Tenacity: life saver or death sentence?

StoCX was a startup created by 4 entrepreneurs who were determined to build a Custom Experience consulting business. They knew it was going to be an uphill battle, but they didn’t realise what it would take out of them. But they were resilient and tenacious and they knew they could stick with it. Jason was particularly committed and for every problem the business encountered, he would make it his mission to find a solution and a way forward. Until one day when he couldn’t even think straight and he became overly aggressive with those around him. The rest of the team knew he needed help.

Tenacity is the quality of being persistent and refusing to give up easily. It represents determination in the face of adversity and is often perceived as a wholly admirable quality.      

But is it always a good thing?

During times of high stress and consistent challenges, tenacity can be the force that leads to burnout. You can read more about burnout in this blogpost, What is burnout really?

Tenacity is like a force that keeps pushing and pushing to remove obstacles and resolve problems. But there will always be more problems to solve and new things to resolve.

Tenacity can also lead to resentment and wanting to punish others. If you are the one on a team who is always pitching in and saving the day, it can become burdensome and you might start to wonder, “where is everyone else?”. It would be easy to be angry with them and blame them for their relative laziness.

It is important to remember that tenacity is useful – to a degree. We also need to temper it with self-awareness, a bit of discipline and a willingness to change our habits of thinking.

What can you do if your tenacity drives you too hard?

  • Pick your battles – prioritise and focus on the most important items and learn to let some things go.
  • Check out your mindset – how are you talking to yourself?  Do you always say, “I can do it”? Instead, you might start to ask yourself, “what can be done within a reasonable time?”
  • Check your perfectionism drivers – is getting it perfect driving you? Then learn to go for the 80% solution.
  • Ask yourself what you are trying to prove and to whom. And then let yourself off the hook.
  • Recognise that you don’t always need to be a saviour or hero.

For other ideas, checkout this blogpost, Preventing burnout.

Most of those suggestions require inner reflection and a change of mindset. It can be very helpful to have an experienced coach who can help you identify these inner drivers and support you to change your thinking, drivers and work patterns. Let us know if you want some help finding a great coach.

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Our coaches are partners in supporting you to make changes, clarify goals and discover aspirations. In many cases, the coaches serve as a sounding board when you cannot discuss certain topics with others.

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