Yesterday I learned a new word to describe the “quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult or unpleasant”:  stick-to-itiveness.

It’s been around for quite some time – according to Merriam-Webster, since 1859 – but I must say that I’d never heard it before, though it definitely caught my attention. My mother called it stubbornness – I called it determination.  By definition:

dogged perseverance; tenacity. Synonymous with decisiveness, determination, firmness, purposefulness, resoluteness

Yup, that describes perfectly my recent state of mind and action. Lots on my to-do list and sometimes little desire to do it all.  I bet you know how that feels…  But that’s where stick-to-itiveness comes in.

It’s like going to the gym – you might groan at the thought of working out, but you know that if you stick with the program your health will benefit from it.  It’s no different in business – you may not feel like doing something, or you may not see the full effect of your actions as quickly as you like, but every step takes you closer to your goal.

This same perseverance served me well the last couple of weeks. I focused on the end-results, flexed my confidence muscle, and kept at it until I checked off a number of items on that to-do list.

Here’s what helped me along the way:

Recognizing that not everything needs immediate action.  Sounds simple, yet sometimes simplicity is blurred by our desire to get more done.

Prioritizing time-sensitive matters or those requiring my attention specifically.  Time sensitivities speak for themselves – look after those first. But I also realized that just because I’m determined to see something to completion doesn’t mean I alone have to do it. If it aligns with my expertise or realistically only I can take on the task, I’m happy to make time for it; otherwise I need to ask for help. Or –

Say no.  Even when it sounds like a great opportunity, or you think you can take on more – saying no will help shift focus and energy to the things that you really need to tackle.

So next time you feel doubt or unwillingness beginning to take hold, remember to apply stick-to-itiveness, and watch the results unfold.

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