Picture this: Toby Keith, the late and great country music superstar, and Clint Eastwood, the Hollywood legend, hanging out and digging deep. Well, that's exactly what happened about six years ago. When the two met, Keith asked the aging actor what he planned to do on his upcoming 88th birthday. Eastwood replied that he would be shooting a movie. Impressed and probably a bit shocked, Keith asked, "What keeps you going?"

Eastwood said, "I get up every day, and I don't let the old man in."

From that conversation between legends, a beautiful song was born. "Don't Let the Old Man In" is an anthem of resilience, even of celebratory defiance, in the face of harsh realities that try to wear a person down. Its lyrics feel all the more powerful now in the wake of Keith's final battle with stomach cancer. I'd like to think Eastwood's fighting spirit kept Keith going at the end there.

So as business owners, how can we persevere in that same way? How can we resist our "Old Man," staying in the fight in defiance of a hostile culture and our competitors? How can we keep the fire burning in our bellies?

Reflect: Where are you conceding?

You work hard every day, and you have a lot on your plate. It's nearly impossible to keep all the balls in the air at once, and there's no shame in being human! But it's easy to let certain things slide, not because of overload or busyness - but out of fear.

Are there areas where you've grown complacent? Avoidant? Where you've allowed the challenges to overshadow your determination? Some personal issue or an organizational pickle you're hoping will just go away, or that doesn't seem worth resisting anymore? Maybe it's a big, close-to-your-heart goal you've put on hold or convinced yourself isn't realistic. Maybe it's a good habit you've decided is too hard to maintain, despite knowing deep down it keeps you sane and healthy more than anything else. Whatever you've given up on, take a minute to give it another honest look, and consider how and when to step back up to the plate. Patch those holes, and you're fortifying yourself against the onslaught of the "Old Man."

Reflect: Who is beside you in the fight?

It can be lonely at the top, and you can't run a business solo anymore than you can ride a unicycle on a tightrope. So who's in your corner - your spouse, a mentor or friend, your leadership team? Are there any relationships you need to lean on or renew right now in this battle against stagnation? Surround yourself with mentors, peers, and trusted advisors: the folks who've got your back can keep you strong. (And if you're on the lookout for a community that fits the bill, I've got a suggestion for you.)

Reflect: Where do you seek Wisdom?

Staying tough, adaptable, and resilient in your leadership isn't possible without continuous learning. So where do you find resources, advice, new strategies and thought partners? Whether you learn best from blogs or ebooks or good old-fashioned books on paper, podcasts or guided learning in community, the wisdom that supports perseverance can only be cultivated through intentional self-development. Remember, keeping your "Old Man" out isn't actually about how old you are; it's about how young, flexible, and tenacious you feel inside. So let's raise a glass to defying the odds and keeping the spirit of entrepreneurship alive and well! Cheers.

Looking for a community and source of wisdom to support you in kicking your "Old Man" to the curb? Check out what Acumen can do for leaders like you today.