually, a lot.

Every single one of the episodes could have been better, but imperfect and available is always better than perfect that never happens. 

Look, we can do Calibrate Life 1000 times better, and sometimes I want to apologize to our listeners for not being better at this, but if we wait until it is perfect, it will never happen.

I am a writer… do you have any idea how painful it is for me to release rough it-is-what-it-is episode “notes” on for public consumption?

And those episodes where we used road gear and I simply did not have time to edit and clean up the audio file? I have to fight the urge to apologize constantly for the lack of perfection. (And… yes… that was an apology!)

My challenge for 2019 (and we will do an episode on this later) is FOCUS. That’s my word for 2019… FOCUS. I have at least dozens of books inside me, lots of resources, lots of ideas, lots of things I not only want to do, but things I must do. None of those things matter unless I do it. I need to do the best I can, but if I wait until something is perfect, it will never happen.

It’s not about perfection, it’s about transformation.

Persistence Refines Your “Voice”

If you take one run at something and give up, you never see where it will go, what it would become. Persistence gave us the opportunity to explore our voice, to let it develop, to give us enough perspective to sit back and decide what we actually want our voice to be.

It takes a while to learn who you are, what you ought to be doing, and to test and explore the directions of God. 

As a podcaster, faced with creating new content every week whether I felt like it or not, I had to dig deep, and digging deep always reveals who we are and what we are about. Persistence requires you to dig deep.

In the church world I know some pastors who think they have 30 years experience, but they don’t. They have 3 years experience repeated in 10 places. Persistence pushes you beyond the quick wins, the low hanging fruit, the easy things. Persistence pushes you into the zone where the really profound things happen. You grow, you become, you find your voice. You become the jet fuel poured into the engines of thousands of others. 

Persistence Helps Define Mission

Some episodes had hundreds and hundreds of downloads, some, only a couple of hundred. A few times I’ve thought about quitting, especially after an episode with less than stellar downloads. But I committed that we would do this 104 times, two years, without coming up for air. I would give myself permission to quit after 104 times, but not before. 

We often decide too fast whether or not something is “worth it.” We judge the things we do too early. We throw an acorn on the ground and are less than impressed with the seedling.

Persistence means you keep “showing up.”

The discipline of “showing up,” just showing up over and over and over again, gives our path an opportunity to develop, to become something, to matter. Sometimes all you are doing is showing up, and sometimes the difference you are making is not apparent at all, but as you walk the path you discover things. You discover divergences that lead you to things far more important than the main path. 

We are following Christ, wherever he leads. We still need trust more than we need clarity, trust that one path leads to another, leads to another, leads to another, and eventually we find ourselves in a good place, and we aren’t quite sure exactly how we got there. 

I think most people quit before they get where they are going. 

Sometimes we need to give up, sometimes we need to absorb the sunk costs and move on. Someday we will either shift the direction of this podcast (which may happen sooner rather than later) and someday, we will shut it down and focus these energies on the next thing.

Persistence Prompts Discovery

We are going to Africa. The hardest part of this whole thing is, I developed a life where I knew how to do what I was doing. I built a life around myself and I was better at it than anyone else, for one simple reason, I designed my life to fit me, and there is only one me. I am embracing change. I am discovering new things, new people, new relationships, new culture, and I daily discover things I did not know. 

I don’t want to start over, I want to continue to travel the well worn path. But the well worn path began with a first step that led to discovery after defining discovery.  

We have to start walking the path of leadership and ministry on a new continent. Here’s the thing, good things are going to happen that we cannot anticipate. We will discover joys and fulfillment that we do not yet know exists. We cannot discover them unless we get out of bed and start. Unless we risk failure. Unless we are persistent to trust that the uncomfortable will become comfortable as we discover incredible yet undiscovered things. 

I’ve heard it said that the best things in life are on the top shelf and we reach the top shelf by building one step at a time. 

Persistence is NOT Deterred by a Failed Streak

While I committed to myself 104 episodes on 104 successive Thursdays, what if I had missed one? I prepared myself for that likelihood, and we’ve come close a few times. Persistence does not quit after a streak is broken. A streak is a motivator, but our determination must go beyond a streak. We will fail. Sooner or later something unforeseen is simply going to make an upload impossible. 

Persistence keeps going after the streak is broken.

Calibration Tools… Calibrating Your Life and Lifting Those You Love and Lead

  1. You can’t do everything you want to do, but generally speaking, you can do any one thing you want to do. Pick one thing to which you will commit. One small action you will do over and over again until the harvest comes in. What is your “one thing” that you are deciding to do with persistence and consistency?
  2. Why are you picking that one thing? Just asking. 


The persistence we need is not stubbornness, though it often looks the same, it is about a journey of discovery. Small things done consistently over a long period of time will produce above-and-beyond results. 

My life is an accumulation of books I’ve read a few pages at a time over the course of weeks. A class here, a seminar there, podcasts thrown in the mix, a coffee here and a coffee there. Our lives are the accumulation of the choices we make every day; of the small things we do over and over and over again. 

We want to do big and significant things, this is human nature, but life is not lived in the big things and accomplishments are not realized through singular “big” actions… it’s the foundation, it’s the patterns, it’s consistency over years and years that fuel the things that look big and significant. 

So, don’t make your focus accomplishing something big, something significant, something astounding, make your focus getting up every day and taking care of business. Be consistent in the small and important things and the significant things will amazingly emerge. 

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