What Daniel ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger Taught us about Persistence
Last month, I wrote about the important traits of being a leader. One of them was persistence. Persistence means never giving up when you know something is right. It means you do not stop no matter what the odds are or how big the challenge is you are facing. This is how I was raised and it has made a huge impact on my life and my success at work.
In business you will face continuous obstacles, but with your vision clear before you, failure does not become an option. In life, persistence is a key trait that I embrace in both business and in my personal endeavors. While running, even when I have worked from early morning to late at night, I know that I still need to maintain my training plan in order to be successful during an upcoming marathon. Even when my body says stop or quit during a 20 mile run, I stay persistent in accomplishing the goal that I had set out to obtain.
Persistence is so important to success in life that I have been teaching my kids about it since they were young. The words “never give up” are a continual phrase that has been used since our boys were little. As a great example to underscore how important it is, we’ve taught our sons through the true story and movie of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. Rudy dreamed of playing football for Notre Dame but faced many challenges that could have easily disqualified him if not for his incredible persistence. He had a dream to be the first in his family to go to Notre Dame along with the lofty goal of playing for the legendary Irish football team. The first three times he applied to Notre Dame, he was rejected. Finally accepted, he wanted to get on the football team, but he was only 5’6″ and 185 pounds, which was considered way too small for football, especially for the Fighting Irish. Through hard work and dedication, he eventually proved to his coaches that he deserved to play. On November 8, 1975, Rudy played defensive end against Georgia Tech which was due in part to the urging of the first string players to their coach because they witnessed his daily persistence and NEVER GIVE UP attitude year after year. On his third play he sacked the Georgia Tech Quarterback, which literally caused the stands to erupt in applause. Rudy was carried off the field by his teammates – one of only two players in Notre Dame football history to be carried off.
Our son, Barrett, has the black and white photo of Rudy being carried off the field sitting on his dresser along with Rudy’s autographed football jersey from Notre Dame hanging on his wall with the phrase “Never Give Up!” It is a constant reminder to never stop pursuing your dreams and the things you want most.
Rudy’s dream would never have come true if he hadn’t been so persistent.
Tell me in the comment section below how persistence has pushed you closer to accomplishing your dream.