Episode 8: Persistence
Hi, my name is Mark Denton, a motivational keynote speaker focussed on sharing
what I have learnt about Leadership and Teamwork from competing in one of the
toughest team sports there is – Ocean Racing. The particular event we are
discussing here is the BT Global Challenge Round The World Yacht Race, a
gruelling 10 month race over 32000 gruelling miles that sees 12 teams compete
against each other in hostile and constantly changing conditions. Consequently,
Resilience was one of the most important factors for teams, and throughout the race
we found the perfect recipe to build it.
You see it’s often thought of as just being ‘tough minded’. However, there’s way
more to it than that. We identified 8 key factors that were essential, to not only keep
us on the racecourse and in one piece, but also able to compete with the best in the
Building on the 7 previous episodes (hyperlink) here’s the final episode!
So why is ‘Persistence’ the 8th and final factor? Simply because it you can’t stay in
the ring then the fight is lost – and the consequences of that can be far reaching.
Many times around the world our resolve was tested, whether that was facing a
hurricane, getting a poor result, being knocked down, filling the boat tanks with
contaminated fuel, injuring a crew member or being trapped in the wind shadow of a
mountain. And every time we managed to carry on, as we fully believed in what we
were doing and why that was worthwhile - but also the consequences for us all if we
decided to give up.
And so, it was with that resolve that we entered the final leg. However, our podium
place was not secure – so this was no time to rest on our laurels and we needed to
do everything we could to ensure our dream was realised.
Due to the points position in the race overall, we could go for 2 nd and also could get
pushed off the podium into 4 th . And we could also almost guarantee our current 3 rd
position if we just played this final leg defensively. A big debate ensued as to which
to go for. Everyone would have loved 2 nd , but hated 4 th . So in the end being satisfied
with 3 rd overall became our goal. And to do that we just needed to finish ahead of
one particular team.
In order to do that we decided to shadow them every step of the way so that we
would always be in the same conditions and with the same sail selection, staying
carefully between them and the finish line. Over the next 3 days they of course tried
everything to shake us off, even turning completely away from the direct course in
the hope that we would just leave them to it, and once out of our sight try and get
past us another way. But we stuck with them like a limpet, never letting them out of
And that persistence paid off, because on day 180 of the race we glided over the
finish line for the last time securing 3 rd overall. So that’s why it’s the final factor. And
so important if you want to realise your dream, whatever that might be.
Top Tips to help you be Persistent
Remind yourself of all the reasons why you embarked on this mission in the first place
Think about the downside of giving up and what you will lose?
Think about just how proud you will be if you overcome this challenge?