Hello SOTGC community
Over the past few months I have been collecting interviews from successful people from all different backgrounds and stages in life. One of the questions is “what quality do you admire most in a successful man/woman?” One of the answers I see over and over is “tenacity” or some form of it. Over and over I hear that one of the main things that separates an average achiever and a highly successful individual is their dedication and tenacity. The title of this post “Me Again!” is something I have been doing (on occasion) recently when I’m calling on a Doctor’s office for the 3-15th time. I start off with this line because I like to lead with honesty, when I say this with a smile it usually gets a laugh out of the “gate keeper,” it’s not the first time I’ve called on this office, and it’s not going to be the last. Tenacity isn’t just in the business world; it works in all aspects of our lives. How many times have you heard someone speak about an athlete and talk about how much “heart” they have?
My brother set a very strong example of this for me when I was growing up. He was a track and cross-country star all four years in high school and actually got into UCB on a 4:14 mile time when he was 17 years old. Did he have the long, lanky build that the typical runner has? Nope. Did he have the natural talent and gait that most competitive runners posses? Not so much. But my brother had more heart than anyone else you met. I watched him finish the cross-country CIF finals one year, when he was getting over the flu. The dehydration, exhaustion, and pain he was feeling would have kept most of us at home and in bed. Instead, he powered through that 3-mile race even though you could literally see the pain etched into his features, and he finished in the top 20. He had trained all season for that moment and he was GOING to finish that race no matter what.
Scot Elderdid an interview for SOTGC recently and when asked “what book is on your nightstand?” He replied that he was reading “The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris” and one of the people the book talks about is Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell.
When she graduated from New York’s Geneva Medical College, in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in America to earn the M.D. degree. She supported medical education for women and helped many other women’s careers. By establishing the New York Infirmary in 1857, she offered a practical solution to one of the problems facing women who were rejected from internships elsewhere but determined to expand their skills as physicians.
At the beginning of her journey to become the first woman to earn an M.D. degree, she convinced two physician friends to let her read medicine with them for a year, and applied to all the medical schools in New York and Philadelphia. She also applied to twelve more schools in the northeast states and was accepted by Geneva Medical College in western New York state in 1847. The faculty, assuming that the all-male student body would never agree to a woman joining their ranks, allowed them to vote on her admission. As a joke, they voted “yes,” and she gained admittance, despite the reluctance of most students and faculty.
Can you imagine the kind of adversity she was faced with at medical school? Being admitted as a joke, then having to earn the respect and consideration of her peers. I’m sure there were many moments when quitting, and searching out an easier goal would have been highly tempting. Yet tenacity, dedication towards achieving her goal and helping pave the way for more women in medicine always won. My mentor Jeremy used to send us a quote of the week every Monday when he was our regional business director. One day he sent one from Aristotle: “excellence is not an act, but a habit.” Every time I am reaching the end of my rope, when I feel like quitting, when I’m physically and emotionally tired, I think of my brother and that race he painfully completed, as well as society role models who display this characteristic. These examples help give me the strength to re-energize, push through, and decide ONE of us is going to lose the “tenacity battle,” and I’ll be darned if it will be me!