Have you seen Togetherness, the HBO series about four people navigating their late 30s? It can be both serious and funny at the same time and is among other things about men being vulnerable but I digress. In a recent episode, Brett assured Tina that she will most certainly be successful at something she has never done because, he tells her, she is frighteningly tenacious.
Last week, I learned that my company is officially HUBZone Certified through the Small Business Administration (SBA). This is a meaningful designation in terms of federal government contracting. It has taken me about 15 months to figure out the requirements, gather the necessary information, and finally get through the application process. Prior to going for this certification, I spent a few years acquiring a DUNS number, registering in SAM (system for award management), and completing my DSBS (dynamic small business search) on the SBA site. It is much more complicated than it sounds. To do federal government contract work as a solopreneur, you must be frighteningly tenacious.
An IT project manager I know shepherded the project that ate Tokyo along for several months and to its ultimate successful completion. For too many weeks though, every day brought one or more new problems to be solved. But they were and it’s done because he was frighteningly tenacious.
Tenacious is defined as not readily relinquishing a course of action. Synonyms include persistent, determined, dogged, steadfast, strong-willed, unswerving, unshakable, unyielding, and unwavering. (all great words, huh?)
Could it be that Carol Dweck’s growth mindset is just frighteningly intense tenacity? Dweck describes those with a growth mindset as always challenging themselves to grow and also focusing on the process rather than the outcome. The process may result in failure but people with a growth mindset learn from that failure, adjust to do better the next time, and persist in dogged pursuit of success. I’ve written previously about mindset here and here.
Brene Brown’s work has found that “vulnerability – the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome – is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy.” Brown also says that “it is not always easy… because we are, inevitably, going to fail.” Being frighteningly tenacious can factor into having the career or the life we desire because sometimes the alternative and easier choice is to simply give up.
Is there something in your life or work you are trying to accomplish? Does fear of failure prevent you from moving forward? Activate a growth mindset; focus on the process; learn from the setbacks; be frighteningly tenacious.
footnote: Sadly, Togetherness was cancelled by HBO this week so there will be no third season. 🙁
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