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TIME (Part 2): First, It’s About Tenacity

A change in mindset is required to move us from “I need more time” to “TIME is on my side” as we travel down the road to success. Tenacity is the first leg in the table of TIME (Tenacity, Intentionality, Message, and Energy). Tenacity—the will to either find a way or make one; to be persistent and determined—is a trait most people think they have. Robert Half said tenacity “is what makes the impossible possible, the possible likely and the likely definite.”

When I asked a group of business leaders what tenacity meant to them, the answers varied widely. The theme that was consistent, however, is that the DNA of tenacity is formed of a combination of pieces—physical, mental and spiritual. In fact, physical, mental and spiritual tenacity form our ability to survive the challenges that life throws at us and to continue to perform at our highest levels despite all kinds of distractions and pressures. It is about getting things done, separating words from actions, and building upon proven regimens.

Think of a goal you set and achieved; running a race, closing a business deal, being on track to make partner. What hurdles did you overcome in realizing that goal? How did you navigate the setbacks, obstacles, changes and challenges that came your way? While you cannot control everything that comes your way, you are in complete control of how you react to it. Did you push through and endure?

Tenacity, though, is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with the mindset and inner drive that pushes us to believe with absolute certainty that what we are looking for will occur, to face our challenges and vault over them. The thing that always stands in the way of tenacity is doubt. This is why a proven process is so powerful for developing tenacity. This regimen can be summed up in three steps:

  1. Manage your expectations: Self-management is one of the biggest ways you can build resilience to the obstacles that come your way. Poorly managed expectations often lead to more surprises, which can make you feel out of control. A feeling of a lack of control often lowers morale and weakens your mental fortitude as well as your ability to stay grounded and flexible.
  2. Don’t allow emotions to get the best of you: Think before you speak. Mentally tough people remain calm in heated situations. Get comfortable being uncomfortable and own what is happening. Getting out of your comfort zone is a key to building tenacity.
  3. Find your source of motivation: Where do you find motivation? This is simply finding your “Why”. Simon Sinek explores finding your Why in a famous TED talk that looks at the ways we are inspired by the messages of some people, leaders and organizations over others. Your Why is also the source of the final piece of the DNA of tenacity- spiritual tenacity – your purpose, what motivates you, and what pushes you from the inside.

You now know what tenacity is and have a regimen to put in place to develop it. This challenges you to reflect and ask yourself this question: Am I tenacious? Is the first leg of the table of TIME a catalyst or derailer in my career? Think of examples and how you have proactively or reactively designed your life. Your honest assessment will begin the process in moving from “I need more time” to “TIME is on my side.”

What will you do today to make this happen?

Be sure to check out Dan’s column Performance Thinking with Dan Sheedy for related reads here.