We will be relentless in our pursuit for perfection. We won't ever be perfect – but in the process, we will achieve greatness.

-Vince Lombardi

In life, we are all confronted with the shocking revelation that we are more adept, more talented, at certain things than at others. In some things, we’re just not gifted at all. Sometimes, that knowledge settles on you at a rather early age, and it can keep you from pursuing your potential. We can allow the judgment of others to hold us back from reaching for more. Instead of retreating or accepting the idea that our future might be limited by the way others perceive us, we can choose to thrust ourselves forward, into the world, focused on making the most of all the ways we are gifted. We can challenge ourselves to improve, to never be satisfied with our successes, but always reaching forward.

Herein lies the great paradox of potential. It is, by definition, never finalized. It is the pursuit of development which is never complete. It is a journey and not a destination. For many, talent causes them to encounter success early in that journey, and instead of continuing into uncharted territory, they camp at that initial success. Worse, they settle there permanently, never venturing further. They find a pleasant sub-division or ‘comfort zone,’ and fail to move beyond the city limits to discover a vast frontier. The infinite wilderness of our potential beckons to each one of us, calling us further than our imagination has heretofore conceived. One word separates those who break camp to move forward and those who abandon the journey toward their potential: Perseverance.

Meet Ethan, a young white belt, a student of Karate. He’s in class, surrounded by his peers, attempting to break a board with his foot. His friends and classmates are watching. He drops into position and makes an initial attempt. He fails. His sensei gives him some coaching and instruction. He makes a second attempt. He fails again. His little face screws up with concentration. He makes a third attempt…and fails again. His sensei again gently instructs and encourages him. By now, tears are rolling down his small face, and his classmates are chanting his name. Instead of running from the challenge, he swipes at his tears, and at his sensei's word, drops once again into position. He strikes and fails again. His frustration is evident. His friends continue to shout encouragement, and he gives it one last shot. The board snaps in two. Everyone erupts into shouts of victory; poor Ethan is nearly bowled over by his classmates' celebration. (By the way, you can watch this epic moment here: https://usatodayhss.com/2019/video-kid-perseveres-to-break-karate-board)

If we're not careful, in the wild celebration, we might miss the staggering life lesson this pint-sized dynamo is teaching us. Long after the fun is gone, when it hurts, when we are facing the challenge of a lifetime with tears rolling down our faces, that's when perseverance shows its strength. Ethan took risks, he stepped out of himself into his bigger self.  Perseverance will not be denied; it will never give in; it will never stop pushing forward. Our highest potential lies on the other side of commitment like that. It’s relentless.

The Sequoia team values the continuous and unrelenting pursuit of our full potential. That pursuit is marked by a passion for what we do, why we do it, and for the best interest of the clients for whom we do it. We wrestle with ourselves, to stretch toward the best version of that self, in service to one another and our craft. Perseverance defines that journey. Long after convenience has left us, after easy has gone home for the night, and far beyond the novelty of newness, perseverance and passion remain. We strain forward, knowing that perfection isn't the measure of success, progress is. We will never give up, and we won't be denied.

As for Ethan, he may or may not become a black belt. His passionate and energetic pursuit of his potential will take him far, no matter what he pursues. We know that no one ever reaches perfection; but we can set our eyes on that distant city and set our faces like flint toward our goal of constant development, of forward movement. Better, farther and higher will be found on the other side of passion and perseverance. It will be in the midst of the journey that we find greatness.

Contact the authors, Leon LaBrecque and Brittany Metzner to learn more about this topic.