This semester, I took a statistics class as part of the Masters of Public Administration degree I am pursuing at Cleveland State University. The academics support my work through Gaylord LLC: guiding policy and strategy, and advocating for bold outcomes, in community and economic development.

I found out today I got an A in the class. And that got me thinking about an idea that had occurred to me years ago while training for a marathon: the notion of persistence vs. skill.

I am not a statistician. I will never be one. And I am not a marathon runner. I will also never be one of those.

But I have trained for and finished two marathons. (I even beat Oprah when we ran in the Marine Corps Marathon the same year, along with about 30,000 others.) Now I can say I also finished Stats — and turned in a decent performance there, too. Minus the blisters, the preparation and execution had many parallels.

The lesson is that persistence matters — as much as skill, in some cases. Persistence even creates a certain amount of skill. Sticking with something gets you to, and across, the finish line. Consistently. Persistently.