I have often been called tenacious. I never really liked it. I find it is a word that people do not really know the true meaning. Having a tenacious grip, a strong hold on something, not easily letting go or giving up. Yes, I would say that is me, but I always felt those definitions spun the word with a negative hint to it. That it meant you were more inflexible or strong-willed more than anything. So when I recently read Seth Godin’s 5 sentence blog post on tenacity and persistence, it was an eye-opening moment. He says:
“Tenacity is not the same as persistence. Persistence is doing something again and again until it works. It sounds like ‘pestering’ for a reason. Tenacity is using new data to make new decisions to find new pathways to find new ways to achieve a goal when the old ways didn’t work. Telemarketers are persistent, Nike is tenacious.”
It makes sense doesn’t it? Godin makes persistence almost sound like the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results). It makes me wonder, are we all actually more tenacious than we think? Has the word had a bad rap, or is it just me that has associated negative connotation to “tenacious?”
So often (as I mentioned in my blog on change last week) we get stuck in the rut of old ways and forget that each new project deserves a fresh look. It might not make sense to follow the same process anymore. It is always appropriate to ask yourself, are we doing this because it is the way it has always been done, or because we have not stopped to update and change? If the old way is not working, change it. If the newer ways are stale, change them. My old way of viewing tenacious has been changed. Check.