Updated: Dec 3, 2020
What is that inner part of us that keeps us focused? That part that reminds us of our goals. That keeps us on track to accomplish them. The one that says, even though you're tired and you've opened the same client account 20 times to try and solve the same problem, you're going to open it a 21st time. We call this tenacity and as an entrepreneur, it's your lifeblood.
For a clear definition of this term, I'm going to turn to the nice, old Oxford dictionaries.
Tenacity is defined as: "The quality or fact of being very determined; determination." "The quality or fact of continuing to exist; persistence."
We see this tenacity literally everywhere as entrepreneurs.
When the 32nd person rejects your project proposal and still you go to the 33rd person an hour later. Maybe they'll be the person whose needs align with your services.
When you've had 10 site visitors in three months and for the fourth time, you redesign your online strategy.
When your 1st/5th/10th business idea goes nowhere and you pick yourself up, dust off the metaphorical dust, reflect on what went wrong and then move on to business idea N° 2/6/11.
Here's the part where I tell you all the tenacious womxn that are out there changing the world. With so many, it's hard to know where to begin and will likely develop into it's own post in the future. I'm going to highlight a few for you here.
Rokhaya Diallo - French Anti-racism and -sexism activist
Marie Popelin - Belgium's first Female Jurist, founder of Belgian League of Women’s Rights
Rosa Merckx - Belgium's first female Brewmaster (Liefman's)
100 Exceptional Women for the 100 Years of the International Day for Women (100 Femmes d’exception pour les 100 ans de la 100 Femmes d’exception pour la Journée internationale de la Femme)
10 Women with Conviction who are Doing Good (Dix femmes de conviction qui font du bien)
Suffice to say, there are a lot of tenacious womxn out there.
If you've got a favorite, tell us about her in the comments below!
How to be More Tenacious?
I think we can agree that tenacity in the face of crushing adversity is not common. When confronted with a setback, most people will keep trying. But when they're confronted with setback after setback after setback? It gets tiring and many people will simply move on to another, safer project where things will go unchallenged.
For people like us, setbacks are not an end-all. Each setback is a stepping stone that gets me one step closer to reaching my dreams. When you reach for the Moon, it takes a pretty tall staircase to get there.
Here are a few ways to cultivate tenacity.
This distinction is the key to becoming more tenacious: Challenges = Opportunities.
People who are less tenacious are people who focus on the difficulties associated with challenges. Those of us who are more tenacious tend to focus on the outcomes, on where overcoming challenges will take us. You need to see challenges as opportunities to succeed.
Every challenge is an opportunity — either you succeed or you learn for next time.
2. Balancing Rewards
Our brains release that lovely, little happiness hormone dopamine when we accomplish a goal. Think back to the last time you checked an item off your to-do list. There is a wave of satisfaction that washes over you — happiness. Every task brings difficulties and overcoming these leads to gratification.
What I'm talking to you about is teaching yourself through positive reenforcement. The more you overcome challenges, the more you'll be willing to do it in the future.
For me, this means planning in small tasks I can easily accomplish before taking on a big one. It gives me a few items I can check off my list with a side serving of confidence that makes the big task seem more doable. Nothing has changed about the big task, but now I can confront it feeling more confident in myself.
Tip 1 : Doing tasks in advance will decrease your stress levels and increase your satisfaction. Last minute tasks take up too much emotional space, try to avoid pressuring yourself!
Tip 2 : Set subtasks on big projects. By breaking down the scale of the tasks, you build in a natural set of dopamine breaks along the way to finishing the big one.
Simple, but true: your thoughts guide the outcome. Henry Ford made a pretty salient point:
Keep encouraging yourself, visualizing your success, and it'll be that much more likely to happen.
Learn more techniques to keep up your perseverance and tenacity: The Neuroscience of Perseverance.
There you have it. As entrepreneurs, you will always have challenges in front of you. That's the exciting part. You will certainly fail, but you will also succeed. Let's hope we can all learn from our failures and use them to chart our way to success. We're growing a tenacious community at WOMADE, so we can all keep pushing ourselves forward together.
Keep telling yourself you can succeed and you will.