The Magic of Pushing Through

Getting to 90% on an endeavor is typically the easy part.   But almost out of the nature of the universe, the last 10% of any project or goal is the toughest.   As the saying goes, “if everyone could do, everyone would.”

Our minds are wired for overnight success.  We expect that if something is going to work, it should work instantly.   But like most of our goals whether that’s getting a company going, losing weight, or hitting any other large goal, you will plateau.   You will get stalled, bored, discouraged, or any other number of reasons why progress will stall.

Our natural reactions are to quit or pivot.   I’m not advocating chasing good money after bad, but so many of us will be at the cusp only to not keep pushing through to the end.

At Perk, we had an employee who was unhappy with his personal situation, was frustrated that we had been attempting to find a hit for 3 years and wanted to leave the company.   I remember him asking me if I understood and whether I’d ever do anything similar given we weren’t going anywhere.   We had seen some small successes, but nothing that told us we’d had figured this all out.  But that was enough for me to tell him that I was going to push through to the very end, because a success no matter how small, even if we’re at 90% and that last 10% seems impossible, is enough to keep me going.

We ended up hitting an inflection point about 3 months after that employee left and the rest was history.   Had we decided to bail when people around us were losing hope, we would have never built Perk into the leading mobile rewards program.

I see this pattern of getting to 90% all the time.   90% to launching something and then bailing on the final stretch.  90% to seeing big drops on the scale, but a small stall makes you throw everything out the door.

Start thinking of 90% as the starting line.   When you’ve stalled is when the work really begins.