Bust Your Fears Apart with Tenacity.
Tenacity is not a word commonly talked about, yet it is the secret power behind achieving satisfaction of purpose. Let’s face it, life can sometimes feel a little overwhelming! Modern living finds us constantly juggling careers, family, social life and other obligations. The pressure to be perfect can become so intense that in the process we set ourselves up for a fall resulting in chronic stress and anxiety.
Have you ever encountered a situation where you put everything in to meeting a deadline? You laboured and agonized over presenting a project in the best way possible, only to have someone point out your small failings, leaving you defeated and focusing on this one mishap. Instead of standing back, taking stock of the situation, you crumble. All you can digest in your brain is the one minor flaw, one spelling mistake, one misplaced comma. There are a million wonderful things you have brought together but that negative comment is ringing in your ears. Darn! There it is that dreaded “Fear of Failure” raising its ugly head.
Anxiety Has Devastating Consequences!
When our fear of failure sets in, this opens us up to the crippling effects of anxiety. Everything slides down into fear based thoughts laced with trauma. A gut churning feeling that is convinced that we are being monitored and judged. One of the greatest things humans fear is humiliation and when we feel that we are being judged and monitored then you can bet your socks anxiety is going to go into over drive.
I see the devastating consequences of anxiety every day. People walking the razors edge trying to obtain perfectionism driven by a severe fear of failing. We talk, develop skills and strategies for taking back their life. Empowering them to meet their own needs and giving them a sense of security within themselves. The result is they see that the pressure they put on themselves is counterproductive.
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
I learnt a valuable lesson about failure many years ago. I used to be overcome with anxiety before a presentation. The fear of humiliation was firmly cemented in my head. This was the result of being slightly dyslexic. When I was in grade 2 I reversed a P in my spelling and I had to go and ask the preps what the letter was because I was too stupid to know. This one event influenced my fear of failure in all walks of life especially in my career. Until one day I decided ‘this is crazy” as it was stopping me being authentic. So, I decided I would use the power of tenacity and face the fear. Tenacity is best described as “persistence of purpose”.
Persistence of Purpose Overcomes All Obstacles.
My purpose was to help people understand themselves and to bring meaning and purpose to their daily tasks. I gave myself a little talking to, brushed myself off and implemented my top strength “Strategic” to develop a path through this anxiety I decided if I spell a word wrong I would have a contingency for that. I used the power pf tenacity, I ask who is a good speller in the audience. I then give them a whiteboard marker and they can come and change any word that is spelled incorrectly. As a consequence, I found that, I was no longer afraid of failing and in the process, I allowed others to contribute. More importantly my stress levels lowered, and that gut churning anxiety slipped silently away. From that experience I decided that to be tenacious was far more important than worrying about being humiliated.
“If an ant carries an object a hundred times its weight, you can carry burdens many times your size.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo
Last week I was given the privilege of watching how tenacity can play out in seemingly hopeless situation.
We often have the occasional ant wandering around in the kitchen. On Friday though I spilt water on the bench and it formed this huge ocean which pretty well encircled a solitary ant. I watched as he faced this tsunami coming at him. Valiantly he raced the water, looking for an avenue to escape. Time and time again he was faced with the prospect of a watery grave. But he pushed on with admirable speed. He persisted, running along the boundary of water, resolute that he would find his way out. Finally, through his persistence he found the gap. How huge that obstacle must have appeared to this tiny being, yet he never gave up. What a hero’s quest. What a beautiful example of when things are overwhelming press on.
After taking him outside I thought about his tenacity. I was allowing myself to sink into overwhelm with all that had to be done for our annual retreat workshop. I stopped what I was doing and smiled at the little ant with a huge heart and faith in himself. Nature is amazingly adaptable, so I adapted my attitude and joyfully completed the project
“Like an ant, I will find my way round any obstacle. Like a child, I will persevere with pinpoint focus.” ― Chris Murray, The Extremely Successful Salesman’s Club
My little ant encounter came at the right time to remind me that joy comes from having an attitude of service. Tenacity looks past the obstacles in your path and searches for a successful outcome. Being tenacious helps you push through your fears. It lets criticism wash off you, allowing you, like the ant, to press on knowing that you will find the way.
Knowing that when things come at you from all quarters it gives you to opportunity to access the strength to handle it and take the considered approach rather than letting emotions drain your energy. So, loving the lesson one little ant took the time to teach me.
Next time you are faced with a situation that causes anxiety and fear of failure to raise their heads just think about how tenacity can give you the edge. As a consequence, like the ant you will find your inner strength to tenaciously achieve your goal.