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Fourth Time is the Charm

 SoulSalt Persistence Award Goes to Shannon Dee

It has been documented that your IQ can predict about 7 to 20% of our capacity to succeed and lead a satisfying life. This leaves about 80% of our success and satisfaction to other factors. Daniel Goleman, psychologist and former science reporter for The New York Times, gave us the research that outlined the “other predictors” of having a wonderful life in his Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence publications.

Back in the 90’s when Goleman’s first book came out I instinctually knew that what he was saying held great value.

Time and time again I stand as an observer to lives that are transforming. The greatest amount of traction is gained by those who have strong E.Q. – emotional intelligence. The best news about Emotional Intelligence is that it can be learned. You don’t have to be born with it.

E.Q. is often witnessed in the following dimensions:

  • Our ability to motivate our own self
  • Our ability to calm and sooth one’s self
  • Our ability to control impulse and delay gratification
  • Our ability to empathize and have hope
  • Our ability to persist in the face of obstacles

And it is this final concept of persistence that I would like to recognize today. Most of us buy into the myth that when someone else succeeds, their path to victory was easy. That is truly a myth. Very few ever cross a finish line without putting forth effort and a display of one or more of the E.Q. traits.

So I would like to honor Shannon Dee, a tremendously genuine woman who has recently faced off with obstacles. She is the recipient of our SoulSalt 2011 Persistence Award. I could not portray Shannon’s grit and dedication any better than by sharing with you her own description of a grueling process:

As a wife, the mother of four and a successful career woman, life is not exactly full of free time and relaxation. 

For the last year and a half, I have been studying for one of my securities licenses.  I would get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning before work and study for ninety minutes and then I would come home most nights and study once my kids were in bed.  Every weekend morning I’d let myself sleep in until 6 a.m. and then spend the next twelve to fourteen hours studying. 

I studied, I tested, and I gave up precious time with family and friends. I missed out on fun activities and I failed miserably 3 different times.  Only needing a seventy two percent to pass, I kept telling myself, “you can do this!”  However, after my second attempt and second failure, I thought, “Maybe not. Maybe I can’t do this.”  

I kept missing the mark by only 1 to 3 points.  I was so close, yet that finish line seemed so far away.  In fact, after my second attempt and failure, the finish line wasn’t even in sight any longer.  What was my problem I wondered?

In my prime, school was no big deal at all!  I barely studied and I always passed with flying colors!  Age must have caught up with me I thought.  For a year and a half, I had been stripped of my pride numerous times, questioned my own intelligence and had been the most ornery person to live with (I am sure of that!). 

But after each failure I dusted myself off and got back on the horse.  I didn’t want to, but I had a company counting on me and my own kids were watching me. I had to be a good example as much as I despised the challenge. 

Today I can say that perseverance has paid off.  On my fourth attempt, I did it!  I passed with those old familiar flying colors and still had forty-six minutes to spare on the test clock!  I can proudly say that I didn’t quit, although there were many times and defeats where I cried my eyes out and wanted to quit. 

I realized that I needed to heed all of those pep talks that I had been giving to my teenagers and friends and family for years.  I had to keep trying until I was successful.  A business associate and I were talking after I finally passed the exam and he said to me, “you know Shannon, no one is ever going to ask you how many times you had to take the stupid test to pass.  All they will ever think about is the fact that you actually did.”  He’s right.  All that matters is that I kept trying and I succeeded…finally.


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