Tenacity: On you will go…though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak.

At the football club Luka plays for they do an annual prizegiving and one of the trophies awarded in each team is for Coach’s Choice. Each coach does their own thing in selecting their winners, and Luka’s coach this year awarded it based on tenacity. The coach described a player who, in the face of challenges like being fouled or similar kinds of negativity, rarely lost their focus. This player would get knocked down, but would get up and carry on.

Just a typical day on the football pitch – you get pushed and you carry on

To me being tenacious used to be all about being tough, and toughing out hard times… clinging on to the cliff-face, fighting for survival, never giving up. Which is all good stuff, although sometimes this attitude implicitly indicates that getting overwhelmed and emotional and letting your feelings out is bad and to be avoided at all costs! Whereas I actually think that riding the wave is healthy, although exhausting if it happens a lot.

So for me tenacity has evolved so that it incorporates a sense of it being about where you choose to put your focus. And focusing on, most of the time, a positive goal. This involves talking to your mind, training it to dismiss a negative frame and giving it a positive one. And constantly doing this, over and over, all day long. And if you fail and lose your shit, being kind to yourself, trying again when you’ve recovered.

For example – my mind says: walking is hard, everything hurts, everything hurts. So I tell my mind: that thought isn’t useful right now, let it go. Focus on that you can walk. And lets sing a song.

I’ll leave the song choice up to you.

The fact that my passionate, heart on sleeve, rage at injustice, Luka won the coach’s tenacity award should encourage you. I couldn’t keep the grin off my face when I found out, especially as the coach, in giving Luka the award said, “He’s not the most skillful of players, but he is tenacious and that is very hard to teach.”

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