Six months after initially applying, being interviewed, passed over and with multiple follow-ups, I received a brief email that began "I appreciate your tenacity regarding the job at XXXX."
She paid me a high compliment considering for many years of my life I really had no idea what tenacity was.
1. the quality or fact of being able to grip something firmly; grip.
2. the quality or fact of being very determined; determination.
3. the quality or fact of continuing to exist, persistence.
I can recall vividly the lack of tenacity I showed in school, in sports, and in relationships. I wanted to get the most, from the least. When I encountered resistance and disappointment, I tended to pivot and move on. It wasn't that I didn't try, but rather I didn't persevere. Only once I started to learn what I wanted in life, that I started to develop tenacity.
Looking back I can recognize the signs of my developing resolution.
1. When a child is born, you become devoted in a new way to this new life that depends on you. I recall so many nights spending hours walking around my house, singing, rocking and soothing infants who refused to sleep when the rest of the world did. They pushed me to my very edge, but I was determined to never give up.
2. Owning an art gallery is a noble endeavour, but not one you typically enter to seek riches. Many an entrepreneur would have called it a day in the face of our struggles sourcing, securing, and selling, but I steadfastly labored for 12 years to continue our mission to represent the best of African art.
3. Despite taking 3-4 years to recognize I wanted to get married, I naively thought I meant those words for life. The early years are relatively easy when everything is new, fresh, and the whole exciting world is ahead of you. When faced with rejection, disappointment, and life's inevitable grind, it is only then when you recognize your indefatigable spirit.
4. In previous years, I blogged about my relationship with my elderly neighbor Walt. In his final years, we actively looked out for him. He lived until his mid 90's with a determination, independence and tenacity that I very much respect considering he outlived two wives, and three bouts of serious cancer.
The achievements that individuals and society value most all seem to require tenacity. If something comes easily, it usually doesn't last the test of time. Endurance and stamina are essential qualities of greatness. Persistence and strength of purpose must be present to achieve your highest goals. Patience and resolve demonstrate the tenacious qualities necessary to succeed.
I'll lean on some wise minds to develop the notion of tenacity further....
Maya Angelou asserted that "All great achievements require time."
Cal Ripken Jr., the baseball hall of famer who played for 21 seasons and holds the record for consecutive games played said "When you're in the day-to-day grind, it just seems like it's another step along the way. But I find joy in the actual process, the journey, the work. It's not the end. It's not the end event."
Louis Pasteur, the noted French scientist, once said "Let me tell you the secret which has led me to the goal. My only strength resides in my tenacity."
Sylvester Stallone exhibited tremendous tenacity while trying to break into acting. He suffered numerous rejections because he was difficult to understand when he spoke and didn't have classic Hollywood looks. Instead of giving up, Stallone penned Rocky. Many producers rejected the script. One ultimately agreed to buy the rights for $256,000, but only if Stallone wasn't to play the lead role. That money would have helped him immensely, but it wouldn't have achieved his goal, so he negotiated $75,000 and 10% of net profits so he could be the star.
F. Scott Fitzgerald urged us to "Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden said ""Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote "Water is fluid, soft and yielding but water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield ... what is soft is strong."
Theodore Roosevelt said "Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don't have the strength."
Thomas A. Edison, the famed inventor who suffered many more failures than successes stated "I haven't failed. I've found 10,000 ways that don't work." and "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."