Years ago I heard something that has stuck with me ever since. The man I was listening to said, in no uncertain terms, "it's either overcome, or be overcome." In other words, you have two options in life: you either win or you lose; there is no 'tie game.'
I teach John Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership on a regular basis, one of which is The Law of Victory. This law says that "leaders find a way for the team to win." Thus no matter your position in life, albeit husband, father, wife, mother, business owner or manager, team leader - you have some degree of influence, which Maxwell says is leadership. And your responsibility is to make sure you and those you are responsible for win.
"Victorious leaders," Maxwell states, find the alternative to winning unacceptable, so they find out what needs to be done to achieve victory, and then they go after it with everything at their disposal."
I have to admit that I have not always been of this mindset. In fact, I thought for the longest time that there was no way I could ensure winning, since there were so many variables outside my control. That's until - not long ago - a trusted friend sat across the lunch table from me and said, "Terry, your business will take off once you change your thinking about it."
Since that time I have come to understand that there are certain characteristics of an overcomer, some of which are as follows.
Relationship. If you stop and think for a moment, it's all about relationship - who you know and who knows you. Not in a strictly sales sense, but in the sense of being in the context of others where there is the potential for encouragement and the exchange of ideas. No man is an island, and I don't think you can win without others.
Tenacity. There's a proverb that speaks of men who "may trip seven times, but they will get up again." That to me is tenacity. You don't give up. Even though you experience set-backs, you keep going.
Focus. The Wall Street Journal some years ago ran this little poem on their editorial page: "The bumper sticker in my view was clever, I admit it; as soon as I had read it through, I laughed so hard I hit it" (Dick Emmons). Moral of story: don't get distracted from your central purpose.
Creativity. I am of the opinion that there is simply no way you can win in this current economic environment without coming up with new ways of doing things. Maxwell says "creativity is essential."
Diligence. This is similar to tenacity but to me implies a determination, a pressing forward, a relentlessness. I picture a person with this quality forging ahead, nothing lagging. He has a mission and won't rest until it is accomplished.
Process. We must understand that certain things take time. Short and long-term thinking is required if we are going to make it through. Overcoming is almost always a long term endeavor. If we are short-sighted and base our decisions on the immediate we'll likely make the wrong choices.
Right thinking. There is another proverb that says, "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he." In other words, in order to get it right in the marketplace you've got to get it right in your heart and your head. Your attitude is everything, and as a leader it will shape your entire organization. You've got to think, act, and carry yourself like a winner.
Right speaking. What we say has incredible power. The words that come out of our mouths will shape not only our enterprises, but the very course of our lives. Our choice of words is very, very important if we want to win.
Faithfulness. This characteristic understands that the little things are the big things. It means attention to detail. Faithfulness sees that it's the little foxes that spoil the vine. The basics are important to any undertaking, and to be an overcomer we must practice them consistently.
In summary, I am not aware of anyone who is not currently challenged, and I think there may be more tests on the way. Regardless of the circumstances, however, our approach to business - and to life - must be to win. And that is my take on being an overcomer.