never give up
Life | Work

The Importance of Tenacity

November 30, 2017

When you think of the things that you pride yourself most on – what comes to mind? For me, it’s empathy – being kind and compassionate – and tenacity. What does it mean to be tenacious? Some people may say stubborn, others say persistent. I tend to agree with the latter. The dictionary definitions include

– tending to keep a firm hold of something; clinging or adhering closely
– not readily relinquishing a position, principle, or course of action; determined
– persisting in existence; not easily dispelled

I believe being tenacious is one of the most important keys to success.

Why you may ask? Life is hard. Careers are long. Relationships are challenging. And unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want on the first go around. Being able to stand your ground and support what you know is right is the difference between success and failure. For those in the sales world, you know that rarely will the first outreach result in a close. It takes repeated follow-up and commitment.

Some people struggle at the first sign of rejection, or if they’re ignored, feel the person must not be interested or willing, so why bother to follow-up.

I’m here to say – don’t give up. It’s important to note that

– people often don’t follow-up and
– people often don’t try in the first place

You never know until you try. And if you’re willing to do 1 and 2, you’ll stand out from the majority of people who never will. I don’t want to say that 100% of the time I achieve the intended result, but truth be told, the percent is quite high. This is not because I’m any more special or gifted than the rest of us – I attribute this to 1 and 2: I always follow-up and I always try. And back to what I pride myself most on, I do so kindly.

I can think of repeated circumstances throughout my life where I’ve written letters and e-mails, made calls, dropped by in-person – all for various reasons. Payment on an insurance claim, refunds and upgrades on travel tickets and removal of the other, not-so-fun kind of tickets, job opportunities, the list can go on. I also can’t begin to mention the number of people I’ve contacted that I don’t know and also those with much more seniority than I.

People are afraid. And I’m sorry to say, but people are a bit lazy too.

And while I do believe time = money, and it takes time to do all of these things – think

– how you’d be spending your time otherwise and
– what will be the final result of spending your time?

Not giving up is important, but it’s also important to know when to move on.

I don’t dwell…most of the time. I’ve been passed over for jobs, lost consulting projects, been blatantly ignored in follow-ups. And while I’m always trying to improve and determine what I could have done better, I don’t take it personally. I move on to the next. There are unlimited possibilities. It’s great to be excited about one or many, but if those don’t pan out, there’s a great big world out there waiting for you.

As Winston Churchill once said – “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”