What is Tenacity, Really?
(Note: This post is written in conjunction with my May 11th Facebook Live which can be found by clicking the link.)
Recent events and my current lifestyle had convinced me I lacked a key component for success. That component is tenacity. Dictionary.com defines tenacity as:
1.the quality of being tenacious, or of holding fast; persistence:
the amazing tenacity of rumors.
2.the quality of retaining something:
the tenacity of memory.
3. the quality or property of holding together firmly:
testing the tenacity of the old book’s binding.
As a result, I’ve been holding myself back from finishing projects or propelling my business to the next level. In short, I had succumbed to a mentality of lack and though I wasn’t consciously shooting myself in the foot, my internal beliefs were doing it for me. And the culprit was a program which was meant to build me up, not tear me down. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the writers of Winning the Game of Money did not intend to give me another limiting belief, but then, the majority of their members are a lot closer to their childhood years than I.
A Constant Internal Battle to Undermine Our Tenacity
One of the modules asks the listener to think of a time during their childhood when they were tenacious. I’m sure there were times I was, but holy crap! My childhood was decades ago! I’m hard-pressed to remember things that happened yesterday, much less 45 or 50 years ago! And yet, my mind latched onto the idea that I lacked tenacity like a drowning man clings to a buoyant object. My mind, it turns out, liked the idea of having an excuse for not succeeding.
The rest of me, however, wanted more. It took a while for that part of me to fight its way back to the top of the hill but ultimately, it did. The part of me that wants to succeed; wants to help other people succeed is one tenacious little beast. Once it achieved superiority over the many facets of my personality, it sent a veritable flood of instances where I was both tenacious and persistent in my pursuit of success. Certainly, none of those instances dated back to the less retrievable portions of my history known as “childhood”, but in my opinion, the memories were far stronger than any immature pursuits of a favored toy or some such thing.
My tenacity has tended to exert itself more in two distinct places: survival and the greater good. I realize the latter seems like personal aggrandizement, but hear me out.
Having the Tenacity to Pursue Something When the Odds Are Stacked Against You
There have been a few cases in my life when a person or corporation tried to take advantage of me or sweep my concerns under the table. Had I allowed them to succeed, I believe I would have given them permission to do so to another poor, unsuspecting soul. Thus, I spent over a year fighting with GM over an unfixable problem with my 1998 Chevy Malibu. My tenacity was fueled by a call between GM and the Better Business Bureau in which the GM representative claimed that to them, steering was not a safety issue. To add insult to injury, the BBB found in favor of GM! I can’t be blamed for finding the whole thing distinctly…well, stinky.
Needless to say, I took advantage of my right to appeal as well as my right to involve the General Manager for the dealerships in the area. I fought through the frustration, the bureaucracy, and the outright nastiness of the service manager at the dealership in my town, ultimately getting a check for all of my payments including interest, less a small amount of depreciation for the period of time before I noticed the problem. The service manager earned at least two severe reprimands from the GM given the distinct alteration in his behavior when he handed me the check. My hope is that he was either removed from the position entirely or learned to treat customers, and especially female customers with more attention to the “service” than the “manager” in his title.
Let Your Tenacity Shine
Large wins like this one aside, I realized it took tenacity to leave a bad marriage, raise my daughters alone, survive and thrive as my career took some interesting turns, and even complete my degree in accounting while working full-time and handling the ups and downs of child-rearing, both with my own kids and my ex’s. Did I make more than my share of mistakes in the process? Heck yes! If I put my mind to it, I can come up with at least a million things I did with my kids and his that I regret. But somehow they all survived my parental clumsiness and have grown into reasonably responsible and well-adjusted adults.
What I’m trying to say here is that tenacity doesn’t mean perfection. It means continuing to strive even when you feel ill-equipped for the job. Continuing to take another step forward, and another, and another even when the odds seem stacked in your favor. It’s believing when you have no reason to believe, and doing what’s necessary anyway.
More importantly, it’s something each and every one of us does day in and day out. We don’t have to be a J.K. Rowling who was destitute and suicidal before she exhibited her tenacity. Nor do we have to be tenacious only when something huge and important enters our lives. Sometimes it’s the little things like getting up every morning and making the bed. Or it could be making the effort to embark on a healthier set of habits. It’s all the things we do because we feel we should even though doing so is hard or frustrating, or fraught with failure after failure. Tenacity is what makes us see those things through until the failures become lessons which ultimately allow us to succeed, often more spectacularly than we imagined we could.
I think tenacity is a muscle which needs to be exercised. The small successes serve as encouragement for us to exercise more. So master a couple of small things, be it making the bed every morning, or getting up 30 minutes early to write your morning pages, or adding a healthier habit to your routine. Let go of the limiting beliefs telling you you can’t.
Though it took another couple of weeks, I think my turning point came the day I replaced the words “it’s too hard” and “I can’t do this” with two simple words: “I can”. Since then, whenever I feel frustrated or aimless or discouraged, I say “I can”, sometimes loudly, and sometimes just in my head. It’s become my mantra and fits every circumstance. It takes those pesky limiting beliefs and kicks them to the curb, then stomps them into oblivion.
I urge you to accept the strong voice inside you clamoring to be heard. Find your own mantra, your own version of “I can” and sprinkle it liberally throughout your day. I guarantee you’ll find yourself standing taller and smiling more. You’ll stop running from things because they require more effort. You’ll start seeing your failures as lessons and stepping stones; as necessary effort to achieve your heart’s desires.
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for epiphanies.
- I am grateful I found my tenacity.
- I am grateful for the courage and determination I realize I’ve had all along.
- I’m grateful for the strength of my Presence and it’s unending ability to overcome my ego.
- I’m grateful for friends and family who encourage and uplift me every day.
- I’m grateful for abundance: friends, family, opportunities, tenacity, encouragement, love, kindness, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!