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01/31/2022 1:57 PM | Marla Halley (Administrator)

Mardi Humphreys, Change Agent, Integration Edge

Tenacity is when we try something, but if it doesn’t work we try different ways to achieve the same goal. Here’s why and how we should develop tenacity on the job.


Tenacity is a hard ability to train, so tenacious employees earn the respect of both their managers and peers. Workers willing to do what is necessary for the business to endure downturns are the ones who get to keep their jobs. Successful people are tenacious. Doing hard things and seeing them through to completion gives us confidence. We develop mental toughness and keep going when others quit. Most people expect Plan A to work every time, but how often does that really happen? There are 26 letters in the alphabet. Let’s be unafraid to go back to a failed Plan A and revise it to make a Plan B, Plan C, or however many letters it takes to overcome the setback. Let’s learn how to not make the same mistake twice. Making new mistakes is much more fun.


  • Perceive failures as experiments: When we think we’ve spent all our energy and ideas on overcoming our obstacle, let’s give it one more try and change the input to achieve a better outcome. Often, the answer lies just beyond what we think we’re capable of.
  • Set S.M.A.R.T. goals: We’ll filter our responsibilities through them. E.g., if we want to be the team’s SME for JavaScript, how do the tasks on our daily to-do lists get us closer to that goal?
  • Identify a coworker as a friendly rival. We’ll find someone who is competing for the same promotion or the same client, etc., and use her as the bar against which we measure our work. Does she know Excel better than us? We can take an online class (many are free with a library card) to increase our knowledge. I call competing with someone who is on my team “coopetition.” (Think Group Round during Hollywood Week on American Idol). We strive to outperform this person because we admire her success. We can use this as motivational fuel to course correct when we’re struggling. This study says we succeed when our rival succeeds. We can learn from her mistakes as well as build on her successes.
  • Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Let’s hang out with tenacious people: professional groups, friends, family, and people with our job title from other companies. We can also read biographies of tenacious people and study what they did.
  • Tenacious people are comfortable with being uncomfortable. If our fear of failure is holding us back, let’s do something about it. Let’s sift through the symptoms to get to the root. (Journaling may help us see it easier.) Then take baby steps every day to overcome it.

Tenacity comes through practice. The bad news is, this means facing adversity over and over again. The good (?!) news is, life gives us plenty of adversity to practice with.

* Note to Employers: Job postings will be removed after 60 days.

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